Friday, December 27, 2013

Collective Consciousness of Love

The week before Christmas, I had to put my precious Angel (cat of 20 years) to sleep.  The night before, a dear friend of mine was killed.  Since then, I have been hearing from so many people how they, too, have been losing loved ones whether they are humans or animals.  I’ve noticed in previous years how there seems to be so many deaths around the holidays, but for some reason, it seems to be more so this year.  Not only deaths, but people have been dealing with the most horrible situations such as serious health issues and just plain old “bad luck.” 

Recently, I was pondering why so many bad things seem to happen around the holidays and my first thought was, “I don’t have a clue.”  As I pondered further, another thought occurred to me.  During the holidays, from before Thanksgiving until after New Year’s, most people are in a chaotic state of mind.  The season is supposed to be about love and joy, but rarely do we see and feel the love and joy.  Instead, people are running around trying to get the perfect gifts, fighting in the stores, going into debt, arguing over whose holiday to celebrate, what holiday figures should be displayed, what greetings should be said, eating and drinking too much, family discord, travel stress, and well, you can add your own.  All this negative energy is being emitted into the Universe and it affects everyone and everything around us. 

Dr. Masaru Emoto, a researcher and Chief of the Hado Institute in Tokyo, has established this in one of the most convincing effects that human consciousness can have on physical reality.  Not long ago, I had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing him speak.  By using water and a process of freezing water and observing the crystals, he proved that certain energies can affect the shape of the crystals.  He calls this “Hado…the intrinsic vibration pattern at the atomic level in all matter, the smallest unity of energy.  Its basis is the energy of human consciousness.” 

In experiments, he produced various Hado through spoken and written words, as well as playing different types of music to the water.  Depending on the energy exposed to the water, it produced different types of crystals.  Beautiful, loving, and kind words and music would produce crystals that looked like snowflakes.  Negative, hateful, and ugly words and music exposed to the water created crystals that looked like cancer cells, nothing at all like a magnificent snowflake.  His many experiments proved that our words and actions do affect those around us as well as what we put into the collective consciousness.  (For more information, go to masaru-emoto.net.)

Thinking on this, I came to the theory (my theory only) that the chaotic energy we put into the collective consciousness during the holidays affects everyone and not always in good ways.  Maybe, just maybe, that’s one reason so many “bad” things happen to so many during the holiday season?

So how can we change the energy during the holiday season (as well as throughout the year)?  We can become very aware of what we are feeling and what energy we are putting into the collective consciousness.  Are we contributing love, peace, kindness, and compassion?  Or are we contributing the negative chaotic energy by fighting and arguing, stressing, and buying into the consumerist mentality that the holiday season seems to have become?   For so many, we’ve completely lost sight of the true meaning of the holiday season whether it’s Christmas or any other holiday celebrated during this time. 

I would like to invite each of us to become very aware of what we are really celebrating.  What kind of energy are we putting into the Universe?  Who or what are we really worshiping?  How are we treating each other?  Are we lifting people up or tearing them down?  What kind of crystals are we making?  Mother Teresa said, “Spread love everywhere you go.  Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”  She also said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

As we go into the year, let us hold everyone in the world, regardless of color, race, religion, politics, financial status, or sexual preference in the collective consciousness of total, unconditional love.  Let’s look for the God/Good in everyone.  As Gandhi said, “If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, don’t waste time looking for him further.”  Let’s live the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  We really can be the change we wish to see in the world.

In the New Year, I am seeing you embraced with love, happiness, good health, peace, and prosperity. 


Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 27, 2013.
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Souls of Animals

Have you ever looked into an animal’s eyes and seen a glimpse into their souls?  I have.  Personally, I absolutely believe that animals have souls.  No one knows for sure exactly what the soul is or where it is located.  My belief is that the soul is represented as the breath of life.  When the breath leaves the body, so does the soul.  So why not animals?  For those of us who love our animals, most of us believe that animals do have souls.  People who have had near death experiences have seen their pets on the other side.  I believe that when it’s my time to cross over, I too, will see my beloved pets.  Hippocrates stated, "The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different." 

I’ll admit it.  I’m one of those who calls my pets my “kids.”  They are just as much my children as anyone’s human child is to them.  When my Toy Poodle was alive, I would call him my little boy.  It would be the cause for humorous conversations when I would be talking about my precious baby boy and people would exclaim, “I didn’t know you had children!”  I would reply, “Yes, I have four-legged kids.”  The look on their face was priceless while they tried to figure out what I was talking about.  People who love their pets and lose them are just as devastated as when they lose human loved ones.  I still grieve the loss of my beloved pets…those I’ve recently lost, and those I’ve lost years ago.

Why am I writing about animals in the religion section?  I am extremely connected to animals spiritually though I didn’t always feel this way.  Sure, I loved animals, but not to the degree that I do today.  I think it happened in the late 80’s when a deer jumped into my car and didn’t die right away.  As she lay in the ditch with me hysterically crying over her, she turned her head over her back to look directly at me, and I heard the words just as clearly in my mind as if someone were speaking them to me, “It’s okay.  I know you didn’t mean to hit me.  I forgive you.”  Ever since that moment, I became a believer.  I also became a vegetarian.  In fact, I call myself an “animaltarian” because I love animals too much to justify eating them.  That means any animal because how can we say we love only some animals and not others? 

This is one reason I love St. Francis of Assisi who is considered the Patron Saint of Animals.  It is said that he called all creatures his brothers and sisters.  Whenever you see pictures of St. Francis, you usually see him surrounded by animals and birds.  He treated animals with love and respect.  St. Francis said, "Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission--to be of service to them whenever they require it. If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

We’re hearing so many stories where animals are saving human lives.  They can sense when someone is going to have a seizure or other kinds of attacks and alert their owner.  They protect us.  They comfort us when we’re sad, depressed, or hurting.  They feel emotions just like we do, and they feel pain.  We are also learning to communicate with them in greater ways.  In fact, I believe that animals are just like us, only in different form.  Cardinal John H. Newman said, "Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God."  The Quran states, "There is not an animal on the earth, nor a flying creature on two wings, but they are people like unto you."  Rabbi Solomon Ganzfried said, "It is forbidden, according to the law of the Torah, to inflict pain upon any living creature."   

Not everyone will agree with me and that’s okay. On the other hand, some people reading this will understand what I am saying.  Also, this isn’t about eating animals as I cannot tell others what to do.  My purpose is to just give others a different perspective in how we treat all life, and that includes people, animals, and our earth; to treat them with kindness and compassion.  So, the next time you look into the eyes of an animal, take a peek into their soul.  As Anatole France said, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”


Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 20, 2013.

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Holidays Are Here!

Thanksgiving is behind us and we are now heading into the homestretch to celebrate Christmas.  A wonderful holiday of joy and good tidings! 

 

December is also a month where other religions celebrate their holidays also.  Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day, which honors Gautama’s attainment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgava, India.  Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, which is also called the Festival of Lights and is observed for eight nights and days.  Kwanzaa is a celebration that honors African heritage.  And then, of course, we have Christmas which is celebrated by both Christians and non-Christians, though Christians celebrate it as the birthday of Jesus.  I’m sure there are many more, but these are just a few that I am aware of.

 

Along with the holidays, we participate in festivities that include a lot of food and gift giving.  We also decorate trees, rooms, houses, lawns, and sometimes we decorate ourselves.  The season is very colorful and beautiful.  I love it that people get together to share the holidays with each other and we seem to care a little more for our fellow beings.  People are a little kinder to each other, and charities see a huge boost in their donations.  We fix meals for the hungry, and give toys, food, and other items to children and families who wouldn’t normally be able to celebrate.

 

I love the spirit of the season!  But I have to be honest.  I’m not so sure about the rest of it anymore.  It seems that the holidays have become more about consumerism than the spirit.  People don’t think they can have a Christmas (or other holiday) if they don’t receive presents.  Many people will spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars during the holiday season on gifts for others, as well as on decorations, cards, stamps, food, and the list goes on and the money adds up.  Many people go into debt just to celebrate in the way they are accustomed to. 

 

Then add the stress that accompanies all the above!  This doesn’t even include deciding which relatives to spend what holidays with, travel arrangements, being stuck in airports, families not getting along, or someone being upset because they didn’t get what they wanted.  And I haven’t even mentioned Black Friday and other big sale days yet.  People will literally fight to get the item on sale, and some people have been seriously hurt or even killed because of it. 

 

How many of us could give all of this up, stop all the fanfare, and still be able to celebrate without feeling we’re missing something?  Could we do it?  Probably not too many could, especially if they have children.  Santa Claus has pretty much become the main symbol for Christmas nowadays. 

 

There are people and children all over the world who don’t have anything, let alone get to celebrate a holiday the way we do, so we get them presents and ship them for the holidays, but what about the rest of the year?  They still need shoes, clothing, and food all the other months, too!

 

And, of course, there is the arguing over what holiday greeting we should say and some people can get quite nasty over it.  Personally, I’m secure enough in my faith that it doesn’t bother me one bit what greeting someone uses.  If someone says Merry Christmas, I’ll say Merry Christmas in return; or Happy Holidays/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/ Bodhi Day or whatever.  I’ll happily return their greeting with the same.  I’m just happy someone said anything to me at all!  Normally when I say hello to someone, I’m doing good to get a hello in return. 

 

To me, the spirit of the holidays means to spread love, peace, and joy to everyone regardless of what holiday they are celebrating.  I honor everyone’s beliefs and whatever holiday they embrace.  I love the diversity!  There is something to be learned from all of them, and I’m blessed to have friends from all faiths who have shared their celebrations with me.

 

So, this year, let’s remember to be the examples of our Spiritual Masters and spread the love and joy of the season!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa!  Happy Bodhi Day!  Happy (add your holiday)!  Wishing everyone of all faiths a beautiful and wonderful holiday season and the best of new years!

 


Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper November 6, 2013.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

The Power of Compassion

Several weeks ago, I attended an anti-bullying conference at TN Tech where I was introduced to a young high school girl by the name of Rachel Scott.  Rachel was always reaching out to those who were different or who were being bullied, and she would go out of her way to make new students feel welcome.  She said, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.” 

In her junior year of high school, she wrote an essay titled “My Ethics, My Codes of Life” where she talked about making a difference in the lives of others.  Just by doing small things for people could greatly influence their behavior and outlook on life.  She admired people such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and others who were the greatest examples of love, compassion, and kindness.  The person she admired the most was Anne Frank because in spite of her experiences, Miss Frank made a difference through the writing of her diary.  Therefore, Rachel began writing her own diaries where she expressed her feelings, philosophies, and thoughts about how we can help make the world a better place.

As Rachel stated, “I am sure that my codes of life may be very different from yours, but how do you know that trust, compassion, and beauty will not make this world a better place to be in and this life a better one to live?  My codes may seem like a fantasy that can never be reached, but test them for yourself, and see the kind of effect they have in the lives of people around you.  You just may start a chain reaction.”

There are countless stories of how Rachel touched the lives of others.  She once stood up for a boy with disabilities who was being bullied and became his friend.  What she didn’t know was that before she did this, he was getting ready to kill himself.  Her kindness gave him hope and he chose life.  She was always looking for ways to bring kindness to those around her.

She continues to change lives to this day except for one thing.  Rachel is no longer with us.  Rachel was the first person to die in the Columbine High School shootings.  But her legacy lives on because those whose lives she touched organized Rachel’s Challenge where they present programs in schools and other venues teaching children and adults how to make a positive difference.  (For more information, please go to www.rachelschallenge.org.)

Friends, there are so many people of all ages in the world who are experiencing so much darkness for whatever reasons, and many are becoming desperate because they lose hope. Recently a friend of mine committed suicide and it was heartbreaking.  People who kill themselves don’t necessarily want to die; they just want the darkness and pain to end, and all it takes is that one split-second decision of no return. Never take away a person’s hope because that may be all they have left.

We need to lift people up and show them unconditional love and acceptance.  We have got to stop judging, demonizing, and making people feel worthless or less than.  All the great spiritual masters and teachers throughout history knew the importance of unconditional love.  There is so much we can do to bring light to someone’s darkness.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 

We need to teach our children starting as young as possible to treat people with kindness, to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, and to choose positive influences.  By doing so, they can make a huge difference and be real life heroes.  

Leo Buscaglia said, “Only the weak are cruel.  Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.”  And I agree with Aesop when he stated, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  Beginning today, let’s all start a chain reaction of kindness without expecting anything in return.  If someone does ask how they can return the act of kindness, just ask them to pay it forward.  Kindness is contagious; therefore, let’s spread it far and wide.  By doing so, we can be the change we wish to see in the world.

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper November 29, 2013.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Hope for Humanity

Malal Yousafzai.  You may have heard of her.  She is the young Pakistani school girl who is an activist promoting the rights for education and for women.  In October 2012, this beautiful young woman was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunman who tried to silence her.  For days she remained unconscious and in critical condition.  The attempt on her life sparked an international outpouring of love and support, and since then, she has become a hero to many.  She now travels all over the world as a spokesperson for love and peace. 

In speaking of the member of the Taliban who shot her, she said, “Even if there was a gun in my hand and he was standing in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the compassion I have learned from Mohamed, the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ, and Lord Buddha. This is the legacy of change I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah. This is the philosophy of nonviolence that I have learned from Gandhi, Bacha Khan, and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learned from my father and from my mother. This is what my soul is telling me: Be Peaceful and Love Everyone."

At 16 years old, she has probably learned more in this short period of time than most of us are able to learn in a lifetime.  She gets it.  She knows that love, peace, kindness, and compassion really are the answers to life and she walks her talk.  She is joining the ranks of those she mentioned above as being a world spokesperson to teach unconditional love in order to bring about world peace.

It does not matter her race, religion, or where she lives.  She speaks to all of us.  But how many are going to listen and learn the truth of what she teaches?  There is an awakening occurring all over the world and people are beginning to learn that unconditional love is the foundation if we are ever to achieve real peace for all. 

What saddens me is that there are so many religions, denominations, and church leaders who have this wonderful opportunity to bring people together through the power of love, but instead, we are hearing the extremists propagate so much hate, bigotry, and racism through the pulpits, writings, and media.  People are starting to see the hypocrisy because they know this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.  It is said that God is love, but where is the love when such vitriol is being spewed forth?  People are using fear and guilt to try to control people to their way of believing.  Sure it may work for some, but it’s turning many more away.  We wonder why so many are turning their backs on God, religion, and church, and this is one of the very reasons why.  (I am definitely not pointing my fingers at any particular person or group of people; I’m speaking in generalities.)

People are desperate to be loved and embraced just the way they are.  They are tired of being judged and condemned just because they may not believe a particular way.  They are tired of being turned away from churches because of the way they look, their past experiences, or their lifestyle.  They know that Jesus was the epitome of unconditional love and he made this his greatest commandment.  “Love one another as I have loved you.”  It was also made very clear in the Bible not to judge, and yet judging seems to be the norm any more.  Even though the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist, even he gets it when he says, “My religion is kindness.” Why can’t we all just be kind to one another regardless of our differences?

I realize there are some who will not agree with me and that’s okay.  You will never hear me tell anyone that they have to believe the way I do or condemn them because they believe something different.  The lesson of unconditional love is one I am trying to learn myself.  It’s not always easy, especially when I see others, particularly in religion and politics, doing harm through their words and actions. 

Ms. Yousafzai’s example gives me hope.  Hope for humanity, our country, and our world.  As more and more people join the movement of love and peace, regardless of who they are, what they believe, or where they live, we know we move closer to achieving world peace, among all people, all religions, all cultures, and all walks of life.

Will you join me and the many others who are striving to bring people together?  Will you be the change you wish to see in the world?

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper November 8, 2013.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Great Cosmic Awakening

I admit it.  I’m an incurable optimist and believe that good comes from everything even if we cannot see it at the time.  My belief is that if you really look for the good, you will find it.  When I look back over my life and all the challenges I have experienced, even though at the time I felt like they were going to destroy me, I can now see the good that came from them and how they made me a stronger and better person. 

So how does this relate to what is currently going on in our nation and our world?  For the past several years I have been saying that we are in the midst of a Great Cosmic Awakening.  Of course, people have been saying this for many years, but I have only started to become aware of it a few years ago. 

What is the Great Cosmic Awakening?  People are starting to wake up to the light that shines within them.  We realize there is more to life and living than just what we are seeing.  We are coming to the awareness that we really are all connected in some way, and that at the heart of it all, the only thing that really matters is love.  Personally, I say “unconditional love” because too many people tend to put conditions on love in and of itself.  It is no longer the “if you love me, I will…” state of mind.  It is instead becoming the “I will love you no matter what” love that is unconditional.

If you look at the chaos in our nation and in the world that has been taking place for the past several years if not longer, to the average person it only looks like chaos.  People cannot see past the chaos in order to see the bigger cosmic picture.  They only see the hate, bigotry, racism, discord, and ignorance being propagated by various sources, particularly in religion, politics, and the media.

Now you would think that religion would be the one place where unconditional love for everyone would be the rule.  Except that is not what we are seeing through many of the pulpits and mainstream media.  Instead, we are seeing religious leaders from various religions, denominations, and churches spewing forth such hateful and judgmental vitriol that it is a wonder that any part of the religion remains.  In fact, they have pretty much taken out the loving teachings of their spiritual masters to the point where they have become man-made religions in order to propagate their personal agendas.  Extremists are high-jacking their religions to back up their own individual beliefs.  We have been seeing this especially with Christianity and Islam, both of which at their core are very loving and compassionate belief systems.

These extremist religious agendas have flowed over into politics where political leaders are trying to force their personal beliefs onto the American public, if not the world, through the making of various laws.  What is interesting is that some from certain religions are accusing other religions of trying to force their beliefs on our nation when in fact, it is the exact same thing they are doing.  By forcing everyone in a nation to convert to their particular religious beliefs is a slap in the face to our founding fathers who came to this country in order to practice religious freedom!

Recently, politics have gotten way beyond ridiculous to the point where some extremist politicians, backed up by certain political groups and corporations, want to destroy American lives, again for their own personal agendas.  We just saw this with the recent government shutdown where the extremists in one party were holding the American people hostage over their selfish and greedy demands.  The lies, misconceptions, and rumors that are being propagated by these politicians and those in the media in order to manipulate and brainwash the American people is beyond preposterous (regardless of who is doing it or what “side” they come from). 

Besides religion and politics, we are seeing many other areas that are having their issues and we are seeing what is not working.  We are seeing it in the medical/pharmaceutical industries, the healthcare/insurance industries, education, our law and court systems, unions, corporations, banks, agriculture, the food industries, the media itself, our jobs, and I could go on and on.  You can add your own. 

So, where does the Great Cosmic Awakening come in?  Part of the awakening is that people are starting to see everything that is not working in our lives, our society, our country, and our world, and they know that there is a better way.  The analogy that I use is….  Think of an infected finger.  The pus has to come to the surface before it can be cleansed and healed.  All the “stuff” that isn’t working in the world is the pus. 

Sure, chaos has been happening since the beginning of time, but it has just recently started occurring at faster speeds.  If we had not become aware of all that is not working, life would be going on as usual and people would continue to get away with criminal and inhumane activities that hurt people and destroy lives in some form or another.  Now that we can see what is not working, we can work to cleanse and heal the issues and find a better way.

But first we need to awaken to the idea that we really are one with each other.  We have to realize that what we do to one, affects all.  We need to realize that in order to have world peace we have got to work with one another, find our commonalities, and work toward a universal goal.  Love, compassion, and kindness have got to be the foundation, and then we can build from there.  All people are our brothers and sisters and we need to find it in our hearts to care for each and every person regardless of any perceived differences.  I would also like to add caring for our animals and our earth.

Of course, not everyone is going to choose to be a part of this awakening.  Some choose to be left behind for various reasons.  It may be they just do not believe in it, which is fine.  There are many people who are so beaten down that they have given up hope and they cannot even see the light at the end of the tunnel.  There are also many who have been brainwashed by those walking in darkness and it ends up being the blind leading the blind.  They have closed their minds off so much that it becomes very difficult for anything new to penetrate their hard emotional armor.  Chaos has become their identity and they do not know who they are without it.  We have to be careful not to judge them, but instead to only love them no matter how hard it may be.  We need to remember that no one is born hating or evil; it is taught, and we can start replacing those negative teachings by planting the seeds of unconditional love.

This is where those of us committed to the Cosmic Awakening come in.  We need to let our inner light shine so bright that it will help others rekindle their own light within.  Everyone has that light; it is just that too many have covered it up with so much darkness accumulated from their negative life experiences, sometimes to the point that they do not even know that light is there. 

There are many, many wonderful people and organizations who are writing about this and promoting the same things I have just written.  You can find countless websites, classes, books, and teachings that promote love, peace, kindness, and compassion all over the world.  Sure, you will not hear about them in mainstream media, but they can be found if you do the work to find them.  We also have to be careful not to demonize everyone in the political, religious, or other realms as there are many loving and good-hearted people in these areas who are involved in the awakening, but again, the media will not communicate these stories because the media feeds mostly off of chaos.

One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes is, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  And as Gandhi so eloquently stated, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Will you be the light that drives out the darkness?  Will you be the love that drives out the hate?  Will you be the great example of the change you wish to see in the world?  And lastly, will you be a part of the Great Cosmic Awakening so that we can embrace the world with so much love, peace, kindness, and compassion that the world cannot help but change for the better?  It is up to us and I totally believe we can do it.  Good is going to come from all of this.  I believe this to the core of my being!

(Copyright 2013)

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

I AM ~ Two Powerful Words

In Exodus, it tells the story of when the Creator appeared to Moses in the burning bush.  In the conversation, Moses asked the voice “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”  The voice replied, “I Am That I Am.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.”  The voice even said further, “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.”

I AM.  Two short, yet powerful words.  How many times do we say those two words throughout our day?  We use them when giving our names.  “I am Karen.”  They can also be used to identify what we do. “I am a speaker, minister, writer, and performer.” 

I AM.  Two powerful words that can also be used to create our reality.  When used in affirmations, we use “I AM” followed by what we would like to manifest in our lives.  “I AM wealthy.  I AM perfect health.  I AM loved.  I AM successful.  I AM confident.”  But when followed by negative remarks, they can also manifest what we don’t want in our lives.  “I AM poor.  I AM sick.  I AM a failure.”  Using these two powerful words before any statement reinforces the energy of the words used, and when used over and over again, makes them a reality at some point in our lives to create the life we live for ourselves. 

Every moment, we have thousands of thoughts go through our minds.  Do we use I AM to affirm the positive….or the negative?  I am a total believer in positive thinking and the power of our thoughts, but even I have my moments when I have to struggle to overcome their power over me.  Yet I’ve learned to be aware of those thoughts and know to change them.  When a negative thought pops into my head, I immediately yell STOP in my mind; then I replace it with something positive.  Is it easy to do?  Not always. It takes practice. There’s a saying:  “You may not be able to stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop it from building a nest.”  Therefore, when I struggle with those negative thoughts, I know I don’t have to allow them to lay their eggs.

Does this mean we totally ignore the negative?  Not at all.  We need to respect and honor any thoughts that come into our minds as they come for a reason.  But then it’s up to us as to what we do with them. 

I have been accused of avoiding reality.  Au contraire.  I just choose to create my own reality.  Everyone does.  We all look at the world through our own perspectives and beliefs.  This is mine.
  
There are countless stories where people have overcome difficult life situations and/or even healed themselves just by using the power of their minds and the thoughts they think.  Some call it prayer.  Everyone has access to this powerful process, yet not all of us can do it.  There’s a lot in our subconscious that we’re not even aware of that can over-ride many of those positive affirmations.  Many of us look outside ourselves for help when we have the power within to take charge of our own lives.  Remember, Jesus said that whatever he could do, we could do and so much more. 

There are countless books available that teach the power of our minds/thoughts and I would highly recommend reading them.  “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen is one of them (free on the Internet).  He stated, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he, not only embraces the whole of a man's being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”

Someone once said, “The thought manifests as the word, the word manifests as the deed, the deed develops into habit, and the habit hardens into character.  So watch the thought and its way with care, and let it spring from love, born out of concern for all beings.” (Which includes yourself.)

It is your God given right to be healthy, happy, and prosperous.  Everything we need is already within us.  The Bible says we were made in God’s image, and Jesus made it very clear that “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.”  We only need to have faith that it is so and believe in our “I AMness.” 

(Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 11, 2013.)

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Gift of Empathy

Empathy is described as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  I guess you could say I’m an “empath.”  Dr. Judith Orloff explains that “Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme… Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world.  The trademark of empaths is that they know where you’re coming from.” 

Once I started on a serious spiritual journey, my feelings of empathy grew naturally based on the wisdom I was gaining from spirituality and upon my experiences in life.  Being so sensitive has its good and bad points.  The good side is that I can really sense what someone is going through.  I can see the bigger picture and it’s taught me to have so much more compassion for others.  The bad side is that I tend to take on other people’s energies, as well as the weight of the world, and sometimes it can be very draining. 

Looking back, I’ve learned from so many of my life experiences.  Living on an Indian Reservation in British Columbia helped me understand what it’s like to live on the rez and what American Indians experience.  Pursuing an acting career in Hollywood and Nashville, as well as meeting and getting to know so many celebrities and others in the industry, helped me to understand what it’s like to be a celebrity and being in the entertainment business. 

In my early 20’s, I had friends who were alcoholics.  I tried drinking to keep up with my peers, but one hangover cured me of ever doing that again and it helped me understand why people drink.  Being bullied helped me to understand what it’s like to be bullied, as well as understand why people bully. 

Having weight issues has allowed me to understand others who struggle with their weight.  My food addiction (sugarholic) helped me understand what it’s like for those with addictions.  Struggling with low self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence much of my life has allowed me to understand those who also struggle with these issues.  My breakdown in 1997 and the subsequent depression for a year or two after helped me understand those who suffer from being in that dreadful, dark abyss.

Being financially challenged has helped me understand others who are having financial difficulties.  Trying to pay for my own insurance has helped me understand what it’s like for those who don’t have insurance or the money to pay for medical care.  Being an extremist in my religious beliefs in my younger years helped me understand why people want to hang on to what they believe without any wiggle room to learn anything new.  I’d like to add that having friends from all spectrums of life including those who are gay, transgender, and every color, race, religion, and walk of life has helped me understand what it’s like for them in today’s day and age.

Surprisingly, all of these experiences have been great blessings.  I’m one to find the good in everything anyway, and even though some things were no fun at all while going through them, looking back in hindsight, I can say I’m thankful for those experiences.  If nothing else I learned to understand on a deeper level and to have more love, compassion, and understanding, not only for others, but for myself.  As I healed and overcame, I can now help others do the same.  Does it make me better than anyone?  Far from it.  But I learned from my experiences and I learned to be empathetic.

To really learn to love people, you have to look beyond the obvious.  Everyone has a story.  And even though everyone’s story is different, we all have the commonality of sharing in love and joy, pain and suffering, and just wanting to be happy. 

There are those who avoid empathy because it’s easier to demonize individuals or groups of people, which only keeps us separate.  When you have empathy, you realize we’re all really one, and God loves us all just the same.

I believe that Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Mohammed, and all the other great spiritual masters throughout time were the greatest teachers of empathy.  Empathy is the key to unconditional love.   Henry David Thoreau said, “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”  To do so is to touch their soul.  And when you develop your powers of empathy, you’d be surprised at how much the world opens up to you.  You realize our souls are here playing a role in this great stage play called life and we’re all connected.  When people can be empathic, humanity prevails.

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen September 6, 2013.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Love and Peace

Every once in awhile, a movie will be released that touches peoples’ hearts and souls.  “The Butler” is just such a movie.  It’s a movie about the Civil Rights movement, but it is also a love story between a family and about those in our nation who came together to promote human rights.  The movie was inspired by the life of Eugene Allen, who served eight presidential terms as a White House butler.  It’s a beautiful movie, but one that was sometimes hard to watch.  Seeing what black Americans experienced during slavery times and what they had to go through to gain freedom is heart-wrenching.  But it was also heart-warming to see how people of all colors and races came together to support their freedom. 

Seeing this also made me think of what the American Indians went through with the early European settlers.  Indian children were taken from the loving arms of their parents, their hair was cut off, they weren’t permitted to speak their language or practice their spirituality, and they were forced to learn the “white man’s” ways. Many men, women, and children were slaughtered and/or forced to live on reservations just because they were “different.” 

Then we had the Holocaust.  Several million people were murdered just because they were Jewish.  Others were also slaughtered because they supported or helped hide the Jews from being caught.  Millions were held in concentration camps in the most deplorable conditions, never knowing if or when they would be sent to the gas chambers. 

Throughout history, man has committed the most horrendous atrocities against their fellow human beings.  Why?  Mostly because of the differences in beliefs, particularly religious beliefs.  Many who committed these atrocities did so saying they were doing it in the name of God. 

As we look at our history from Biblical times to the present, we’ve come a long way in realizing how much a part of each other we really are.  We are evolving, but we still have a lot of work to do.  Even today we’re seeing groups of people trying to keep others oppressed just because of a difference in beliefs and/or lifestyles.  Many are still struggling to overcome the discrimination, hate, and bigotry that is being propagated against them. 

The media only focuses on the negative and how people aren’t getting along.  But, friends, there is a much bigger picture.  People are coming together all over the world to promote love, peace, harmony, and oneness.  They’re standing up for their fellow beings with love, compassion, and kindness.  Various religions from all over the world are protecting those in other religions so that they can worship the religion of their choice.  Races are standing up for other races because they know that we are all equal in the eyes of God. And on and on it goes with humanity standing up for humanity.  There’s a grand and wonderful awakening occurring and people are starting to “get it.”  People are beginning to realize our oneness and if we are to survive in this world, then we better start getting along and learning to live with each other in peace.

I know this article strays a bit from my usual uplifting, motivational topics, but this has been on my heart and mind for some time and I felt led to share it with you.  Are we working towards love and peace, or against it?  Wherever we put our focus is what we are going to manifest.  I don’t know about you, but personally, I think it’s very sad to see religions and/or denominations fighting and arguing with each other.  We all have the same God, though we have our different beliefs as to what form or shape we believe our God to be based upon our experiences of God.  Can’t we all just find what we have in common and learn to love each other as we are which is what Jesus emphasized over and over.  “Love one another as I have loved you.  Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

The great Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” 

And Nelson Mandela said it best when he stated, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Wishing you love and peace. 


Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen August 30, 2013.
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Our Bodies As Temples

The Bible says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; …Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)  The above Bible verse calls it a temple, but depending upon your beliefs, you may use different terms.  You may even just call it a vessel and that you are honoring life.

Since beginning my spiritual journey, I have learned that our temple is made up of mind, body, and Spirit.  In order to be totally healthy, it takes a balance in all three areas.  When one is out of balance, it throws off the balance of the whole. 

For our minds, it begins with changing any negative thoughts to those that are positive and loving, not only for ourselves, but for others.  Our thoughts are extremely powerful and we become what we think.  We also need to be careful of the thoughts we think because those thoughts will manifest into the life we create for ourselves. The mind is a delicate entity that can break at the snap of a finger, and yet it is so strong that it can survive the most traumatic events.  When we can quiet the mind, as some do through meditation and/or prayer, it helps alleviate stress and we can feel more calm and peaceful.

We also need to take care of our physical bodies.  There are so many people who are suffering from the most horrific health issues and my heart goes out to them.  If we don’t begin taking care of ourselves now, at some point, we may end up losing our own health.  To start, this means eating healthy and not putting non-nutritious foods or chemicals into our bodies.   Easier said than done; I know.  We don’t die of old age; we die of diseases and illnesses.  The body has an amazing ability to heal itself and many health issues can be overcome just by changing our diet and lifestyle.  Dr. Emmet Oz said, “Real wellness is much more than the lack of disease.  Health is about vitality and vigor and energy.  It’s about excelling at the many challenges that face humans daily.”  Besides eating healthy foods, the body needs to be exercised and moved on a consistent basis if we are able.  We don’t need to be fanatical about it, but the more we do for our bodies, the healthier we will be.

Spiritually, Jesus repeatedly said that the Kingdom of heaven is within you.  Everything we need to know is within, but sometimes we need to read other’s writings or listen to others speak so that we can remember.  We can go directly to Spirit for our answers and learn the truth of who we really are.  Being healthy spiritually also includes being loving, compassionate, kind, and having an attitude of gratitude. 

Oprah Winfrey said, “It isn’t until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are – not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within – that you can begin to take control.”  It is our right to be healthy in all three areas that make up the whole, but until we really believe the magnitude of who we really are, we will always find excuses to neglect taking good care of these earthly vessels.  It is up to us to be proactive in all areas of our health.  Regardless of our religious or belief systems, we are all living miracles and that’s pretty awe inspiring.

So many of us take our good health for granted and it is only when we lose our health that we come to the realization just how sacred our bodies really are, and then we wish we could go back and do things differently.  We only have this one body while gracing the earth with our souls.  Love it, nurture it, and strive for it to be its healthiest in mind, body, and Spirit.  You deserve to be the best that you can be!

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper August 16, 2013.
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Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Show of Respect

There are postings on Facebook that say, “If you show me respect, THEN I’ll show you respect!”  Except I think they have it backwards.  It should read, “I’ll show you respect first, and if you respect me, fine; if not, that’s okay, too.”  How many people go through life expecting others to be nice to them first, and then they’ll be nice in return?  How many times have we heard people say, “No one treats me nice, so why should I treat others nice?”  What you give, you get in return.

I enjoy Facebook because I have met and gotten to know some of the most amazing people all over the world!  Some I’ve even become close friends with even though we’ve never met.  They come from all colors, races, religions, cultures, and politics.  Even though many of us are different in so many ways, I respect them for who they are and for what they believe.  I also use Facebook to try to lift people up and maybe bring a smile to their face.  You never know when something you post will be that one positive message that someone needed at that moment. 

I don’t mind people sharing their thoughts and beliefs as long as they do so with respect and do not bash any person or group of people; nor do I like arguing and fighting over who is right or wrong.  I just don’t want that kind of energy on my page.  There have been numerous people whom I have de-friended because of their hateful, bigoted, and ignorant comments and posts.  Yet I have acquired an incredible group of friends, most being from the spiritual community all over the world; those who are promoting love, peace, kindness, compassion, and oneness. 

The great thing about Facebook is that I have control over who my friends are, what shows up on my stream, and what direction a conversation may take.  If I see something I don’t agree with, I can either ignore it, hide it, or if it’s really offensive, I can de-friend.  I don’t feel a need to go all negative on someone’s post.  It’s the same when I see something on TV or read something in the papers.  I respect other people’s right to have their own beliefs and opinions, and I have no desire to criticize, condemn, judge, or tear someone down because of any perceived differences.  (This is not to say I won’t stand up for an injustice, but I try to do so in peace.)

I take Jesus’ teachings very seriously when he said to love one another so I try to watch my words and actions carefully.  I ask myself, “Am I lifting someone up?  Or am I tearing them down?”  I’m definitely not perfect at it.  There are times when I’ll say or do something in a knee-jerk fashion.  Fortunately, it’s not often.  But when I do, I feel that loving, spiritual smack on the back of my head and I hear the words, “Karen!  This is NOT who you are!” 

When was the last time you received a compliment?  When was the last time you gave a compliment?  It seems easier to find fault and criticize.  Complimenting and saying something kind to others are gifts that keep on giving.  When you make someone else feel good, they’ll likely make someone else feel good, and on and on it can go.  Likewise, it makes us feel good for making someone else feel good!

We currently live in a world where it seems to be so much easier to be negative than it is to be positive, where the bad news gets all the press, and you see so many people just being so mean-spirited towards each other.  We feel powerless to change it.  Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  It begins with us.  We need to be very careful of our thoughts, the words we speak, and our actions because that will be the world we create around us.  Also, the way we treat others is a direct reflection on our own integrity and character, as well as the way we feel about ourselves.

Albert Einstein said, “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”  What a great concept to try to live up to!  We should ask ourselves…  When it comes to our time to leave this earth, how would we want to be remembered?  Personally, I’m hoping I can be remembered as someone who loved everyone I could, did whatever I could to lift people up, and maybe, just maybe, helped make this world a little bit better place.  But trust me…I’m a work in progress.


Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper August 2, 2013.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Our Brothers' Keeper

Imagine you have a well paying job with excellent benefits.  Your family lives in a beautiful home in a nice neighborhood; your children are healthy and doing well in school.  Your family has many friends and a great social life.  Your spouse has some health issues, but because of the insurance at work, everything is manageable. 

Now imagine one day you go into work and your boss calls you into his office.  Because the company is experiencing financial issues, they have to downsize many of their employees and you are one of them.  You are asked to collect your things and leave that day.  They give you a small severance package and you can take COBRA, the extended insurance coverage, but you have to pay full premiums which runs over $1,500 a month for your family. 

You arrive home and break it to your spouse.  You have a little saved up and the severance package will hold you for a few months, but the insurance premiums, mortgage, and other bills are going to take a big chunk out of your finances.  You try to get another job, but jobs are scarce.  Months go by and your money starts to dwindle.  COBRA runs out and you can’t get insurance because you cannot afford it and your spouse can’t be covered because of pre-existing conditions.  Because there is no health care, your spouse’s health rapidly declines.  Your children are complaining because you can no longer afford to pay for their cell phones and other gadgets. 

Soon, you can no longer make your mortgage payments and you lose your home.  Your family and friends start forgetting about you.  Without any other place to go, you live either out of your car or in homeless shelters.  Eventually, you end up on the street.

Many of us judge the less fortunate thinking that all they have to do is get a job, stop eating, stop taking drugs or drinking, all they have to do…..   It is only by fate that we are not in those same situations.  It can happen to any one of us.  Think it can’t happen?  Ask anyone who thought the same thing and yet it did happen.  No matter how hard people try, sometimes life just happens and they end up where they never thought they would end up.

In 1989, I was given a dream.  In this dream a “force” took me into various scenarios:  a bar filled with alcoholics and people who had given up on life, a homeless camp filled with adults and children, and a veterans’ hospital, filled with broken men and women.  As I looked at these people, I was able to see into their lives to see what they experienced and what they were feeling. Many lost hope.  Ever since then, I learned that there is always a bigger picture, and I learned to have so much more love, compassion, and understanding for those who are experiencing life at its worst.

How many of us look at the less fortunate and throw them by the wayside not caring about them or wanting anything to do with them?  We think they have nothing to do with us so why bother?  Yet they are still human beings and they still matter. 

How many politicians, religious leaders, and others want to completely push so many of these aside and not care for them?  Jesus said “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:40).   When we don’t care, what does that say about us as human beings, as Christians (or whatever your religion), as a society, or as a country?

Jesus, as well as all the great spiritual masters throughout time, taught us to be our brothers’ keeper and to be ambassadors of love, faith, hope, and charity.  When we turn our backs on the less fortunate, we are turning our backs on everything Jesus and these other masters taught and stood for.

We humans have the greatest capacity to be the ultimate humanitarians.  We are at our best when we take care of each other.   Will you be that humanitarian?  Will you help care for the less fortunate?  Will you be their advocate?   Will you speak up for them?  It is only by fate that we are not in their shoes.  Remember, it could be you in their shoes.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”  Dalai Lama

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper July 26, 2013.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Judge

The other day I stopped at a bookstore and there was a gentleman sitting at a table on the patio.  I gave him a cheerful greeting and a smile.  He glanced at me quickly and didn’t say a word.  My first thought was to call him a very unspiritual name (yes, even I have my moments). As usual, Spirit gave me the spiritual smack on the back of the head and gently said, “Karen, you don’t know what’s going on in his life.  He may be severely depressed and just barely able to function, he may have gone through something traumatic, lost someone, or he could have been so taken back that someone would acknowledge his existence that he didn’t know what to say.  Remember, there’s always a bigger picture.  Be careful with those quick judgments.”  Yeah, I know, but sometimes those judgmental thoughts just sneak right on in there before I can stop them.  There’s a saying: “You may not be able to stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop it from building a nest.”

We all have those judgments that just pop right on in there.  It’s what we do with them after they do their popping.  Do we expound on them, or do we allow Spirit to gently guide us back into alignment with the consciousness of love?

Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:1-2)  Jesus makes it very clear that we are not to judge others, and yet how many of us do?  So many think it’s our job to cast judgment on others and to tell others what God thinks about them.  We all do it to some degree.  Even me, though I know that spiritual smack will follow! 

We judge people because they may not believe as we do, they may look, dress, or live in ways we don’t approve, or they may come from a different religion, culture, political viewpoint, or whatever.  Many believe it’s up to us to set them straight; to live up to the way we think they should be.  That is not what Jesus or any of the other great spiritual teachers throughout time have taught!

It seems that so many people who call themselves Christians have taken Jesus’ teachings out of Christianity.  I want to make it clear that I’m not making a broad sweep statement.  There are many wonderful Christians who do follow the teachings of Jesus and who walk the talk.  It’s the ones who are speaking such hate towards others that are doing more harm than good.  I don’t know how many people I have spoken with who say they want nothing more to do with God or religion because of the hypocrisy they see in those who say they are speaking for God yet spew forth such negativity. 

When people judge, gossip, or bad mouth other people, whether on the airwaves or in print, it is more of a reflection of them than it is of those they are speaking about.  The barometer that I use is that I ask if they are speaking words of love, peace, kindness, and compassion.  If not, then they’re not speaking for the God whose foundation is love who is everyone’s God.

I love the diversity in this world and I thrive on it.  I have friends from all across the world who represent this wonderful diversity and I love every one of them.  My friends are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, white, black, brown, red, gay, straight, Democrat, Republican, and many more representing all areas of this beautiful diversity in human beings.  They are the most decent, kindhearted, loving people I know.  I’m certainly not going to judge them because of our differences.  In fact, I embrace it and focus on what we have in common!  Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” 

There was a great YouTube video of Dustin Hoffman talking about how all his life he judged women by their appearances.  He even got teary-eyed when he mentioned his regret of all the great women he could have known if he would have seen past their looks.  I thought this was so inspiring!  How many of us miss out on the chance to meet some really wonderful people because we are sitting in judgment of our differences? 

It’s my sole responsibility to love all people unconditionally.  I may not be perfect at it, but I choose to follow Jesus’ teachings when he commanded us to love one another.  It’s all about the love, my friends.  All about the love.

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen July 19, 2013.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Being a Good Samaritan

Recently, I was driving down 111 when a car went racing by me just as a young deer started to cross the road.  The driver wasn’t paying attention and hit the little guy full on causing it to go flying high into the air and landing on the median shoulder.  The car kept going.  I stopped, and of course, I’m hysterically crying and called 911.  The little guy didn’t die so I went over to him as he struggled to get up.  I’m waving at traffic trying to warn them not knowing what side of the road he might try crossing.  It looked like he either broke his hip or leg.  He crossed the road from where he came and went into the woods.  A couple of officers stopped and they went into the woods to see if they could find him (for which I thank them profusely for being so kind to me and for trying to find the young buck).  They said they saw him, but he kept running from them; therefore, they couldn’t do anything.   The incident was extremely traumatic for both me and the young deer.

To add to this story, even though people saw me frantically waving to slow them down, not one person stopped to see if I needed help or to see if I was okay!  Granted, I know many people are afraid to stop and help anyone anymore.  On the other hand, have our lives become so busy that we can’t take the time to stop and help someone in need?  I always try to stop to help people, but I will admit that there have been times when I was afraid to stop; therefore, I called 911 to let them know of the situation.

The other day I was on Facebook and saw a great video that showed one person showing kindness to someone, and it started a domino effect where the people kept paying it forward.  Imagine my surprise when I read the comments under the video saying that there is no kindness in the world anymore!  I reposted the video with a comment saying that if you don’t see any kind acts anywhere, then stop complaining and start being kind!  Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  So many of us complain about what’s wrong in the world, and yet we don’t help contribute to what’s right.  When did it become a rarity to be kind? 

The Bible tells a great parable about the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  Jesus had told an expert in the law to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  The neighbor asked who his neighbor was, and Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’  Jesus then asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”   The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”  Jesus then told him, “Go and do likewise.”

William Penn stated, “I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”  And even Dr. Seuss had something to say on the subject:  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

It doesn’t take much to be a Good Samaritan.  Just start with one kindness, one person at a time.  You’d be surprised how all those kindnesses can add up and you’ll be making a huge difference in the lives of others and in the world.

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper July 12, 2103.

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