a tickle of words to create smiles

Archive for May, 2012

Tolerance and Respect

In the face of adversaries, people are “tested” or “tempted” to react negatively. This can actually be a self-destructive behavior; however, when using such situations to practice restraint, tolerance, love and respect it can become a learning experience. It would be the BEST use of one’s energies. When one uses an enemy’s words and actions as fodder for growth, then that person has the opportunity to evolve into a loving, compassionate and tranquil person.

Yes, it is easier said than done; furthermore, each person’s situation is different. Consider a situation where one’s adversary creates an intolerable situation at work such as magnifying all of this person’s mistakes to their immediate supervisor. Instead of getting upset or doing the same thing to the adversary, this person uses the situation to improve his or her skills and track record.

In the long run, the immediate supervisor will see what a great asset he or she is because they are able to learn from their mistakes and the situation. And, the adversary no longer empowered. That person wins! You can win, too! Consider Dalai Lama’s words of wisdom, “In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher. “

Opposing forces…

Most everything I know in life and in nature has an opposite. Day has night. Dark has light. Hot has cold. Male has female. These opposing forces can create balance when applied with the same amount of force on each side. Have you ever felt off-balanced or out of sorts? Most people have. What does balance look like?

One can think of balance as being in a place where it is neither hot nor cold. It is warm and comfortable; it is purple, orange or green; it is maybe; it is something in between the extremes. Balance is about being in the middle. Visualize a circus performer balancing on a tight-rope and walking slowly and deliberately. That is one way of looking at balance.

A great example is learning to ice skate or roller blade. You want to balance on your skates. You do this by using opposing forces. If you feel you are going to fall to the right, you pull your body to the left.

How can balance be applied to one’s life or how can one get balance in his or her life? Awareness is the first step to achieving balance. Stop, look and reflect and see what might be causing the imbalance. An unexpected event can cause imbalance in one’s life, such as, a car accident or losing one’s job. How does one cope with life-altering events? Change your focus from the life-altering situation and look at the big picture. How?

The best way to change your focus and get back into balance is to ask a few questions: What is the lesson in all of this? What is the positive side in this situation? Where is the opportunity in this situation? How can I bless it and move back to a place of equilibrium? And, what can I laugh about this situation in my life? 

Seeing a negative situation from different perspectives can help one achieve balance. Talk to yourself as if you were looking at yourself as another person, in other words, try to be fair and objective. Balance can be achieved when people address themselves with their given names. Take for instance a person is laid off from his or her job. Self-dialogue could look something like this: (The person’s name is Joe or Mary.) “Hey, Joe/Mary, yes life is less than perfect right now, but look at the blessings in the situation… it is a blessing to meet new people and explore different fields, it is an opportunity to learn something new, it is a chance to see things differently; yes, it hurts right now, but now different choices and decisions can be made about the future…”

One of the best things an individual can do to get from a place of imbalance to balance is to do something opposite from he or she would normally do. If one is traditionally very independent and almost never communicates his or her challenges to others, then, perhaps it is due time for this person to seek guidance from an expert or counselor. If one continues to do what he or she have always done, then he or she will continue to get what he or she have always gotten (a quote adopted from Anthony Robbins and edited by Dr. Angela Kowitz Orobko). Here is an amusing thought that Albert Einstein shared, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Does this suggest many people are insane? Perhaps. 

Consider this, how can people shift their thoughts and emotions toward balance? How can one use opposing forces in his or her life? How might it feel?

in Memory of Donna Summer

Donna Summer, a diva and icon of the disco era, has passed on Thursday, May 17 (2012). As a child of 5 or 6 years old, Donna Summer and the Bee Gees were among my favorites. I was enchanted by the dance music of the seventies. Discotheques were a place where grown-ups went, all dressed up in shine and glam, big hair and frilly clothing. The dance floor was all lit up and the music surrounded you.

Songs like I Feel Love, Last Dance, Hot Stuff and Bad Girls filled the airwaves. Donna Summer epitomized the era! She will be sorely missed, but her music will live on. I was delighted to learn that she became a daughter of Christ a few years ago. I sorry that she suffered from cancer; but, now she is home with God, pain-free and more beautiful than ever.

Here is Susan Munao’s official personal statement about Donna’s death. (I learned she was Donna’s manager from 78 to 86, and has been seen at her side at other more recent events.)

This is not farewell because hope still remains through ‘our faith’. You see Donna was not only a client and a friend…she was my sister. She was the one who God used to bring me into relationship with Him and I am forever grateful that we both believe in eternal life and that through Jesus we will see each other again.

It was evident to anyone who knew her that she loved unconditionally. Donna Summer fulfilled her dream to be a singer, a wife and a mother and shared her amazing talent with all of us, through her voice and music and the songs she wrote which clearly stood the test of time. She impacted us all and although she is credited for being the Queen of Disco, she was so much more than that! Donna was a woman of faith, integrity and valor, yet humble of heart. She had an undying love and devotion to the Lord, her husband, children, grandchildren, family, friends and loyal fans.

For me, I will be forever blessed by my friendship with Donna, our working relationship and sisterhood. This is a great loss we all share, yet in the midst of it I want to be sure we celebrate her and her journey. She was more than she called herself, more than an “Ordinary Girl”!  – Susan Munao

Susan’s words say it all. If you wish to see more on Donna Summer, I found this phenomenal tribute site: http://www.donna-tribute.com/news.htm

Character Matters

Personality is and does something…It is what lies behind specific acts and within the individual. ~Gordon Allport

A person’s personality is characterized by what specific acts a person is comfortable doing. It is who he or she is. Should one be conscientious of his or her actions? Only that individual can answer that question.

Actions that promote love and compassion in the world will be more welcomed than those acts that do not.  However, each person needs to be true to their own heart and do what feels genuine. That being said, positive energy breeds more positive energy. Love and kindness create more love and kindness. (Negative emotion and energy will also create more negative emotion and energy). Generally, what people put out in the world, they will in return experience.

If people put out love and joy, then love and joy will echo back to them. I invite you to try it; but, do so because you want to do so. Sincerity is key.

Lessons from Puppy Dogs

I heard this story a few years ago and I felt compelled to share it here. Once when some adults were discussing and wondering why dogs have shorter lives than people, a six-year old boy, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.” Startled, they all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned them.

He said,‘ People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”  The young boy continued,‘ Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”  They had never heard a more compelling explanation and it had made a lasting impression on them.

People take years to learn to: Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

We can learn from how dogs live their lives. My puppy dog, Sasha, has taught me some very significant lessons such as:

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. (Sasha does a great job of not only wagging her tail, but her whole body!)
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride. (I can whisper the word, “car-ride” and Sasha will here me from the other end of the house.)
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy. (You can see it on Sasha’s face.)
  • Take naps. (Sasha never misses an opportunity to nap.)
  • Stretch before rising. (I love the way Sasha stretches her body.)
  • Run, romp, and play daily. (I think Sasha is part bunny rabbit at times and part deer at other times the way she hops along and runs around in the yard.)
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you. (Sasha is a glutton for attention; and, if she doesn’t get it right away, she will nuzzle you until you pet her.)
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. (Sasha is a great pretender especially when she has a toy in her mouth and you tug with her.)
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. (Sasha is adorable the way she lies on her back and rolls in the grass.)
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. (Sasha can go through a couple of gallons of water; she especially loves it with ice cubes floating in it.)
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body. (Oh, yes she does!)
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. (She prances.)
  • Be loyal. (She is my shadow.)
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not. (How can she be anyone but Sasha!)
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. (Sasha never gives up until she gets it!)
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently. (She is totally empathetic.)

ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!

Risk To Bloom

And then the day came
when the risk to remain
tight in a bud was
more painful than the
risk to bloom.
Anaïs Nin

Most people become comfortable and complacent in their routines; however, if these people did not risk those first baby steps, they would still be crawling. It seems that most children and teenagers seem to be more fearless than adults. They engage in risky behaviors. It is an adventure. At what point did these children and teenagers grow out of that phase. Was it when it started to hurt to engage risky behaviors, such as a sprained ankles, broken arms or perhaps speeding tickets/fender benders.

Most likely it was the emotional hurts that  the teenagers and young adults experienced, like not making the sports team, being accepted into various clubs, getting the role in the school dramatic performance or being voted in as a class officer. Young adults begin to feel they are not good enough, smart enough, or whatever enough. This creates a complacency in people, in which they would rather sit and watch someone else perform in a theatrical production, play in a tournament, sing in public, publish a book, etc. than to try it themselves. However, there comes a time in one’s life where he or she feel empty inside, like they are not leading a fulfilling life.

At some point the hunger to try something becomes so unbearable that a person decides to take the risk and engage in the activity rather than sit and watch life go by. This is when a person begins to bloom and to really live in joy! The hardest part is deciding to do it. It is a choice each person gets to make for themselves. Come out of the cocoon and become the butterfly. Go from bud to blossom!

Gifts of Love Update 15

I have 51 Gifts of Love completed! I am over the hump just in time for Hump Day! (Warm laughter.) The weather today was quite stormy with severe lightning and thunder. We even received a flash flood warning for the area in which I live. I am grateful to God that the warning was unfounded; our yard is saturated and at one point the deluge of rain was creating pools of water, not just puddles that flooded my vegetable garden, but not our home. My husband and I took a few precautions and moved all items of importance a couple of feet higher. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Below is a slideshow presentation of the latest Gifts of Love. Make sure you leave a comment if you want to win a Gift of Love. Each week a winner will be selected from a random drawing of all those who have left comments during the week.

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Loving Yourself to Love the World

How many times have we called ourselves a dork, a bonehead, fat, ugly, stupid?  We are bullying ourselves; and, this hurts our heart just as much as, if not more, if someone else did it.  It is time we love and practice exquisite care of ourselves. Go to a mirror, face yourself, and look yourself right in the eyes. Verbalize how wonderful you are . Say it with meaning and conviction. Point out how loving and caring you are. Be kind to yourself. Be gentle to your soul and love your very essence.

Embrace your beautiful life as if today is your last day to live; then glorify each moment.  Experience every little thing you do with all your senses.  Make your bath a cleansing ritual that erases all the negativity and let the water positively cleanse your heart and soul.  Feel the warmth of the water playing on your skin as it splashes down.  Smell the fragrance of the soap as it bubbles around you.  Observe the steam misting around you. 

During mealtime, as you are eating visualize each bite of food nourishing each cell of your body.  Savor each flavor as it dances on your tongue.  Take great delight in every little thing that you do.  Learn to appreciate and value everything that is you and everything that you do in your daily life.  As we start taking exquisite care of ourselves, we become our own best friend.

It is when we can be our own best friend that we can be friends to others, love others and love the world. If we are empty vessel, how can we love others? Taking care of our needs, not just our physical needs, but also our emotional and spiritual needs allows us to be whole and complete for others. As a we approach and connect with other people, we can do so without question or fear or insecurities. We can be completely present for our family,  friends and peers; furthermore, we can be a source of love and light because our spiritual self is whole.

Today, I completed more Gifts of Love. We are halfway there! Yes, 50 Gifts of Love are completed! I will be able to photograph them tomorrow to share with you. The winner of last week’s drawing for a Gift of Love is wfedan. Congratulations! Remember, the only thing you need to do to be included in the drawing for a Gift of Love, is to comment on my blog anytime during the week. The more you comment, the better your chances to win. If you do not wish to be included in the drawing, just add “omit me” after your comment. I do love feedback. It is the best way for me to learn, develop and evolve as a writer and artist. Thank you all so much for all of your support. I am so very grateful!!! Together we can make positive changes in this world. 

Gifts of Love Update 14

This weekend I spent much of the time painting more Gifts of Love. I was able to finish a dozen Gifts of Love. Below are the images.

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Another drawing winner will be picked tonight; and, announced tomorrow. If you comment before midnight (I will extend it to Pacific Time), you will make it in this week’s drawing for a Gift of Love bag. ♥ 

Gifts of Love Update 13

Today I spent much of the day painting more Gifts of Love. I will share those images tomorrow. More importantly I had the opportunity to give “Gift of Love #9” to a dear friend who I learned is moving. What is amazing about this is I did not know she was moving until after I gave her the gift. My heart (as inspired by God) urged me to give her one. 

The story behind this gift presentation is as follows. Earlier this week I reconnected with some friends from a church in which I was a regular member years ago. This transpired during a special service that honored the recent death of the founding reverend pastor of that church. I was close to this pastor and it was a bittersweet event. I carried a heavy heart, but he wanted us to celebrate his passing. After this special service, many of the regular members of the church wished me to return to the parish, especially one of my dearer friends.

So, my husband and I planned and went to this evening’s church service. I felt compelled to give my one dear friend a Gift of Love. She was absolutely delighted. This is what I love about her, she always values and appreciates everything and everyone! This is when I learned that she and her husband are moving at the end of this month. I am both sad and happy about this. I will miss her and her husband; but, she will be closer to her children and grandchildren. The Gift of Love was perfect! 

I also was given the opportunity to speak about my Gift of Love campaign and the importance of addressing bullying. I felt so much support from my peers at this church as we discussed the timeliness of my campaign and the importance of addressing bullying… empowering and equipping parents and children with the emotional tools they need to survive bullying.

I truly feel that I have been Divinely led tonight, which has again renewed my already profound faith in Jesus Christ. This is what I need to be doing; this is my purpose and calling. I have been chosen to be an advocate and inspiration of love and kindness as the way to address bullying and negativity to create positive changes in my community and in our world.

My friendly challenge to you is to find a way to spread love and kindness this weekend, not just to those who you feel deserve it; but, see if you can be especially nice to those who may be gruff, persnickety, prickly or even a bully. 

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