Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Marching steadily toward ONE

Once someone told me that one major goal in life was to have less distance between our lowest lows and our greatest highs. I've pondered that for decades. Life is full of peaks and valleys. We will have lows. We will experience highs.
Did she mean that there should be greater distance in terms of time? Did she mean that the lows should not be so low and the peaks should not be so high? Was it about the separation of joy and pain? Did she mean that a steady and slow ascent would prevent a crash?
She also gave me a scale on which to measure events. It was a life pain scale - 1 to 10 - ten being death. If something hurt or upset me, where did it fall on that scale? That scale held even greater meaning. Ten - I understood. Ten - gone - I understood. Still, in the middle of stress, it's hard to use the scale to sort things.
Ten - gone - is going to happen in our lives. We cannot stop that. It's the cycle of life. It's most painful because we have no choice about it. Gone is really gone. Death.
Perhaps my friends point was not to make 10's out of fives in our life. And don't expect every part of life to be stress free or pain free. Perhaps she meant that we should savor those moments of joy and let them carry us. Let those moment of joy lift us and sustain us past any potential lows. Instead of going from 10 to 1, we can be carried by those better times and know that there's more to build.
As we build more care free times, the lows turn into only the things we cannot control. They become less frequent. They are isolated and are only counted when they are truly those 10 moments - those things we cannot prevent. We experience, anticipate and live in greater joy. Our steps are steady in a gradual accent. If we can do that, we will be surrounded by others who will cushion us and prevent our falling into the greatest depths. We will experience pain but we will not be allowed to fall endlessly. There will be less distance from the peak and we will ultimately experience something much greater than we would have imagined. Perhaps it is about the view. If we spend more time closer to ONE, ten is not the norm. ONE transcends and carries us above all else. The more we live, the closer we are to one, the less we experience a sense of permanence with 10. Death does not define, nor does it hold us. It cannot hold us because we have become more grounded and much closer to ONE.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What are you growing?

It's rather amazing that 3 little packets of seeds can result in hundreds of plants. Each of those plants will have seeds that can yield hundreds of plants. And on and on. Just one seed can eventually create an entire forest if given a chance to grow and flourish.
It's a miraculous example of the circle of life. It's an example of how very small things can create enormous impact if they grow and flourish.
Everyday, often without purpose or great thought, we all plant seeds through our thoughts, words and deeds. We hope that our negative thoughts, words and deeds don't take hold and grow. We hope that our positive ones grow and flourish.
The negative ones are weeds that choke out the positive. It's important to realize that. Those weeds can take over our life and leave no room for the seeds we want to grow. We would not fertilize and water the weeds in the garden. We would fertilize and water the good plants and eliminate the weeds. We put our time and energy into what we want to grow in our garden. Get rid of the weeds early and it's not so hard to keep them from taking over. If we let them grow, we've got a tougher job to do.
We should give more thought to the types of seeds we are planting every day. Be focused on the reminders of how our seeds are growing. Reminders are all around us if we become aware.
Have you heard yourself say "I'll never forget what xxxx did?" It may be good or it may be bad. It's a seed that person planted and it grew with you. How many people did you tell how that person made you feel? The seed grew with you and you planted more seed from it. A forest grows just like that.
When someone takes time to tell you they appreciate and enjoy something you do, it's a reminder of a seed you planted with them. Be joyful in that reminder. Let that be a seed that grows your determination to tell someone else how you appreciate and enjoy them. That's how a forest grows.
Every once in a while, we do need to caution friends and neighbors about an invasive weed. We want to be cautious not to give it a kind of energy that could actually help it grow.
Over the course of time, you'll begin to notice there are fewer weeds as you grow the positive. You will attract positive people. You will experience positive growth. As you become more aware of the seeds you're planting, you will see that even the smallest, seemingly insignificant thoughts, words and deeds are growing something. Tend the seeds you want to grow.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Recently I watched a Ted Talk about how humans are different from other creatures. In the talk he said it's our ability to create - our imagination. We have created elaborate things - elaborate systems - intricate "realities".
Think about any major concern you have and ask yourself if your dog, cat or the bird outside your window cares a bit about it. Hmmm? Didn't Jesus say something about that?
It seems that 99.9% of the things we worry about, fight about, and consume our thinking are totally made up by us - human kind. Money, a "work week", political systems, religious theology, highway systems, technology - humans create it. If we don't like how they are working, we need to change the reality. At some point every one of the things I mentioned above came from an individual with an idea. They shared that idea and convinced people to join in.
So, if we don't like what is going on, we need to create something else that actually works. If you think you have the right answer, please don't hold out on us. I'm ready to get behind the next great idea. It's not out there or up there with people who are touting more of the same old thing. It's right here at our level. We are the creators. Let's get something done. Here. You. Me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

If you think about it....

Change is hard. Even if we know the change is good, it's challenging. If we aren't convinced the change is good - if it requires that we step outside of our comfort zone and what we have previously believed to be true - it's very hard.
Often we fill the unknowns with dangerous outcomes. Those imagined dangerous outcomes can loom so large that we cannot accurately weigh the risks and the benefits. The thing we fear could happen is so big that it doesn't matter how small the possibility is or the historical facts regarding it ever happening. It might. It could. And that is enough.
Once that fear has taken hold, we don't care about another living soul. We don't care how our reaction to our fear may hurt another person. Realistic or not, we have entered survival mode. That's how phobias grow and freeze a person's ability to cope. We're seeing a lot of that in our country right now and it's freezing our ability to cope with the realities around us. The fears are so large that many are unable to grasp reality at all.
Yes, there are deadly spiders but spiders are not lining up at the border ready to take over the country.
The airplane you are boarding is likely much safer than the car you are driving.
Snipers are not hiding behind trees in your neighborhood.
Transgender people are not lurking in your bathroom waiting to hurt you.
Marriage equality is not going to be the cause of your divorce and it won't destroy your family unless you create cause.
Change is hard. Give yourself a little time to accurately assess the situation. Base your decisions on factual information and not imagination. Take a few steps to learn something new.
Yes there are spiders that are deadly. Yes, planes sometimes crash. Yes, there are snipers in the world. Who do you know that has been killed by a spider, been in a plane crash or been victim of a sniper? That might tell you something, if you think about it.