Category Archives: Gratitude
For Canada Day, for Independence Day, for those figuring out how to deal with Brexit . . . a poem I wrote for my friend, Ellie Barrington, who is for the Light. Something for us all to aspire to.
For the Light
She sees in all people.
Divine Presence glowing in Every Body.
Accepted. En-Couraged. Embraced.
For the Light
She shines on ancient stories.
Enlightened Insights illuminating Ancient Wisdom.
Explored. Excavated. Evaluated.
For the Light
She makes for hurting souls.
Healing Compassion lightening Heavy Hearts.
Comforted. Soothed. Carried.
For the Light
She channels in a spirit community.
Raised Hands receiving Flowing Grace.
Transmitted. Shared. Reflected.
For the Light
She is called to be in a needful world.
Engaged Advocacy targeting Wounding Injustice.
Balanced. Restored. Righted.
For the Light
She encompasses in her very being.
I AM permeating her Sizzling Presence.
Blessed. Brilliant. Be-Loved.
“Hope is a beggar.” —Jim Carrey
Now take a moment to place yourself in a state of Faith. Think that everything around you is exactly as it should be for you to build toward what is next. How do you feel?
Hope says: “What’s happening now is not good enough.”
Faith tells you: “What’s happening now is exactly right.”
Hope is unfulfilled yearning. Faith is purposeful acceptance.
In Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, Jim Collins writes about the Stockdale Paradox. The name comes from Jim Stockdale, who survived eight years in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp. Admiral Stockdale made it home, but many didn’t. When asked, who didn’t make it back he replied, “Oh, that’s easy. The optimists.”
The ones who looked to hope to solve their problems, the people who did not face the brutal facts of their reality didn’t make it. Stockdale said:
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
Hope sees only that which is unfulfilled. Faith accepts the now as leading to the best “what’s next.”
May you have a faith-filled day.
A few little things went wrong in my life this weekend. Nothing major. Just petty little annoyances.
It was gorgeous and sunny in Ottawa, but I felt yucky and didn’t want to move from the couch. Our friend’s dog that we were looking after for the weekend caught a nail on our heating grate, hurt his paw and bled all over our kitchen floor. (You can imagine how awful we felt about that.) And the curling team that I was pulling for at the Tim Horton’s Brier didn’t win. (Brad Gushue, you were so close.)
Little things added up until I collapsed on the couch and said, “You know what? I’ve had better days.”
Sometimes it’s difficult to be at peace with minor inconveniences. It’s an even greater challenge to accept major upsets that come along. Sometimes it’s even a challenge to allow ourselves to savour fun events or people that crop up on our life paths.
We spend so much time evaluating whether something is “good” or “bad” we never arrive at accepting what is. And appearances can be deceiving. Events that appear catastrophic at first glance often lead to unforeseen good fortune. Other events that strike us as lucky turn out to be anything but.
All of us would love to have 100 per cent control over what happens in our lives, but we don’t. Even as we lay track toward our goals, unexpected events blindside us and derail our plans.
When that happens I try to remember to rise above all the things going on around me and survey them as if I were an impartial observer. I try view whatever comes—no matter what it is—as a big, welcome surprise. “So THAT’s what happens!”
This attitude makes it easier to be at peace with life. Stuck in the slow line at the grocery store? So THAT’S what happens! A winning goal for your hockey team in overtime? So THAT’S what happens! You’re fired? So THAT’S what happens!”
It’s easier to be at peace with life if all the petty disagreements, unforeseen twists of fate, illnesses, riches, journeys, friends, deaths or births become big, welcome surprises.
So THAT’s what happens! Surprise! I wonder what happens next?
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.
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.
I wrote this post three years ago, but I decided to post it again as we wind down our holiday preparations. A reminder of what is really important at this time of year.
Correspondence from an earlier time helps us to gain perspective about our own circumstances. These letters, written by my husband’s ancestors, span the years between 1928 and 1936. The mood changes from comfortable and optimistic, to worried, to discouraged, to desperate.
In 1928 times were good. People had no inkling of the challenges to come. They proudly made use of electricity as they gathered around their radio in the evenings.
By October 1930, people had started to feel the pinch, but hope did not elude them. Reading this now, we know the long, lingering hard times that lay ahead of them—the Great Depression and then World War II—but back then, they were certain it was a short-term dip.
In 1933 many people were out of work. Lay-off notices were dreaded but common. Without a social safety net, no work meant no food or shelter. This lay-off notice came just before Christmas.
At Christmas 1934, this letter was sent: “. . . we find that it will be impossible to send any gifts this year, and therefore we would rather not receive any gifts this year.”
By comparison, we are wealthy beyond all imagining. Our social safety net is not perfect, but it helps.
Rest easy. Enjoy our luxury. Happy Holidays.
In a conversation at my office, one co-worker shared a story about his son-in-law who was born in England but has been in Canada for the past ten years. My co-worker reported that when his son-in-law returns to Great Britain now, the people tell him he speaks with a Canadian accent, even though his accent sounds decidedly British to Canadian ears.
As he spoke, he turned to another man who came to Canada from Beijing. He asked him, “When you return to China, do people say you sound Canadian?”
The man thought for second and then said, “No, they don’t comment on my accent, but I do find myself saying ‘Sorry’ a lot.”
Our compassion is contagious. It makes me proud, and not the least bit sorry.