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Archive for the ‘Universal-Truth’ Category

Have you ever felt like a cactus, you know, able to thrive in the harshest of climates with very little sustenance?  Perhaps we all feel that way from time to time.
This insight came to me recently when, in the midst of accepting many requests to professionally link with others, responding to numerous emails, and reading through countless tweets, I realized that it was all meaningless, empty activity pretending to be “connections with others.”
My Twitter followers probably never actually read my tweets; the ratio of personal email messages to professional and/or junk is minimal, and most of the people in my professional network honestly would probably not even notice if I dropped out of their network and stopped posting in discussions.  Furthermore, because I am one of the many people who has put herself out in the public domain so to speak, like others, I am subject to attacks.  It is perfectly expected and reasonable that not everyone will agree with me professionally and/or will know more than I do; however, when the attacks become personal and are without provocation, that is where I draw the line.  Lastly, it sometimes seems arbitrary how these professional and social networking sites impose rules.  I had one message on Craig’s List that was posted under “Books – For Sale By Owner”  flagged and removed because it was too commercial – really?   And on Twitter, people like Guy Kawasaki can post a tweet literally every 1-3 minutes, yet my account gets suspended because I posted one “thank you in advance for reading my book” message [without any links] to 50 or so different book clubs on Twitter.  By the way, that same day, I received a direct tweet from one of my followers asking me if I “wanna f*ck?” but apparently, that is allowed.
There are many positive aspects to social and professional networking sites, but there is also a downside and a dark side.  Many recent stories about young people committing suicide in large part due to cyber-bullying is one stark example of these negative sides.
My life philosophy and approach is to be kind.  It’s just sad when someone with good intentions who strives to be kind while earning an honest living by sharing inspirational writings can be persecuted, attacked, and blocked.  So, to answer the question that was posted at the beginning of this post, ‘Yes,’ sometimes I do feel like a cactus, but I am deeply grateful for the handful of people in my life with whom I enjoy genuine, loving relationships who provide enough sustenance to thrive in this harsh environment we call life.
May we all find our way to be kind, accepting, forgiving, and compassionate as we navigate our way through social and professional networks.
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Recently, two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon turning a beloved event into a bloody scene of destruction.  After this recent bombing in Boston, Massachusetts USA for which there was constant and extensive media coverage that continues to this day, a colleague pointed out that a near identical situation also occurred in eastern Afghanistan, without so much as a blip on our American conscience.

My colleagues’ point will no-doubt resonate with many, and will also serve to once again highlight the fact that we Americans can be quite ego-centric.  The perception is that Americans tend to focus on what happens to us and how we suffer, without much thought about the suffering of others in the world.  While we rally after an earthquake in Haiti or a tsunami in Japan, our attention and concern is not long-sustained.

On the other hand, it would be emotionally painful and ultimately unhealthy and counter-productive to focus our attention on all the pain and suffering around the world because it is heart-breaking and never-ending.

Do the people of other countries focus their attention on the pain and suffering of everybody in all other countries around the world?

Do people in Afghanistan worry about the Americans who were affected by the bombing in Boston?  Probably not any more or less than the people in America worry about the Afghanis in Kabul where insurgents killed six police officers at a checkpoint and a suicide bomber killed three civilians at a shopping bazaar in separate attacks.

Perhaps the best people in any country can do is focus on that for which they can do the most good and with which they have the most connection – which is focus their concern on people and events closer to home.  And that does not make us insensitive or uncaring.  It just makes us human – with limitations and imperfections.

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Hello and Welcome to another Beautiful Day,

Most people go through life waiting for things to happen and then reacting.  To react is simply to show a response, the actual response is your reaction.  If one were to primarily go through life as a ‘reactor,’ that is a quite passive approach and it leaves you at the mercy of whatever or whoever may happen upon you.  It’s kind of a precarious way to live, as well as physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting.  There is also danger in being a reactor because whenever you react impulsively, at the height of emotion when rationality is impaired, it will lead to undesirable consequences.

 BUSH PROCLAIMS WAR

Someone once said that life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react.  The good news is that you have 100% control over your reactions.

A better alternative than reacting is to act;  to be one who initiates action, be the one to make things happen rather than merely waiting to react to other people or events.  By taking action, you will feel more in charge of your life; by setting and achieving goals, you will develop a sense of accomplishment.  By taking some initiative, you will also likely react better when things happen because you have gained confidence, power, and a sense of self-efficacy.  So act, don’t react. 

The best alternative is to be proactive. When you are proactive, you anticipate, prepare for, intervene in, and take control of future occurrences or situations.  “Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions…” ~Stephen Covey.  Being proactive is good for you, others, and the environment.

Proactive people are determined. Against all odds, they will prevail in life.  You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”~ George Lorimer

Proactive people are movers and shakers. “The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move.” ~Brian Tracy

Proactive people are optimists who set high goals. As Paul Harvey said,I’ve never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.” As for setting goals, A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it.”~ Unknown

Proactive people are smart, they pay attention, learn quickly, apply what they have learned in creative ways, and they do not repeat mistakes. “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” ~Albert Einstein

Let’s face it; there really is no excuse not to be proactive because most things in life are predictable, especially if you pay attention – even the negative events such as losing a job, ending a relationship, or experiencing financial stress.  For example, at some point, we are all going to have to deal with death – our own death as well as death of our loved ones.  Rather than deny it or avoid it, think about it, anticipate it, and develop a preliminary plan. 

What can you do right now to plan for when you pass?  You can write your will, specify your wishes in a living will and discuss those wishes with people closest to you, take out insurance, and most importantly enjoy your life. 

As for being proactive regarding the death of loved ones, I certainly don’t intend to imply that you should hasten anyone’s passing! 🙂  However, I do mean that it would be preferable to allow yourself to think about their inevitable death… “What would I do if my [husband, wife, Mom, Dad] died suddenly or unexpectedly?” “Where would I live?”  “What would I do financially?” Would I be able to keep my job and still take care of the kids?”  These may not be pleasant questions to ask or answer, but they are proactive – and trust me – in the sad event that something unexpected happens, it will be a huge comfort to have a plan in place when you are grieving.

All around us there are signs, words of wisdom, teachers, and sage old advice all of which is designed for the express intention of showing us the way and helping us to be proactive in our lives.  Sacred scriptures offer a wealth of wisdom and advice, but to really understand the essence of this esoteric knowledge, what these teachings seek to impart, and how to apply the lessons in your life, you must prepare yourself. You must be proactive.  This preparation involves cultivating your awareness, your mindfulness, your love and compassion.  It involves quieting your mind, stilling your body, transcending the limitations of the ego. Stop rushing through your life as if it were a race, slow down, look, listen, and learn.   

Traditionally, esoteric knowledge was transmitted orally from teacher to student and was only given when the teacher was sure that the student had transcended ego and would not use the knowledge to gain power over others.  That is not the case anymore.  Knowledge, esoteric or not, is widely available from people, in books, on the Internet (and in this column!)  There is no excuse not to be informed and proactive in your life.

It is often quoted that when the student is ready, the master will appear.  Well, I’ve got news for you, YOU are the master of your own life and everything you need to know is readily available.  The question is, how will you apply this knowledge and how will you choose to live your life?

Reactive, active, or proactive?

[NOTE: The next column will not post until Monday 30 November as I will be enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with my family.  For those of you who read daily, thank you.  Quick update:  I did not achieve my goal of reaching 1000 daily readers by Thanksgiving.  Consequently, I have revised my goal and will keep on going.]

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Hello and Welcome to another Beautiful Day,

When I was in graduate school, one of the assigned texts was entitled Bridges Not Walls: A Book About Interpersonal Communication by John Stewart.  That says it all, doesn’t it? Almost everything in life comes down to interpersonal communication.  If only we would build bridges to connect with each other rather than walls that divide us, the world would be a kinder, gentler, safer place.

Bridges not walls book

Humans have been building walls to separate themselves from other humans throughout history, e.g. the Great Wall of China was built more than two thousand years ago for that purpose…

great_wall

… and more recently the Berlin Wall was built for the same reason. The Berlin Wall divided not only a city, but also people.  People were divided by ideological differences when Germany was split into two states at the end of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War. West Germany was a parliamentary democracy and NATO member, while East Germany was a totalitarian communist dictatorship allied with what was then the Soviet Union. Ideological differences contributed to communication breakdowns that led to the building up of walls, both figuratively and literally. But twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall came down thereby reopening travel and communication. 

berlin-wall coming down

World War II was the largest and most destructive conflict in history, resulting in an estimated 55 million deaths worldwide. Looking back through the lens of history, one can readily see how conflicts between nations result in great divides, but how readily are we able to see the way conflicts between people also lead to building walls? 

interpersonal conflict

Within your own interpersonal circles of family, friends, and colleagues, how many conflicts are currently festering?  What is your role in these conflicts?  What, if anything, are you doing to resolve the conflicts and restore peace?  Finally, if we cannot resolve conflicts and restore peace within our own spheres of influence, why should we expect our politicians and diplomats to accomplish the same?

henry-kissinger

Is it possible for people with ideological differences to peacefully coexist?  Of course, and the way to accomplish this harmony is with acceptance.  “When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” ~ Peace Pilgrim

PeacePilgrim

No matter how different our beliefs and practices may appear on the surface, there is always common ground. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.  I will meet you there.” ~ Rumi

filed of flowers

In that field, all our roots are connected.  At the root of every human being is a desire to be loved and accepted.  Granted, you may have to dig deep to find common roots with some people, and there may be a lot of rot to go through before you get there. 🙂

root rot

Be mindful that acceptance is not the same as resignation, nor is it apathy. “Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there is all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction.  Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens.” ~ Arthur Gordon

Acceptance

“Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation, then deciding what you’re going to do about it.” ~ Kathleen Casey Theisen

oll-up-sleeves

Facts are facts; people are people, and what has happened has already happened.  The only thing that matters and that you can do anything about is determine how you will respond.

respond with love

How will you respond?  The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  So, have you responded with love and acceptance in the past?  Even if you have not, you are not doomed to keep repeating responses and negative behavior patterns.  You have free will.  You determine the course of your life.  You can change.

metamorphosis

You can decide to treat people the way you would like them to treat you.  Will it always happen in a one-to-one correspondence?  No.  Some people will behave badly no matter how loving you are.  When they do, you walk away creating as much distance as you can between you and that person.  Create distance, but not a wall, because when you build a wall to protect yourself from others, you end up living in an emotional prison.  So, don’t close yourself off.

emotional prison

Be open.  Be accepting.  Build bridges, not walls.  

bridge

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