Life is like a mirror, smile at it, and it smiles back at you. -Peace Pilgrim
I am working on a new exercise. It’s one for the face called a smile. I am cursed with the Miller frown. I don’t even realize most of the time that I’m doing it, so if you see me frowning smile at me and I’ll give you one back. I certainly don’t frown because I’m unhappy or miserable at least most of the time I can say that. I think I have a combination of things going on here one came from an unhappy childhood when I had something to frown about, then there’s genetics, and now age, when everything begins to sage including the face. Even now, as I write this, I catch myself going into that frown that comes about when I’m concentrating on something.
I remember the day I married Tom. I was smiling so much that by the end of the day, my face hurt. As with all exercises, no pain, no gain as they say. So, I read that the best way to do this exercise is to have a mirror nearby so you can catch yourself at a glance. It’s a kind of hard to do that. So, I’ve decided to let life be my mirror reflection. My smile is the practice, and your smile is the strength I gain!
“I am not young enough to know everything.”
We only know and understand to the extent of what we’ve learned in our lifetime. So, to look at another and expect them to understand something from our perspective is an unfair approach to take. Each and everyone one of us is doing the best we can with what we know and believe. Maybe a better approach to take then our expectations of others is simple to live our truth in the hope of being the best example we can be.
“Is it true?…Is it necessary?…Is it kind?”
Does anyone use their head anymore? You know that thing that sits inside our skull, behind our eyes, between our ears. It’s like a seed in a shell that is nurtured by our thoughts, and what we feed it becomes the world we create around us.
When I was growing up, we were constantly being reminded to think about what we say before we speak. It gives us a moment of pause before we say something stupid or worse than that something we’ll regret.
Everyone has an opinion about this or that today, and there’s nothing wrong with sharing your thoughts if you know the facts behind them. Where does your truth come from and what is it founded on?
While my truth may not be your truth, I sure do want it to represent and reflect my values. Truth should not hold us bound to any one way of thinking. It’s supposed to set us free according to Jesus.
The only hard thing about guarding the gateway of our lips is taking the time to stop the words before we let them slip out. Rumi gives us a sifter to run our thoughts through by simply asking ourselves:
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?
As I sit watching the funeral of our 41st President Bush I am awestruck by all those who represent us as Americans and how we can come together as a nation in the most poignant moments in our country.
We as Americans crave this kind of hope right now. That the possibility for a country we can once again be proud of lives on in such an honest example as President Bush represented.
I heard a women say only yesterday that we as a nation need more hope.
As one great leader leaves us the last thing I feel he leaves us with is “hope.”
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” -Pema Chodron
I love painting pictures with my words. It starts when I’m trying to figure something out. I visualize what I’m thinking in an animated or metaphoric way that helps me make sense of it. So, what is my carpet bag of baggage?
It’s a rug big enough to fit all the stuff I’ve collect along the various journeys of my-life. It’s an ugly carpet, full of untruths, most of them having to do with my self-esteem. It’s all tied together with the black rope of fear. I’m so used to carrying it around that I don’t even feel how much it’s weighing me down most of the time. It’s in those moments when I’m paying attention to life that it falls off my shoulder. It’s a wonderful feeling as if I’ve sucked in some helium and I’m floating right above the ground. And I wonder why it can’t be like this all the time.
When the black rope of fear sees me happy it starts to untie itself around the carpet. Moving like a snake. Fear knows I’m afraid of snakes. It’s the way it gets my attention. As the carpet bag begins to slowly open all the dreadful demeaning voices jump around shouting me, me, me pick me. All it takes is for me to believe one demeaning thought of worthiness, and I’ll find myself standing upon the rug that fear uses, to pull the joy right out from under me.
But I’m seeing a little clearer now. They say, you have to see what needs changed, before you can change it. As the quote says about, “nothing goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” I’m learning one thing for sure, that as big as fear looks, what lies on the other side of it is majestic.
I posted the other day about being a ward of the state when I lived in Philadelphia. As I mentioned it’s been 50 years since I ran away from Stenton Child Center. I was 15, and the year was 1968. The same year Martin Luther King was assassinated. I can remember to this this day the screams I heard from the supervisors, and the other black girls in my section. I was one of the few white girls living in a prominently black community. I knew little about him, but then I didn’t know much about anything that was going on in the world. I was too busy worrying about what was going on in my little world.
I won’t get into all I went through in this post. What I will say is that no white person could ever possible know what it’s like to be in a black person’s shoes. I did, however, know how it felt to be a minority among the black people. Eventually there was no color between us, we were all in there for the same reason, and that became our bond. So, for a short time we were living Dr. King’s dream of equality for all in our own little part of the world. Unfortunately, when he died the bond between us was severed again, and we went back to being black and white instead of just human beings.
People ask me all the time; how did you live through all that and turn out to be okay? Like Martin Luther King, I had a dream too, and believed in a God who said it was possible. But God never gives us anything we don’t have to work at. Whether it’s a young girl dreams or a strong man’s passion, nothing is handed to us without hard work and sacrifice. I don’t have to wonder if dreams come true. I am living proof that they do, but keeping that dream alive takes work too. Maybe if we all had a dream of better things instead of focusing on what divides us we’d see the one thing that makes us all the same…our humanity.
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.
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.
LPhoto from Life Quotes
Sometimes the truth can be so twisted and distorted that the lie becomes our truth, and the truth becomes the lie. But we always have that inner voice knocking on the door to our heart. It’s the one go to we have, that we can rely on to untangle the ugliness in our life.