Archive for June, 2013

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.

  — Dalai Lama

 

Kindness

 

Kiss the day with tenderness,

 

Intend the greatest good for all,

 

Never miss a chance to love,

 

Do all things with gentle touches.

 

Name the beauty, speak the wonder,

 

Ever pointing out the goodness,

 

Speak the word that soothes the sorrow,

 

Spread the truth that heals the world.

“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”

  — Sydney Smith

How often do we let our enthusiasm for living be dampened by our fear of making mistakes?  How often do our fears prevent us from taking a leap of faith and being fully invested in life?

When we reflect on the times that have changed us for the better and stretched our awareness beyond what it had been before, we usually find that there was some risk involved that preceded the life-changing moment.  It only takes one of these touchstone moments to forever alter the way we think when life comes at us at breakneck speed and challenges us to live “all-in.”

All-in living means weighing the options, determining whether our reservation is based on danger or on fear, rejecting danger and rising above fear.  When we were little children, fear sent us running to the protection of our parents.  Safely tucked inside their arms, we could be afraid and still feel secure.  When we leave childhood behind, we also leave behind the inability to discern between danger and fear.

When we become adults, we learn that fear offers us the opportunity to find our courage; and once we have let courage prevail and found success rather than failure, our courage grows and allows us to continue to reach beyond our grasp.  This is what it means to live all-in.

All-in means to exercise our courage and strive to become more today than we were yesterday.  All-in means not to allow our fear of failure or defeat to decide that outcome by default.  All-in means to embrace life as it comes at us and trust that even our failures can come together to make us more than we ever thought we could be.

What will you regret more when you reach the end of your life, the mistakes you have overcome or the choices you passed up that make you ask, “what if?”

Stay safe.  Recognize danger.  Make good choices, but don’t be afraid.  Stand tall in your courage and live!  Be All-In!

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.”

  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

In a world where we are bombarded daily with images of misery, violence, and despair, it can be easy to overlook beauty.    We become accustomed to seeing graphic images of man’s inhumanity to man; and if we are not careful, we begin to develop a sort of numbness that keeps us from feeling shocked or saddened by the news of the day.

Two weeks ago, a massive tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma and left dozens dead or injured in its wake.  It was a horrible thing to hear the accounts and to see the photos depicting such destruction.  Two days ago, when another storm approached Oklahoma City, one of the first reports was of the death of a mother and baby who were caught in its path.  Our first emotion might be relief that only two people had been taken away by the wind; but after sitting with the news for a time, we realize that for one family, that devastation is not tied to the tally of how many died.  We can forget that each loss diminishes us all when we see so much sadness that it sets us up to make comparisons with something that seems worse.

Sometimes it seems like the wise decision would be to simply ignore the news and pay no attention to the suffering in the world.  Although some events can leave us feeling overwhelmed, I think it is important to pay attention to every part of being human and living here together.  What is important is that we remember to focus on the very best of being human and find the balance that allows us to maintain compassion, kindness, and appreciation for life without becoming jaded.

We only see what we pay attention to.  With sensationalized news reports hitting the airwaves every minute of every day, we must be careful not to allow such negative input to be the only things we see and hear.  The world is full of sorrow and anguish, for sure, but it also is filled with beauty; and what we pay attention to determines our view of being alive.

The only way we possibly can survive the bombardment is to pay attention to the beauty all around us.  If God’s hand takes the time to write, we should be there immediately, ready to take notes.  If we are to survive the sadness, we must focus on the joy — the soft touch of a breeze as it caresses our face can remind us to be gentle; the glint of the sun sparkling off the morning dew can remind us to let that same light shine through our eyes at everyone we meet; the still, sweet color of a flower as it opens to the world can remind us to open our hearts as well.  We must pay attention to beauty if we hope to bring healing to the sadness and light to the darkness and hope to the despair.

When the hand of God writes beauty, we must open our eyes and our hearts and let it flow into us.  Only then will it touch the beauty that was placed in us at our birth and release it into a world that craves it.  Only through beauty can our hearts be healed.