“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” ~ Harper Lee
Remember the story about the blindfolded men and an elephant? If not, here’s the gist of it:
Five men examine an elephant by touch. They are trying to determine what it is. But each man is blindfolded. And each feels only one part: a leg, a side, a tusk, the trunk, and the tail. When each declares what is before him, they begin to argue vehemently, each believing he is “right.”
In a sense, they are all “right” because each is describing his own experience and what he is able to perceive from his limited encounter with the elephant. From another perspective, however, none are right because they are far from understanding the whole, or what an elephant truly is.
Like all good parable stories, this one offers wisdom.
May we remember that, even with our eyes wide open,
none of us has full understanding about elephants
or about anything.
With that wisdom, let’s share our views
and listen to one another with curiosity and respect.
Love and compassion too.
PS – One way to better understand one another when we disagree is to say: “Please tell me your story. I want to understand how you see things and how you have come to hold that opinion.” Or, something to that effect in your own words.
“Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.”
~ Sai Baba
Love and healing are primary themes in my life now. They have been for many months, actually years. Whenever I see messages of fear and hate in the news – when I see reports of violence – what comes to the forefront for me are thoughts and quotes like “Love heals” from The Buddha.
I’m focused on the healing power of love in a very personal way now too. And I wish to share the reason.
A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts. Fortunately the tumors are small and treatable.
Along with embracing traditional medicine, I am using many complementary approaches to balance, heal, renew, and strengthen my whole body. In part, that means loving and caring for every little cell, every organ, and every body system as well as looking deeper for what else is calling for healing in me now.
Along with good nutrition (the photo here is of me about to drink a double shot of wheat grass), positive visualization, prayer, meditation, etc.,
I am bringing the powers of courage, faith, hope, joy
– all of life’s gifts, God’s gifts – to this new adventure.
For it is that too. An adventure. A challenge, yes. But also an adventure. An opportunity to explore and to heal deeply on all levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. To learn and grow too.
While I won’t be focusing on this personal healing adventure in many blogs, I will share a bit from time to time here and in Today’s Touchstone reflections. I’ll offer insights and discoveries that I think you may wish to consider…things that may apply to anyone and everyone’s life journey.
I hope you will enjoy such sharings and benefit from them in some way. I would appreciate hearing if you do or do not. I always welcome your feedback.
In the meantime, I appreciate your caring and pouring out love to yourselves, to me, to one another, to all your beloveds and to your-not-so-beloveds too. May we all aim to heal all our wounds.
“I’m grateful to be in this world.”
~ Alexis Giordano
Who is Alexis Giordano? My 5-year-old granddaughter. She said this at the dinner table during a recent family reunion.
After praying, “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food,” we each took a turn asking for a blessing or expressing a gratitude.
Alexis’ addition surprised us all and left us silent for a moment. This morning, as I recall what she said and how she said it, I am again a bit stunned and stirred.
How often am I grateful simply to be in this world? Simply to be?
How often are you?
How are you feeling about being in this world today?
Along with the words of a 5-year-old child, let’s be stirred by a portion of the often-quoted poem, Desiderata:
“…whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.”
With peace in our souls, may we be grateful to be in this world.
(God bless all the animals in the world too…as twin brother Anthony added.)
“It’s not so much knowing when to speak, but when to pause.”
~ Jack Benny
Hmmm. There’s wisdom and power in that.
Comedian Benny’s comment was probably about pausing to obtain the best laughter. But pausing before speaking is wise in all types of communication. Consider pausing and saying Hmmm in the midst of conversations you have today.
Marriage counselor and author Kathlyn Hendricks recommends pausing and saying Hmmm not only because it can help us make time to respond with care rather than react, but also because saying Hmmm truly helps us to wonder, to consider, and to make room for possibilities.
Saying Hmmm conveys respect to the other person too. It’s as if you are saying, “Let me think about that.”
When we pause and say Hmmm, we are sending a “Let me think about that” message to our own minds as well. Saying Hmmm can help us meet one another heart to heart instead of going head to head.
So whether a discussion is becoming heated, or not, whether it is with a family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor, or stranger, try pausing and saying Hmmm.
You might be amazed at what happens.
Blessings to all our conversations and relationships.
“Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher
Through tears, I’ve glimpsed into heavenly places the past few weeks.
A kindergarten classmate of my grandchildren died the day after Christmas after showing slight signs of illness on Christmas Eve. A serious, mysterious decline happened so fast.
Since then I’ve been experiencing how shock and grief can lead to seeing what is hidden behind the clouds of everyday consciousness….that human life is awesome, wondrous, and precious, which seems to me is a glimpse of heaven. I’ve also experienced how shuddering with sorrowful tears can shake and break a heart in a way that opens it to a flood of heavenly love and compassion.
May we not be afraid of tears. They can lead us to healings and learnings as well as to awakenings and glimpses of heaven. I’ve also heard that tears are a sign of Spirit moving through us.
“It’s only when we truly know and understand
that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have
no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“The old year is put to bed, one’s business is finished, and the harvest of spiritual maturity is reaped as wisdom and forgiveness.” ~ Joan Borysenko
May we end 2015 with a sense of completion and gratitude for learnings.
May we look to 2016 with a sense of promise, with hope, and with a readiness to heal, learn, and grow further in love, in wisdom, in kindness.
And may we listen with care to the callings in our hearts. How are we to contribute our time and talent in ways that contribute to a better world and bring joy to us?
Wishing you great leaps forward,
“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” ~ George Eliot
Using our gifts, let’s be that: true, loving human souls, blessed influences in the lives of others.
How? First, we aim to be authentic, courageously ourselves, centered in our loving essence. That itself will be a blessing to many.
Next, have a “soul to soul” with at least one person today and every day. What’s a “soul to soul”? It’s like a “heart to heart.” Except, instead of having an actual heartfelt conversation with someone, you communicate “soul to soul.”
Visualize, with a caring feeling, that you are connecting and communicating with a particular person. Set ego aside and allow a wise and loving exchange to happen, “soul to soul.” Even if you don’t “hear” anything back from the other soul, which is often the case, just send a message of respect, acceptance, and encouragement. Or, you can simply say, with reverence, Namaste or The Light in me honors the Light in you.
You can choose someone you easily talk with or someone who avoids close sharing and intimacy. You can even do this with an estranged family member or friend. Healing miracles can come from this practice.
May wisdom guide the way for each of us to become true loving souls and blessed influences in the world.
When I sang it back in the ’60s with fellow St. Bonaventure students at a popular Olean, NY coffeehouse/bar, I didn’t understand its meaning. What was the it that was too high, too wide, and too deep to get around? Actually, I didn’t give it that much thought. I just liked the tune and the way we sang it in rounds, led by a student folk group, The Wooden Nickel.
I don’t yet know for sure, but it seems to me now that the it can be any challenge or painful experience that we don’t want to go through. We’d rather get around it. But we can’t. The only way is to go through it and experience the it.
This song has come into my consciousness several times in recent years when I’ve faced something big. I think it was wisdom’s way of showing me that I needed comfort and that I could be carried through, rocked and cradled in the arms of Love. We all can.
May we welcome the lifting of Love whenever we face…whatever we face.
Wishing you love and all that you need.
“If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice its knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully.”
~ Matthew Fox
I have often used polished stones as a way to demonstrate this message about beauty and imperfection.
When I give polished stones away at school presentations and workshops, I invite everyone to look closely and notice all the little nicks and scratches on the stones. Yes, they are strong and beautiful – the agates, the ambers, the amethysts, the apache tears, and the aquamarines, to name just a few. And, they are not perfect. Like us.
Today and every day, let’s focus on the good and the beautiful in ourselves, others, and the world.
From a recovering perfectionist…
With love and compassion,