Category Archives: good faith

Non or anti? An action question for Black History Month, and other times

“We need to accept that what hurts one of us hurts all of us.”

Have a look at this video from theguardian.com featuring Marlon James. A short video to provoke thoughts.

Are you non-racist or anti-racist? As in, are you opposed to the idea in principle, but co-exist with it without much thought, or do you actually do something about it? 

The question might make us squirm a little. It’s Black History Month, so it’s a timely question for now, but I like that this video steps beyond racism to ask the same question of other marginalized groups.

The ones facing persecution aren’t the ones that need to be brave. 

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/commentisfree/video/2016/jan/13/marlon-james-are-you-racist-video

 

Training ourselves to be kind

If you want to spend your day in despair over the state of humanity, the fastest route to that sentiment is through the comments section on YouTube or any other internet site.

Comments sections put the meanness, pettiness, ignorance, judgment and narrow thinking of some members of our society on full display. I simply cannot read them, or I have to spend time after giving myself a chin-up pep talk.

unfoldingSociety needs a kindness injection. And there might be a way.

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggest we might be able to enhance our tendency toward kindness. All it takes is some meditation, some training and some practice.

Participants in a study worked at building their compassion “muscle.” Those who did responded to others in need with caring and a desire to help. They became more altruistic.

Goodness knows we need more people like that.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is not the first to propose physical, spiritual, mental and emotional benefits of meditation; it has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase serotonin levels, reduce pain, and increase creativity and mental sharpness. Their study adds another motivational level to begin the practice.

Okay everyone? Let’s change some brains.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2543812/Can-train-KIND-Just-seven-hours-meditation-rewire-brain-claims-study.html#ixzz3xcdrISBE

Many brilliant lights or one burnt one: What’s your perspective?

Once again, the insights of author Paulo Coelho inspired my writing.

During one Christmas Eve dinner, he spent time complaining about something that was not perfect in his life. His thoughtful wife pointed out the beautifully illuminated Christmas tree nearby with one burnt bulb among the brilliantly shining ones.

“It seems to me that instead of thinking of this year as dozens of enlightened blessings, you chose to look at the one light that did not glow,” she said.

What is the ratio of enlightened blessings to burnt bulbs in your life? 

My eyesight is not good. Most days I don’t consider this a blessing, but at Christmas I do. When I take off my glasses, a Christmas tree looks star-filtered to me. The lights lose their sharp edges and take on a starlight glow. When I admire a Christmas tree in that soft focus I think about how lucky I am to see a Christmas tree in a way that my sharp-eyed friends can’t.

Best of all, when I look at a tree that way, I couldn’t possibly pick out any burnt bulbs.  

This month, whether you enjoy Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the solstice, or any other celebrations, may you bask in the glow of so many enlightened blessings that you don’t notice any dark spots.

Read Paulo Coelho’s post here: My wife and the burnt light

If there are burnt bulbs on this tree, I can't see them.

If there are burnt bulbs on this tree, I can’t see them.

The morning after: Breathe . . . all shall be well

I am writing this post early in the morning on Monday, October 19. It’s federal election day here in Canada, but I don’t know yet what’s going to happen. The polls haven’t even opened in my region. When I finish writing, I will pre-schedule this post to run tomorrow morning when the results are in and people will either be mourning or celebrating. I don’t yet know what’s going to happen, but I do know this.

_____________

“The arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

All shall be well.

No matter what happens, all shall be well.

If you invested your whole being in the Conservative party, and they will not form the next government, it’s okay. All shall be well.

If you believe that Justin Trudeau is the sure and certain leader for our country, but the Liberals did not win enough seats, it’s okay. All shall be well.

If you live and breathe the politics of the New Democratic Party, but Thomas Mulcair’s NDP candidates did not show well, it’s okay. All shall be well.

If you believe that Stephen Harper is a megalomaniac who holds too tightly the reins of his ministers and the public service and does not respect human rights, but the people of Canada voted his party back into power, it’s okay. All shall be well.

If you believe that Justin Trudeau is just not ready, but the votes carried him into the footsteps of his father as prime minister of this country, it’s okay. All shall be well.

If you believe that Elizabeth May is a fine candidate and her Green party has the potential to re-shape our country in a positive way, but the Greens still didn’t manage to gain any political headway, it’s okay. All shall be well.

I have close friends in all of those camps. Close friends of mine live and breathe the politics of vastly different parties. I love all those people. Not a one of them is evil incarnate.

That’s how I know that all shall be well. 

Since confederation, this country has been led by either Liberal or Conservative prime ministers. Collectively they shaped this country into, what I believe is, the finest democracy in the world. Each one of them changed us for the better in some way. Each one of them made mistakes.

In between elections, the parties not in power raged about the travesties of the governing party. They ranted about what they would change. After all the bluster though, when changes in government happened, the new governing party kept what worked—even if they had raged against it—and changed what didn’t.

My diverse friends, although they approach it from different directions, are all driven by the same ideal: the building and maintenance of a great democracy.

I believe that Martin Luther King Jr. was right. Events which, at first blush, appear horrific or unjust, often lead to a greater good.

“The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” All shall be well.

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Serenity

 

Faith, whether we claim it or not

More food for thought from Bishop Steve Charleston

_________

“We do not know what is around the next corner.

We do not even know what will pass in our lives between sunrise and sunset. Therefore, whether we claim it or not, we live each day in faith.

We believe. We believe in ourselves. We believe in our family. We believe in others who are close to us.

Some of us believe beyond that, to name a loving power that guides us, to walk with others who pray with us. But we all believe, in some way, in our own fashion.

Let that thin thread, that simple affirmation, bind us in a shared respect. We are not strangers in shadows, but believers searching for the light.”

—Bishop Steve Charleston

unfolding

Lawn-cutter or gardener: Ray Bradbury

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies . . . A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do . . . so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching. . . . The lawn-cutter might just as well not been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

—From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

In this season of gardening, it is worthwhile to contemplate: What flowers am I growing?

What am I changing with my touch, so it transforms into something more beautiful and a little like me when I take my hands away? 

A place for the soul.

A place for the soul.

Sourav Adhikari

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