Archive | November 2015

PREJUDICE

I often hear people talk about “soft bigotry.”  I guess that distinction makes them feel better.
What I find is, prejudice is prejudice, regardless of degrees or nuances.
The result is certainly the same.
I have just gone through an experience that proves my point.
While I would not say that people openly hate me, it does seem that they are afraid of me or uncomfortable around me.  They also expect very little in terms of ability.
I am a well trained, accomplished musician; yet i was denied permission to play in a particular setting for one reason:  I can’t see.
With that in mind, here is my poetic rant:

 

Preconceived notions
Really get me down,
Especially from people who
Jump to conclusions,
Unjustly deciding when they
Don’t know a thing;
Instantly characterizing with
Closed hearts and minds;
Evil is the author of prejudice.

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REMINDERS: TRUE FRIENDS

There are so many voices and opinions that don’t quite tell the truth.
many of them come from strangers, who have no idea about who I am or what I am like;  other sources are acquaintances, friends (in a sense) and relatives.
Some of what gets said is  just a bit distorted, even though it is meant in sincerity.
Other words are lies, nothing more; end of story.
The challenge seems to be that I get caught in any and all of these way too easily.

 

In moments like these, I need reminders of who I am.  These are true friends.
One is Quiet:  When I sit with her and allow myself to grow still, I find authenticity.
Music helps me so very much:  When I listen, compose or play, I find creativity.
Hard work gives me strength:  When I focus on things that need to be accomplished, I find purpose.
Dreams call me forward:  They spark ideas and give me hope.
People who know me well enough to be in my intimate circle are essential:  When they speak truth or simply comfort me, I find love.

 

DO A NEW THING

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The holidays are coming; in fact, they’re just about upon us.

For so many, this is anything but good news:

Memories of pain, sorrow and dread fill our minds, from the parent who was too drunk to take part in festivities to the one who acted in rage and violence…or violation; presents that never appeared under the Christmas tree because…

Disappointment, pain, grief and  anger color every attempt at celebration.

I have a challenge for you:  Set fresh expectations and do something completely new this year:  Something that brings out the best in your life.  If doing the traditional family thing feels more like a charade than authenticity, go in a different direction, such as helping at a shelter, singing in a choir, planning an outing…

Perhaps you will choose to have family gather.  Do that differently as well.  Instead of being the one to cook the whole meal, have everyone bring a favorite hors d’oeuvre or part of the meal.

Most important, ponder the importance and meaning of a holiday for yourself; then make your celebration fit.  There is absolutely nothing, written, spoken or implied, that says you have to do what your parents did.

Thanksgiving is first:  What are you grateful for?  How might you celebrate that?
Then comes Chanukah – the feast of lights.  How have you been sustained in hard times?  How would your gratitude and story be expressed most clearly?
Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’ birth is all about new beginnings:  God’s Son arrived in a dark, hurting world.  How has he come into your life?  What new approach would demonstrate your new ways best?

Then there is New Year’s Day.  For many. that means drinking and partying the night before; for  others, it’s football; still others take time to reflect on the year that has just ended and make resolutions.  I myself don’t put a whole lot of importance on this day.  If I mark it at all, it is as The Feast of the Holy Name – very liturgical, I know.  Personally, I like Epiphany, which is January 6.  IT is the celebration of Jesus as the light to the whole world – that means ussins!

I still explore and try new things during the holiday season.  The most important reason is, I’m still healing, growing and changing.  Things that might have worked a few years ago simply don’t fit now.  I find that experimentation and discovery fit me best.

SMALL THING; BIG IMPACT

I recently attended a day-long training program for people involved in nonprofit organizations.  This is a question that we were asked:

“What can we do that is small that will lead to large results?”

 

Good question, not only for organizations, but for living.

 

There are so many things that seem insignificant; yet their impact will be notable.

 

*Making one small change in activity level or diet can improve health tremendously.

 

*Calling on a neighbor builds relationships that strengthen the whole community.

 

*Planting a tree or having flowers in the yard that attract bees improves the environment.

 

*Walking away from a party where drugs or alcohol are being served can change your life.

 

What small things will you do today that could have large impacts?  Will you set a simple goal or stop doing something that brings you down?  Is

there someone you will forgive?  Perhaps you will choose to read a book instead of watching television or playing a video game.

 

A journey is completed, one step at a time.  Happy walking!

CLARITY

As clouds of confusion dissipate
And the sun of knowing shines,
I see more clearly.

 

As the clammer of voices grows still
So that I speak my own words,
I hear accurately.

 

As the dullness of repression lifts
So that I feel my own heart,
I learn who I am.

THE DINING TABLE

We become whatever we imagine, which is fed by the “food and water” we ingest:  All that we listen to, people we hang out with, books we read, things we watch, past experiences…

 

What is feeding your imagination?  Do you have a healthy, clean, nourishing diet of love and promise?  Do you feast on peace, hope and joy?  Do you drink the water of forgiveness?  Do you dine with people who comfort and encourage you?  Do you season your food with discipline, correction

and challenges?

 

One of the most powerful discoveries in recent years has been that our brains are “plastic.”  They build new neuro pathways whenever we are injured or encounter fresh challenges.  This may seem to apply on a physiological basis alone, but the truth is, our hearts and minds are built in exactly the same way.

 

We have the power to choose the food and drink for our souls.  We can learn truth and develop fresh perceptions or we can rehearse old lies and injuries.

 

Many things on the dining table” are words and events in our past that have told us who we are.  Some are life giving; some are not.  The antidote for the hurtful ones is forgiveness.  This releases us from the tether of the past and sets a new standard, making a brighter future possible.

 

Were some of those things said or done by you?  I think the hardest person we ever have to forgive is the one who looks back at us in the mirror.  Then we move on to parents, siblings, teachers and others.

 

Invite people who are on paths that lead to wholeness and success to join you.  We become like those we hang out with:  Entertain the “I’m nothing but a loser” crowd, you will follow right along; choose the ones who are “going for the gold,” you will be at the finish line with them.  I’m sure this is nothing new to you.  Mothers, fathers, grandparents and teachers tell us to choose our friends carefully from the time we start first grade!

 

Most important, befriend yourself.  After all, you are the one with whom you live, everywhere, all the time.  It’s hard to treat yourself with love and kindness if you don’t like who you are.  On the other hand, if you become comfortable in your own skin, choosing well becomes a way of

life.

 

There is a saying:  “People of equal health attract.”  AS you become clearer about yourself, others have less power over you.  You recognize lies, pitfalls and possible injury before you walk into them.
As your vision clears because there are fewer toxins, be sure to feed your soul with truth.  Who are you?  What is good, wholesome and strong?  What do you like?  What are your dreams?  Who do you know that brings out the best in you?

 

Bon appetite!