Tag Archives: hope

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“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.

“Telling My Story”

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“When was the last time you told your story?” The question comes from a Native American Medicine Man.

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Sometimes we keep telling, sharing or re-writing our story the way I have for so many years. We can’t help the need to release and express that which presses on our heart. People may get tired of hearing about it, but it is only through the telling over and again that we are able to understand it all. Mark Nepo adds that, “It is the sweat and tears of the telling that bring the meaning out of its sleep as if no time has passed. It is the telling that heals.”

I was encouraged by today’s reflective reading to close my eyes and imagine the passages that have brought me to the person I am today. It’s ironic that I come across this right now as I’m re-writing my story. I’ve actually been noticing how many doorways and thresholds I’ve crossed through. The deeper I go into these various places the more I see clearly as if no time has passed. The journey, this time, is not a walk I do alone. I am holding the hand of my younger-self. Something my wonderful therapist once taught me to do. I let her lead the way as she walks me back through each doorway of our story. While it can still be painful at times to live through, I am able to remind my younger-self that it is okay now because we made it all the way through. I’ve learned to thank her this time too. For the strength, perseverance, bravery and the faith it took to get through one thing after another. My hope is that when every doorway has been gone through noted, and the last word is the end. That the child in me will not only see how much she is a part of who I am today, but that she will let go and become as I am.

 

 

“My Friend, Hope”

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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.

” I Can See Clearly Now”

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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.”

“Finding The Rightness within Right”

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“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

 

“Doing The Best We Can”

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The Story of the Hummingbird

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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”

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“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.

“As Long As You Are Breathing”

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As I went through my own struggle with my health issues this past year it was difficult to think of anything else except what I was going through. Bringing myself into a place of mindfulness that reminded me that I wasn’t living now and that I can’t ever get this time back took a conscious effort.

In Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes, “As long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than there is wrong, no matter how ill or how hopeless you may feel.”

He goes onto say:

“When we’re ill, we obsess about what’s going wrong in the body. We don’t think about the fact that since we’re alive virtually everything in the body is going right! And when we’re healthy, how often do we celebrate our good health? Hardly ever, for most of us.

So I’m going to suggest that you devote more mental space to celebrating and rejoicing in the ordinary things that are going right, and that you’re doing right, in your life.

-When you’re driving, notice that you’re driving with care and attention, and celebrate this. Say to yourself things like “Yay, me!”

-When you’re reading, pause once in a while and rejoice in the fact that you can read. (As a father whose oldest child is only just beginning to stumble through reading primers, I’m at the stage of recognizing how amazing this is.)

-Notice that you’re conscious. What an amazing thing that is! No one has the faintest idea what consciousness is — how matter interacting with matter can create this thing called “experience.” You’re a miracle!

-Pause and celebrate your good health. Say “thank you” to your body. If you’re in bad health, rejoice in the fact that your body is forever trying to heal itself, and that most things in your body are in fact functioning.

-Celebrate having access to clean drinking water, clean air, food.

-Celebrate having clothing and having possessions. If you’re poor and live in the developed world, you’re probably still richer than 90% of the world’s population.

-Celebrate family and friends.

-Celebrate the fact that you’re alive.

-Celebrate that you’re able to celebrate.

“My Bucket of Water”

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What happens when you rub two sticks together? It creates friction, and that friction creates fire. You build the fire by adding sticks and once it takes off your ready for the logs. The more logs you throw on the bigger it gets. That’s what happens with our negative outlooks. Each person throwing another log on the fire only makes the fire burn out of control.

As I wonder what to write about in the heat of all the turmoil going on in our country, I feel as if I’m up against a big bonfire that’s out of control. Where does an optimist fit into all this and what do I have to offer, but a bucket of water. Even though It’s not enough to put the fire out, I have to believe that by being true to my nature maybe, just maybe, my bucket of water can slow it down a little.  

“Optimism gives us bread crumbs of hope. Whether they lead to a rainbow is not the point. What matters is that we are given enough crumbs to keep going.” -Martin Seligmam*

Pessimism has already tried to rob me of my optimistic outlook on life. When I ask myself, how I could let this happen I’m able to see the fear, helplessness and lack of control I’ve let overwhelm me. It’s really not easy to be an optimistic, it takes a lot of work to remain positive in a negative situation. So I have to look beneath the troubles to remind myself of what I do have control of. Than I have to stop feeding the fire with my own thoughts by watching what I let seep into my mind, and slip out of my mouth.

We need all kinds of people to make the world a better place. Being true to myself I ask how can I help. Certainly not by burying my head in the sand. Everyone should be informed as to what’s going on in the world. It’s the amount of attention I give it, that makes or breaks my optimism. So working at being true to myself and giving hope beneath the misery, that’s my work. For what would be left to hold onto if we stop believing in what hope has to offer. I have a lot of work to do as I brush away all the residue that still hangs on. It won’t be easy with the controversy playing out everywhere I go. So I have to dig a little deeper, hang on to that hope and share where it takes me.

* “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life” by Dr. Martin Seligman, a renowned psychologist.

 

“Anything Is Possible Through God”

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As I sit in contemplation and prayer today, the beginning of the inauguration has already been set in action. I find that I am unable to enter into proper prayer and connection with the God I so desire to be one with without first laying aside my own feelings of anger and pride. It is hypocritical of how I try to live my life daily working to see the better good in everyone. Trump has continued to make that difficult, but today I put my faith and hope in the power God can do to change our ways. My prayer is that he has a change of heart in how he goes about things, and he sees the responsibility he has that affects every level of our county from our children to the world itself. I hold my hope in the famous words…that anything is possible through God.

An important note: I do not say this in support of any party. I am not conservative or a liberal. I base my decisions on what reflects the better good of all. Some might say that makes me a socialist. I say, if that’s what you think than what does that make God who wants nothing less. No labels please only know I speck out as one wanting to move on. There is much work to do yet, let’s do it through the grace of God.