The remarkable Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz, once wrote,
“This hasn’t been the age for the righteous and the decent.
I know what it means to beget monsters
And to recognize in them myself.”
It is an appropriate indictment of our own day and of our own selves.
I keep telling myself that what we are experiencing in our country is just a phase, something we have gone through before, where people who turn loathsome and violent, enormously greedy and arrogant, will change. That these dark clouds of hostility hovering over us will pass and the sunlight of decent behavior will shine again.
But there is something alarmingly stubborn about the indignity, prejudice, violence, division and hatred among us. We seem stuck in a continuous atmosphere of rancor and bitter estrangement. And it is disturbing and frightening that our leaders seem incapable or not
Two women in Arizona thought it was a good idea to vandalize a Mosque. They also thought it would be great to bring three children along to help.
The women have been arrested. They took a video of their actions and posted it to Facebook. One of the children can be overheard spewing hatred.
My heart breaks when I hear of these type actions against our brothers and sisters of different religious faiths. My heart also breaks for the children. They are being taught by two women whose behavior calls into question their ability to properly nurture the children into respectful and responsible citizens. They are children whose lives are ahead of them. They are too young to say no to their mother. Yet, this very thoughtless action will tear their lives apart. And the lives of their mothers.
Anyone who exhibits this behavior is not on the side of God. And God does not side with them.
God gave us free will. No matter how small our actions, you and I have
Today, I was reading an article on the website of a leading news organization written by a seasoned investigative journalist and decided to look at the string of comments. As a public figure and someone devoted to integrity and God I have been trolled on a few occasions over the years. But, I was taken aback at the number of hateful comments made against the man’s fact based reporting by people who voluntarily identified themselves as Christians.
Yet, I was not really surprised. Over the past several decades I have noticed a growing incongruence within the political and religious arenas in the United States between some who call themselves Christians and behavior that is anything but Christ-like.
Maybe these people attend a congregation where the vilification of those who are perceived to be social, political, religious, or ideological enemies originates from the pulpit. Possibly they listen to and believe the plethora of misinformation disseminated
I don’t know if there is an official judgment day as I believe we answer to God each day for our actions, thoughts and words. But if there is some event where God sits in judgment, I don’t think those who are working to undermine the investigation into the actions of the current President of the United States have a clue what they are in for.
Why are some people in Washington and people in certain media outlets going to such lengths to discredit those who are working to find truth? Seriously, this is the question all of us as patriots (no matter our party affiliation) should be asking because we are currently engaged in a battle between good and evil.
On the evil side are those who are corrupt. They know they are guilty, which makes them desperate to obstruct the work of those who want to find truth. On the good side are those who are being attacked for their investigative work which they are conducting to protect our democracy, our constitution and us, the American people.
Whether there is an official judgment day or not, God is aware of who is guilty and who is courageously attempting to bring the
In the overall design, you and I are only alive for a very brief period—much too short to waste time holding a grudge or settling for drama, fear, and sadness. When we place more importance on being proven right than we do in our relationships, we have, in essence, donned flowing silk robes and placed ourselves in the middle of a dense rose garden. Life situations and interactions with other people become masses of twisted thorns that rip and tear at the fragile material. No matter how painful the thorns are or how deeply they tear at us, we are uncomfortable shedding the robe of our prideful self-image. Without our egocentric self-view, who will we be?
Through e-mail, I agreed to pick up and return my friend Katherine to the airport. Two weeks before her arrival, something came up that required me to change plans for transporting her back to the airport. Still, through e-mail, I assured her I would find someone to give her a ride back.
She arrived and I was there to greet her. After some time together, I confirmed I was unable to give her a ride back to the airport. The news came as a shock. Nothing I said could convince my friend that I had sent a second e-mail two weeks earlier; she thought I was lying.
I can be stubborn, and I can be argumentative. But for too many years being obstinate and confrontational did nothing to resolve my conflicts. And clinging to the notion that I had to be proven right only added fuel to the fire in the disagreements I had with others. Through experience I learned the most positive action was choosing to overrule my self-centered ego.
It was not easy, but the truth was that no matter how much I wanted validation from Katherine, there was absolutely nothing to be gained by arguing with her. Leading with the heart is caring more for friendship than pride, so I chose to let go of my ego’s need to be recognized as right. I did not want to be angry with her, nor did I want our time together to be uncomfortable. The only option I saw to ensure peace of mind was to be patient, accept what was, and allow the situation to resolve itself.
Growing up I wanted to be a beautiful, popular person. Pretty girls and handsome boys got more attention, had more friends, were invited to more parties, and had more fun. It seemed those who were born good-looking were more important. That is what society, television, and movies led me to believe. But I was not pretty.
To make matters worse, it was tough growing up and not fitting into the mold of how I was supposed to dress as a girl. All my life I shied away from wearing dresses and skirts and girly shoes. Ribbons, bows, lace, and frill did not feel right on me. I did not want to be Miss America or have my hair curled.
Until graduate school, I was a below-average student in a world where getting A’s was valued so highly. Reading was not easy for me. Studying was not enjoyable. Mathematics beyond the basics was as confusing as a foreign language. I had no comprehension of chemistry or physics, and spelling, grammar, and writing were some of my worst subjects. The thought of taking an exam or having to dissect a poor little frog, much less a cat, made me cringe.
I was not attracted to boys, and I did not want a house with a white picket fence. I felt uncomfortable being programmed to value finding a husband, having kids, being a good wife, and doing what I was told. Who I was supposed to be, according to society, religion, and my peers, did not come close to who I really was.
How was I going to survive in a world where I stuck out so much?
No, I was not beautiful. But I did take a dying chrysanthemum from my aunt’s porch and replant it next to her driveway, where it thrived for many years. While on vacation with my family, rather than poke around a roadside trinket shop, I spent time giving water to a donkey tied up in the hot sun.
Like moving water that continuously transforms the land, the inner and outer landscapes of our lives are constantly changing too. But, I did not always appreciate change as a means to a better life. I preferred the familiar because it felt comfortable, even when life was very uncomfortable. I feared change more than the familiar of what I had gotten used to. The unknown is after all unknown.
With experience I learned everything in the world is designed to change and progress—the seasons, our planet, the natural world, scientific, technological, and cosmological discoveries, and of course, us and the relationships we have with ourselves and others.
Rather than create stress and disappointment by attempting to go against the natural currents of change, we are better off learning to go with the flow. The reality is that change is constant. We cannot stop the constant stream of change. So, it is our responses to change that must move in a positive direction.
After years of fighting change I now readily embrace it. As a result life has gotten so much easier and less stressful. That is why I can promise, peace and fulfillment come from learning to effectively flow with the ever-changing waters of life.
As the light of love and respect gets brighter across the planet, that which has been lurking in darkness is illuminated and causes great upheaval.
You and I are alive to bear witness to this positive transformation of power. All across the world we are shining light on corruption, greed and abuse of power. Around the world people who know we CAN create a world were peace is more frequent than war, respect more prevalent than disrespect, and where justice serves all, are stepping forward to help move us in the right direction.
Hang in there! Never get discouraged. You and I are ambassadors of love and that makes us very important to the work of transforming our planet’s darkness to light. We lead the way in treating others as we want to be treated. We shine light on darkness and set boundaries against injustice and abuse in our communities. We never give up, because we are winning. Slowly, but surely, we are creating a better world for our children and their children’s children. We are leaving a very bright and loving legacy we can be proud of. Thank you!
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, peruse means “to examine or consider with attention and in detail.” And dictionary.com says peruse means “to read through with thoroughness or care.”
Have you thought about what a difference it would make to your peace and joy if you actually perused life rather than skimming through it?
One day, I asked myself this question. Stressed and hurried, I felt disconnected from myself and life. Why was I constantly choosing to experience life as if I were a stone tossed out across a lake, touching down then skipping above the water, over and over? The moments when I was above the water, or the present, far outweighed the times I was immersed in whatever I was doing.
When I consciously slowed down, I became introspective. I asked myself, “Regina, if you are not devoted to patiently immersing yourself fully in the here and now, how is it possible for you to actually enjoy life? Where is the satisfaction in allowing your thoughts to fantasize about a future event, rather than staying present to listen closely to a friend? What joy do you receive from letting your thoughts return you to a past situation, instead of patiently remaining present to thoroughly read and comprehend an e-mail from a relative? Why waste time wanting a traffic jam to be different?”
The past is no longer a real moment in time that we can influence or change. The past only holds memories of our life as it was. Returning to fond memories brings us great joy, but the past officially ended the instant we stepped from the then into now.
We cannot go back in time to change the choices we made. Reflecting on the past and our previous choices is the way we learn. Allowing our mind to dwell on what we think should have, would have, or could have been takes our attention away from the present. Only in the present is it possible to apply what we learned from the past and create a better outcome for the moment that is now.
After decades of searching for one action that will consistently create a life of joy, fulfillment and peaceful relationships I realized we simply have to lead with our heart rather than our head. Our mind thinks and that’s great for certain tasks like balancing our bank statements, solving a math problem, arranging action steps in a logical and efficient sequence so we accomplish our goals. All of these skills are necessary to creating our most efficient life. BUT our mind does not feel.
We cannot create intimate, fulfilling and peaceful relationships with our mind. We create deep and sincere relationships, with ourselves and with others, by relying on the wisdom and caring of our soul. Why? Because only our heart, our soul, feels.
Heart is the part of us where honorable character values like empathy, compassion, respect, honesty, accountability, etc., live. So when we feel the impact of our actions, thoughts and words before we act or speak, chances are excellent that what we do, think and say creates the very best outcome.
It takes conscious awareness to care about our thoughts, words and actions. From experience I know that stopping to ask ourselves how it will feel allows us to consult our heart. While our mind will always tell us it is the smartest part of us, the most intelligent part of us is heart, our soul because that is our direct connection to God.
Asking, “How will it feel?” is asking, “God, what is the right thing to say or do?” Only our heart cares to listen for the right answer.