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.”