Tag Archive | joy

A “FAITH IN HUMANITY” STORY OF COMPASSION, HOPE, AND JOY

 

On September 10th, an unusual ad appeared in a Houston newspaper. The ad is actually a letter from the people of New Orleans to the people of Houston. The message, a moving and powerful one, demonstrates the best in humanity, including its beauty. Our beauty.

 

Please read the letter below. What thoughts, feelings, and ideas does it stir in you? Post your comments on the contact page here on my website or write to me at CharleneCostanzo@gmail.com.

 

“To our friends in Texas,

Twelve years ago, you took in hundreds of thousands of us. You opened your homes, closets, and kitchens. You found schools for our kids and jobs to tide us over. Some of us are still there. And when the rest of the world told us not to rebuild, you told us not to listen. Keep our city and traditions alive.

Now, no two storms are the same. Comparing rising waters is a waste of energy when you need it most. But know this — in our darkest hour, we found peace and a scorching, bright light of hope with our friends in Texas. And we hope you’ll find the same in us.

Our doors are open. Our clothes come in every size. There’s hot food on the stove, and our cabinets are well-stocked. We promise to always share what we have.

Soon, home will feel like home again, even if it seems like a lifetime away. We’ll be battling for football recruits under the Friday night lights. You’ll tell us to stop trying to barbeque. We’ll tell you to lay off your crawfish boil and come have the real thing. But for as long as you need, we’re here to help.

The way of life you love the most will carry on. You taught us that. Your courage and care continues to inspire our whole city. We couldn’t be more proud to call you our neighbors, our friends, and our family. Texas forever.

We’re with you,
New Orleans”

(from the Houston Chronicle)

As I read it again, I tear, again. But they are happy tears. My faith in humanity is strengthened. You and I can act with this level of compassion and reverence for others, day in and day out, in times of calamity and times of calm, always. We have the capacity for this. And the courage. We can respond with loving care and respect no matter how others behave. Does this seem wise or foolish to you? Realistic, idealistic, or unrealistic? I’d love to hear from you!

Charlene

IMPATIENT? FOR PEACE: ADOPT THE PACE OF NATURE

 

 

 

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

If you find yourself feeling impatient today, think of trees growing, rocks eroding, caves and canyons forming.

How do you typically react when you’re stuck behind a car traveling under the speed limit or in an already-long checkout line when the cashier calls for the manager? Instead of tensing your muscles – if that’s what you do – bring to mind a flower blooming. Make that century plant!

Perhaps you’re impatiently frustrated with yourself. If you feel behind in realizing your dreams, take a deep breath and remember: we are a part of Mother Nature too.

For greater peace, health and happiness, let’s gently and kindly get in her flow.

With compassion for ourselves and all,
Charlene

PS – I’m not saying we should literally move as slowly as these examples! Just let images from nature help you to shift into a peaceful, 
patient pace. Making a literal comparison of a checkout line moving at the rate of a century plant blooming might tickle your funny bone though. And laughter can move us to a healthier pace and “place” too! Wishing you peace, patience, and joy. Hope and faith too.

ONE RAISIN AND ONE MINUTE: ONE WAY TO MORE MINDFULNESS

 

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”   

~ Jo Walton
 
This post is not just about appreciating sunrises and sunsets. The question is: how present are we each day? How mindful? How aware are we of beauty, our senses, and all that we sense?
 
Consider this simple activity as one way to be more mindful.
 
You can do this in one minute. All you need is one raisin. Before eating the raisin, hold it in your hand. Roll it between your fingers. Examine it as if it is the first raisin you have ever seen. Then close your eyes and place it in your mouth. Keep them closed for the entire time you are tasting the raisin. Chew the raisin very slowly. Notice the taste, the changing texture, how your mouth fills with saliva, and more. Pay attention to all the little things you are experiencing. Give the raisin your full attention for a full minute, or for as long as you can, before swallowing all of it.
 


Let this mindful minute lead you to pay closer attention to some other things you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste today. Be like a child, full of curiosity and wonder.

Seize and savor this day. Every day.

 
With joy,
Charlene
 

PS – Try this another time, using an almond or other nut. Try an olive. What else might you use? Do this as a family and share your experiences. Talk about sunrises and sunsets too. Which do you prefer and why?

 Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn StumbleUpon

 

APPLYING THE HEALING POWER OF LOVE TO BREAST CANCER

Love And Tenderness Of Cats

 

“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., wheatgrass shot
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.

Thank you.

Kindly,
Charlene

GLIMPSING HEAVEN

Sun on the Sea

 

“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.

Whatever life brings for us each day, may we cherish it and live it well, with wonderment, reverence, gratitude, and joy.                                                                                                    Gratitude, Joy, and Zest for Life


“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

FAITH IN THE MIDST OF LIFE’S STORMS

Tree limbs in a storm

I was recently on vacation with my husband at Sanibel Island, Florida. It was not the week of swimming, shelling, and strolling that we had been eagerly anticipating. Tropical Storm Debby arrived the same day that we did. Although we didn’t get to do most of the things we had planned, it turned out to be a truly lovely vacation, in part because, like all of life’s storms, my appreciation for life’s gifts deepened as I weathered that one.

 

During  that week, I was often reminded how the wind is like faith. We can’t see it directly but we can see its effects in our lives.

Flower petals after storm

 

During respites from rain, I went out and looked for beauty. I found it in many places, including the way leaves, limbs, and flowers were strewn about by the wind. For example, I came upon a floral arrangement in a bird bath, designed by nature.

 

Faith - Beach after stormDuring a walk on the beach after the storm, I came upon a little “bridge” that was formed by two limbs placed side-by-side by wave action. To me, that seemed like nature’s encouragement to step up, cross over, and begin something new, with courage.

 

No matter what is happening in the outer world–whatever the weather–we can experience joy. We can find beauty. We can open our hearts to love and compassion. We can listen for guidance from the voice of wisdom.

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.