Saturday, December 15, 2018

'Tis the Season, Part 3

     How did you do last week, saying all those kind, positive things?  It changes your outlook a little bit, doesn't it?

     Good for you.  You're helping to change the tone of the world right now, even in your corner of it.

     For this week, let's up the game a little bit and add to our kind thoughts and positive words this -- kind deeds.  This may be more of a challenge, given the busyness of the season, but I have confidence in you.  Here are a few ideas, but again, feel free to come up with some of your own:
  • Pay for the coffee for the person behind you in line.
  • Leave a thank-you note or send an email for someone you don't normally talk to -- the mail deliverer, your favorite columnist, the person who does such a nice job making your life easier or more beautiful.
  • Give a child a hug (first getting the parent's permission is a good idea).
  • Hug your pet.
  • Hug yourself.
  • Trade chores with your significant other if it helps them relax.
  • Allow yourself a little time to put your feet up and relax.
  • Leave an anonymous gift for someone who helps you at work or home.
  • Smile at strangers.
  • Smile at yourself.
  • Laugh with others.
  • Watch a funny, uplifting movie with your family or friends.
     We'll change this world yet, one kind deed at a time.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

'Tis the Season, Part 2

     How did last week go?  Did you manage to have at least a couple positive, kind thoughts every day?

     Well, good for you.

     Now, let's take a new focus for this week.  Let's keep the good thoughts going and add words.  Yes, let's work on saying kind, positive things for the next seven days.  Like last week, you can choose from the following list of ideas, or come up with some of your own.
  • Give a compliment to someone you don't know well, whether the cashier, the bus driver, or the driver in front of you (no sarcasm allowed).
  • Say "thank you" to at least five different people each day.
  • Tell someone about a positive trait you admire in them.
  • Tell yourself about a positive train you admire in yourself.
  • If you find yourself in a dialogue where discussing another person comes up, take the high road and say only positive things about that person.  Yes, even your boss.
     I'm sure you can find more ways to say kind or positive things.  Keep the change going!

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

'Tis the Season

     Yes, the stores have been packed with holiday d├ęcor and gift ideas since October and we are all sick to death of hearing "fa-la-las" blasted from every speaker, and if I hear "The Carol of the Bells" in one more commercial, I'm going to . . . .

     Well, you get the idea.  It's a stressful time and being nice about it is not high on my priority list.

     So, take a deep breath. Take another.  And now let's think of how to get through this month.

     You have no doubt heard, "Be the change you want to see in the world."  Let's take this in baby steps, shall we?

     For this week, let's focus on thinking kind thoughts.  Keep it simple.  Take any or all of these ideas, or come up with some of your own.
  • Mentally bless the person in front of you, whether in line, or near you in traffic or on the bus or train.
  • Find something to admire in a person.
  • Imagine hugging a person who seems to need it.  
  • Be grateful for something in a situation.
  • Be grateful for something in a person.
  • Be grateful for something beautiful in your surroundings.
  • Be grateful for when your needs and/or wants are met.
  • Don't be so hard on yourself.  
  • Forgive someone -- or yourself -- today.
  • Tell yourself a joke.
  • Dwell on a happy memory.
  • Smile in the mirror.
     For one week, let's make this our mission.  Be the change!

(photo courtesy of pixabay)



Saturday, November 24, 2018

A Thought for Today

     Here's a wonderful quote from Howard Zinn, the late historian, playwright, and social activist:
I would encourage people to look around them in their community and find an organization that is doing something that they believe in, even if that organization has only five people, or ten people, or twenty people, or a hundred people.  And to look at history and understand that when change takes place it takes place as a result of large, large numbers of people doing little things unbeknownst to one another.  And that history is very important for people to not get discouraged . . .  . History is instructive.  And what it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper.  Anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much, much larger sort of flow of energy.  And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place.
     Amen!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Don't Resist, Part 2

     Last week we were discussing how it is futile to resist the people or social or political issues we see in our world today.  Rather than resist, be open.  Show compassion.  Listen.  Be tolerant.

     But I see that as a first step.

     It has become more and more important in my mind that we take the next step, which is to lead.  While it is good to be home and meditate to develop a compassionate heart, it is vitally important at this time that we also go out and work.  We need to be leaders in how to put our actions where our hearts are.  Some examples:

     Do you care about the hungry?  Donate food or volunteer at a food bank.

     Do you want more equality for the underprivileged?  Serve as a tutor or donate to works programs.

     Are you concerned about the environment?  Write your congressional representative.  Give generously to animal protection agencies or nature conservation groups.  Pick up trash.  Recycle.  Don't drive so much.  Teach others to do the same.

     I've only scratched the surface.  There are a million ways that you can lead.  But it is important that every day, even in a small way, you take the charge to lead.  Your actions count.  Let's make this world a better place.

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Don't Resist

     I've ranted before about how resistance is futile in combating the social and political changes we see in our world these days (you can read about it here.)  Remember, resistance only breeds resistance.  We need a different way.

     I found a wonderful quote by the Zen teacher Normal Fischer who addresses this very issue:
As a spiritual practitioner you are more committed to caring for others than you are to a side or a cause.  Caring for others doesn't mean caring only for the ones you are sympathetic to; it means all others.  If it's only some, then you're gong to end up being aggressive toward the others who seem to behave unjustly toward the ones you care about.  And aggression breeds aggression.  You might win with aggression, but there is always backlash, and pretty soon you lose.  I have seen this many times.  I am convinced that only real, heartfelt nonaggression works in the long run.  And this isn't something you can just decide you are going to feel.  It is challenging to be genuinely caring and loving.  It takes spiritual work, psychological work, meditation, cultivation.  But there is no doubt that, for me, this is the only way.
     Wow, what a challenge.  But it really is the only way.  And it is the necessary foundation for the next step.  More on that next week.

(image courtesy of pixabay.com)