Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

If you look up the true history of Thanksgiving, it was nothing like it is celebrated today (pilgrims, Indians, feast, etc.). Regardless of the history or what truly happened, Thanksgiving is a time to remind us to give thanks. Granted, we should be giving thanks every day of our lives, but so many of us forget to do so....until the day of Thanksgiving.

With the national and world crisis that we are in today, giving thanks takes on a whole new meaning. So many of us may wonder what do we have to be thankful for? Sometimes we have to start with the very basics. Can we see, hear, walk, talk, breathe, do we have a roof over our head, food to eat, clothes to wear, do we have a job, a family, pets..... We can start with the basics and build from there.

With my own unemployment situation, I am very thankful that I had my parents to help me. I have roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in, a car that runs well, friends, my health, I've been able to keep my bills paid because of the unemployment that I did receive and the money that I have in savings, and so much more. I really have nothing to complain about. There are many, many people who are a whole lot less fortunate than I am. I also live in a country that offers me many opportunities to build the life of my dreams if I so choose. Pursuing my motivational speaking career gives me something to look forward to and to know that all is not lost.

Yes, I can get to thinking too hard on what I "don't have" and get pretty down and feeling sorry for myself. I'm like everyone else. But I also have learned how important it is to count my blessings and I have many (even if I have to start with the basics and build from there).

So, on this Thanksgiving, I would invite you to count the blessings that you do have and be grateful for how many you have, if nothing else except to be above ground. There is hope for the future. For all of us.

I wish you a life of love, peace, happiness, and prosperity now and always.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One Nation - One World

Wow! What an election! Can you believe that it’s finally over? Our first bi-racial President! Barack Obama! (And, yes, he is bi-racial even though most consider him to be African American.)

Regardless of whom you voted for (and I honor and respect whomever you voted for), you have to admit…America made history in this election, and in more ways than one. All candidates ran a tough election and people were pretty passionate on all sides of the political spectrum. Some people are very disappointed that their party didn’t win and I understand that. What we need to remember is that the elections are now over and we have a new President and Vice President. We are ALL Americans; therefore, we need to be working together for the greater good of our country and of our world.

Personally, I am very excited that Obama is our new President. All politics aside, I really believe that he is going to lead us into the new awakening in our country, in our world, and as a people. He really does want to cross the great divide and bring people together, and for our government to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

We have the wonderful opportunity to take ownership of our country. To be a part of one of the greatest times in history. To be part of the exciting change. But we have to take personal responsibility to do our part in order to heal the wounds of the past and to be the greatest vision of who we can be. We can make America the greatest nation in the world once again. I want to make it very clear that I have always thought America as a great nation, but we’ve taken some serious hits over the years and lost respect of so many in so many nations, as well as our own.

Even though we need our government to help us in so many ways, we still need to do our part as Americans. How can we, as individuals, do this? I can hear some people saying, “I am only one person! What can I as one person do?” Mother Theresa was one person. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one person. Gandhi was one person. All it takes is one person to change the world. The great thing is that you don’t need to be a Mother Theresa, a Martin Luther King, Jr., or a Gandhi. You can be great right where you are. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I think so many of us feel inadequate. We don’t feel important enough, or powerful enough, and we don’t think that anything we can do will make any difference anyway. We have our own problems to deal with. Let others handle it.

Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I’m here to tell you that you can make a difference right where you are, regardless of how big or small that difference is. You can make a difference one on one. It comes back to committing random acts of kindness. Smiling at people. Offering a friendly greeting. Complimenting people on something. Not just people you know, but complete strangers. Open doors for people. If you see someone who needs help with something, offer them your assistance. Send cards to people whether it’s a get well, birthday, thinking about you, or other occasion card. You don’t even have to know the person. Assist with a local charity. There are many of them in your area. There are so many things you can do to make a difference; all you have to do is look. If all you can do is send blessings to people as you pass them by, or bless them in your prayers, then that’s good, too. Every little bit helps.

When I’m out shopping, I look for ways to help someone. It doesn’t take much to touch someone’s life in a good way. Just smiling at someone, and maybe giving them a big, friendly hello, can make a huge difference in someone’s day. You never know someone’s frame of mind. That may be the only kindness they’ve received that day, week, month, etc. Now, be aware that you may not always get a thank you in return, but the gift is in the giving, not just to get a thank you. There have been times when I may have been in a really lousy mood, and someone showed kindness to me. It really changed my frame of mind and brightened up my day!

There’s one very important person who could really use your love, kindness, compassion, friendship, and understanding, and is one of the last people to receive your gifts. That person is you. We tend to treat others a whole lot better than we treat ourselves. We need to learn to be our own best friend. Think about it. The person you are going to have the longest relationship with is you. Lighten up on yourself. Speak to yourself with kindness and compassion. You can only do the best you can with what you know at the time. When you love yourself, then it’s a lot easier to love others. I’m still working on this one myself, but I am now aware that whenever my ego’s voice is screaming for attention, my Spirit will calmly and gently reassure me and let me know that all is well and that I am loved. We’re all works in progress. Just start with one step at a time.

As we go into the year 2009, let’s all join together in the collective consciousness of love, peace, harmony, and compassion, and love and accept all people, regardless of their race, religion, color, nationality, politics, or walk of life. We’re all on this planet together. Let love be your guide and take part in the miraculous new awakening that is upon us. And, who knows…maybe, just maybe, we will see world peace in the not so distant future.

(Please see the picture of the world with the connected lands shaped as a heart in the right-hand column. I found this on Dan Millman's website [he wrote "Way of the Peaceful Warrior]. I emailed and was told that someone had sent it to him, therefore, neither of us knows of its origin.)