“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
I just want to post a simple quote this time around folks, but it’s a good one 🙂
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
I just want to post a simple quote this time around folks, but it’s a good one 🙂
I love it when you smile… when you look upon others without judgment, with a kind heart…
And I love the look on your face when you receive kindness from others…
I love it when you make your children your #1 priority in life and the way they, in turn, make the world a better place for others, because of your efforts…
I love it when you’re not selfish; because you recognize that being self-absorbed means you fail to see the potential in others or contribute to anyone besides yourself…
I love when you give without expectation of reciprocity or praise…
I love when you consider the needs of others above your own feelings; because you understand your feelings aren’t always the most important thing in the world…you understand others have needs that may outweigh your feelings, feelings which may actually be very self-serving…
I love that you know happiness comes from the inside, not outside, so you don’t spend time forcing others to do things just to ‘make you happy’…
I love that you fulfill yourself and strive to be a better person, not just because it makes you better, but because you know you are contributing something positive to the world through your existence…
I love that you never hurt people, lie, or try to make others feel guilty…
I love when you choose to lift people up, rather than gossip or look down your nose at them…
I love how you always endeavor to find the good in things…
I love the way you support the goals of others, rather than tear them down, even when they don’t agree with what you think…
I love your humility, work ethic, and honesty…especially during tough situations…
I love your generosity of spirit and your humanity…
But most of all, I love the way you love me back 🙂
If we sit around waiting for ‘others to change’ or ‘things to change’, or ‘a sign’, the end result will be inactivity and regret. This type of personal dialogue shares a single commonality, fear. And fear is the absolute opposite of faith.
Fear on its own is not always a bad thing. Some fear is even helpful, such as pulling your hand back from a hot stove or avoiding a suspicious looking snake. But more importantly, fears are learned behaviors. Likely, we learned not to touch a hot stove by being burned, or not to mess with snakes because someone taught us they were dangerous. Through our natural aversion to pain, we learn to avoid things that hurt us, as well as those we believe possess the potential to hurt us. This is a key point, because anything learned has the potential to be unlearned. It is important to consider this when examining the difference between fear and faith, in relationship to action.
If we are afraid to make a decision (to act), it is because we know we cannot predict its outcome or consequence. They are ‘unknowns’. Now consider for a moment that fear of an unknown is irrational, because it possesses equal potential for good and bad. Therefore, it is irrational to fear what is not known, because that fear stems from a fabricated rationale, the result of our own construction.
When we are presented with something we haven’t previously encountered, we draw conclusions through comparison. In the case of fear, we draw conclusions based on comparing unknown things to things we know to be harmful or potentially harmful, thereby allowing the unknown to be relabeled as ‘known’, or the irrational, as ‘rational’. By this process, we ‘know’ and we can realize the ‘benefits’ of rationalization to justify our fear and inaction, so we don’t have to risk the unknown… the gamble… which works great…until we begin to regret. Regret follows fear-based inaction, because fear prevents us from living fully by imprisoning and paralyzing us from accepting possibility, potential, and growth to enter our lives. Fear is stagnating…it is death. Faith, in contrast, is informed, but willing. Alive with potentiality that opens us to all possibility by denying fear the power to compel irrational, unfounded decisions.
Fearful living does not prevent bad things from happening to us. We cannot absolutely control, predict, manipulate, or will things into being. Unfortunately, we keep trying, because every now and then we have some success with the predictions, our manipulations. Those little ‘successes’ only serve to support our delusions and lend credence to our belief that our fears are warranted. This in turn, prompts us to apply them to every other situation causing a similar fear response.
The good news is as previously stated; learned can be unlearned. A propensity to fear is not easily conquered, but absolutely possible. Past does not have to dictate future. Let every new, unknown situation present itself as a challenge…a curiosity…a chance to choose faithfulness over fear 🙂
**“She made me angry…” ** “That ruined my day…” ** “I just can’t get past it…”**
Are any of these statements really true? Do others possess the capability to make us something we don’t wish to be? Is it true to say someone, or something else ruined our entire day?
No…statements like these are fundamentally untrue…
We control ourselves… This is a true statement.
Seriously consider the power of such a statement over the others listed above. The conclusion states we have the last word about what kind of day we have and how we are ultimately going to feel. We are the harbinger of our own misery or happiness. We are the ‘keeper of the mood’.
We understand it, in theory. In practice, it gains difficulty. That guy that cut you off in traffic, the boss who ‘just doesn’t get it’, or the person who treats you poorly and ‘gets away with it’; each tests our mettle and seems to bring on us (from the outside) anger, frustration, and misery.
However, it is the expectations we place on outside influences that are the source of our own anger and disappointment. We expect things to go a certain way, or expect to be treated right, or expect people to behave well. And when things don’t go as expected, we get disappointed or angry. This is absurd, since we lack control over anything but ourselves. If we account for the sum total of individual expectation for 7+ billion people on the planet, it isn’t hard to see how anger and frustration is manufactured on a daily basis.
Consider the power of change. It is possible to enact positive change in our life, and it is through the mere decision to do so. That is power that does not bend to outside influence. That is power which dwells inside, produced by sheer will. Your thoughts run you…
The very position of your will inside means it is protected from outside forces which will against it. We are each a sturdy vessel. We are our very own harbor in a storm. We are each a force…
And because we possess such control, we are not victims…
It is necessary to own our mood and outlook. It is necessary to be responsible for what we put out in the world. If we are having a bad day, it is because we are choosing to do so…and that’s completely on us. We are not a victim of someone or something else; we are choosing to victimize ourselves.
So don’t do it….Put on those big kid panties and get on with living 🙂
*Image courtesy of: http://aubenoire.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/no-expectations2.jpg*
Change is a constant. We know this to be true. Seasons change and visible change takes place; things grow, mature, decline, die. In light of this fact, we should question: Can any of us predict the exact day a flower will bloom? Do we know what will entangle the hours and minutes of our inevitable death? Can we, in the conscience of all that is spontaneous, say we will recognize a life-changing event prior to its inception? May we hope to unravel the complexities of connection, discourse, and influence in our own existence, and all those around us?
No…we can do none of these things…
Therefore, we are not in control. We control ourselves, our emotions, responses, and perceptions but nothing else. If I plant a flower, feed and water it exactly right, it still holds within it the potential to die. Nature is uncontrolled and breathing and she does not yield to human will. We can include human beings in the mix too, because we are of this world, this ‘nature’; unpredictable and wild, somewhat stable, but certain to change.
So why, without constants, do we still believe we exercise control over the uncontrollable?
We strive to control because we find the illusion of control comforting…our belief in the illusion makes us at least feel as though we are not given up to chance, and feelings, it seems, are quite important to our perceptions of order. We function under a grand ideal; an ideal which preaches unequivocally that stability trumps change, order trumps chaos and preparation trumps surprise…
Yet, we yearn for all things spontaneous. We fill our legends, music, and movies with it and we dream lofty dreams. Silly really, since true spontaneity is literally defined by throwing oneself into the disordered, wildness of the universe with the sole purpose of experiencing the unplanned with a devil-may-care attitude. True spontaneity is a rare thing, because the ideal prefers boundaries and borders to spontaneity. Spontaneity must conform to the comfortable parameters set forth by our illusions. Illusions which state we can somehow exercise a measure of control over our ‘spontaneous’ experiences, somehow making them ‘better’.
Because, of course, all we do not know makes us uncomfortable. So what we do not know is unpredictable, and requires explanation and measurement to become comfortable, even if the measurement and explanation is illusion…
Take time for example…does time, as we understand it, actually exist?
What does time fundamentally mean to a newborn? How does it matter to the deathbed? And all the spaces between, which are filled, managed, scheduled, forgotten, procrastinated, or logged…what do they mean? Is life merely a score sheet of timed tally marks in which we, as human beings, with our ‘mathematical concepts’ of time set out to measure and denote and catalog that which is, in reality, unpredictable and constant change?
It is uncomfortable to us to admit our lack of control. We feel set adrift on a vast, dark ocean in a rowboat. But our perceptions are the issue, not our lack of control. If we could, in a moment, consider the marvelous nature of life; its progression, change, and interrelatedness with the rest of creation.
I’m not advocating the rejection of common sense. I’m not advocating harmful recklessness. Nor am I advocating that anyone should operate outside the rules of culture in which they live and make a living. In other words, render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but perhaps try in small steps to begin letting go of the illusions of control that bring a false sense of comfort within your own life.
I’m talking about the possibility and potential inherent in the moment. I am talking about the release of the paradigm. The confining paradigm that works against the notion that any given moment is beautiful in its own right, full of complex shifts between good and bad, the latter producing infinite benefits if one could only embrace the lesson. I’m talking about approachability, sensibility, respect, and compassion. So that every individual you meet and moment you experience is not merely factored, measured, and sized up, but rather embraced as the natural infusion of force in which we all play part. Respect the journey, not for its measurability, but its immeasurable and untamed potentialities. In this, the moments within the journey become recognized as awesome blessings 🙂
*image courtesy of: http://www.cumberlandchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/control.gif *
The word ‘beautiful’ doesn’t exactly leap to mind.
Now we’re talking b-e-a-utiful 🙂
But think of the process at work here; two creatures in one. Metaphor, and metamorphosis.
How unlikely it seems that such a slow moving, low-to-the-ground, and oddly represented creature as the caterpillar should ever aspire to the beauty and grandeur of the butterfly.
Yet, they are butterflies…inside. Until change brings makes their beauty visible to the world.
They sense change coming and embrace it. They accommodate change by preparing for its coming…they do not run away or avoid.
Changing (as a verb) is harsh and even unpleasant. It simultaneously tests endurance and perseverance. Coming out on the other side of such a struggle is victory and it fills the heart and mind with a rare confidence. The kind of confidence that allows one to soar…
Because change is good, change is new…a rebirth. And if prepared through acceptance, change is positive and exciting. A promising chance and hope for something new 🙂
Be like the caterpillar…
Prepare for and accept change as it comes (because it will come…). Embrace what is offered to ‘become’ what is wished. Only then can we display the beautiful, vibrancy of our inside to the outside and reach heights only dreamed of a moment ago, when we were confined to the ground, before change allowed us to fly 🙂
*photo courtesy of my husband, James…*
You don’t always get what you give when it comes to kindness. Ouch. I just ripped that statement off like a Band-Aid…
No worries, there’s a silver lining…it doesn’t have to impact you in a negative way.
Is it frustrating to be treated like crap when you’re being kind to someone? Are there times when it feels as though there is a complete lack of justice in the world, especially when some seem to make it their life’s mission to make other people miserable by being mean, rude, or uncompassionate?
When our frustration stems from the inability of another person to return our kindness, than our kindness wasn’t given freely. It came with strings attached…strings of expectation. In fact, those individuals necessitate greater compassion, rather than frustration. It is incredibly sad when a fellow human being doesn’t have the capability to receive kindness.
Damage manifests many ways and although we are all damaged goods to varying degrees and crossroads, we are also each on a unique journey of learning and healing. There is no certain formula for the amount of time or circumstance required for a person to heal, to be healthy. Unfortunately, some damage runs too deep; intersections with connections never made, when a lifetime isn’t enough time to fix all the issues. This kind of hurt continues to haunt and spread pain. Healing is as complex and unique as a fingerprint.
Motivations for kindness are the key. Kindness isn’t something we give because we expect people to return it by treating us the same way. Kindness isn’t for show or a method for getting into Heaven. Kindness is just because. Because a kind person is the type of person we choose to be, regardless of circumstance. We strive to say with honesty that we treat everyone with kindness not because it makes us better than someone else, but just because it is in our power to do so; because we choose to put kindness out into the universe, just because we believe kindness matters.
A truly kind spirit is one that cares, loves, nurtures, and chooses to propagate kindness just because. Kindness is its own hope, with the capacity to soak into souls like a summer rain into parched earth. Let’s do ourselves and the world a favor and be a source of expectation-less kindness…
*image courtesy of: http://headlinebistro.typepad.com/.a/6a00e553f9f2f388340133f4d5a2f1970b-pi *
Existence is the constant, creative process of becoming, never finished, always evolving. We must take into account we are the makers of things; moments, mergers, interactions, and results.
The undertone resonating in life is that things are causal; they impact and ripple in a pond of complex interconnections, beating and banging into one another, manifesting worlds. We cannot ignore the aspects of being, content instead to classify and compare as if everything followed similar patterns. Patterns do not answer the question why. They are surface-symbolic, only the aftereffect end-points in a state of instability. Moments in life have the power and potential to change us forever and as we change, we change things. They are the inevitable changes spurred by innumerable variables of assemblage; consistently arrange new complexities of unfathomable proportions.
Never underestimate the power of the moment…your behavior, choices, and internal dialogue matter. In each individual there lies a historical blueprint of existence they extend unknowingly into the world to relate with things and others, creating new worlds. The discoveries of one generation impact those coming after and almost certainly in ways they could not have imagined. Through the ordinary, the day-to-day, the extraordinary is formed unpredictably and the genealogy of affect is manifest.
March 2012: A high school student was involved in a fatal car accident. She was not the fatality. She hit a pedestrian attempting to cross the highway in the dark. As I passed the scene I saw her, head in hands, sitting on the shoulder of the road, staring at the sheet-covered body. I contemplated the scope of affect in relation to those involved, including myself and the long line of cars creeping in a grisly procession past the scene. I considered the remarkable changes to life taking place, actively, in the moment; the presence of everything arriving at once, unfolding and potent. It was an intimate collision of histories, experience, choice, and happenstance, so remarkably unstable and messy. Looking at the two bodies, one living, one dead, I reflected on my own life and how easily we, as individuals, are created and recreated in a breath. The tendrils produced by such constant recreation generate remarkable, unknown results. Tendrils, moving outward, extending, into communities and individual lives to create change, putting into motion a grand evolution of landscape.
And landscapes are different, because situations and encounters are different. No two are ever produced identical, nor can they be reproduced the same. Affects are at work within the abstract nothingness that fills spaces between events; the things that make up real life, disorganized and elusive. Influence is collected, stored, processed and released anew as something else.
You can be better than a moment ago…
Affect tears apart the fabric of time, space, and death to reveal the fluidly unpredictable and powerful. In fact, we are objects interacting with other objects, animate and inanimate, generating constant states of becoming something. Statistics are therefore confined to averages, because affect says nothing is predictable. And affect is absolutely correct…
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