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TOWARD A COMPLAINT FREE WORLD

Like my friend Kathy, I’ve given up complaining for Lent. We’re both finding it harder than the fasting from chocolate we did as children. Not that we now want to complain more than we wanted chocolate as kids, it’s just that complaints have a way of slipping out. That’s one of the reasons we’re aiming to abstain. It helps us become aware of how often we whine, and becoming aware is the first step toward change.

 

A Complaint Free World BraceletHave you ever heard of the Complaint Free World project? In 2006, a man named Will Bowen challenged fellow church members to give up complaining for 21 days straight. His idea caught on and spread throughout the world. Since the project started, more than 10 million people have received the purple bracelet that is used as a tool in the project.

 

Here’s a related idea: What if, besides working toward a complaint-free world, we create a compliment-rich world?  Continue reading

I LOVE YOU JUST THE WAY YOU ARE

  kids for blog“I love you when you’re happy. I love you when your sad. I love your when your silly. I love you when your mad. I love you when your grumpy. I love you when your glad. I love you all the time. I love you just the way you are.”

                                            ~ C. C.      

Who is C. C.? Me. These are the words of a song I made up to sing to my grandchildren. When I do, they always smile or giggle and take in the loving like little flowers opening to the sun. And they ask for “more.” More ways that they can “be” and be completely loved. Like when they are scared, surprised, goofy, stinky, burpy…etc. They are three years old, by the way; so, in addition to being loved unconditionally, they love silliness.

Today I realized that I could sing this song to myself.

Sometimes I need to sing or, at least, say words like this to me. I need to truly let myself know that I am lovable and loved just the way I am, in the midst of anger, frustration, exasperation, sadness, feeling not good enough…

Do you love yourself when you’re feeling frazzled? Angry? Sad? Worried? All the time, no matter what? Or do you tend to love yourself only when you’re feeling great?

I think we can all benefit every time we pause and give ourselves a dose of unconditional love… when we love ourselves the way we love a small child… the way I love my twin grandchildren.

You can’t hear me but right now I’m singing this song to you.

May we love ourselves through thick and thin and all the ups and downs today.

May we aim to do this everyday.  

MAY YOUR INNER SPARKLING SPACIOUSNESS SHINE!

One of the things I loved about Christmas when I was a child was gazing into the shiny balls on our decorated tree and feeling as if I had entered a magical place.

When I looked into those fragile spheres, I saw my home transformed. The curvature of the ornaments reflected rooms much larger than they actually were and created an effect that was both sparkly and soft.

So, instead of seeing our small living room and dining room, I saw rooms that were spacious and gracious, peaceful and palatial. I loved going from color to color and experiencing the palace of my home as golden, then silver, then red because each color stirred a slightly different wondrous feeling, kind of like love, hope, and joy.

Looking back, I can see now that I HAD entered a magical place, a mystical place.

The outer palace I saw was a reflection of the inner sparkling spaciousness that dwells in the heart of every child.

Remember how you felt as a child, when outer wonderment resonated with the wonderment in you?

No matter what age we are now, we’ve all got that place within us.

During this busy season, may we take time to enter the “Inner Palace.”

May we be renewed in the gifts of love, hope, and joy.

And, may our inner sparkling spaciousness shine in the world and be reflected back to us.

BE ALL IN

Emily (pianist) and Charlene


Last Friday night, between my second and third flights, during twelve hours of traveling from California to Florida, I stopped to sing in the main concourse at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, NC.

 

I almost passed by. The moving sidewalk had carried me through the main concourse, passed someone playing a piano, and brought me to the entrance of the terminal for my gate. There, something nudged at my heart and urged me to go back to the piano area instead of going forward, directly to the gate.   Continue reading

DO YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE TALENT?

Talent Tree

Many of us hold a limited and limiting definition of talent, believing talent to mean special skill in art, athletics and academics. This narrow understanding can restrict learning ability, performance, and happiness in all aspects of life.

 

During 1999-2000, I visited classrooms in a variety of school settings throughout America, where I read my book, The Twelve Gifts of Birth. I then engaged the children in discussion about their inner resources of strength, compassion, beauty, and other human capacities, including the gift of talent.

 

Everywhere I went, I asked children to tell me about their gift of talent. In every classroom, hands shot up, and I got answers like, “I can draw.  I can sing. I’m good at baseball. I’m good at swimming. I’m good at math. I’m good at spelling.”

 

In nearly every classroom, there were a few students who hesitated to name a talent or did not did claim one at all.

 

Next, I asked, “What do you love to do? What makes you happy?”

 

Then, every child showed eagerness and enthusiasm. And, I heard answers like, “I’m good at taking care of my baby brother; I can make people laugh; I’m good at putting puzzles together; I like to look at the stars; I know sign language; I love my dog; I can twirl my tongue; I can put my legs behind my head!”

 

These answers demonstrate that, by approaching talent in a broader way and asking about likes and abilities, children readily begin to see the notion of talent in a broader way and they see themselves as “talented,” which usually leads to an increased sense of value, self-worth, and potential for learning.

 

Whenever I lead this expanded activity, I observe what appears to be heightened happiness and a greater sense of respect for self and others.

 

So, I’m suggesting three ideas to help expand the limited, common view of talent that is prevalent in our culture:

 

1.  Let’s start using a new word: Talentry.  The word talent is well established as primarily related to the 3 A’s… academics, athletics, and the arts. It is probably easier to use a new word than to try to expand the meaning of an existing one. Talentry could be that word, meaning “the mix of abilities and interests that exist in any and every human’s makeup.”

 

2. I invite you to make a Talent Tree. Start with a blank “Talent Tree” for yourself and one for each person doing this activity, if you are doing this with others. You can draw your own trees with a simple trunk and straight lines for branches. Use the one provided here as an example. The idea is to fill in the branches, one-by-one, with aspects of a person’s own, unique talentry. Brainstorm. What comes easy? What brings joy? What do you love to do? What do you care about? These are the clues for aspects of one’s talentry. Note everything that comes up. Have fun with this. The purpose is to expand appreciation of all our traits, not judge anything as “unimportant.” Nothing is too small in this quest. The sample “Talent Tree” in process here is meant to be a guide.

 

3. Fill in as many branches as you can. Then, be on the look-out.  Make it a game. Continue to add all those seemingly small qualities and interests to your Talent Tree.

 

I believe that when we all get this expanded view of talent … when we see that every person has and IS a unique expression of talentry … we will all begin to experience more reverence and joy in our hearts as well as greater success in the world.

 

CULTIVATING JOY: HERE’S ONE WAY

White Ducks Behind FL HouseEven during sad times, joy is always present in us. No matter what is happening in our lives, we can tap into joy and be nourished by it.

One way to access joy is to watch for little, inner uplifts each day. Even teeny tiny stirrings in the heart are a sign of the presence of joy. Paying attention and noticing subtle uplifts can lead to gratitude which opens the flow of joy from a trickle to a stream.

Notice at least one (seemingly) small uplift today. You may even find yourself filled with delight! Six white ducks showing up among the mallards did that for me.

Wishing you a day of sweet surprises and discoveries. May you en-JOY them!

 

HOLDING THE LIGHT – A FORM OF PRAYER

Burning Candle
“I’ll be holding the light for you.”

Have you ever said this to someone in a challenging situation? Has anyone said this to you?

This idea and intention to “hold the light” seems to be growing as a common expression. I hear it as another way of saying, “I care” and “I’ll pray for you” when we feel empathy for the hurt a loved one is experiencing.

But what does it mean?

And exactly how do we “hold the light” for someone?

I was asking these questions when a clear image suddenly came into my mind.

I saw myself in a small, simple, windowless room. I was standing at the head of bed, holding a candle. In the bed was a friend who was experiencing deep emotional pain. At the foot of the bed was another woman, standing by.

And I got it.

Yes, my friend was in pain… laboring with pain. And it was because she was about to give birth to something new and wondrous in her life! The woman at the foot of the bed was an angel present to facilitate with the birthing.

My role was simply to stand at the head of the bed and… well, just hold the light, without fretting, worrying, or getting in the way. I watched as a golden glow filled the room and bathed each of us in the energy of love.

I now use this image whenever I am privileged to hear the courageous sharing from a family member or friend who confides a challenge regarding their health, or finances, work, or in a relationship, whatever…. I trust that in every challenge there is something ready to be born, something new, something wondrous… something to welcome into the world.

With deep respect for our friends and their birthings, we can stand by them in this way, holding the light.

Does this resonate with you? Do you have another visual image that represents “holding the light?” If so, please share it. Visualizations can help make our intentions more real, anchor them, and add energy to our caring intentions.

SEDONA’S COFFEE POT ROCK…AND FAITH


 

When I wake in Sedona and look out from my bed, I can readily see the formation known as Coffee Pot Rock.”

 

Like many of Sedona’s Red Rocks, this one is named for what it resembles.

Can you see what looks like an old-style, percolating coffee pot at the far-right end of the elevated range? (You may need to use your gift of Imagination.)

 

Recently, when I woke, Coffee Pot Rock was not there!

 

At least it appeared to “not be there” because a heavy fog rested right on the tree tops and covered the entire rock range. (Notice the seeming “absence” of the Red Rocks in the second photo.)

 

In a few hours, the vapor lifted, and I could once again plainly see the Red Rocks.

 

Meanwhile, while the rocks remained hidden from view, I was reminded of how our inner gifts can seem to be absent.

 

In fact, it was a morning when I felt empty of Joy.

 

I saw this illusion of the rocks missing, along with knowing that the giant formations were indeed present, as a symbol of Faith, which led to feeling of gratitude and on to a stirring of Joy.

 

Anytime we experience the “absence” of Joy or Love or Faith… any of our inner resources… we can remember that that experience is an illusion… like the missing rocks.

 

Just like the Red Rocks existing, as they have, for millions of years,

the gifts of Life exist in us, always.

 

Consider letting this be a symbol of Faith for you, too.



LET THE LIGHT WITHIN YOU SHINE



 

“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 

 

 

 

I am always on the lookout for expressions of The Twelve Gifts.

 

Yesterday, at The Farmers’ Market in Winter Garden, Florida, I found several. I’d like to share three with you.  One is this delightful bottle lamp that features the word “Joy.” I see this lamp as an expression of Beauty and Talent too.  Another is the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross quote that accompanies this whimsical creation. The third is the woman who makes these unique lamps. Her name is Kathleen Bee. I saw pretty much all the gifts in her in the course of a conversation. If you wish, you can see more of her work by visiting: www.souljourneydesigns.com.

 


Consider trying this yourself…

 

Today, be on the lookout for examples of Strength, Beauty, Courage, Compassion, Hope, Joy, Talent, Imagination, Reverence, Wisdom, Love, and Faith. Like a child on a treasure hunt, look up, down, and all around. Look within too. And listen, with your heart as well as your ears. With the intention to find examples, you are likely to notice several. Perhaps many! Be ready to notice not only The Twelve Gift words in such places as quotes, advertising, conversations, and music… watch for demonstrations of these gifts in action. For even more fun, deliberately put one or more of these gifts in action. Let your inner Beauty sparkle… no matter what. Let the light within YOU shine!