“The Freedom to Be Me”
America, the land of the free. Who wouldn’t want to live in a country where they could say, “I’m free to be me?” Is that not why our own ancestors came to this country in the first place? To live their lives in a way that would fulfill their potential and personal calling from God? But freedom is not merely entitled to those who come to America. The source of freedom was given to us by God from the very beginning when he created us in likeness. He taught and continues to guide us through his example. That through our thoughts, words, and actions we create the world we live in, the country, the family all the way down to ourselves. Freedom is not just a word. It is nothing without choice. That choice is like the stone you toss into the still waters, it creates a ripple effect and touches everything around you. So, while the freedom to be me is a beautiful God-given gift. It also comes with a great responsibility not just to the people around me but to this great big wonderful world I live in. The real power of freedom begins with you and me right where we find ourselves…now. So, on this special day of freedom and independence maybe we could all take a moment to pause and ask ourselves, am I adding to the better-good of all through my thoughts words and actions? Or could I make a new commitment on this 4th of July to do the best I can to forgive and love one another as God first loved us? I’m in! How about you?
“‘A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make a new tree.”-Amelia Earhart
What a beautiful thought and visual of what one act of kindness can create. But it takes a moment of deep contemplation to see the vastness of its growth and potential.
On the other side of this is the act of meanness. A single act of meanness throws out roots in all directions as well, and the roots spring up and make a new tree.
The roots begin with the seeds of our daily thoughts. Those thoughts start from the moment we awaken each morning. That’s why it’s so important to take a few moments to reconnect with that beautiful source of Divinity (God) that exist within each of us. We have to act quickly because the ego often gets in the way first. And before we know it we’re in automatic mood going through our day never taking the time to think about the seeds we’re planting, and the roots were spreading along the way.
We have to keep in mind that if we want a better world, it has to begin with every action we take. If you don’t know where to start, then join me with one simply act of kindness today. Think of all the beautiful trees we’ll grow together.
I’m not one to voice my opinion much about the things that go on in our country. I don’t like getting into political confrontations with people because everybody’s right and nobodies wrong, and nothing seems to change for the better. I am neither republican, democrat or independent. I vote as a non-partisan, but I don’t like being labeled. So, let’s just say I’m me. I try take everything I understand into consideration. Then I pray about it, because if decide anything without a God conscious mind all that I know to be good and right goes out the window. The things that we know to be true and right exist within every one of us. It doesn’t take rocket science to tap into it. All we have to do is get out of our own way. Push our pride aside and do what’s right. Do something because our children and grandchildren are dying because nothing is changing.
I didn’t always agree with what my Dad believed, but the one thing I admired about him was that he voiced his opinion to his representatives. He wrote letters about what he thought was right or wrong because he believed what he had to say was important enough to be heard. He was so passionate about it that he wrote with carbon paper so he’d have a copy of what he wrote to follow-up with. Today it couldn’t be any easier for us. All we have to do is look up our representatives on the internet and write a few lines to voice our own opinion. As a matter of fact, they prefer that to a letter. We need to do something, and we need to do it now. So, I encourage everyone reading this to take a few moments to consider what you think the right solution is to all these school shootings. Then write your representatives and voicings your opinion because that’s what they’re there for…to represent us. If they’re not, then let them know they won’t get your vote in the next election. Let’s take back the power that we’ve been investing in them.
Okay! I said enough. I’m getting a glass a wine. Than I’m sitting down to put my own words into action…I’m write my representatives now. I hope you will join me.
Today I went back to place I lived in Philadelphia. I haven’t seen since the day I ran away in 1968. That’s 50 years ago. It was an institution in Philadelphia called Stenton Child Center. My younger sister and I were supposed to feel fortunate that we were in such a nice place. Most of the places the state provided for abandon children were pretty run down. There is no place on earth that could be better than being with your own family no matter how difficult things are at home.
I didn’t know how I would react when I actually saw it. As we began to approach I felt only a moment panic, that quickly turned to curiosity. I couldn’t believe how much it looked the same after all these years. The memories so fresh in my mind and stories yet to tell. I couldn’t go inside because it’s now a shelter for homeless families, but I was okay with that because I felt like the monster it represented in my mind for so many years no longer had a hold on me.
On my way home I wondered about how this applies to what I wrote about yesterday in relation to place of shifting I find myself. Of all the different places I’ve been, this was by far the worst ground I’d ever worked in my life. But it’s also yielded the most growth in my life. It was a time of planting, growing, and nurturing. It was full of many cultivating opportunities that could have yielded many weeds, but instead continues to teach and bear much fruit.
I am not only in the winter of the season, but nature teaches another lesson in my life, that I am in the winter of my shifting cultivation. A time to rest, re-evaluate, contemplate, let go and chill out on a icebergs going with the rivers flow.
“On Earth as It Is in Heaven”
I ask myself today how can I inspire in these troubling times. I wonder if anyone has hope enough to listen or faith enough to see. What is faith but the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, at least that’s what it says in Hebrews 11:1. It was the faith of two blind men that opened their eyes to see. As they came before Jesus asking to be healed, he simple said to them, “Do you believe?’ “Yes Lord,” they replied. He touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done onto you.” And their eyes were opened. Matthew 9:27-30.
I think of myself as having a lot of faith. I am where I am today because of the hope and faith I held onto. Yet even when we’ve experienced miracles we can become complacent in our faith. I ask myself, do you have the faith of a mustard seed? That always boggled my mind. That all it takes is a tiny bit of faith to make good things happen in our life. Maybe it was the innocence of a child’s faith that allowed me to believe in what my mature adult self gets in the way of now. Maybe that’s the way we need to look at things…through the hopeful eyes of a child’s faith. Maybe then we can begin to experience all the good that God wants for us. Maybe then what is done on earth…will be as it is in heaven.
If Hope were a person
She’d be my best friend.
She’s been there for me,
through thick and thin.
She’s my shadow cast
from her beacon of lite.
Pointing the way
Toward the good and right.
We’ve been on a lot
of bumpy roads,
And some of the worst
were paved in hot coals.
I felt abandon,
Standing all alone.
Not even a shadow
to call my own.
It was in the silence
Hope’s voice became mine,
I knew in that moment
we’d become intertwined.
Hope doesn’t have to be a person
To be my best friend,
We’re already inseparable
To the very end.
At the end of the mini series “Genius,” Einstein is dying, and as his long time secretary looks at him with sadness, he takes a flower from an arrangement and holding it in his hand says, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
I looked at Tom with a childlike excitement, and said, “I learned that all by myself!”
Just a few simple lines, and yet they hold within them a great awakening, opening up a whole new world for us. You don’t even have to be a genius to discover it yoursełf. It reminds me of when my father-in-law had his cataract surgery. He said he could see things with such clarity and crispness, and the colors were so vivid. When our own blinders are stripped away we can also say, ” I can see clearly now.”
“Being “right” is the easy part. Finding the “rightness” within the opposite point of view is the challenge.” -Barry Johnson “Polarity Management”
I read this quote and thought of all the controversy and rhetoric that so many of us were caught-up in just a month or so ago. I don’t know about you but I’ve taking a step back lately needing to catch my breath and move onto healthier hopeful positive things that bring some goodness back into my life. It’s created some wedges between me and some of the people I care about. I find it’s unfortunate because it’s behind the wall of the internet that so many things have been said, misunderstood, taking out of context and assumed without the advantage and respect of a face to face conversation. Body language and facial expression play a big part in expression our passions. But more than that don’t we owe at least the benefit of the doubt to those we loved and cherished for so many other reasons that go beyond politics?
I looked at the front page of the Lancaster newspaper today. Jeff Hawkes a reporter for the LNP had a perfect article called the “Bridge Tables” to go with the thought provoking quote above. It’s about a way of bringing people of different political views together in a way that they can discuss their differences in a respectful way with nothing between them except the table they sit at. The event is called the Left/Right Café and the premise behind it is to heal America’s political divide. The organizers Eric Sauder and Jamie Beth Schindler’s idea is for liberals and conservatives to come together for a respectful conversation getting past stereotypes and broadening understanding in a safe comfortable environment. Breaking bread and sharing food often has a way of bringing people together in a non- threating way. The hope is to find some understanding and a place of common ground, and from the article it appears that’s what these willing conversations did. It opened each other’s eyes that sometimes what is right to us is not so different from what the other persons believes, but even if it’s not giving one a chance to explain themselves can allow us to better agree to disagree. And who knows maybe we’d learn a fact or two that holds some truth within it giving us a chance to broaden our perspective on beliefs.
For local readers, I’ll pass on that if you want to know more you can contact Jamie Beth Shchindler at LANCoalition@gmail.com
The Story of the Hummingbird
Michael Nicoll Yahgullanaas
One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest – a huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.
This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, “Don’t bother, it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop, you can’t put out this fire.” And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a mocking voice, “What do you think you are doing?”
And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, “I am doing what I can.”
I often feel like the tiny hummingbird in this great big world. Only I am more like the animals that stand in at the edge of the stream watching the chaos happening right in front of me. I become so overwhelmed by the size of the problem that all I think about is the problem itself rather then what I can do to put the fire out that the problem created in the first place. We all hear the gentle buzz of the hummingbirds’ wings inside us. It’s that little tiny voice trying to be heard over the roar of the fire. It’s calling us to do something. But how can little-ol-me do anything to change what’s wrong in the world? There’s always something we can do whether we can fly the plane that drops tons of water or fly like the little hummingbird with one drop at a time. We do what we can…simple by using what we’ve been blessed with to make a difference.
“Driving Miss Daisy”
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
We are the driver of the vehicle in which we exist. Like in the movie “Driving Miss Daisy” the spirit of God sits in the backseat and anxiously asks where you’re going to take me today? I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me. I can’t wait to see the world and life, through your eyes, through your perspective, through your guided tour.
When I look at it this way, it makes me sit up a little straighter in the driver’s seat. How can I not become excited myself to see life in return through the eyes of my inner spirit.
I can see this as an opportunity to show all the wonders and beauty of life as I experience or mindlessly drive along forgetting about passenger I’m driving for in the first place.
I can ask the spirit what do you want to see today? Then in a mindful meditative way allow that knowing to lead the way.
I can get up and route out a map and plan of where I want to take the spirit, but then I’m taking charge as I get caught up in the work of it rather than the spontaneity of our experience together. Then I’d be looking in the rearview mirror wondering after all my efforts where my passenger got to. Feeling the loss of of the spirit I’d have to pull over try to figure out what went wrong. Once I get out of my own way I can see the spirit coming forward leaning its arms on the back of the front seat saying, “let’s just see where life takes us today. With each place we go let’s look for the good, joy and beauty even in the most desolate of places. Let’s bring a sign of hope and place it in the ground where it’s needed, and let’s experience it together as one.”
“Onward Connie, I can’t wait to see what you see, to experience what you feel, and to watch your own excitement along the way, and as for the rest of it we’ll figure it out as we go.