Category Archives: Religious

The fight within

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Lately I have really felt like I am struggling. It has not been more pain per se. We have been busy but not that busy. I had had a hard time putting my finger on what was missing. What was I forgetting to do? What was I not attending to? It took me entirely too long to realize one simple thing. It was emotional overload.

People who feel everything so deeply need more than once a week spiritual self-care. I forget that. I feel like I should be able to be like everyone else and Sunday should be enough for me. I was getting really good at carving fifteen minutes a day out just for me. I still need to do that. I also need to figure out a way to incorporate more meditation, more nature more healing for my heart. It has only been in the last two years or so I have set up healthy boundaries. The problem I still struggle with is,being okay with those boundaries.  I need to be okay with saying no. I have done it, which I know is good. It just still kills me to say no. I can’t help you right now. My desire to hug and hold everyone and squeeze them until all their broken parts are mashed back together is so strong. The answer is also not, to just not be there for people. That is a slow death in a different way.

It looks like then, I have to start scheduling time to ground myself and re-center myself. I can’t let myself think I am too busy for that. I need to remember that it is essential to life. As much as breathing air is essential to life. Some days it is my own emotional upheaval that I need to quite and soothe. Some days it is letting go of others emotions that I seem to absorb. This has been my inner struggle that I had a hard time putting my finger on. I know I need to do this stuff. I know boundaries are good. I know they are healthy. It is quieting the voice in my head that says, but if you can help you should. It is letting go of the guilt of saying no for my own mental and emotional health. It is being at peace with my own limits of how much I can help and how much emotional trauma I do absorb. I have no doubt I don’t absorb it. When you tell me something and I say that breaks my heart, I mean it. There is nothing worse for me then hearing a need and feeling helpless to help. Even knowing that some issues you have to workout yourself. Even knowing that sometimes the best help I can give is by just sitting there. Even knowing that sometimes the best thing is to say no. No because this is not something anyone can help you with. No Because sometimes you reach out when really you need to reach within.

Yesterday I took some steps to implementing small things in my life that will help with all this. I bought a smudging sage and some new crystals specific to helping with these issues. I am determined I will light the smudge stick at least, at least once a day. I am thinking instead of reading during my me time I need to sit outside with my smudge stick and crystals and feel the ground beneath me.

What are some ways you attend to your self-care? Are you including spiritual/emotional/mental care as well?

 

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Compassionately Honest children

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Honesty. It is something a lot of us strive for. It does however often leave us feeling very vulernable. When we meet that honesty with compassion a wonderful thing happens. We reach a new level of understanding. Suddenly progress is being made where it had not previously happened. As a parent I struggle with this. How do I be open and honest with my daughter about how the world is? I want to protect her and keep her safe.  For awhile I clung to this quote : “Parents need to fill up a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can not poke enough holes to drain it dry. ” Alvin Price.

However, the more I thought about it the more I didn’t like it. Why? Why must I fill her bucket so high? What if I just had a child with a healthy self-esteem? Would that be enough? What if instead of filling her up so much that she might overflow, What if I just told her the truth?  If I do that, do I have to have all the answers? It took me a bit to realize, I don’t. I don’t need to be able to tell her why it is, just that it is.I can tell her I don’t know why these things have to happen. They have happened and now we have to deal with them and go forward. If we have open and honest discussions about what is going on in the world, compassion and empathy can be fostered. Not too long ago I found this quote which made so much more sense to me than the first one.

“It is not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless. “L. R. Knost

So then my questions turned a different corner. How do I raise a child who can survive this world AND possibly make it better? How do I keep her the loving, peaceful, compassionate and kind child she is with the reality of this world?

The longer my daughter has been at a Montessori school the more I am convinced this is the right path. She is honest about situations but not in a way that is lacking empathy or compassion. This is something Montessori has fostered since the beginning of school for her. There are variations of it but I have heard it called, the peace rose the most.  If feelings are hurt, sit down and figure out how to make it better. Acknowledge that certain behavior was not right without blaming one specific party. I only see this as helping the world be a better place in the long run. If five year olds can do this, What is holding us back? What if all schools everywhere used this process starting in kindergarten. Sure the progress would be slow but I guarantee there would be change.

In order for peaceful conflict resolution, you have to look inside yourself as well. How many of us want to sit down and honestly look inside ourselves? I do it, but I am still squirmy and uncomfortable. I do it because I know my daughter needs the example. I do it because I have seen her peacefully resolve conflicts with skill that just blows me away. Actually, I am not sure if I am being the example or if she is. I know she showed me it is possible in a way I never understood before. I am sure someone had explained the concept that Montessori uses before. It just took my daughter actually doing it for me to understand. Now it comes as second nature to her.  What if we had a whole generation like that? Can you imagine the changes that would happen?

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Compassionate acceptance of love (#1000speak post)

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Compassionate acceptance of love (#1000speak post)

Growing up I was told boys loving boys was wrong. Girls loving girls was wrong. Thinking you were a boy when you had girl parts was wrong and vis versa. I was told you don’t question God.God didn’t make mistakes. I never really gave it much thought until a friend came out as a lesbian. Now what do I do? I like her as a person. She is a great friend. According to the religion I was part of at the time, I was not to associate with her anymore. She was openly admitting to a “sin” and not trying to change. When I turned to the church for guidance , I came away feeling like I had done something wrong. I had such immense guilt for wanting to keep the friendship I had. To turn someone away for being who they were was just not part of me.

It took me a long time to work out how I felt about love being love. I had to work past these stumbling blocks I didn’t even know I had. It was not to be talked about so I found myself stumbling. I was lucky to have a friend who was willing and open to let me stutter it out and really dissect how I ,personally felt. I felt a openess and acceptance that I had not felt when I turned to the church. There was a lot of back and forth. Was she born this way? Was it a choice? I saw her dating guys was she faking it? How did she see me? Was she attracted to me? What was her type? Did she have a type? Is this something she was trying out? Didn’t she want babies? She not only explained most of it calmly and openly but she also questioned me back.   Are you sure it’s what you believe or is that just what you have been led to believe? It wasn’t easy and there was definitely squirming in our seats on both sides. We were both works in progress, still are.

It made our friendship stronger. I like to think it made us stronger as individuals as well. However, that was not the end of it. Later I found out that she was holding things back. She told me, Saying that I don’t approve of your choices but it’s your life isn’t acceptance. It is not compassionate. In fact it made her feel guilty, like she couldn’t share everything with me. She wanted to have girl talk and relationship discussions but  when she did she felt very judged. Here I thought I was being so helpful. I was making it worse, which was the opposite of what I wanted to do.  The opposite of what I thought I was doing. I had put conditions on my acceptance and thus our relationship.It wasn’t all one-sided. We had an open and honest enough relationship that she told me about some choices I had made that she didn’t agree with.  It was shocking to me that she actually didn’t approve of some of my decisions. I had not felt any disapproval from her.I never felt judged. She always seemed genuinely happy with whatever decision I made. That was when I realized she was mixing compassion with her acceptance. I am glad she was openly honest with me about her sexual preference. I am glad she was unapologetic about it. It really made me think.  It was easy to say no it is a sin and not acceptable when it wasn’t personal. I didn’t have to think much about it. I realize now how unusual that was for someone to be able to openly and unapologetically say this is who I am take it or leave it. It wasn’t easy for her but she had gone through her own storms to come to the point she was at. We are no longer such close friends. It had nothing to do with her sexual preference. Sometimes you just drift apart. I am forever thankful for the friendship we did have. The learning and growing I went through. Perhaps those lessons were the whole reason she was in my life to begin with.

It wasn’t until I started trying to think compassionately about others decisions that I realized how wrong I had been. Acceptance needs compassion to take the sting out of differences of opinion. Without it acceptance doesn’t mean nearly as much.  As much as we say we do not care what others think, we do. On some level we do. We may not even be conscience of it. The point is, I realized that in order to be accepting of others, compassion is integral. Compassion for myself as I explored what I really truly believed. Compassion for what she was going through and her feelings. True acceptance of someone for who they are is wrapped and entwined with compassion.  As you go through the journey you realize sometimes acceptance is leading and sometimes compassion is leading. At some point you realize they are no longer entwined, they have become one. In the end though there is just love. Love for a friend. Love for another human being. In order to accept that love is love no matter what circumstance requires acceptance at every turn and a blanket of compassion.

 

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I have compassion, but not for them? #1000speak

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When I watch T.V. I rarely just watch T.V. mindlessly. Recently I was watching a re-run of Criminal minds where Aaron Hodgner has a parent teacher conference about his son, Jack. He finds out the child his son has referred to as a friend and wanting this kid to come over and all the fifty million other requests that a child makes when they like someone, is actually picking on Jack. Jack has chosen to be the peacemaker and is set on making friends with this bully. I keep thinking about this. Every-time I read about bullying or hear about it, or see it! I am so thankful that 1000 speak compassion theme this month is on bullying.

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One of the principles of Unitarian Universalism is that every person has inherent worth and dignity. I keep thinking about this and how it applies to bullies. Are we telling our kids that everyone has inherent worth and dignity, except bullies.  Really that except part, you can tack anything on. Is this really what we WANT to teach our children? Probably not. The fact is though, in many ways we are. Just sit with that a minute. Really turn over the words in your head and really think about it. It is a hard concept to wrap our brains around. When we look at why people bully; attention, power, to fit in we can perhaps wrap our mind around that. In my mind, once I accept that a person who is considered a bully does have inherent worth and dignity; it opens a door. A door to compassion. A door of seeing that person for a person. I fully understand there is a difference in bullying child to another child and a bullying adult to another adult. However the more I think about it the more I circle back that the best teacher my daughter has is me. What am I modeling to her? Am I modeling that I truly believe that every person has inherent worth and dignity or am I teaching her that there is an except (insert stereotype).

Let’s look at what does this mean exactly? What is inherent worth? Dictionary.com says that inherent means: existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute. It says it is an adjective, a describing word. What does worth mean? Here again I went to Dictionary.com for a definition. This one was a bit more detailed. It can have a few different meanings.

preposition

1.good or important enough to justify (what is specified):

advice worth taking; a place worth visiting.   2.  having a value of, or equal in value to, as in money: This vase is worth 12 dollars.
3.having property to the value or amount of:They are worth millions.
noun

4.excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem:

women of worth. 5.usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for purpose:
Your worth to the world is inestimable. 6.value, as in money.  7.a quantity of something of a specified value:
ten cents’ worth of candy. 8.wealth; riches; property or possessions:net worth.
No where in there does it say that it is dependent on that person or even thing, to be good, nice, pleasant.  We could even go on to say that we are talking about; each person has an inseparable element,quality or attribute useful and important to the world.
When you take this and apply it to someone who is a bully. WOW. Mind blown! We have to stop and really look at that person as a person. They have some(or a lot) not so great aspects, but what about the good things? At first I was thinking, Well they are really good at being mean. So lets look at Toy Story, at the neighborhood kid Sid.  We could say he is really good at blowing up toys. He is really good at problem solving how to blow up toys. He is really good at deconstructing toys. How do we then apply that to real world things? Well repairmen have to be really good at deconstructing things. Chances are if you are really good at deconstructing you also understand how it is constructed. There is always something somewhere being constructed. Often we think of blowing things up as only bad.  The fact is though, there are plenty of things that require that kind of knowledge. We often blow up buildings to take them down when they have become a hazard or a danger to others. This is not even to mention all the science behind it, that can be applied in other areas.

Let me spin off here and tell you a little story:

Recently my daughter told me that one of her friends was not really treating her as a friend should. It was mostly mild things. Let’s call this friend, Ruth. Ruth was not letting Maggie play the game she wanted. The way she wanted. She would play with Maggie in before care but only until another friend came then they went off and played. There were a myriad of other little things like this. I discussed with Maggie that she needed to tell Ruth how she was feeling. That she needed to stand up for herself and say,” hey wait a minute, this isn’t right.” I told her Ruth may not like it. Ruth may say not nice things back to her. I then told her she didn’t need to believe any of those things. I reminded her that as long as Maggie was happy with Maggie then just let it roll off her. For days when I picked Maggie up I asked her did you talk to Ruth? No. Which led to more conversations about it being okay to be scared. It is a hard thing to do. However once you do stand up for yourself, you will feel so much better. I let it go. Her solution seemed to be to just go play somewhere else.

When our kids are younger we tell them to use their words. We then turn around and tell them if they don’t like how someone is playing to go play somewhere else. There is a missing link here. We would like to think all problems will be that easy. They are only three or four, they will have other friends, but is that really teaching them the best thing to do?Yes there does come a point and time where you do have to walk away. However we should be telling them to use their words first. Tell that other kid that you don’t like how they are playing. This is an essential tool they are going to need later in elementary and even beyond.

It happened one day. I think it was about a week after it first came up. Maggie got in the car and said.

” I did it! I told Ruth she was not being a friend to me. I feel really good about it Mommy! “

She was beaming from ear to ear. I responded with :

“I am so proud of you. What did Ruth say?”

Maggie says “Well at first she just kind of rolled her eyes and said whatever and walked away. But she came back a little later and said. I am sorry I have not been a nice friend. How can I make it better?”

Now this may not be typical in mainstream schools, as much as I wish it was. Maggie and Ruth are at a Montessori school. This is what they spent a whole semester in Kindergarten working on.

” See aren’t you glad you said something? Stood up for yourself?” I asked.

“Yes! and it was hard! It was really hard because I was afraid she would depart from me. I didn’t want to lose her as a friend but I decided to say something. And it worked!”

” So maybe tomorrow you can go to Ruth and ask her if there is anything she needs that you can help her with.”

This lead to more discussion. I explained to her that often bullies are bullies for attention or to feel better about themselves or even to fit in with others. We have to look beyond their behavior and see if we can find out why. I related it to when she gets over tired she gets sassy and cries easily. She is not a sassy girl but the underlying problem is that she was overly tired. To which she responded ” or when I have sugar and am all crazy and you say I am bouncing off the walls. ” Exactly. We can’t always do something about the underlying problem, like a sugar rush, but we can have compassion and show that. We discussed that if Ruth had said ” I am not being mean, I am a great friend.” that it would be time to walk away. It wouldn’t mean that Maggie didn’t care about Ruth anymore. We sometimes have people that we care about but are not really friends with anymore.

Now, it is also true that this is a very mild case of bullying. However if we are discussing this with our kids and actively helping them problem solve the little things. If we are demonstrating that we also do this in our lives with the people we interact with. I truly believe they will have the confidence to tackle the bigger things like showing compassion to bullies.

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A common theme of kindness

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The more involved in #1000speak , the more my mind has opened. I want to write some posts that cover some of the common areas of compassion that have been talked about. Compassion covers such a broad area. I love that we will be continuing this on a monthly basis. I love that we have gotten sub-topics for each month yet, still under the wing of compassion. However, sometimes the words just need to come out and this is one of those times.

Religion can be such a touchy topic. We often look at the differences. We often make judgement based on the religion as a whole. There are extremest and I would even go so far as to say terrorist in every religion. It does not and should not mean they represent the entire religion. The only way to really find out what a religion is about is to learn. The biggest hurdle is actually wanting to learn; wanting to leave behind judgement and assumptions and learn. The more I have done this the more I have seen similarities. The more I have seen religion mostly talks about kindness and love. It is the general theme that runs through them all. This Sunday our sermon was about Radical Hospitality, that seems like a great place to start.

 As someone who not only loves to read but also loves to research questions like this, I can tell you I got lost in Google. Before I knew it, I had twenty tabs open.Generally I find these kinds of stories fascinating to begin with. Stories that tell a story but also teach a value.  I can safely tell you there is not a lack of stories that talk about being kind, showing hospitality, having compassion. As is often the case in life, not one of these stories teach only one lesson. Really they could be deconstructed to teach quite a bit more than just one lesson. However, I kept my searches to hospitality. I searched for stories of hospitality in Islam, Jewish,Christian Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca as well as just God’s and Goddess’s in general. I was really aiming for leaving no one religion out. However, I am sure there are many more than just these. Seriously, I had to keep some perspective or I could easily still be lost in the search three days later.

I think the first step is to know what does the word hospitality really mean. Dictionary.com states it is a noun and an adjective; 1.the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. 2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. I wanted more though and then I stumbled upon the synonyms. Kindness, warmth, generosity, and even more into those words heart,love and compassion show up. Something I noticed is it doesn’t say anything about “the golden rule” treat others as you expect to be treated or treat others as you would treat yourself. The Minister today made a good point that how we treat ourselves is really not a good place to start from. I know I don’t always treat myself with compassion and kindness. I can be down right mean and overly critical of myself.

Islam speaks of how the Profit Muhammad showed hospitality,whether the guest was expected or not. There are many references to hospitality in the qu’ran and it often references the story The Honored Guests of Abraham. A story of entertaining angels. While this can also show that sometimes it feels awkward for the host as well, it also shows not to make judgments. Abraham thought they were odd but still he showed them hospitality.  Hospitality is also heavily through the Christian Bible as well. In Hebrews 13:2 it also states to always show hospitality as many have entertained angels unaware. 1 Peter 4:9 also states to do so without grumbling. This is a great reminder that hospitality should be given without complaining.  Even the Buddha stated that hospitality should be shown to all, whatever their caste, religious affiliation or status.  There is also a great Buddhist story about one way hospitality.  It falls along the lines of selfless service; You must give to receive,which can again be linked back to the bible as well.  Even in Hinduism there is the thought that everyone and everything is god. Therefore the act of hospitality is also an act of worship. They also have a story of God as a guest. I stumbled upon a great Jewish story of A Rich Man’s Hospitality. This one also shows the lesson of seeing people for their own value, not measured by what they have and can give. I especially love the stories of the God’s and Goddess’s. Over and over they show that kindness and selfless acts and true genuine hospitality is the way. From Hestia to Vesta to Empanada and even Zeus was concerned about showing hospitality to anyone and everyone. Wicca celebrates hospitality in the second harvest also known as Mabon.

There are so many things I could say. I could really write about each one of theses stories and religions. However, what I wanted you to see is that it all ties together. It doesn’t matter who you worship or don’t worship, who you believe in or don’t believe in, they are all saying the same thing. In a very broad general term, they are saying to love. Love doesn’t judge, or hate, or assume anything. Love doesn’t care what it does or doesn’t have it gives anyway. This is what they are all saying and I can see that just by zeroing in on one topic. It runs that rampant through all religions.

References:

http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/10662/

 http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/312880/jewish/A-Rich-Mans-Hospitality.htm

http://learningtogive.org/resources/folktales/Calabash.asp

 http://www.buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=178

 http://vedanta.org/2012/monthly-readings/god-as-guest-hospitality-in-hindu-culture/

http://www.openbible.info/topics/hospitality

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/greekdeities/p/HestiaProfile.htm

http://www.thaliatook.com/OGOD/empanada.html

http://www.lib.unb.ca/Texts/QWERTY/Qweb/qwerte/mic_mal/visit.htm

http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/nora/html/51-24.html

  http://www.anglicantheologicalreview.org/static/pdf/articles/snodgrass.pdf

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hospitality

It is not over …..A call to action…..#1000speak

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Did you miss linking up for `1000 voices speak for compassion but want to? Well the good news is; it is continuing!! Be sure you are following the FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+ and the BLOG!

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Quote found on Pinterest Robert E. Ricciardelli

March 20th 1000 voices speak for compassion is continuing.The subject is still compassion but has a more specific tone, building on bullying. You can write on any subject about compassion and link-up. We just thought compassion encompasses so much we could narrow it down a little as well. Please do not feel you HAVE to write about bullying. We do want to stress that the emphasis should remain on a positive light. Some thoughts to consider: Can we have compassion for bully’s? Why should we have compassion for bully’s.  Do Bully’s deserve compassion? How would I show a bully compassion? Do I model being compassionate to ALL people(including bullys) to my child? How can I show compassion to someone I consider a bully? I will be writing specifically about having compassion for bully’s, not the behavior but the person. It is quite a thought to wrap your brain around, I know.

 

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Quote found on Pinterest

Stay tuned for the link up on March 20th and GET WRITING!!!

What Exactly is this Compassion you speak of?

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Sometimes I think as adults we forget the basics. The things kids just know and don’t even second guess. Somewhere in the pursuit of being an adult we forget the most important things. We allow the world to jade us and become cynical. Kids just naturally see the good in people. Until you give them a reason, you are good. Sometimes people call this growing a thick skin. Let’s not forget though that thick skin can still be soft, bendable, pliable, giving.

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 I put out a call on my personal Facebook page, on Chronically sick Facebook page, on twitter. on Google + and even Instagram.  It was really difficult to get people to take part in this.  I was not interested in judging anyone for what their child said. I expected a lot of,

“I don’t know.” ‘s

A lot of shrugging

My daughter even asked me to define my question more.  What do you mean Mommy?  Compassion about what? I think that in and of itself was very telling. She didn’t spit out a definition. She automatically knew it was about an action. It just furthered my belief that children just instinctively know what compassion is. They may not know what the real word for it is, but they know it.

A two-year old may not be able to even say the word compassion. However,burst into tears around a two-year old and most of them will either join you or give you soft touches and ask what is wrong. Isn’t that like compassion personified?

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The very next comment I got was from a two-year old. They really just boil it down to the basics, don’t they.

Since getting involved in 1000 speak for compassion , I have been naturally thinking of compassion more and more. I have seen some areas in my life where it is lacking. I have really been paying attention to more and more that is going on around me.

I would describe myself as a compassionate person to begin with. I found it strange to even be thinking of ways I can be more compassionate. Even at the same time as I am thinking, we can always be more compassionate.

We want our kids to be compassionate but are we really showing them what compassion is. That compassion doesn’t limit anything. Every thing, living or nonliving, deserves compassion.Does that seem weird? Non living needs compassion? How in the world can non-living things need compassion. Really just sit there for a minute with that.

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If compassion is caring and loving something and wanting it to be whole and complete. Then it can be seen as treating your things with compassion. Some call that respect, but I see compassion being applied here too. Have you watched how a child plays with a treasured toy? Lovingly and not wanting to hurt them. While we know toys are not alive, we don’t stop them. Eventually they learn their toy is not alive, they still treasure it.  Books may not be able to feel when there pages rip but does that mean it feels any less hurtful?  There are those that would argue that since paper is made from trees, it is in fact a living thing. I can completely see that as well.

Let me just gush for a moment about what Monkey boy says compassion is. School.  It seems silly at first but , really passion is school. Compassion does teach us so much. If we let it.  Those last four words, they matter the most. Compassion can teach us things, but we have to let it in. It also has to be a lesson we are ready to receive. Sometimes when this happens to me, I have had a particular lesson several times, I wonder what took me so long to ‘Get’ it. Here it was for me to see all this time. Sometimes then it is also a lesson we didn’t even know we needed.

 So what exactly is this compassion? It seems we can sum it up by what the kids have said. We don’t necessarily know the word for it but we know it when we see it;It is whole and accepting love, it is learning and most of all it is an action. Whether we are giving or receiving, it is an action.

#1000speak Finding our way back. Join Us.

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On my post Gratitude Vs Depression Vs Anxiety at the end I added a bit about a new initiative that I am participating in.

This is a little more about that:

The newest news on that is that you don’t have to be a blogger to join: We now have a site where we will publish anyone who does not have their own blog.

What is this #1000speak all about?

Somewhere we lost our way.

Somewhere we forgot compassion.

We say we have compassion but, I think we have forgotten what true compassion is.

This is what the Free Dictionary say about compassion

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We forgot how much kindness,mercy and love tie into compassion. We forgot to be genuinely happy for others. Instead we are judging them. We are telling them they are wrong. A lot of times we say this with good intentions. We say it is because we care. Because we love them. We forgot that by doing things this way, we are forgetting how absolutely unique each person is. What makes you happy, isn’t necessarily what makes me happy. What makes your life gel is not necessarily what makes my life gel. In fact,if I tried it your way my life would probably fall apart. When I listened to what others said I had to do,I fell apart.I grasped at straws. When I stepped back and listened to my inner voice, When I was true to myself, things started clicking. It is hard because we want to prevent our friends families and even strangers from struggling and grasping like we did. We forget that during that struggle, during that grasping, I was learning. I was learning things about myself, about how I work, How I function.They were lessons I needed to learn.Sometimes they were lessons I had to have several times.

When you add in the horrors that have been in the News lately. Terrorism, death, people falling apart and the news is there to blast it in our face. Is it any wonder that people are loosing their faith in humanity? That depression is on the rise? That people are striking out in anger?In fear?

The best way to make a change in the world is , model the behavior we want to see in the world. If we want to see more kindness, we need to be more kind. If we want to see more love, We need to love more. True non-judgmental I accept you for who you are love. We can’t teach our children compassion if we don’t show them what compassion actually is.  Compassion for humans, compassion for animals, compassion for the Earth. To start modeling it maybe we need to just do it, the feelings and the actual want to be compassionate will follow.

I am proud to know some of the founders of this initiative. Flooding the internet with goodness. With stories of love ,kindness and compassion. Reading about it often inspires us to do more. 1000 bloggers may seem like a small little pebble in the grand scheme of things. It is just the first step. The ripples. That is what I am excited to see. How many ripples will this have? It’s the ripples that make the actual change. I hope for our ripples to be as big as a humongous boulder dropped in a river. Ripples that start in one spot and travel far down the stream.

(all links will open in a separate window for your convenience!)

Here is the post that inspired this initiative. Here is the post that started this in motion. Yvonne and Lizzi are just plain amazing. Their compassion is astounding.

If you would also like to join this initiative-sign up here.  Don’t have a blog? No problem. Send your writing to THIS EMAIL.

We also have a Facebook page you can follow the progress on!

Follow on Twitter under the hashtag  #1000speak

And of course stay tuned on this blog!!!

Gratitude vs Depression vs Anxiety

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I have participated in Ten Things of Thankful for a few months now. Sometimes when I realize it is time to write the post I am at a loss. The things that stood out the most were the things that went so very wrong.  Things that annoyed me, frustrated me. Things to be thankful for or grateful for, not so obvious. I started just writing down something every day. It wasn’t immediate but it slowly has turned me around. I still have my days that my first response is to be grumpy and grouchy and anti-social.  It is especially easy when it is grey and overcast and nasty out. Sometimes I can in the midst of things going wrong, find the good.  I might not be happy about it but I can admit that there is something good in it. Some times I am not feeling thankful for it or even grateful for it. Just acknowledging it is the first step.

The really magical part is, reading the other blog posts. People with harder struggles then me are finding good. It really does help my depression. It’s like it forces me to think and depression doesn’t really like it when you think. Depression just wants you to listen and believe. Anxiety likes to be irrational so it too doesn’t like you to think. When you start thinking, even if it is just acknowledging what you do have, depression and anxiety have less power.

Remember that game at the arcade. Whack-a-mole. That is what it is like fighting depression and anxiety.  Sad thoughts whack. feeling helpless whack. lack of motivation-whack. whack. whack. Oh no one is  poking up. Sigh of relief. This is it. I get to rest now. I beat it. Then suddenly five moles pop up.  Sometimes I find myself angrily whacking it thinking. THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS. It works sometimes but what works best. A deep breath and then calmly thinking of good things.  It is really hard to do that second part though. I still get anxiety that spikes my heart rate and causes chest tightness and can’t breathe and omg all the things. It is really really hard to force myself to breath. To speak over the irrationality of the anxiety.

The key for me is to write a thankful each day. Even if it is at the end of the day right before I go to sleep. I did it. I found one. I am victorious over depression and anxiety just in that one thought. That is how I have clawed my way out. One thought at a time. Repeating things over and over to myself until I am so sick of it that anxiety has no power over me on that subject. Sometimes it is watching my daughter on the playground. She will not fall she will not fall she will not fall(anxiety flash) no she will  not fall. But that didn’t happen. She did not fall she did not fall. Constantly telling my anxiety it is wrong.  When things do happen that I actually worried about, I have to remind myself I did what I could. I will learn and move on. I will not dwell. No I will not dwell. WHACK WHACK WHACK stop it. I will not dwell.  The more I do this the more I have been able to tell the difference between intuition and anxiety. When my anxiety is high, I have a hard time with intuition. I can’t think with my gut at all when anxiety is around.

It also helps to write what went wrong and then write but this happened because of that so this is good. Writing what went wrong and finding the silver lining is another whack.

One positive thought at a time, I am winning. One positive thought at a time, I am thriving.

In another step out , I will be participating in BE THE VILLAGE 1000 voices of compassion #1000speak

 1000 voices from all  over the world, on the same day flooding the internet with good, positive posts. Posts about Compassion, Posts about kindness, Posts about self-compassion. Posts about caring for others, caring for the environment. Posts about Non-judgement. Spreading love all over the world. This will happen on February 20th 2015.

You can participate even if you are not a blogger! Follow the hashtag #1000speak  comment, share, like, favorite. The main point being to interact!

If you are a blogger and would like to be part of the 1000 you can request to join here.

Solstice thoughts

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This is where my thoughts keep wondering too. I know it is not technically the solstice anymore. I think this is also appropriate for the end of the year post as well. My plans for the coming year is to keep learning, growing and slowly blossoming to who I really am. Some of that takes really nitty gritty work, like self analysis.

Growing up I was often at many kinds of churches. Catholic, Mennonite, Lutheran, Baptist,Methodist. I never really bonded with it and it took me a long time to realize that. A really long time. The first year of trying to discover what I truly believed, what resonated the most with me was hard. There was so much guilt and shame and feeling like I am breaking all the rules all the time going on. I would not say I am totally past that but I am farther than I was. There was no moment where I could define I was a christian and then I was not. There was no event that outlined it for me. I started really looking into things. At first it was fine, I found that things lined up with the Bible. Didn’t that mean it was the word of god? I thought so for a while. Then the thought there are other books who also can be verified by archaeology.

When I walked through the doors of the Unitarian Universalist church, everyone was so nice. Not fake smile and hand shake nice but truly happy to see me. They didn’t even know me! Genuine emotion just can not be faked.  The first sermon I ever attended there was about Wicca traditions of Halloween. I was still transforming then and certain words made me twitch and squirm. Wicca, ritual. Not once in the entire sermon did I feel like I was a bad person. Not once did I feel like I had done something wrong, had something to be guilty over or needed cleaned. In fact,  I felt fulfilled and satisfied and renewed in a way I had never felt before.I read all I could about Unitarian Universalism and it was like someone had been in my head.

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Our search for a church was slightly flawed when we were looking for one that would blend both my beliefs and my husbands. We accepted a church where, we believed most of what they believed. Mostly.  I was so frustrated that at times I just said I didn’t care. I never had that true spiritual  connection though. I thought maybe if I just kept going it would happen. In fact the only times I had any kind of connection was when I explored outside the christian religion. I kept shying away because that was bad stuff, evil stuff, guilty stuff. If you admitted you looked there you were chastised. It felt like something I should be shameful of. If I admitted I sometimes felt the presence of those gone before, don’t wonder down that road! Unless you think it was Gods presence, you should flee from those.  What if it felt innate? I was assured over and over it was the work of the devil, Satan and I would surely go to Hell. I was shutting out a part of me. I always felt that there was a female God and a Male God. I don’t even know where the thought came from, it seemed an inner knowledge. If I brought this up it was always met with aghast reactions.

Then there was this performance for harp for my daughter. It was at a Baptist church. We had been Baptist for awhile.  So here was my daughter who was too young to really remember much about that Baptist church she was in for the first two years of her life. Asking questions. I realized I had some more letting go to do. I had some more scorn and hurt  and anger to let go of. I tried to keep things objective. I tried but I don’t think I did too well at first.  In the end I told her I had to find what made my soul happy. What my inner voice agreed with. If I was going to have faith in something I needed to believe it completely and totally. I told her it was okay to change what you believe when presented with information. I told her it was okay to think for herself and to use her soul TO think.

I am glad we went to our church afterwards. It helps when she hears things from more than one source. I am glad she has someone to turn to in our church to ask questions.

I still struggle with my own spiritual path. How can I explain this to her without being judgmental. How to communicate this while also communicating our first principle? Every person has inherit worth and dignity. How to communicate this without trampling all over the fourth principle. Everyone has a right to search for truth. How to explain to my daughter that everyone has a different path, that’s okay and in fact should be celebrated. We can celebrate with others even when it comes to religious or spiritual achievements or growths. We don’t have to believe what they believe. They are happy, so we are happy for them.Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations, our third principle.  This is the best way to promote a peaceful world as the seventh principle says. More inward thought and reflection, more letting go, more searching for inner peace. This is what my hopes are for the coming year.