Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Heavy-Duty-Life-Doo

Tis the season to be jolly, falalalalala. When you think about the holidays…Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years…you usually associate them with feelings of love, warmth, family, happiness, joy… But for many, it’s anything but.

When you look around you, there are so many people who are going through the most awful “stuff” right now. What I call “heavy-duty-life-doo.” When you add the holidays, it just magnifies all the negativity that much more. Have you ever wondered why there tends to be more illnesses and deaths during the holidays?

The holidays have been hyped up so much by the media, marketers, TV, and the movies. People fall in love, receive wonderful gifts, see miracles occur, and everything always has a happy ending. If you are one who has wonderful holidays, I really am happy for you. But for many, these images are a fairy tale. And for some, they are an outright nightmare.

I see so many of my friends and loved ones struggling with their health, finances, relationships, family issues, and so much more. During the holidays, there is the added stress of eating too much food (mostly sweets), having to decide which family you will spend the which holiday with, traveling to visit those families, trying to come up with the money to buy Christmas gifts (or going into debt), and looking for the love the holidays are supposed to provide.

My heart goes out to all those who are having whatever struggles they are experiencing, especially at this time of year. Sometimes I feel so helpless because I don’t know what I can do to help. So, what can we do?

You’d be surprised at how even the smallest gesture can help brighten someone’s day. Send a card. Call just to say hi and that you’re thinking about them. Bake them some goodies or a meal. Ask if there’s anything you can do. Just let them know you care. Sometimes just knowing someone cares can make a world of a difference.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. Christmas is a time of love, and for Christians, a time of celebrating the birth of Jesus. For other faiths who celebrate holidays around this time of year, it’s the same for them. So, let’s remember the basics. Reach out and love someone. Say, “I care.” Remember the true meaning of the holidays.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and for all those faiths I missed, Happy Holidays! Wishing you all the very best life has to offer.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nasty Computer Virus

I received an interesting "gift" for Thanksgiving! I got a really nasty virus on my computer, and I believe I got it right after clicking on a "friend" in Blogspot. Somehow, "Antivirus System Pro" (company is Magic Software, Inc.) got downloaded onto my computer, and it won't let you do ANYthing without buying their program. I even had McAfee on my computer. It took some work, but I was able to trick McAfee to come up and ran a scan. Even though the ASP was saying everything was infected, McAfee didn't pick up any viruses; including the ASP.

I called our internet provider and it took over two hours to finally get it off. This virus gets around your antivirus program and completely locks up your computer. I know of two other people who had this. One person had to wipe his whole hard drive to get it off. Fortunately, I did not have to do it. The tech said that hackers will get into people's programs and attach the virus, so they may not even know they're the ones doing the infecting.

Therefore, I would highly suggest that everyone download a program such as Malwarebytes at http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php. Then run a scan. Don't just trust your antivirus program. This virus shut mine down.

So, what's the good that came of this? The spiritual side? The tech was able to get it off without having to wipe my hard drive. Looking at it metaphysically, I had my health. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a warm bed to sleep in, friends, and family. So, I really didn't have anything to complain about and was able to keep a good attitude. Events such as this makes us learn to keep things in perspective. It wasn't cancer. No one died. So, it was really all good.

Wishing everyone a great holiday season no matter what your faith or beliefs! It's all one big holiday!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Ghouls

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many people, but for me, it’s…okay. I think I’ve only been to two or three Halloween parties in my life (maybe more when I was a young child). I just don’t like all the candy that we feel we “must” eat because it’s…well…it’s Halloween. My hips and thighs love it. My double chin…not so much.

This past Halloween, I was home alone watching “Halloween H20” (probably not a good combination), and handing out candy to the few kids who did come to the door. When children came, I would hand out the candy, comment on their costumes, and maybe joke around with them a little bit, depending on their ages. A group of four came to the door, and knowing a couple of the high school kids, I kidded with them. Before leaving, I heard the one saying something about my being “the nicest old lady.” Huh? Old lady? This both shocked and amused me. At what point did I become an old lady? I am currently, um, middle aged, and definitely do NOT consider myself to be an old lady.

As I pondered his statement, I remembered that when I was young, people in their middle age were considered to be old. At least to us. After giving myself a good talking to, I was able to talk myself down into not taking it too personally.

They say something along the lines that that 50 is the new 40, 40 the new 30, and so on. We’re only as young or old as we feel. We older people can feel really young, possibly even in our 20’s, and the only thing that gives it away is our body. They don’t always work the way they used to. We’re not as fast, limber, or spry as we were in our whippersnapper years. (Oh, my. Just using the word whippersnapper gives me away.) Parts of our body start sagging where we didn’t know they could sag. Our knees argue with us as we try to bend down. I always say that the older you get, the farther down it is to get to the ground. It becomes harder to reach our toenails to trim them. And wrinkles appear where we didn’t know we could get wrinkles. I’m proud of my crow’s feet. They give me character. Problem is, my crows keep getting more feet.

Personally, I don’t believe in age. If Einstein proved that there is no such thing as time, then there’s no such thing as age. Besides, I refuse to be identified by a number, whether it’s my age or my weight. Time is just something man made up to keep track of…well…time. If we didn’t have time, would we even know how old we were?

Men grow into themselves. They can grow older, get the wrinkles, put on some pounds, become bald, and they can still be dapper and dignified. Women are expected to stay young with youthful bodies, and if we get a wrinkle or a drop of cellulite anywhere…heaven forbid!

Women (and some men) have also resorted to injecting a life-threatening toxin called Botox into their faces to try to keep wrinkles away. Since when did this become an accepted form of wrinkle treatment and how on earth did it get approved? According to the CDC, “Symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness that moves down the body, usually affecting the shoulders first, then the upper arms, lower arms, thighs, calves, etc. Paralysis of breathing muscles can cause a person to stop breathing and die, unless assistance with breathing (mechanical ventilation) is provided.” I don’t care how miniscule an amount they use, I do not want ANY toxin injected into me. What are we thinking?!?!

Getting older. We can’t avoid it. It’s inevitable. There are many good things that come with getting older. We become wiser. We have a wealth of experience to pass on to the younger generations. Our children may be our future, but we are our history. Let’s learn to embrace getting older with high esteem and class. We are unique. We are magnificent. And we should give ourselves a lot of credit for making it this far. Especially if we can have a sense of humor about it all.

So, as I go about my days, still trying to find that youthful serum that may make me look at least a few weeks younger, I will continue to work on myself and to accept the fact that in some eye’s, I have become….an old lady.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It Pays to Be A Woman

The other day, I needed some make-up, so I went to Walmart to buy what I needed. I was shocked at how high the price was! Twice as what it was the last time I bought it! Then it got me thinking. We women pay a LOT of money to look our best. Here is what I came up with (men…pay attention here!):

When it comes to our faces… First we need a toner to make sure that our face really is clean. Then we need a face lotion to smooth over our face and neck. Of course, we have to have a day cream and a night cream, but do these creams really know when it's day and night?  But that won’t do for the eyes, so we need an eye cream. Of course, these lotions and creams must be anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, and have an SPF to keep us safe from the sun. To add color to our faces, we need a foundation to smooth out the blotches and uneven areas. Add to this, the cover-up make-up to cover up any blotches or scars.

We also need to be able to take off the make-up so we have eye make-up remover and regular make-up removers. And who can forget the night creams and eye creams to work on our faces while we are sleeping, again all to remove wrinkles and keep us from aging! (Ha! Like THAT’s going to happen!)

We move on to more color. A good blush can make our faces look slimmer and our cheekbones more pronounced. If we need it, we can use several colors to achieve the perfect cheeks. Then comes the eye color. There are hundreds of colors so that you can shape your eyes to almost any shape you desire. If we need to make our eyes stand out a little more, we can add eyeliner, or even fake eye lashes. We also brush on mascara, but it can’t be any ordinary mascara; it’s the ‘extend the lashes five to seven times the length’ mascara.

After we have all that applied, there is face powder to set everything else in place that we have already put on. We also have to have a compact that we carry with us so that we can keep the shine off our faces and do those little touch-ups.

This is just the face. Now on to the hair. If you go down the isles of any store, you will see rows and rows of shampoos, conditioners, gels, mousses, spritzes, sprays, volume lifters, and the list goes on. If our hair isn’t the color we want, there are hundreds of hair dye products to choose from. If we dye our hair, we have to have the special products to use on colored treated hair.

Then there are the body lotions with anti-aging, anti-wrinkling, and fragrances to keep the rest of our skin smooth and silky. Don’t forget just the right deodorant, too! And deodorant for places you never thought you would have deodorant for! Must smell good in ALL places!

What woman doesn’t shave her legs? (Okay, you can always tell the extent of my social life by how long the hair is on my legs, but we won’t go there. Grin.) There are all kinds of razors to choose from in a variety of colors. Add to that the shaving gels to keep us from nicking ourselves, as well as keeping our legs silky and smooth.  And I'd like to know who on earth came up with waxing!!!  That's like yanking every nose hair out of your nostrils!

Of course, we also need to keep our nails looking good. There are creams and lotions for the nails, the nail primer, nail color, topcoat, files, buffers, fake nails, and now little stickers to put on the nails. And then you need to be able to take all this off, so there are nail polish removers. Once that’s done, we need hand lotions to keep our hands looking young and smooth.

Who can leave out the perfumes? We love our perfumes. I have a dresser top full of perfumes of all shapes, sizes, and smells. We women MUST smell good!

Now we have our make-up, hair, and bodies done, and we’re smelling good, so now on to the underwear. We have push up bras, bras with padding, gel, bubbles of water to pump up our size, lace, and under wire. Our bras are just as pretty as our outer clothes with lace, patterns, and they come in all shapes and sizes. AND we must keep our fat in place, so we have girdles, Spanx, Dr. 90210, and other torture items that we squeeze and stuff ourselves into. Who cares that we can’t breathe! We look an eighth of an inch thinner! (I admit it. I wore one a few weeks ago. I literally had to squeeze my body into it, and now I can’t find my bellybutton. I think it’s now on my back hip.)

We then have the outer clothes that we wear, and what a variety we have to choose from! Of course, most of the sizes nowadays will only fit a Barbie doll, but how we try to squeeze into them! Or we buy the lesser sizes because we are determined that ONE DAY we WILL fit into them. (Goodness knows I have a half a closet of those types of clothes!)

And who can forget the shoes? The pointier the toes, and the taller the heals, the better we’re told our legs and feet look! Women are out there walking on stilts JUST to make our legs look a little slimmer!

Of course, we need to accessorize! Earrings, rings, watches, bracelets, necklaces, toe rings, ankle bracelets, hair ornaments, hair ties, hair bows…

Men! Do you not know what we go through to look good and how much money we spend?!?!


Now on to the men…. If you go down any isle of any department store, the sections for just men are few and far between. There’s a small selection of razors usually in just a couple of colors, as well as some electric shavers. A selection of shaving creams and aftershaves. Do you ever see the creams and lotions with the anti-aging, anti-wrinkling- and SPF in them for men? I think not! (At least I haven’t, or maybe I haven’t looked recently.)

Are shampoos and conditioners marketed towards men? Men will choose from a selection of shampoos, and possibly conditioners, but what man will walk out with a hot pink bottle with lovely fragrance?

There is a selection of deodorants with some manly fragrances, but not as many as there are for women. And again, you won’t see the flowery, brightly colored, perfumed deodorants. How many commercials do you see men wearing short sleeves dancing with their arms up in the air showing off their armpits? (Personally, I would like to just have armpits again. I know they’re in there somewhere!)
Men might use some body lotion if they have dry skin, but it’s not pushed on them like it is for women.

Ever see men wear girdles? Men have jockey shorts and boxer shorts. (I will wear an under wire bra when men start wearing under wire in their jockeys!) Do men’s underwear come with padding, gels, water balloons, or push-ups? I think not. (Okay, maybe they exist somewhere. It wouldn’t surprise me anyway. I’m still waiting for Hannah Montana men’s underwear. It’s in everything else!)

And clothes? Men just put something on to get out the door. For work, most wear suits and a tie. They may be able to play a little with colorful and cute (okay, manly) ties, but suits are usually dark. How many outfits do you think a man tries on before going out, wondering if what they are wearing makes them look fat?

Do they paint their toes? Wear toe rings? Yes, I realize that some men do now wear jewelry, but not like we women!

Men will wear cologne, and who doesn’t love a nice smelling man, but you don’t usually see the large selection as in women’s fragrances.

Other than that, men do not have nearly the upkeep we women have!

Women, and especially young women and young girls, feel the pressure to do all this to look good. How often can we women just walk out the door without our make-up or having our hair looking just right? It took me years before I could go anywhere without make-up. Okay, so just a few years ago, but I had to literally force myself to do so.

Personally, I’m tired of the hype. I’m tired of women having to look a certain way to feel loved and accepted. I’m tired of the moneymakers making us feel worthless if we don’t buy their products! I say let’s strike the beauty and fashion industries! Okay, okay, I know that’s not going to happen. But let’s start looking at this for what it really is. The industries are there to make money. They don’t really care about us. They know they have us from the word ‘anti-aging!’

What can we do? Let’s work at loving and accepting ourselves as we are, and not be brainwashed into thinking we’re anything less than magnificent if we don’t conform to those ideals that don’t serve our highest good. We are magnificent! We are fabulous! And we are awesome just the way we are! (Please tell that to me the next time I go out without make-up, no bra with my cupcakes down below my belly, and in rags. Grin.)

We go, women!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Horse and Baby Deer

A dear friend just sent me this picture. Now if only we humans can learn from our animal brothers and sisters and get along regardless of our differences.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"Spiritual Warriors"

I just watched a wonderful new, spiritual movie called "Spiritual Warriors." It's along the lines of "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior," "The Celestine Prophecy," "The Code," etc. If you are on your own spiritual journey and are looking for answers, this is the movie for you. It's set it in modern day times, but also takes you back in time to show how the characters evolved to where they are today. I won't give it away by telling you what it's about, but I would highly recommend seeing it. You may see yourself in the characters, you may learn something along the way, and you may have what I call a wisdom moment. Please check out this new movie. Their website is at http://www.spiritualwarriors.com/.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Tao of Love and Appreciation

If there is one thing that all human beings have in common, that is the overwhelming desire to feel loved and appreciated. But how many of us do? How many of us go through life looking for someone to really love them and appreciate them as they are. How many of us go through life wanting our very existence acknowledged in some way or some form? I believe this is engrained in each and every one of us from before birth.

Before we came to this earthly existence, we knew what it was like to feel loved and appreciated. Unconditionally. A love and appreciation so pure and magnificent that we spend the rest of our lives on earth searching for that very feeling of love and appreciation. The problem is, as human beings, we always somehow fall short. We have a faint remembrance of that feeling, and we search for it in our earthly embodiments, but it seems like it’s always like the brass ring. No matter how close we get to reaching out and grabbing it, we always miss it. In fact, that’s exactly what we do. We miss it. We miss that feeling. Therefore, we are always in search to have that feeling once again.

So, how can we come close in having those glorious and wonderful feelings of love and appreciation again? I believe that it is by making others feel loved and appreciated. For it is when we do this for others, then we ourselves will come close to having that brass ring once more.

There really is an art to love and appreciation, and it’s actually quite simple. Tell people you love them. Tell people you appreciate them. Tell them that because they are in your life, your life is so much better, that they bless you for just being here. When was the last time you had anyone tell you such wonderful words of bliss? When was the last time you told anyone these words of poetry that makes the heart sing?

Why is it that three of the shortest words in the English language are also three of the most difficult for human beings to utter? “I love you.” How often do you tell your spouse, your mate, your children, your parents, your friends? You may think that they know that you love them, so you don’t have to say it. But they need to hear it. Just knowing isn’t enough.

How often do we as children go through our whole lives waiting for our parents to tell us they love us and that they are proud of us? Some people go through their whole lives waiting to hear these words, even after the death of that very parent.

When we speak to others, do we speak to build them up or tear them down? Do we speak words of love and kindness, or do we cut down with words of anger, hate, and just plain old meanness? I know people who are known to treat people like dirt, and they’ve treated me the same. Know this…. When you are unkind to people with your words, it is not a reflection on the person who is being spoken to, but it reflects on the person speaking the words. I don’t know about you, but I literally avoid these people.

Another way to make people feel appreciated is to say the words “please” and “thank you.” Don’t tell, ask. Say please. And when someone does something, say “thank you.” You’d be surprised how far just saying these two words can take you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, child, relative, boss, or friend. Common courtesy goes a long way. I remember when I was doing the hiring at one of the companies I worked for, I don’t know how many times someone we were interviewing would say that they would take a “thank you” or “job well done” over a raise! Bosses, if you want good employees, make sure they know you appreciate them. Parents, you want kids to appreciate you? Appreciate them.

You may not get a response when you start practicing the art of love and appreciation. I realize we shouldn’t extend words and acts of kindness looking for anything in return, but it sure is nice. If you want people to say thank you to you, then say thank you to others. When you start saying “I love you,” you may not get one in return. Too many people don’t know how to say these words, so don’t take it personally. I’ve actually won people over by saying these three important words, and eventually, they would respond in kind. This life is short for we human beings. We never know when we may have another chance.

So, how do we change the world? One person at a time. I love you. I appreciate you. It really is that simple.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Collective Consciousness for Love and Peace

A lot sure is going on in the world right now! There is a lot of harmony among people, but there is also a lot of discord. What bothers me is that there is particularly a lot of conflict among our religious and political organizations, when it is these very organizations, which should be working toward the greater good of all as a whole!

Our religions should be teaching love, peace, harmony, and well-being, but there are so many who are teaching anything but! How can we tolerate hate and selfishness in these arenas when this is the time when we should be working towards exactly what Jesus and all the other great spiritual teachers taught: unconditional love for all! It seems that there are so many egos involved where people want to rule with their own personal belief systems and their own interpretations of what their Bibles teach to the exclusion of all others. And then we wonder why so many are being turned off to traditional religious organizations.

It especially bothers me when I hear some religious leaders speak such hate-filled talk toward all others who do not believe the way they do. Whenever anyone speaks hate talk toward anyone or anything, they are NOT speaking for God. They are speaking for their own selfish agendas. As long as they are speaking of our differences rather than what we have in common and how we can come together in that love, peace, and harmony, they are not speaking for God.

It’s worse in our political arenas. It seems like various parties will work against the other parties for the sole purpose of working against the other parties and all else be damned. They will also bring in their own religious views based on their own personal agendas, and again, so many speak hate talk. They call themselves conservative Christians, but their words speak otherwise. There are political talk show hosts who are very intolerant of those who believe differently, and I can’t even listen to them because the negativity that they are spewing forth is intolerable to me. I can feel it coming right out of the airwaves and it makes my soul cringe.

Obviously, there are many exceptions to both of the above where there are people working towards the greater good for all and do speak and teach love. They just tend to get drowned out by the hate-filled others. Our media doesn’t help either because they only print the negative.

It’s so easy to complain and find fault with others, but how often do you hear anyone talking about how we CAN work together. Mother Theresa was once asked to join an anti-war rally and her reply was no, but if they have a pro-peace rally, she would be there. Personally, I want to hear those who are talking pro-peace, pro-harmony, and pro-love, whether it is in our political or religious organizations.

I don’t want to hear how we can’t do something. Tell me how we CAN. Tell me how we CAN work towards peace. Tell me how we CAN get people back to work. Tell me how we CAN get insurance for all. Tell me how we CAN, as Americans, work together for the common good of all. Tell me how we CAN lower our crime rates. (Note: This is no reflection on President Obama. I know he’s trying, but he has a great challenge ahead of him.) Tell me how we CAN end abuse towards humans and animals alike. Tell me how we CAN have a healthy environment. Tell me how we CAN love and accept all people regardless of their color, race, religion, or walk of life.

When are we going to get it? We are on this earth together with no other place to go. This is it. I look forward to the day when the pro-love, pro-peace, and pro-harmony organizations out-number the anti-everything organizations. We’re out there. We have a voice. Our numbers are growing. We are the serum that is going to heal this hateful virus that has consumed our political and religions organizations (and it’s really not just these two organizations). Hopefully, I’ll see it in my lifetime. It’s coming.

We have the choice. Do we join the collective consciousness for love and peace? Or do we join the collective consciousness for hate and intolerance? Do we find solutions to our challenges, or to we just sit back and continue to complain and spew forth the hate-filled energy?

Love can heal. Love can change even the most hardened hearts. Love can rule the world. Unconditional love and acceptance of all. It’s ours if we just claim it and work towards the greater good of all. Let’s get into possibility thinking mode. Think love. Think peace. Think harmony. It starts with the wo/man in the mirror. And so it is.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Don't Know. I Wasn't There

There are many people who struggle with the most awful life issues: drug addiction, alcoholism, abuse, mental illness, and the like. It’s so easy for us to sit in judgment. We don’t know why someone has turned to drugs or alcoholism, why they abuse or are abused, or what caused them to be mentally unbalanced. I say, “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”

We even sit in judgment of our government officials, particularly President Obama. You hear criticism from all sides about what he’s doing or not doing, and how he comes to his decisions. I would think that he would have the best possible team from all sides to assist him in his final decisions. There is always a bigger picture of what is happening or not happening in our government. I say, “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”

I read a lot of celebrity autobiographies, and what people need to remember is that autobiographies are written from that person’s particular perception, based on their beliefs, experiences, upbringing, and their attitude toward life. Some of the first autobiographical books I read many years ago were Shirley MacLaine’s books. (I give her credit for starting me on my spiritual journey. She’s the one who taught me to keep an open mind in ALL things.) Now, if you have ever read any of her books, you know she writes about some things that are beyond the normal person’s experiences. I could sit here and say she’s nuts, and things like that could never have happened. But I choose to say, “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”

This can be applied to any person or any circumstance. Rather than sitting in judgment and condemning someone for something we know nothing about, why don’t we instead sit back and say, “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”

Let’s learn to have more compassion and love for people regardless of how they lived their lives. We do not know what brought them to their current circumstances or why they lived their lives the way they did. We don’t know why they made the choices they made. There is always a bigger picture. Always. Regardless of the person or situation.

So, I say, “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”


Friday, June 26, 2009

Accepting Your Good

Today I had an interesting experience. I had gone into town and I saw a small pick-up truck stalled on a busy road near a busy intersection. People were flying around the truck, and some were taking chances cutting into traffic to get around it. I pulled into the parking lot where I was going to shop and decided to go over to see if there was anything I could do. I found two elder ladies who were trying to get it started to no avail. (It was very hot and humid, too!)

Thinking that I had to do SOMEthing, I decided that I would try to push the truck into the next drive…by myself. It wasn’t too far ahead, so how hard could it be? The problem was that it was up a slight grade. Now, I’m middle age and was always a farm girl, but I am no spring chicken either. I got behind the truck and tried pushing. It only budged a few inches. I’m pushing with all my might, thinking, “Surely a man is going to come to our rescue any moment now….yep, at least ONE man is going to come and help…any time now….” People kept driving by.

FINALLY, a man came and both of us started pushing. We were pushing so hard that we were almost parallel to the ground. And again I’m thinking…”Surely another man will come help….yep….ANY time now…..” (I say man, but another woman would have been fine, too.) Then another little pick-up truck drove up behind us and the man said that he would try to push it into the parking lot with his truck. The three of us were finally able to get the truck off the road where the women would be safe. (If I didn’t lose at least an eighth of a pound doing that, I’m going to just spit! That whooped me out! Grin.)

Afterwards, I was feeling pretty good about being able to help someone. Then it happened. I started to feel guilty for feeling good about helping. Thoughts ran through my head that my ego was the one who was feeling good because when we do good acts, we shouldn’t feel good for doing good, should we? My Spirit within started to set me straight. “What do you mean that you can’t feel good for doing good? That’s why you do good. It makes you feel good! So feel good and stop feeling guilty!” (Gotta listen to that inner voice; she always knows what she’s talking about.)

How many of us sabotage ourselves of feeling good just because for whatever reasons, we feel, consciously or subconsciously, that something is wrong with feeling good? Ladies, you should know exactly what I’m talking about. What happens when someone pays us a compliment, say, for the outfit we have on? What do we usually say? “This old thing? Why it’s been in my closet for years!” We dis the compliment. (When it comes to compliments, I learned to “just say thank you and then shut up.”)

Why do we do good deeds in the first place? Because it makes us feel good to do so. Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be doing them. So, it is perfectly okay for us to feel good for doing good! Give yourself some credit for being someone who was willing to help another in need. Look at all those who didn’t.

We need to be able to accept our good whenever and wherever it comes. The Universe has an unlimited supply of good to give to us. All we need to do is accept it wherever it comes from. If we are constantly dissing it, we will miss out on so much good that is ours to have because we will not always recognize it when it comes.

My purpose in life is to be of service to humanity and to do good whenever and wherever I can. And it’s perfectly okay for me to feel good about it. So the next time you do some good for someone, feel good about it, and treat yourself to a little extra joy and happiness. We deserve it!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Beautiful Rainbow Next Door

Several weeks ago, we had a nice rain, which produced this magnificent rainbow that we could see right out our front door. We could see both ends. Wonder if there was a pot of gold at one of the ends? Hmmm. Of course, a picture can never do a rainbow justice, but this is close.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Animals Are People, Too!

In a previous posting, I wrote an article entitled “One Love, One Heart, One World,” which explained my beliefs about how we are all connected. I would like to continue this series by writing about my beliefs as to how we are connected to animals.

Back in the mid-80s, I was driving to work on the back roads one morning, when I deer jumped out from the side of the road and hit the front of my car. I never saw her coming. I immediately flew out of my car and ran over to her in the ditch where she lay dying. Kneeling over her side, I petted her and bawled like I haven’t bawled in a long time. All of a sudden, she turned her head over her back to look me straight in the eyes, and I heard her say just as if she were verbally speaking to me, “It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean to hurt me. I forgive you.” I cried for several weeks straight over her death. I would rather have totaled my car than to have taken her life.

Ever since I was a young child, we have had pets of some sort or another: dogs, cats, gerbils, fish, rabbits, and horses. I have always loved animals. I always felt a connection with animals, but it wasn’t at a soul level.

As the years wore on, I began to become more and more attached to animals almost on a cosmic level. I became very sensitive to their feelings; and yes, animals have feelings. To this day, it really bothers me to see a dead animal because I can sense the pain and fear that they felt the moment they died.

In 1995, I saw a wonderful movie called “Powder.” It was about a sixteen year old Albino boy who was called “Powder” because of his flour white skin. Up until this time, he had been living in his grandparent’s cellar, but after they died, he was taken to live in a small Texas town where a pair of educators learned that he could control electricity and had an IQ that Einstein would envy. While on a hunting expedition with the town Deputy and other boys, he had gotten separated from the group, as he had no interest in killing any animal. All of a sudden, he hears a shot and goes running towards the direction of the sound. There he finds that the Deputy had shot a deer and he and the other boys were standing around admiring their ‘kill.’ Powder grabs the Deputy’s arm, and then lays his other hand on the deer’s stomach. The Deputy was able to feel everything the deer was feeling as she lay dying: the fear, pain, and confusion. It so impacted the Deputy that he put away his guns and swore that he would never kill another living thing again. You can only imagine how hard I cried when I saw this scene.

You see, I totally and sincerely believe that animals have souls. I also believe that they feel everything we feel; only they are not able to process those feelings. An animal feels happiness, sadness, pain, fear, depression, loneliness and any other host of emotions. There is even evidence that fish feel pain.

My belief is that animals are just like humans, the same beings, but we just look different. After hitting the deer, I became a vegetarian (working on vegan). I love animals too much to justify eating them, and to me, eating them is like being a cannibal.

Usually if I speak to someone about my being vegetarian and my love of animals (and only if they bring it up), I almost always get the argument that God put animals on the Earth for us to eat. They can even come up with Bible verses. The thing is, there are just as many verses that prove that we are not supposed to eat animals. For every argument someone has for eating animals (health or otherwise), there are just as many arguments as to why we shouldn’t eat them.

As a spiritual being, I totally believe that we are all one. There are many religions, which teach that we should not eat animals because we should respect and revere all life. I could go on into the health reasons for not eating animals, but that is not the purpose of this writing. I am also not telling anyone that they should believe the way I do, nor will I argue. If I had my way, no animal would be killed for any reason and we would find a way to live with all beings. But this is a personal issue and a belief system, and I in no way will try to force my beliefs on anyone, no matter how passionate I feel about the issue.

My only wish is that people would examine their hearts and souls and decide if it is really worth killing such beautiful creatures. If we can see God in people, why not animals?


Friday, June 5, 2009

One Love, One Heart, One World

Bob Marley, considered the first superstar from Jamaica, a Third World country, was one of the most charismatic and influencial performers of his time. One of my favorite songs of his is “One Love, One Heart,” with the next line being, “let’s get together and feel all right.” How profound his words are in today’s day and time. The nations of our world, and it’s people, are struggling to find a common ground. Where do we all fit into the Universe’s grand scheme of things?

As I wrote in a previous blog, I truly believe that we are in the midst of a spectacular awakening. Part of that awakening is coming to the realization that we really do need to find ways to live in peace and harmony with each other regardless of color, race, nationality, religion, sexual preference, or walk of life. One of the greatest things I love about our world is the diversity! We are all on this planet together, with no other place to go, so why can’t we all just get along? That’s probably one of the greatest questions of mankind.

My first real encounter with a different race (other than in general) was when I lived on an Indian reservation in British Columbia. I had seen the movie “Billy Jack” and fell in love with the Indian people. It was actually through a student missionary program through our church. But when I got up there and went through a week of training, I was shocked to see the various religions fighting over who would “save” the “savages!” Fortunately, I had the frame of mind at the time not to buy into it and decided that I was just going to love and accept them as they were. Therefore, I made some life-long friendships that I hold dear to this day. Consequently, the staff psychologist said that I was the only student who did not experience any culture shock.

One year, I went up to visit, and one of my friends and I went to a PowWow. It wasn’t until the end of the PowWow, and after the friendship dance where everyone dances in a circle, when I noticed that I was the only white person there. I mentioned this to my friend, and she paid me one of the greatest and most cherished compliments I have every received. She said, “Karen, when you’re up here, we don’t even consider you as being white.” I may not have been Indian in my blood, but I was Indian in my heart.

A few years later, I moved to Los Angeles from a small town in Ohio, and I really had quite an awakening as to just how diverse our world is. Los Angeles is filled with people from all areas of diversity; every color, religion, nationality, and walk of life. Three experiences stand out in my mind, which I would like to share with you.

First, even though I wasn’t bigoted, I could be a pretty judgemental cookie at times. My religious beliefs were very black and white, and if people didn’t believe the way I did, I believed they were going to hell. What was ironic was that before I moved to L.A., I was told by several people, including my minister, that I was going to go to hell just for going to L.A. and for wanting to pursue an acting career! I could handle color diversity, as I always considered myself color-blind when it came to people. It was the rest of it that I judged.

My first big awakening came when I went to a Hungarian dance with a friend. When we got there, there was a very tall person on the dance floor. I didn’t know if he was a cross dresser (a man dressed like a woman) or a transsexual (having the operation). I had never met anyone like this before, and at the time, nor was I going to meet him/her. I remember commenting to my friend, "That thing isn't even human!" It totally disgusted me.

Not long afterwards, I had gone into a Christian bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard and, to my surprise, the clerk was another transsexual. He had been a man, became a woman, was "saved," and was in the process of becoming a man again. He looked like a man, but still needed to have the operations. While I was there, an acquaintance from church arrived bringing another transsexual with him. He had been a man, became a woman, became "saved," and was going to become a man again (though he still looked like a woman). Before I left, my acquaintance suggested we all hold hands in a circle and pray together. (We were the only ones in the bookstore.) Here I am standing in a circle, holding hands with a transsexual on both sides of me, praying, and trying not to freak out. It was during the prayer that a voice spoke very clearly in my mind, "See, Karen, these are my children, and I love them just as much as any of my children." Oh. It didn't really change my mind right then and there, but it started to melt my heart, even if just so slightly.

The third experience was when I was walking back to work from lunch (still in L.A.). A woman stopped me on a corner and asked if I knew if the police were down the street. It dawned on me (and shocked me) that I was speaking to a prostitute. I became flustered and didn’t know what to say to her. I had never spoken to a woman of the evening before. When I got back to work, I told my co-workers about it, and one replied, “Karen, she’s a person like anyone else.” Oh. Again, it didn’t sink in then and there, but it further began melting my heart.

While in L.A., I met and became friends with a wide diversity of people. All colors, nationalities, religions, and walks of life. I was still pretty judgmental, but I was learning. That’s one thing I miss about living in a big city is the diversity.

As the years came and went, I met many more people who added to my diversity experience. I met and became friends with gays and found that they are some of the most kindest, loving people. I have a very dear friend who is a practicing Muslim. I am also friends with many Eastern Indians and many more. I cherish all those relationships.

One thing that I am learning is that we really are all one. If you take the most powerful microscope and put a tiny piece of each of us under the lens, you would find that we are all made of the very exact same thing. Under that microscope, you don’t see color, nationality, sexual preference, religion, or walks of life. You see life energy. An energy of pure, unconditional, perfect love.

Hate is taught. It is a learned behavior. And when we don’t know any better, we buy into it for whatever reasons. The wonderful thing, though, is that we can turn that hate around and learn to love. As in another previous blog that I wrote, hate is a thought and you can change your thoughts.

My life is so much more enriched and blessed because I have learned to embrace diversity. I wish I had more contact with it than I do now. I feel so much love for all people. (I do have a major issue with tailgaters, though. Grin.) I still have my moments where I will go into judgmental mode, but fortunately, it’s not a hate mode, and my inner spirit will quickly talk me out of it.

I would really like to invite everyone to learn to love all people…all living beings regardless of our differences. Rather than focus on differences, let’s focus on what we have in common, whether it’s in our personal lives, our work lives, as a nation, or as a world. Of course, there will be those who are happy hating and feel justified in doing so, and no matter what you say, you will not change their minds. That’s fine and has nothing to do with anyone else. It’s what we do as individuals that count. As more and more people join the collective consciousness of pure, unconditional perfect love, we can change the world! Unity (the church I attend) sings a song after every service that says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” And as Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thought Travel

Thoughts have power. Our lives are ruled by our thoughts. We are what we think. Our thoughts become us.

Countless books have been written about the power of our thoughts, and I have probably read a good many of them. For some time now, I have been doing a lot of thinking and reading about our thoughts and how to control those thoughts. Recently, I have had an epiphany, an ah-ha moment, about thoughts, how our thoughts really do affect us, and how they control our lives.

Every choice, every decision, and everything we do and say is based upon past experiences. We are a product of our upbringing, our environment, our beliefs, and those experiences we have had in the past. All these color our current day perspectives. Our perspectives, or the way we look at our lives and our world, become our present moment reality.

Everything that we experienced in our past, from the moment you read this word, back until the time you were born, is no longer an experience, but a memory, or a thought. It is no longer your reality. Your memories are now only thoughts.

Let’s look forward into your future. For the majority of us, we have no idea what is going to happen from this moment forward. We may have plans and ideas of what will happen, but even those are just thoughts. They are yet to be your reality. Many of us fantasize about things happening to us in our future. My fantasy is to travel all over the world, meet people, and have a great and exciting life. I can conjure up wonderful stories in my mind. Go on exciting adventures with really neat people. Write books. Be a successful motivational speaker. The sky’s the limit. But again…until they happen, they are just thoughts.

Now, let’s compare the thoughts from your past to the thoughts of your future. Is there any difference between the two? You might say, “Of course there is. The thoughts from the past actually happened.” But did they? Stay with me here. Your perspective of what actually happened colors all your thoughts from your past. Someone else, who may have been in on the same experience with you, may have had a different perspective of that experience resulting in different current day thoughts. Whose thoughts contain the actual reality of what in fact really happened? Or are they just thoughts?

If memories are just thoughts, can we go back and change those thoughts to have a different outcome? Many of us wish we could go back and change the outcome of various experiences. Well, why not? They’re just thoughts. We can re-write the script and have any outcome we desire. We can change bad experiences into good experiences. Change the memory; change the thought.

Is it easy? It depends on how traumatic the experience was and how attached you are to the trauma attached to the memory…or thoughts. Let me give you an example. At one time, I thought this process should be very simple. I had read about various processes one could use to do so, and thought that anyone should be able to do so with ease. Until I met Chip (real name changed for privacy). Chip came into work one day with a bandage on his head. Apparently, he was driving home one day and came upon a car sitting on the side of the road with a body lying near by. Being an EMT (emergency responder), he instinctively stopped his truck and started over to help. All of a sudden, the man in the road got up and started shooting at him, grazing his temple and knocking him out. I cannot remember the rest of the details of the incident, but I do know that this severely impacted him emotionally. Since that time and for several years afterwards, he found that he was unable to get hardly any sleep at night.

In my ignorant wisdom, I would try suggesting to him that he try these processes. I couldn’t understand how or why he couldn’t just get past this. Until I had an unfortunate experience with a road rager. The man almost ran me off the road (I wasn’t going fast enough for him even though I was going the speed limit), and then he stopped his truck in front of me, got out, and started yelling at me. I was smart enough to lay on my horn to attract attention and he left. The problem is that he lived right up the road from me. A State Highway Patrolman we knew said this man was a hothead and to just stay out of his way. From that moment on, every time I saw his truck, I would have a panic attack. I lived in literal fear for the next few weeks. Fortunately, I was getting ready to buy a new car, and once I got the new car, some of the fear subsided, though I would still have a mild panic attack whenever I saw his truck. Now it was time to try my own advice and change the memory so that I could change the thought. Ha! Didn’t work for me either. At the time.

Then I had this ah-ha moment about memories only being thoughts, and that there is no difference between our thoughts of the past and our thoughts of the future. They are all just that….thoughts. They all have the same energy. The only time we place a different energy to them is when we add our emotions to those thoughts. Nothing has meaning except for the meaning that you give to it. Change the meaning, change the thought.

Since I came to the realization that the past is only thoughts, I have been able to release my emotional attachment to those thoughts. Thoughts that kept me in chains no longer have as much, if any, power over me. I can let them go because I now know that they are just my fantasies of the past. They no longer have the power over me that they once had. I can be the observer rather than the player.

One idea to help make the transition from experience to thought is to see everything that happened to you in the past on a TV screen. See it as just a TV show or a movie. If you don’t like what’s playing, turn the TV off. See the screen go blank. Realize that it wasn’t real. You can write the script for next week’s show and have a different outcome.

I do realize that this isn’t easy for those of us who have had very traumatic experiences. Those traumatic experiences become our identity and our story. So start small. Take baby steps. You may not understand all of what I’m writing about right away. Goodness, even I didn’t get it at first and I’m the one who thought it up.

I also realize that there are those who have severe emotional issues (to the point of being medically diagnosed) who have no conscious choice of their thoughts. As I stated earlier, all of our choices and decisions are based on past experiences, conscious or unconscious. When I had my breakdown and suffered from severe depression, for the next couple of years, it was extremely difficult to change my stinkinthinkin’. Fortunately, I had already learned about the power of our thoughts and I was able to consciously begin the process of changing those thoughts to a more positive energy, and therefore, heal a lot quicker than the average person. I even amazed my therapist.

Life is all about thoughts. We can consciously control those thoughts. It takes practice. So, when you mind travel in the past or the future, know that you are traveling in a vast universe of thought energy. All one energy. Work towards making those thoughts to be thoughts of love, peace, harmony, happiness, and well-being.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Swine Flu or Wake-Up Call?

In these challenging times, we are now dealing with an illness that is causing fear the world over. The Swine Flu, or H1N1, has been on everyone’s minds over the past several weeks. How do we deal with this fear and the illness on a spiritual level? Marianne Williamson stated, “This flu wasn't created on the level of the body, because no disease is. It was created on the level of the mind, and it is there that we will root it out at the causal level.”

I would like to invite us to keep things in perspective. As of May 5, 2009, twenty-one countries have officially reported 1,124 cases of the influenza A(H1N1) infection, and only twenty-six deaths in the ENTIRE world from this illness. Compare this to the world’s population. As of May 2009, the Earth's population is estimated to be about 6.77 billion.

The United States has had 286 confirmed cases, and one death, BUT no deaths from U.S. On April 29, CNN reported the first swine fatality in the United States; however, this was actually a toddler whose family had recently crossed from Mexico into Texas. As of July 2008, the United States’ population was listed at 304,059,724.

To also help you keep things in perspective, malaria kills 3,000 people EVERY DAY. There are 2.8 million deaths yearly from AIDS worldwide; 300,000 deaths yearly in the U.S. alone from obesity; in 2008 there were 37,313 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes. 2005 statistics stated that there were 30,000 suicides; 652,091 people died of heart disease; tobacco smoking killed 467,000, high blood pressure killed 395,000, and physical inactivity was linked to about 191,000 deaths… Need I say more?

By definition, a "pandemic" is an epidemic that is geographically widespread. Fear-mongers always threaten that millions of people could and probably will die. And that’s all it is…fear. Look at the statistics above. Does that mean we shouldn’t be concerned? Concerned, yes. Fearful, no. Like any other flu, if you take the necessary precautions, your chances of getting it would be slim. We need to focus on health; not sickness. What we fear, we will attract.

While researching information on the H1N1 flu, I found a website that said the following:

“Just step outside of the drama and become an observer, stay in alignment with your higher self and trust that you are protected, keep your light strong. Make sure you eat healthy, meditate, always think positive things, go out into nature and appreciate all that is good with the world. It may be true that negative individuals introduced the virus into the world, but it will be stopped in its tracks as long as we don't give it the power it needs to manifest. We are so much more powerful that most of us recognize. Just remember, there is only ONE. It's just a question of perspective; the illusion at this level is so much stronger and easier to buy into. The higher we place our focus, the more we realize we are truly ONE. We have to remember we are also the virus and the negative magician hoping to manifest it. God is in everything; we are simply within the mind of God. If we think like God and place our awareness on that plane, then you will see that all is just drama in order to experience the many facets of self. We can choose our life to be exactly how we want it to be. When we go home to other side (which is a much lesser illusion), we will realize just how much power we had and didn't use. Don't make that mistake, use these tools now.” http://lightworkers.org/wisdom/ian-jones/74849/swine-flu-dont-give-it-any-power-fellow-magician

Like any other catastrophic event, I believe that this is a wake-up call. It’s a part of the shift and cleansing that is occurring in our world at this time. When I see so many around me suffering the most awful health issues, it’s really making me focus on getting my own health straightened out. I’m eating healthier, getting more sun, exercising, and working on my stinkinthinkin’, as well as working to strengthen my spiritual beliefs.

To protect yourself from the flu, get plenty of fresh air and sunshine, eat healthy foods and eat less (I know, that’s a biggie for most people), stay away from people who are sick, wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer (without the antibacterial in it), sneeze or cough into your elbow (not your hand), do not touch your hands to your face when they are not clean, and most of all, do NOT let fear rule! Fear is being perpetuated by the media and those who have an invested interest in any illness. In any fearful pandemic, the pharmaceutical and medical industries are the real winners.

If you would get sick, don't panic. It may NOT be the swine flu. Stay home if you can (for some companies, it's almost against the law to take sick days), get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and if possible, fast, or at least, cut way back on your food intake. Let your body's energy take care of getting you better and not have to focus on digesting food. When animals and children are sick, they go off their food, and they sleep a lot. They listen to their bodies.

Do your research about the flu with curiosity and detachment; not fear. Also research the pros and cons of vaccines that may be coming out. The Mercola website stated that more people died from the vaccine than they did the flu in the last flu epidemic. On top of that, they make these drugs and distribute them so fast, that there is no time to check out the results of side effects. Make spiritual choices, and not choices from the state of fear. Let's not let this divide us any more as we already are. Let’s support each other in good health and good thoughts. We deserve it and it is our Divine right!

For a good website on the H1N1 flu, please go to: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/28/Swine-Flu.aspx


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Life Changing Thinking

Several years ago, I came upon a book that had a very profound influence on my thinking. The book was “The Four Agreements” by don Miguel Ruiz. The book came to me through serendipity, which made it that much more meaningful. I was reading an “Oprah” magazine and there was an article about Ellen Degeneres and how the book and Mr. Ruiz impacted her life. The next day, I received one of my book club pamphlets and it was advertising a sale on the book. Bingo! I bought the book and haven’t looked back.

In the book, Mister Ruiz teaches us four principles to practice in order to create love and happiness in your life. He states that adopting and committing to these agreements is simple, but actually living and keeping the them can be one of the hardest things you will ever do. But if you apply the Agreements to your life, it can also be one of he most life changing things you will ever do. And so it was for me.

I would like to state those Four Agreements here and will give a commentary on what that particular agreement meant to me and did for me. They are as follows:

1. “Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.”

Words have power. And, as I’ve discovered, the words you speak tell a lot about your character. I still have issues about saying only what I mean, sometimes, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do know that I have come to despise gossip. Gossip is when someone says something negative about someone or bad mouths them. When someone gossips, it says way more about the person doing the gossiping than the person they are gossiping about. According to Mr. Ruiz, gossip is literally poison, and I agree. I’ve known people who can’t say a good word about anyone or anything. What I’ve found is that these people hate themselves so much, and have such low self-esteem, that the only way they can make themselves feel any better is to put someone else down. What you need to know, is that a lot of times, when you gossip, what you said will get back to the person you are gossiping about. Gossiping is just another form of bullying. Can gossip be good when you’re saying something good about someone? Maybe. My rule is that if that person wants others to know about something, they will be the ones to tell people, therefore, I keep my mouth shut. Am I perfect in not gossiping? I have to admit there are times that someone gets to ruffling my goat’s feathers so much that I just end up venting to a friend, but even then, I know that I’m better off keeping silent. This also goes towards the words we speak towards ourselves. It goes back to the saying that you become what you think.

2. “Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

This one was a big lesson for me. I used to take EVERYthing personally. Someone would look at me cross-eyed, and I would take it personally. Sometimes I can get very frustrated with human nonsense, especially if it were directed towards me. Once I learned this lesson, I knew that nothing anyone does or says is about me; it’s all about them. What they say or do still might sting, but I can usually talk my way through it. People say and do what they say and do based on their own belief systems and their past experiences.

3. “Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”

This was another biggie for me. To give you example… On my last job, there were a couple of people who would sometimes completely ignore me. I would be passing them in the hall, and they wouldn’t return my greeting or my smile. I used to get in a snit, but after learning this one, I knew there was a bigger picture. Maybe they had something else on their mind and didn’t really think about acknowledging me or maybe they didn’t even notice me. Maybe they were shy, or intimidated by me. As in the second Agreement, it had nothing to do with me (even if it did). It was their choice to respond the way they did regardless of the reasons. I’m only responsible for my own thoughts and actions. Plus, in order to be in an important relationship, you have got to be brutally honest with the other person, though you can be kind at the same time. Just be totally honest.

4. “Always Do Your Best: Doing your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

That’s all you can do. The best you can with what you know at the time. If you realize that all anyone can do is the best they can, then it helps to take the judgment out of it. We don’t know why anyone says or does the things they do. As I said earlier, there is always a bigger picture. All decisions people make are based on their up-bringing, their beliefs, and their experiences. Many times, there are things in our subconscious minds and we don’t have a clue why we make the choices we do. But they are still choices and we need to be accountable for the consequences of those choices. So, lighten up on yourself, and realize that you’re doing the best you can with what you know at the time. The only mistakes are when you don’t learn from them. Otherwise, they are just lessons.

If you’re interested in learning more, please read the book “The Four Agreements” by don Miguel Ruiz. Or, go to his website at: http://www.miguelruiz.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6:the-four-agreements&catid=13:books&Itemid=7


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What a Person Believes...Is

In 1969, a new TV show hit the airwaves called “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” starring Bill Bixby as the father and Brandon Cruz as the son. I don’t remember the details of one particular show, but Bill Bixby’s character made a statement to his son that I have always remembered. He said, “What a person believes….is.” The magnitude of that statement didn’t really hit me until many years later when I began my spiritual journey and became an open-minded believer in all things.

It is so true. It does not matter what a person believes, to him/her it is their truth. Many people see only in black and white and whatever they believe is the only way. Everyone else is wrong. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, whether you’re Democrat, Republican, or Independent, where you live, how you live, or your walk of life. You believe what you believe for whatever reasons (usually based on your upbringing, your experiences, etc.), and that’s all most people need. Everyone who does not believe the way they do is either right or wrong, or good or bad.

In other words, everything we know is just that….a belief. I can already hear people disagreeing, but please stay with me. Let’s take a look at religions. There are thousands of different religions, all believing something different to varying degrees. The believers of those religions believe that their religion is the only religion. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Everyone believes that they are the ones who are right and that everyone else is wrong. This can also be applied to abortion, the death penalty, diets, medical practices, and so much more. Whatever you believe about that particular subject is just that….your belief.

Many years ago, I attended a Native American Sweat Lodge (you sit inside a dome that contains extremely high heat and sweat; it’s very spiritual). Afterwards, I was talking to the Ceremonial Singer and he made the statement, “There is no such thing as right or wrong.” I replied, “Of course there’s such a thing as right or wrong! Killing is wrong.” He countered, “What happens if that person had to kill to save himself, or a family member, or those at war?” We batted back and forth, but he continued to counter back. It took me a good two weeks of constantly pondering that statement before the light bulb went off over my head and I got it.

Some people will argue that they have facts to back up their beliefs. And I can guarantee you that there will be someone else who has facts to back up the exact opposite beliefs. That is one reason I take the title “expert” very lightly. For every expert on one subject, you will find another expert who can prove the exact opposite of the first expert.

Remember, we used to believe that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth. People were put in prison or killed because of those beliefs. Women were burned at the stake if they used herbs for healing. Certain cultures were believed to be sub-human (including women) and genocide occurred to get rid of them (this continues in some countries today). All our beliefs to some degree have changed over the years. We were sure that those beliefs were actual facts.

So, just because someone believes something different than you does not mean that they are right or wrong. It’s just what they believe at this time in their life. I always tell people that I refuse to argue religion, politics, or opinion. Grin. If people want to share and discuss their beliefs, I can discuss with the best of them; but I will not argue and try to make me right and them wrong.

Once you keep an open mind in all things, it is so much easier to find the good in everything and everyone. It comes back to labeling (see previous posting). It becomes much easier to love and accept someone for what and who they are. You stop putting conditions on your love.

One more example that may hit home with many people… Every generation has their way of expressing themselves. When I was in school, we wore mini-skirts (just below the butt), bell-bottoms, hip-huggers, and were just coming out of the tie-die / hippie era. Before me, it was hoop skirts, saddle shoes, leather jackets, and slicked back hair. Elvis was shocking parents all over the world. Today’s generation seems to have gone to the extreme (at least to us older generations). Goth, body piercings, hair that sticks straight up and colored in a rainbow of colors, tattoos, music that is just loud noise… It’s hard to except today’s generation’s expressions because they are so extreme to previous generations. But we need to remember that they are doing the same thing we did when we were growing up.

I would really like to encourage everyone to open your mind to love. Unconditional love. Embrace the diversity that is in our world. We are all the same but different. Allow people to believe whatever they want to believe and respect their right to believe whatever that want to believe (unless they are hurting someone; then they still need to be held accountable). If we could just accept those who believe differently, just think how much better we could get along as a people, a nation, and as a world.

I would like to close with a quote I came up with several years ago. “Life is beautiful, life is good, life is what you believe it to be.”


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Am Not a Label

My name is Karen. Label. I am female. Label. I am blonde. Label. I am white. Label. Black. Label. Mexican. Label. Democrat, Republican, Christian, Muslim, good, bad, right, wrong, tree, sky, house, dog, desk, chair….. Label, label, label, label….well, you get my drift.

Just about everything in existence on the planet earth and beyond is given a label by humans. Call it a name, label, whatever. And for every label, we attach a meaning. The thing is, nothing has meaning except for the meaning that you give to it. Which means that in the realm of everything there is to know, nothing has meaning.

I can’t remember where I read it…it may have been in a Wayne Dyer book…but if you take the labels off of everything, you realize how connected everything and everyone really is. It’s all one energy. It’s all the same thing. It all blends into one another. After reading this, I tried it. I focused on everything around me, took the labels off, and it happened. Everything became a part of everything. Everything blended. It was kind of eerie, but at the same time, truly amazing. It only lasted for a minute or two, but it made a deep impression. It’s true. We really are one with everything.

So, why do we humans have such a need to put labels on everything and make everything separate from everything? I know, I know, if we didn’t put labels on everything, there would be complete chaos. Therefore, labels can be a good thing. So it must be the meaning that we put to these labels. The problem comes when the meanings separate us from the goodness of everything. The other problem is that everyone has a different meaning for the various labels.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that if people could really see, I mean really, really see how connected everything and everyone is, maybe there wouldn’t be so much hate in the world. Maybe we could focus on what we have in common, rather than our differences. Maybe we could actually find ways to get along and bring peace to the world.

If you take a sample from every single thing and person in the Universe and put it under the most powerful microscope, you would find that we’re all made of the exact same thing. Nothing. Yet everything. Energy. Magnificent, beautiful, glorious energy. Loving energy. All there is. I love the saying that the Universe is within each and every one of us. The Universe! It’s in everything and everyone! Do you not realize the grandest of who you are!?!

I wish everyone could come to realize their magnificence and how we are all connected. Once you come to that realization, unconditional love takes over. You treat people more kindly. You treat yourself more kindly. You want to be of service to your fellow beings (animal, human, nature). You want everyone in the world to get along. You want peace.

The next time you look at a label, consider the meaning that you are giving to it. And remember that in the grand scheme of things, it has no meaning except for the meaning that you give to it. It's your choice. Choose kindness. Choose unconditional love. Choose compassion. Choose peace. It’s all a choice.



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hello? God?

God. Who is this person, deity, presence, power, being, that all religions talk about?

This is probably the grandest and most difficult question anyone could ask on their spiritual journey. Most people you talk to have a very clear idea of who they believe God is to them. I have to add “to them” because everyone has a different idea of who they believe this all-powerful being is. And to most of us, it is just that…a belief. How can I say that? Because every religion and every person has a different description of whom or what they believe their God is, and every one of those believes that their God is the one and only God. They may also believe that everyone who doesn’t believe in their idea of who God is…is wrong, and possibly even going to “hell.”

I know this is a difficult subject to discuss because most people are very steadfast in their belief systems. It either is or it isn’t. Most will back up their beliefs with quotes from the Bible, but even then, it is only their interpretation of what they read in the Bible. Again, how can I say that? Because people can take the same Bible quote to back up their beliefs, and another person can take that same Bible quote, and interpret it in another way to back up their very different beliefs.

So, who is this God that everyone speaks of? Heck if I know. I’ve been searching for that answer all my life. I do know that my beliefs about God have changed drastically over the years, which means my black and white wasn’t very black and white as time went on.

Did you know that the word God came from the Saxon word for Good? He/She goes by many names. Each religion tends to use a different name describing their “God.” So, who is right and who is wrong? To be honest, I don’t think God cares a hoot what you call Him or Her. And He doesn’t care how you personally see Her as being.

As I stated earlier, my beliefs about God and religion have changed drastically over the years. In my earlier die-hard born again Christian days, I believed that God was an old man, sitting up in the sky wearing a long beard, robe, and threw down lightening bolts if you did something wrong. He was a mean old man who was very judgmental, and watch out if you did something wrong! I feared this God. I was afraid of living and I was afraid of dying. I pretty much lived in fear all the time. I believed in Satan and that he was always out to get me. I used to have the most frightening nightmares about the devil chasing me and trying to get me. I also believed that I always had to be suffering for Jesus, and if you weren't suffering, you weren't a good Christian. I even remember sitting in a dentist chair thinking, "I'm suffering for Jesus! I'm suffering for Jesus!" (Believe it or not, I knew other people who believed this and would think the same thing while sitting in the dentist chair. Sad, huh?) (I think I also need to make it clear that my beliefs had nothing to do with my parents. They raised me Baptist, but never pushed any beliefs on me.)

In the early 80’s, I became so discouraged and disheartened over religion, all the disappointments, fear, guilt, etc., that I stopped believing in anything. I hated God, I hated myself, and I didn’t want anything to do with either.

It was about that time that I had gone into a bookstore, and as I was looking around, I came across some books written by Shirley MacLaine, and they seemed to be calling to me. Yet at that time, there was no way I was even going to touch one of her books because I just knew that if I did, God would strike me down. But they kept calling to me. I hesitantly picked one up (while watching for those lightening bolts!) and read the back. It must have taken me about a half hour to finally work up the courage to buy one while looking over my shoulder for the devil the whole time. I read it. Then I read another and another until I read all of them that the store had. What Ms. MacLaine taught me was to keep an open mind in all things. That was probably one of the greatest gifts of wisdom I’ve ever learned. After that, my spiritual journey snowballed and I have been gaining so much wisdom and knowledge since then.

I no longer believe in a mean, vengeful God. And I no longer believe in Satan, the devil, or hell. I believe that God is pure, unconditional, perfect love and nothing else. As so, how could She create something so evil? I do not believe that He is a He or a She, but is genderless. (When the Bible was written, it was written in extreme patriarchal times and women were considered almost less than human; therefore, God is considered a He throughout.)

I believe that God wants nothing but the best for us, and that God is in everything good. She wants us to be happy, to be healthy, prosperous, and safe. To know our real magnificence. Just think of all the decisions WE make to create our lives otherwise. Man creates evil. Man creates the diseases, the starvation, the crime… We were given the gift of free will, so we reap what we sow. (And no, I do not know the answer as to why babies and young children have diseases, other than they chose to experience it before coming here. I also do not believe that God gave it to them.)

I also believe that God is within each and every one of us. Not out there sitting in some cloud. God is in each of us and in all things. If I would have to pick out an image of God, I think I would choose Morgan Freeman from the movie “Bruce Almighty.” I just loved his interpretation.

And I don’t always call God…God. I usually use Universe, or Divine Spirit, or sometimes Gus (God, Universe, Spirit). I went through many years after falling off my spiritual high horse where I couldn't even say the name God.

I also believe that we all came here for a purpose, and that whatever we are going through, is part of that purpose. I believe that we decided before we even came to earth what we wanted to experience. We chose our parents, when and where we would be born, when and how we would die, and what we would experience in life. And those experiences are based on the choices we make here on earth.

Am I right? Not necessarily. But this is what I believe is right for me at this time in my life and it is right for me. There is no way I would ever tell someone else that they have to believe the way I do. Whatever you believe is fine. It is your truth at this time in your life and that’s okay.

I love the term Namaste. It is a Sanskrit word which means: "I respect that divinity within you that is also within me.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in the world could respect the beliefs of each other and accept them as part of our diversity? Maybe we could even learn to love each other unconditionally, and possibly even work towards world peace!

So, my friends, I end this long session with Namaste. And peace be unto you.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Honor the Children

Times have changed drastically since I was young. Kids today have way too many outside influences. When I was young, I played out in the neighborhood, played with my dolls, and maybe watched some TV with only a few channels. Today, there are hundreds of TV channels with hundreds of TV shows and movies, there are drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, video games, computers, cell-phones, and the like. Sure, there were drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity in my generation, but they weren’t in your face. You had a hint of who was partaking, but unless you ran in those circles (which I didn’t), they didn’t affect you.

Divorce rates are said to be as high as 50 to 80%, and not many are amicable. What is sad is that the children get caught in the middle. Too many children are being raised in one-parent families, and many are being raised by their grandparents. There is nothing wrong with that in itself, but children are affected by divorces and not having their parents around.

Then there are the children who are homeless, involved in prostitution, gangs, slave labor, being abused…. My heart aches for each and every one of them. Children are desperate to feel accepted and to have a sense of belonging.

I want to mention something when it comes to abuse and spanking…. Many years ago, I was at work when a co-worker asked me out of the blue if I believed in spanking. I started to answer “sure,” as I was spanked as a child and turned out okay. All of a sudden, it was as if the Universe bopped me on top of the head with her wisdom wand, and I thought, “no, it isn’t all right to spank a child.” If it’s not okay for an adult to hit an adult, then why is it okay to hit a child? If a husband hits his wife, it’s spousal abuse. If an adult hits another adult, it’s called assault. Both can be punishable with jail time. So, why is it okay to hit a child? (If you are interested in researching better ways to discipline children without hitting them, please go to http://www.montyroberts.com/shop_equine_interest.html#HorseSense . )

After I had this aha moment, I became dead-set against hitting any child for any reason. I won’t even hit my pets. Tapping without pain to get their attention is one thing, but to hit to cause pain is a whole other ballgame. Why would you physically want to hurt your child or an animal?

We need to honor our children. Respect their rights as people no matter what their age. Love them. Care for them. And it doesn’t matter if it’s your child or someone else’s. We all know children who do not have a good home life. Take them under your wing. Invite them to dinner and to outings with your family. Spend some quality time with them (as well as with your own children). Mentor them.

Get them involved with volunteering in your community, or even helping out a neighbor in need. Show them that there are always people worse off. Teach them compassion. Give them a sense of responsibility. Allow them to feel needed.

When was the last time you told your child that you loved them? That you’re proud of them? Many children will go through their whole lives just waiting to hear those words from a parent. Or anyone for that matter. (This goes for anyone we love; not just our children. We ALL need to hear these words. Even if you know they know it, it still makes a huge difference to hear it.)

Also, respect a child’s right to be who they want to be when they grow up, even if it is not something you may want for them. (As long as they are not hurting anyone.) How many adults have gone into a field or profession just because it was what their parents wanted them to do, and then they go through life unhappy and unfulfilled with regrets of things they didn’t do? If you want your child to be happy, let them choose their own life. They alone have to live with the results of their choices.

Children today are crying out for love and attention. They are growing up with so much self-hate, low self-esteem, and just literally feeling lost and alone. I know that there are many exceptions; children who are growing up well-adjusted. But many are not. They don’t know that they have a choice. This is where mentoring comes in. Sometimes it only takes one person to make a difference in a child’s life. That person could be you. Remember….Our children are our future.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Golden Rule

I am sure you will probably agree with me, but it sure looks like our nation and our world are in quite a pickle in these challenging times. People are fighting and arguing and killing each other because their belief systems are different. Add to that people fighting because of their differences in color, nationality, race, gender, and walk of life.

Whoopie Goldberg made a great statement this morning when she was asked what she thought was the biggest sin. Her reply was intolerance. People do not want to associate with those who are different from them. They want only what they want and to heck with everyone else. (There are many exceptions, but I’m speaking generically.)

Dictionary.com states intolerance to mean: “lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.”

Recently, I was reading “Swami for Precedent” by Swami Beyondananda (see previous posts), which I would highly recommend. In the chapter “Pray It Forward,” he states: “We are not here to earn God’s love, we are here to spend it!” And that means tolerating (I would prefer to say loving unconditionally) people regardless of our differences. This does not mean that you have to condone any evil behavior; everyone still has to be accountable for their actions. In other words, why can’t we all just get along!?! We’re on this one planet together. We have no other place to go. So how about if we all just learn to play nice?

All religions have their variations of rules and regulations. The only problem with those is that people tend to interpret them to justify their own belief system. The Swami had a great suggestion, which I totally agree with. How about having just one rule, and that is “The Golden Rule.” It is in most all religious texts. Here are a few that the Swami mentioned in his book:

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5,1.
Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:1
Confucianism: Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. Analects 12:2
Hinduism: This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. Mahabharata 5,1517
Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Sunnah
Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 3id
Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself. Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5

You can Google “The Golden Rule” for more information, or go to the Religioustolerance.org website at: http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm .

Why is it that young children can play together and it doesn’t matter what the other child looks like, or where he comes from? Their main goal is just to have fun. Hate and intolerance are taught. As we get older, we act on what we’ve been taught by others. And that’s sad.

Fortunately, there is a great movement in the world where people are getting together for a common cause: unconditional love. There are countless organizations and websites that promote tolerance, love, peace, and harmony among all beings.

Let us learn to take The Golden Rule to heart, and starting today, work at treating others the way we would like to be treated. Love others as we would like to be loved. Can you imagine if everyone in the world would do so? Can you imagine the world we could become? Can we say Hallelujah?!?!