“O God, help me to believe the truth about myself – no matter how beautiful it is!” ~ Macrina Wiederkehr
Were you surprised when you got to the word beautiful? I was. But maybe you were present and tuned in as you read today’s quote. So you tapped right in to the truth. We’re more likely to sense positive words ahead in sentences like this one when we’re reading mindfully. But, without mindfulness, old default words can spring up automatically, like a leg’s reflexive kick to a kneecap tap.
Please read it again:“O God, help me to believe the truth about myself – no matter how ___________ it is! How might your mind fill in the blank automatically? How does your heart’s wisdom fill it in? Repeat this little prayer several times throughout this day. Keep in it the word beautiful.
As part of my new self-care plan, I will be saying this prayer once every day until February 14th. Please join me. We’ll check in with each other here on Valentine’s Day to see what we experienced. Are you in? I hope so.
Someday the truth of our beauty will seep into every thread of our knowing and fill every fiber of our being. Someday we’ll not only believe we have the gift of beauty, we’ll live it. And our deeds will indeed reflect the depth of the beauty in us.
With love and joy,
“Don’t forget that you’re a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do every day to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things you can do every day. Civility, respect, kindness, character.” ~ Aaron Sorkin
I was sitting in a medical office waiting room yesterday. Every seat was taken except for two next to me. The room was still except for some impatient fidgeting. The front door opened, and an older couple entered just as I coughed. “Bless you,” the old man said, as he took the seat next to me.”Thank you,” I said. “I welcome the blessing, even though that wasn’t a sneeze.”The man laughed. and said, “Actually, I thought it was more of a cough than a sneeze. I’ve got a cough that sounds like a sneeze too. Can’t get rid of it. That’s why I’m here.” He then coughed, either on purpose or coincidentally.
“Bless you,” I said. He and the woman chuckled. I saw another person smile.
“Why don’t we say, ‘Bless you’ for coughs?” he said. “Why not say ‘Bless you’ for other things beside sneezing?”
“Why not?” I said. “We could say it like a ‘Hello.’ “”Right,” he said.
“Bless you,” I said to his wife (I assumed she was) and to the people next to her. He said it to the people across the room. It felt kind of awkward. But it broke the ice, so to speak. And we all came a little closer to feeling like friends instead of strangers. Little incidences like this are not going to change the world. Or might they? Imagine if every one of us every day did little kindnesses that are easy, fun, and free.
Will you try it today?
Way back when my daughters were in elementary school, more than 30 years ago, I noticed a difference in the way one of my husband’s uncles and one of my uncles treated the children in our families. My uncle, Ray, paid attention to what children said. He really listened. You could tell by the questions he asked. He also genuinely enjoyed playing board games and engaging in contests with them. He watched as they did magic tricks, twirled a baton, and performed other skills they were learning. My husband’s uncle, Spike, did not relate as well to children. In fact, sometimes he was dismissive and gruff toward them. So I judged him in this regard as “not good enough.”
One summer day we had a serious plumbing problem in our home. The basement in our century-old Victorian farmhouse was filling with sewage back-up. As soon as he heard about it, Uncle Spike showed up in hip boots, prepared to help drain and clean the basement. He showed no reluctance or reservation about dealing with the mess and the stench. Again, I compared the uncles. What I saw led me closer to accepting and appreciating people as they are. While my Uncle Ray was great with kids, he could not fix a thing and he would not have been willing to enter that basement and try. The memory of Uncle Spike in his hip boots reminds me that we all have different personalities and skill sets. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We’re all doing our best. And we’re all still learning.
I included this story in Touchstones: Stories for Living The Twelve Gifts, which was published in 2012. I’m posting it here and now, in part, because my Aunt Angie, my last relative from my parents’ generation, died last month. I almost didn’t go to the funeral because it required a lot of travel. But when I thought of all the love and lasting life lessons I received from her and from all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents in both my family and my husband’s–as well as from our parents–I knew I had to attend to honor them all and to be with all my cousins as we step up to be the elder generation. I hope that the way I live my life leaves some lasting life lessons on the children in the generations coming up behind us, especially the lesson to love and appreciate one another without comparisons and judgments. I also want them to know that the practice of this principle should not be limited to family, nor to just family and friends. It’s a wise and powerful lesson for all to be applied to all.
“Walk like a lion, talk like pigeons, live like elephants, and love like an infant child.” ~ Santosh Kalwar
“Be fearless,” the quote begins.
Breath and bring out the best of you,
It’s easy to picture walking like a lion:
proudly, with confident grace.
I understand loving like an infant child
and laughing with joy like a toddler,
An elephant? She too loves in a way that’s good to follow,
quite like the child but more deeply than freely.
Remember well; forgive easily;
and stick together the women and children do.
I’m familiar with pidgin talk but not pigeon talk.
I’ve heard them coo and sort of warble.
I’ve heard they can carry and deliver messages.
That’s a valuable thing too.
There’s strength and beauty in all creation.
And it’s smart for us to look for it,
and wise for us to see it
in ourselves and all others.
When fear is present,
take deep breaths,
and be you.
Know that you have all that you need.
“It’s a paradox: When we have been sick, we appreciate health; when we make up after a fight, we rediscover friendship; when we are close to death, we love life.” ~Piero Ferrucci
Consider what happens in the aftermath of tragedies. We experience increases of tenderness, kindness, hope, love, and helpfulness. There’s a greater sense of pulling together, a desire to build unity, and gratitude for the good things in life.
Why does it take a shock to call forth these resources from the depths in us? Why do they go dormant again?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I can imagine what life would be like if we practiced gratitude, kindness, and helpfulness every day.
Let’s keep it simple and simply be kind to everyone we encounter as we celebrate the good things in life and Life Itself.
“Unity is strength, division is weakness.” – Swahili Proverb
We need more light now, light to see clearly, light to lift our spirits, and light to find our way to unity.
Much in the news has been dark. The good news is that we have a great deal of light within us. We also have reverence, compassion, hope, and love. These gifts and others were factory-installed. Even if they have been covered with layers of fear, hate, and blame, these powerful qualities are a part of our essence. They can be reached. Within compassion there is the kindness we all need to be giving and receiving. Respect is a part of the gift of reverence. We know what hope is and why we need it. Love has healing power, and don’t we need healing?
Today is a great day for reaching inside and bringing respect, kindness, hope, and love into the world; using these gifts everywhere we go; and applying them generously in every way we can.
If we do this day-by-day, one-by-one we can warm the cold “fear/hate/blame” climate that has settled over our land. We can melt the hard divisiveness that has been fostered. We can restore the sense of togetherness and unity we need to be strong and free.
Yes. It will take a lot of one-by-ones. True. But it’s possible. It’s do-able. And there’s much to gain if we do, and much at stake if we don’t. For inspiration, please consider these quotes:
“Together we can face any challenges as deep as the ocean and as high as the sky.” – Sonia Gandhi.
“No doubt, unity is something to be desired, to be striven for, but it cannot be willed by mere declarations.” – Theodore Bikel
“Together we can change the world, just one random act of kindness at a time.” – Ron Hall
Are you in? I am.