Tag Archives: compassion

Quiet Minds

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Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.

[Robert Louis Stevenson]

And here I thought January was going to be such a boring month.  Now I want it to end for a whole different myriad of reasons.

I really miss my complacent quiet mind that didn’t involve itself much in world politics and all the fussing and fighting my friend.  It’s been MIA for almost two weeks now, off somewhere being frightened and perplexed I guess.  The clock during a thunderstorm is beginning to feel like a ticking time bomb.  It seriously needs to yell and scream at somebody.  Reading the news is like watching a friend self destruct and having no idea what you could possibly say to them or do to make things better.  Worried that they’ll destroy you and everything around them in the process.

This is life, though, isn’t it?  Never meant to be easy.  There will always be ignorance and fear and hate right along side all the understanding, compassion and love.  I always thought I knew which one would win in the end.  And then a white Christian male murders people in a mosque.  And the victims are the ones he calls terrorists.  There’s a special place in hell for the perpetrators of such senseless violence, right next to the ones who incite it.

Amidst the shared grief and despair there’s always something we can be grateful for, right?  How long is your list?  I hope it’s longer than mine.

  1. Humour.  Satire.  Political cartoons.  Protest signs.  Because if you don’t laugh you might start to cry and never stop.
  2. People with functioning brains saying intelligent things.  They are a delightful contrast to the ones who believe thinking isn’t really all that important.
  3. Protesters and reporters and journalists who refuse to sit down and shut up.
  4. Social media, freedom of speech, freedom of the press.  The right to ask questions and get truthful answers.  All things that could be taken away from us.  In this day and age.  It boggles the mind. Do I believe everything I hear or read?  Of course not. There is progressively more bullshit to sift through these days, but there is also thoughtful, actually factually backed-up information.  There are insightful gems.  These are well worth the time it takes to find them, and have helped to restore my wavering faith in the basic goodness of humanity.
  5. The love and compassion that’s out there and has always been out there despite all the misguided evil efforts to destroy it.  I am so very thankful that all the rampant stupidity and hate has not lured all of us into stupidly and rampantly hating back.  It is so very tempting to add to the chaos instead of the calm.

Here’s something we can all hang on to.  These mortal men (yes, take heart, one day they will die just like the rest of us) who have had power gifted to them can have that power taken away. They are not Gods. Some of them are not even that smart. Some of them are probably certifiably insane. They can be stopped.  And I know there are good people ceaselessly working on stopping them before going to hell is the least of their worries because they will have all of us living with them in some version of it right here.

Am I taking all this too seriously?  I don’t know.  But better to err on this side of the fence than to regret not getting it before it’s too late to change the downward spiral we’re all being sucked into.

So do not let them beat you down and wear you out and make you want to give up. Never doubt that therein lies the method to their madness in their gleeful rush to keep their so-called promises, one after another after another, so you can’t wrap your head around how little forethought or concern for legality or unhappy consequences has been taken into account before they’re slamming the next thing down on the table.  And the shit that happens after that is SO not their fault.  Wow.  They are counting on everyone to become overwhelmed to the point of weary acceptance, not knowing what is legal and what is truth or which way is up.  Too busy fighting with each other to notice or care any more what’s really going on.  And away they go.

Resist and keep resisting the things you know in your heart to be wrong.  Because to do otherwise is unthinkable.

Sorry I’m not my usual flippant frivolous self these days.  I’m just not ready yet for the world to end.

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For Compassion #1000Speak

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“How would your life be different if…

You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter?

Let today be the day…

You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.”

Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free   

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This is my contribution to the unique global movement called 1000 Voices for Compassion. Today, the 20th February 2015, over 1000 bloggers worldwide are publishing posts about compassion. It is an effort to spread goodness and compassion in a world torn by strife and violence. Spread the love using the hashtag #1000Speak. Join the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion group on Facebook.

 

On the Run

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Wanting to escape the cold night air and warm up somewhere – anywhere will do –  he gives the heavy oak door a hard shove with his shoulder and steps inside.  Restaurant?  Bar?  What is this place?  It doesn’t matter.  Quaint old tavern in the middle of a bad dream.  He weaves his way through the crowd to the back and heaving a shuddering sigh sits down on the last stool.  He rests his damp forehead in his cold hands.  Just for a minute he closes his eyes.

He has to think, decide what to do next, find somewhere to spend the night.  He is bone tired, broken.  Maybe this is what defeat feels like. That nowhere place that cradles you before you fall asleep, the final giving up.

Her warm voice breaks through with a soft question and he shakes his head.  Nope, I’m not okay.  But if you’ve got coffee, or some hot soup…. His voice trails off when he looks at her face.  God, not pity.  Anything but that.

Then she smiles, gives her shoulders the faintest of shrugs and he can almost feel her compassion.  It’s that powerful.  Strong enough to warm him from the inside out.  He hardly has time to process these thoughts before he’s cupping his hands around a big white bowl, inhaling the aroma of sweet thick chowder, scalding his tongue with his first impatient spoonful.  Starving.  For food, for tenderness, for the end.

A blast of cold air hits him in the gut when two men he recognizes all too well push through the door, obviously looking for somebody.  For him.  How in hell did their search lead them here?

She steps around the counter blocking him from their view, puts her hand over his and tells him to come with her.  There’s a room in back where he can hide.  Nothing about this makes sense, but he blindly follows her anyway.  His life makes no sense.  Still he doesn’t want to lose it.  Not yet.

trifecta button

Trifecta: Week 110:  Between 33 and 333 words using the third definition of the word

QUAINT (adjective) –  unusual or different in character or appearance : ODD
– pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar

July Post For Peace

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Write a letter for peace and send it out into the Universe.

Dear Spirit Guides of the Universe,

I’ve been told I never ask for help (although heaven knows I need it and we could all use some.)  Being independent and stubborn and believing if I try hard enough I can do it on my own often leaves me feeling alone, confused, frustrated and afraid.  You know this, you’ve heard me whine and complain about it.  It’s too hard, I’m so lost, I just don’t know.  Finding this elusive thing called inner peace can be one colossal struggle.

There will always be issues, problems, and challenges;  I get that.  I know I’m just another wandering soul in this vast universe searching for enlightenment, and I know I’ve come this close.  I’d like to know why I shut my eyes tight at the last minute, sure that the light will blind me.

So I guess I could just yell “Help!” into the void and wait to see what happens, but I’m thinking you might want me to be a little more specific than that.  If I chose this lifetime, forgive me, but I can’t remember why.  Please give me some small hints and gentle reminders.

Please help me reach deep inside myself for compassion, sympathy and understanding.   Help me to be more loving, more caring, more giving.   Help me to see and appreciate the beauty and the miracles that are all around me in every smile, every laugh, every hug.

I could use a little help remembering that when I can’t figure everything out –  it’s okay.  Tell me to simply be still and listen. Stop me when I’m too hard on myself, and when I take myself way too seriously.

Make me grateful for the people who are in my life, even when they drive me crazy, because they are here to teach me something.  Could you please speed up that learning process a bit though?   Meanwhile, I will try to stop wishing I could change who they are, because we both know that is never going to happen.  They are who they are, and there is good in everyone, even if it’s hard for me to see.  I’m a little skeptical about true unconditional love for everyone, but I know it’s not impossible.

Don’t let me be tossed about and influenced and messed up by the decisions of other people.  Help me stand my ground, but don’t let limiting beliefs close my mind.  I know, that’s a tough one.  I want to take my own steps forward, without being pushed or pulled.  Help me to accept responsibility for my own happiness, to believe that every ending is simply a new beginning, taking me in a different and better direction.

I promise to joyfully accept the happy accidents, the beautiful chance encounters, the strange and mysterious coincidences that happen in my life. I will try to do everything I can do with what I’ve got, loving and appreciating myself and feeling worthy. Stamp all that on my brain somewhere, would you please?  Along with the fact that I am strong, I am safe, and I am deeply loved.  I tend to forget all these things on a regular basis.

Help me every day to fall in love all over again, with my family, my friends, and this wonderful life adventure in our magical world.   Remind me that every small act of kindness has a ripple effect which reaches out and expands, helping to heal the broken hearts of people I’ve never even met.  Being kind is not a sacrifice, it is a joy.

Most of all, don’t let my past rule my future.  Don’t let me put off celebrating today, this moment, the power and the freedom of now.  Today is the only thing that matters.  There is nothing else.

Well, there you go, I think that’s about it.  I know you can handle all this, being that you’re all-powerful and all-knowing and eternal and all that celestial stuff.  And I know you do all these things for me already even when I don’t ask and for this I am truly grateful.  Inner peace is not an illusion and I know I will find it.

Thanks for rooting for me.

Lots of Love, Grandmalin

bloggers for peace

February Post For Peace

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Every day I am amazed when I sit down at my computer to connect with people from all over this planet in some small way.  They are simple, brilliant, funny, complicated, emotional, practical, talented, angry, happy, bewildered, kind and beautiful.  And so much more.  They are my extended family.  I like to share their joy, sympathize with their problems, marvel at their creations, laugh when they’re funny, shed a tear and send a virtual hug when they’re sad.

I’m trying to be a better blogging friend but because I’ve spread myself so thin and followed so many incredible people, there are days when I don’t have enough intelligent comments in my brain to go around.  I’m lucky to make two or three passably interesting observations a day.  But if I click that LIKE button, I’m not joking, I’ve done it because I LIKE you and I like what you have to say.

The other thing that amazes me is how I can get inside so many heads, and project into the feelings or state of mind of so many people.  And then I think maybe that’s not so amazing after all, because despite all the ways we’re different, we’re also all the same.

We want an end to violence, oppression and injustice.

We want to eradicate ignorance, poverty, intolerance and discrimination.

We don’t want the earth to be destroyed before our children grow up and discover better ways to look after it.

We know (although some of us won’t admit it)  that waging wars will not solve our problems.

We hope and pray that a positive affirmation of peace will start the creative process and that mankind will find solutions leading to peace and prosperity for all.

We hope to build worldwide relationships based on compassion, empathy and love.

We all just want to be happy and stop the insanity.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all these lofty ideals, and to shrug our shoulders and wonder what in the world one person can do when so much needs to be done.  But if it doesn’t start with me and you, where is it going to start?

“Ultimately we have just one moral duty:  to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others.  And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.” –  Etty Hillesum

“World peace must develop from inner peace.  Peace is not just mere absence of violence.  Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.” – Dalai Lama XIV

We are all connected, and we are all interdependent.  Our individual survival depends on the survival of this earth and everything on it.  It’s time to stop competing with each other to see who can amass the most money and the most possessions.  It’s time to start co-operating and sharing, being grateful for what we have, learning how to live a simpler more joyful life by celebrating and appreciating each other.

If I am deeply committed to peace, and you are deeply committed to peace, the idea will spread.  I know it already has.  Peace on earth will be more than just a dream, it will be our new reality.

“In the hearts of people today there is a deep longing for peace.  When the true spirit of peace is thoroughly dominant, it becomes an inner experience with unlimited possibilities.  Only when this really happens, when the spirit of peace awakens and takes possession of men’s hearts, can humanity be saved from perishing.”  – Albert Schweitzer

bloggers for peace
Bloggers for Peace Website

Surprise!

There are all kinds of surprises. Love them or hate them, what can you do but accept them when they happen?

If someone thinks a planned surprise will make me happy, I wish they’d think again. Anticipation is half the fun. And not giving me some warning or some hints when something bad is likely to take me by surprise – that’s cruel. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s just ignorance. I like to be prepared for things, even if it’s only in my head.

Surprise me with your wit, or your compassion or your understanding. Amaze me with your talents. Blow me away, bowl me over.

But don’t sneak up behind me and scare me silly. My reaction might surprise you, but perhaps you won’t live long enough to tell anyone about it.

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In Due Course

Does anyone even remember the list of courses that were mandatory ones in their curriculum in high school? Were there any subjects that stand out in your mind as being crucial to your well-being as a functioning adult? Didn’t think so.

You learn life skills by living your life, not by signing up for a crash course in life skills 101. It’s one thing to make up a budget on paper based on a minimum wage job, a sad little apartment, public transportation and the rationing of milk and shampoo. It’s another thing entirely to actually live that life and wonder where your next meal is coming from and what you’re going to do when your shoes finally wear out. Lectures on money management and domestic skills and family planning can’t hurt, but they also can’t prepare a high school kid for all the eventualities of real life.

Some kids are already living that hand to mouth life. Others will never understand the concept of being without if they live for a million years. And the rest are somewhere in the middle where not everything is handed to them on a silver spoon, but where there are still some things that will never be theirs unless they learn to work really hard to get them.

What is sadly lacking is knowing the value of things, understanding sympathetically, becoming aware, and developing the power to bring about positive change.

How do you teach appreciation, empathy, compassion? Kindness and courtesy? Reverence and respect?

There’s no course in the world that could cover all that. These are things that must be taught by example, and learned by experience. We can’t stop the critical introspection, but maybe we could re-direct the results. Self acceptance is something a teenager fights for every day. If we can help with that first small step, the rest will fall into place. But it probably won’t happen in high school. More likely it will take a lifetime.

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