Quote of the Day Reflection

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There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.
Bryan H. McGill

Do you have to like everyone you love? Do you have to approve of every action taken by those you love? Wait are these trick questions?  No, they are not.  Loving people does not mean you are going to like or love everything about them, or how they live their lives necessarily.  You may not always be thrilled in the aftermath how you lived your own life, may have moments you don’t like yourself much.  Can you love on a broad human scale to forgive, even if you voice your distaste etc…, hopefully and please non-violently?  You can’t really forgive if you don’t have genuine love for the person, or a general Agape love that is taught in spiritual communities.  Does that mean you have to associate with them, especially if they show a pattern of negative behavior, show they are incapable of true relationship etc…, even true friendship?  No, you don’t.  Forgiving is as much about you and your own journey, loving yourself enough to release the harmful poison that bitterness and lack of forgiving bring to your heart, body, spirit, soul and life.  What about in cases of a tragedy, don’t we want justice?  Yes, but you won’t get justice if you are do blinded by anger and rage that you can’t let justice take its’ course and trust that whether in this life or the after, it will come, in God’s time, not yours, NOT yours.  Justice is not the same as enraged immediate revenge, which could result in an even greater tragedy and error. Without forgiveness there can be no discernment of any truth, that includes forgiving one’s self for errors, missing the mark as scripture says.  Not to say we shouldn’t strive to be better persons and cultivate discernment, right moral, ethical etc… judgement even in how we live our lives, we should, for our sake, the sake of nations, communities and greater society, future generations.  Forgiveness does not mean you have to be a part of someone’s life, have a relationship, or if you do approve of how they are conducting their lives, it means you can mutually agree to disagree and express how you feel without fear one to the other, if you have a really together life with solid boundaries, moral and ethical boundaries etc..who knows you can be a great example for change and transformation. 

Amen

Reflection, Quote for the Day

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Positive anything is better than negative nothing.  To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. If you suffer, thank God! It is a sure sign that you are alive. Elbert Hubbard, American writer, 1859-1915

As I read these quotes I thought of today’s politicos and even so called activists, academics, the mess we are in all over the place and they hit home.  They are interconnected.  Let’s start with the first one.  Positive action to solve issues is always better than sitting around doing nothing and watching the house burn to the ground, and if lives are at stake, people are trapped in the burning building then there is moral imperative to do something.  Same if you have people trapped under a building, right? Yes and no.  There you have a different scenario.  There is a Brady Bunch Christmas special where Mike Brady is called in by this boss who did not listen to Mike about putting certain safety features and he and two other workers get trapped under building rubble.  Of course the family wants someone to go in and save Mike right away, or a team to go in, but if they do, not knowing just how stable or unstable the beams are the whole thing could come down and kill them all.  How would that be good for anyone including the families of those who die under the total collapse of the building?  Mike who is the architect knows the building finds his own way out to safety, via his own ingenuity.   Action needs to be positive, but it can only be so if there is no political or such ambition behind it, no one side only view behind it, and if it is seen in full view mirror historical, cultural, financial etc.. past, present, future to the great good of present and future generations, including financial health of the greater community, includes nations.  Is that asking for a lot of maturity? heck yeah.  Knowing when to do something, a little, a lot, nothing for now, letting individuals, communities and their own ingenuity take over so they don’t become dependent children, individuals, communities etc…  and really are able to take pride in their ability to map out their own destiny, find talents within they never realized they had, or make use of talents they never got the chance to make use of, is crucial.   For politicians and those in high profile positions, doing nothing, doing little, letting We The People, forcing us to solve our own problems, in community, including within the faith community, through the private sector mainly, with our own ingenuity, not telling us we need to suck up the fact that life is not always sweet as honey, has thorns like roses have thorns, and that government is not your mom and dad, is not responsible for your every care and whim, deal with it, is not a good way to get votes, is it?  It guess it wont go over well with the image of smiling, kissing babies and all that come election day.  So, they say nothing of what needs to be said, which is stop being a nation and society of whiners, complainers, vampires, thugs etc…, grow up!  Instead they do Negative Somethings and keep getting us into more debt, more division and a bigger mess. Families are doing the same, parents with their kids, same thing, couples, in all spheres, faith institutions trying to be hip, modern, politically correct being fools and clowns.  That leads us to the third quote.  OMG, please don’t give our young people any sense of competition, any sense that they are not all geniuses in school, or that anyone of them is any less in aptitude in any way shape or form, oh no!  Save them from any speech that will cause them to be hurt in feelings or any way  shape or form, oh poor babies should they have to suffer a different point of you, the travesty the trauma!  Seriously?  A sterilized world, life where you have no emotions, no constructive emotions, no constructive debates, even passionate ones, vigorous ones, where you never are hurt, never are heartbroken is a world of robots, a world of non humans, of cold, lifeless androids.  Sucks.  On the other hand, being pure anger, rage, emotion, can’t handle the truth about anything, means you are perpetual child, annoying child who at some point everyone will want to smack upside the head a thousand times over, wanting you to get the hell over yourself and grow the hell up!  Also sucks!

Sadly this is the world we are living in and yet I would like to think there is hope for this to turn around and for us to live in a vibrant world where heart and reason meet, congeal, work together, where it is about the big picture of common sense for the greater good long term financially for all, giving free reign of ingenuity to the local community and individuals to be able to solve problems, to present solutions, and for a lot of people with a strong backbone, not a society of whiners, complainers etc…, no need for safe spaces and playdough, or whatever it is called, been a long while since I was a kid.

Amen

Fibro Once Again, Bump In the Road

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Sometimes fibromyalgia can be compared to being in a dark room.  You make plans, want to, but then at the same time, the fibromyalgia is so unpredictable.  Add to that the fact that now my 93 year old mom is starting to forget, leave the gas on, and adding more stress, something not good for anyone with fibro. Today I missed out on a day of heritage celebration because of the fibro messing with my memory in a sense.

I have set my cell phone alarm to go for doctor appointment before, since the alarm on the dresser clock doesn’t work any number of times.  However, I was worried after mom again left the stove on and I then went in to get something and saw she had, and the shift in weather, made for a horrible night, so I set the alarm settings on my phone, but never saved them, so the alarm this morning never went off.  If mom wakes up and she knows I have plans she will wake me if I have had a good night’s sleep, my blood pressure was high, sugar was off, arthritis pain acted up or just knows I really want to be there, but she had not slept well, , so she didn’t wake up either.  I could get very discouraged, get all down and depressed, which wont help at all.  Instead, I am blogging, listening to music that uplifts me, inspires me and I am planning on my activities for tomorrow, including a class in Music Appreciation at my coop, in the community room.  This is not the first time that because of Fibromyalgia I have had to either do last minute cancelations or stuff like this has happened and it likely won’t be the last.  What matters here is how I respond to these moments, these “crisis” moments, and if I choose to see them as crisis.  Another example, I will do all I can to help a church I feel strongly about saving to thrive, but if after all has been tried it still folds, I can’t have a pity party for the church, what I can do is figure out how to make my faith life stronger and make the faith stronger.  I can honor my heritage daily in different ways and it’s up to me to find constructive ways to do so.  Life and fibromyalgia will throw curveballs and yet it’s not the curveballs that are the issue, it’s how I respond, that is the issue.

Amen

Reflection for Today, Attitude, Intent

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Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. ~ Thomas Jefferson, American former president from 1801 to 1809

Attitude and intent, what’s the big deal, you have a dream, a goal, see an injustice, what you think is one, a need you think needs met in society etc…, you just go full speed bull in a china shop and do whatever it takes to make it happen, right?  Be the hero, right?  Not so fast, buddy, not so fast.  A goal, even righting what you perceive as a wrong can be disastrous, have a disastrous end.  The attitude and intent of what you do has to be with integrity and nobility, with a sense of reason, objectivity, if we are talking on a larger scale in some cases historical and overall life context.  An article in Forbes recently explained that attitude is more important than one’s IQ.  Huh? That’s right attitude matters more than a person’s IQ, interesting huh.  Why?  A person with a growth mindset, a mindset of willingness to learn, of inquiry is more likely to meet with success in life, then one without that willingness.  Attitude also is important in terms of being able to accept and manage failure, if you can’t, God help you, you are dead in the water.  Attitude is important in life.  You should have clear sense of values and all that, but you also have to be willing to learn, to grow, to accept failure as part of life’s learning process, if you do fall down and have to get up again.   Goals are set in life with intent of reaching a destination, but often we can go through life without intent, ships just roaming through the seas, drifting and that also has an effect on others who have no clue what we stand for, who we are really.  We may have a sense, but we leave others confused, and even in just our day to day lives, in our speaking etc… what is our intent?  Do we know?  Do we have any idea what we are achieving? Most likely we give no thought to that.

I am realizing in my own life how much of an impact my fibromyalgia and my not so healthy co-dependent relationship with my mom has had on my attitude, not in a good way.  I am also realizing I have been left with impatience and fatigue, overall impatience and fatigue with life, human stupidity etc…, you name it I have impatience for it.  I also realize that intent is something that I never really thought about in terms of my artistic life etc…, and it is only now that I have really come to a place of intent, the intent being to help people find their place of spiritual and creative potential, and figure out how to best fulfill it, hopefully with that undo some of the damage done by this “modern, and liberal progressive” malarky.  As for my own self, I am going to be seeking community, community close to home, in and through my coop,  faith community, connecting to my culture through the Casa Italiana at NYU, and perhaps a meet up group I create.  I have some work to do in terms of my own self as regards the toll these two things have taken on my attitude and intent, but half of the battle is knowing, so I am well set to make changes. 

Amen

Articulating Feelings, Why So Hard?

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The Journey That is Life.

Some can articulate what they are thinking and feeling quite easily, openly, no problem, particularly through the arts, through blogging, even in conversation.  Others, like there a wall and they might joke around a lot and all that, but any real exchange of feelings etc…, any deep connecting, forget it and so any substantial collaboration or significant friendship of deep spiritual nature, not happening, not because you may not want that or think it wouldn’t be great.  Why the difficulty for some with heart to heart open communication, connection etc..?  I wondered and did some research and I came across an article.  There are ten core reasons.

Not everyone finds expressing their feelings easy or having it come naturally. While the stereotype is that men have the hardest time expressing their emotions, everyone at one time or another in their life may find it difficult to say how they feel.

Learning why you have trouble expressing your feelings can go a long way into changing that behavior. Saying how you feel is something you can learn how to do, just as readily as you can learn how to fix a faucet or mend a button on a shirt. Here are ten common reasons why people find it difficult to express their emotions to someone else.

1. Conflict Phobia

You are afraid of angry feelings or conflicts with people. You may believe that people with good relationships should not engage in verbal “fights” or intense arguments. In addition, you may believe that disclosing your thoughts and feelings to those you care about would result in their rejection of you. This is sometimes referred to as the “ostrich phenomenon” — burying your head in the sand instead of addressing relationship problems.

2. Emotional Perfectionism

You believe that you should not have feelings such as anger, jealousy, depression, or anxiety. You think you should always be rational and in control of your emotions. You are afraid of being exposed as weak and vulnerable. You believe that people will belittle or reject you if they know how you really feel.

3. Fear of Disapproval and Rejection

You are so terrified by rejection and ending up alone that you would rather swallow your feelings and put up with some abuse than take the chance of making anyone mad at you. You feel an excessive need to please people and to meet what you perceive to be their expectations. You are afraid that people would not like you if you expressed your thoughts and feelings.

4. Passive-Aggressive Behavior

You pout and hold your hurt or angry feelings inside instead of disclosing what you feel. You give others the silent treatment, which is inappropriate, and a common strategy to elicit feelings of guilt (on their part).

5. Hopelessness

You are convinced that your relationship cannot improve no matter what you do. You may feel that you have already tried everything and nothing works. You may believe that your spouse (or partner) is just too stubborn and insensitive to be able to change. These positions represent a self-fulfilling prophecy–once you give up, an established position of hopelessness supports your predicted outcome.

6. Low Self-Esteem

You believe that you are not entitled to express your feelings or to ask others for what you want. You think you should always please other people and meet their expectations.

7. Spontaneity

You believe that you have the right to say what you think and feel when you are upset. (Generally, feelings are best expressed during a calm and structured or semi-structured exchange.) Structuring your communication does not result in a perception that you are “faking” or attempting to inappropriately manipulate others.

8. Mind Reading

You believe that others should know how you feel and what you need (although you have not disclosed what you need). The position that individuals close to you can “divine” what you need provides an excuse to engage in non-disclosure, and thereafter, to feel resentful because people do not appear to care about your needs.

9. Martyrdom

You are afraid to admit that you are angry, hurt, or resentful because you do not want to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing that her or his behavior is unacceptable. Taking pride in controlling your emotions and experiencing hurt or resentment does not support clear and functional communication.

10. Need to Solve Problems

When you have a conflict with an individual (i.e., your needs are not being met), avoiding the associated issues is not a functional solution. Disclosing your feelings and being willing to listen without judgment to the other is constructive.

Reference:

Burns, D.D. (1989). The feeling good handbook. New York: William Morrow.

Tools For Dealing with Criticism, Rejection

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Everyone has dealt with feelings of rejection, criticism in some form or another and often it is hard to process, and if one has had rejection in childhood, then it is like being prickled with thorns.  I came across this article and I hope it helps and gives insight.

10 Tools for Dealing with Criticism and Rejection

Ouch! Whether it’s feedback we’ve asked for, an unsolicited remark called out from the audience or a simple “no” result of an audition or submission process, criticism and rejection are a huge part of our lives as creative artists.

Sometimes we’re so fearful of being criticized or rejected that we keep our creativity bottled up and don’t let it out.

Other times we constantly adapt what we create, focusing only on the “market” and what they seem to be liking or disliking this week. Then we end up feeling like we’re not truly expressing our creative impulses.

10 Tools for Dealing with Criticism and Rejection

1. Be Open. You may be hoping for a specific reaction or response to your work, or a specific result of an audition, gallery submission, performance or contest entry. If you’ve done your best and you’re rejected or criticized, you might feel that you’ve “failed”, and it’s probably hard to see anything positive about the situation. Try to be open to the possibility that this “failure” is actually leading you to something else, usually better than what you thought you wanted. As I read once in Cheryl Richardson’s newsletter, “Any rejection is God’s protection”.

2. Be Consistent. Keep going, doing the little things every day that keep you creative and that keep you connected to other artists and to your customers. The dramatic moments and big wins and losses will come and go. Have a steady routine you can keep coming back to, and this will help to place any criticism or rejection into perspective. Today is a new day, another day you get to be an artist.

3. Be Focused. Keep your end goal in mind, and always be mindful of why you’re doing what you’re doing. That will help you focus on the big picture and not get tripped up by each bump in the road along the way.

4. Be Resilient. Remember that your sense of self-worth comes from inside of you. When you’re able to be confident in yourself regardless of the feedback you get from external sources, you’re able to bounce back much more easily from any negative feedback that you may get.

5. Be Positive. Focus your attention on the positive and you’ll attract more of it. This is the premise of the “law of attraction”, and I’ve certainly seen it work in my own life. Hear the positive feedback you receive and replay it over in your mind whenever you need to.

6. Be Clear. Approach constructive feedback with an accurate perspective, not muddled with thoughts from your own inner critic. Take it as a helpful tool for your own growth and remember that ultimately the only opinion that matters is your own – because you need to be happy with what you’re producing.

7. Be Grateful. Be gracious to your critics, accept all of the feedback you receive, sit quietly and let it sink in. Be grateful to be actively creating – to have gotten past the fear and other roadblocks. Be grateful for the opportunity to have your work seen and heard. Some never get the chance.

8. Be Responsive. Decide consciously what to do with feedback before responding, instead of reacting with the first thought or words that come to mind.

9. Be Selective. Once you’ve decided what to do the feedback you’ve received, be selective and willing to let go of the hurtful feedback. This usually doesn’t have anything to do with you anyway; it’s a reflection of that person’s own happiness, state of mind and comfort with themselves.

10. Be Loving. Be loving of your critic and ESPECIALLY of yourself. Plan some self-care treats for the day of the audition or submission. Regardless of the outcome, you deserve it!

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

 

Christ, That Consciousness as Identity

Christ Consciousness

In my last article I talked about Christ Consciousness through us, what it means to me. How can we realize the fact that the God is not a distant outside  unreachable force, but also within?  As I move further with topic, I would like to ask you a thing. How many times have you faced identity crisis? How many times you wanted desperately to become someone you hoped to be and found out later that you had become someone entirely different? What is it that I hear? It never happened to you? Well if it did, this article is here to help you. If it never happened, I tell you there is still a treat in store for you.

Christ Consciousness as described by many is a state of enlightenment, divine merge with God. It is an important fact to be noted that the enlightenment reaches not to us by automatic process, rather we choose to evolve. Everyone faces spiritual crisis and hardships in life. All signs can be easily ignored should we go back to our unrefined old selves. It is us who choose to see where we need changing in our thinking and life pattern.

For proper transformation spiritually, we have to admit the fact that we change in our consciousness as well as our identity. Christ Consciousness is as described a divine process of enlightenment. It is state of merging with God. I told you in my last discussion that Lord Jesus taught us the divine truth. God is within us. We have access to God power as much as the next person may that be a religious or a normal colleague. That being said, what about our identity? Now here is what the topic becomes really interesting. Our identity is who we are. As we spiritually ascend our former selves, we realize that boundaries between us and God are becoming blurred. God is within us. As St. Teresa spoke of transformation being process of finding self in God and God in self. Then what is self originally?

It is to be told to the dear reader that Christ Consciousness is not the root of confusion between God and self. Quite the contrary! We realize how through seeking change within us, we are imperfect. How much we have to realize that the only way to reach God is through self-seeking process. We realize that each human is a walking treasure. Each human being has God within self. As we awaken, we become more aware of our likes and dislikes as we are challenged to change them. We realize the divine truth that God accesses each of us separately. No two souls are same. Our soul is manifestation of Lord’s love. Every person has a different role to play. Therefore, God has different enlightenment planned for everyone. What may work for me, may not work exactly same for my brothers and sisters. Therefore, through self-seeking, by realizing our own potential and essence, we solidify our identity and then reach the God within.  For me, the Anglican rosary is comfortable to pray, not the Catholic one, though I was raised Catholic, and meditation with specific affirmations, maybe bible related, speaking to God in conversation  is more comfortable for me than rote structured prayer. That may not be the case for other.  Each of us has our own way that we can connect to God based on our personality, gifts, talents, that’s ok, so long as it is constructive, always constructive and sincere.