Thought for the day: 27 February 2017

listen

I feel a tinge of sadness when I read this. Not overwhelming sorrow, more along the lines of ‘sad but true’ – but there’s still this sense of sadness – that we talk to be heard, when so often we listen without hearing because we are already formulating what we want to say in response. So we’re not really listening at all. We want to be heard, but do we take time to listen?

I appreciate this quote because it’s one of those in your face reminders – in my case to ‘shut up and listen’.

If I want to speak and feel that I’m being heard, then I need to take the time to really listen to what others are saying.

Note to self: Practice listening.

Thoughts on fear, assumptions and my right to judge others – an opinion

This afternoon I was sitting watching a TV program and as I watched a few stray tears ran down my cheeks. While it doesn’t matter what the program was or what the specific issue was – what interests me is why I responded as I did.  And I think it’s about situations where we as people allow our fears and assumptions to override or outweigh the actual beliefs, characters and motivations of others – and how wrong that seems to me.

I see the masses (whose questions are heralded by the press) wanting answers to their questions when their assumptions are inaccurate and their motivations mistaken.

The story I watched was a fictitious one where a support character, let’s call him Bob, had to defend himself – his motivations, his character, his background and his faith all under scrutiny because of a violent act carried out by someone with a tenuous link to Bob. The link was what the media focused on – understandably – but what the program highlighted to me was the imbalance of media pressure (supported by the majority of people, underlined by their own sense of panic, and the need to bring to justice the perpetrators) when the insubstantial link had no bearing on the act carried out by the offender. And Bob was left having to defend himself to his countrymen and women for an act of kindness he had performed, and its innocuous link to the perpetrator, which then called into question Bob’s character, his motivations, his commitment to his friends, family, to his country and his beliefs.

One could look at the situation and say that the story and it’s violence justified the means (investigation and accusation). While I understand that, my empathetic response was for Bob, the person who had been accused having done nothing wrong other than being true to himself, and his own sense of right and wrong (ie, so nothing wrong at all).

As a New Zealander, these days I shun writing about politics whether international or at home. I would seldom discuss my beliefs in terms of politics, religion or similar with anyone other than close friends. I tend to keep my beliefs regarding those subjects to myself. They are not open for discussion unless I choose otherwise (which I seldom do). My character and attitudes, and my aspirations for my character development are a different matter; to me that’s something which is pretty much (certainly in this forum) ‘free for all’.

I’m interested in why I responded with such a strong reaction to what I knew to be a fictitious TV program.  And it’s because my empathy button was pressed. Why was that? Because I allowed myself to slip into the shoes of the character who had been placed in an unfair position (some would say victimised). His unjust treatment was based on what I interpreted as an underlying sense of fear, assumption and the need for blame.  I wonder how often we as people do this to others. I wonder how often I’ve done this in the past – and not realised the underlying reason(s) for my responses.

Please understand that my aim here is not to make a statement regarding violence at all; merely to investigate my own response to a fictional situation to which I felt an emotional response.

Note to self:  I don’t want to have to justify myself or my beliefs. I also don’t want to judge others, particularly when that judgement is based on my own fears, assumptions or what I think may or may not be someone else’s motivation. (Who am I to judge the motivation of another anyway? Have I seen inside their heart and mind?)

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”  – Mother Teresa

I think the following quote is appropriate but my preface would be to alter’mistakes’ ‘perceived mistakes’:

it-is-eady-to-judge

[Quote above courtesy of Linked In Self Motivation Quotes]

Thought for the day: 26 February 2017

your-calm-mind

My father-in-law (who’s 89 and still lives alone) rang me one Saturday recently to tell me that he’d spied a number of little ginger kittens in his neighbour’s backyard, hiding amongst some grass in an old pile of wood. His neighbour’s backyard is a bit of a wasteland – it could be home to any manner of plants, animals, insects or other beasts. It certainly has a number of elderly derelict cars who have seen better days, and has piles of old wood, old car tyres and assorted junk. So the fact that my father in law even saw the kittens was surprising – they were pretty well camouflaged amongst the debris.

I went over in search of a possible photo opportunity, and to see if the neighbours were aware that a group of  kittens had made themselves at home in their backyard. They weren’t aware. I found the mother cat and her 5 ginger and white kittens (oh so cute!) and was then able to pass on the information to another neighbour who was the original ginger cat’s owner and was concerned for the welfare of their cat and her kittens.

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As you can see, the mother cat had her hands full (so to speak) but I also managed to capture the photo at the top which I thought was a lovely shot of a sleeping cat – and given her 5 little furballs, I’m sure she had every reason to get a little well deserved shut eye.

So just a reminder:

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”

I wish you all a relaxed day!

natures-toys

Dappled light through trees this morning

Filters many shades of green,

Multiple tiny creations arranged,

Portrait of light and shadow play –

It’s just Nature playing with her toys.

The Jar of Life: First things First

This is a reblog from balanced action.me. I’ve heard this story before but never told this well. This is a great reminder to focus on what’s important. Enjoy!

Balanced Action

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When life overwhelms us, when our mind is a whirlwind of thoughts and we are afraid to go under, it is important to refocus on what is truly important and dear to us. The story of the “Jar of Life” tells us that even if our life feels full, there is always room for an evening with friends or family.

Why stories are important
When life gets tough a simple, well told story or metaphor can help us look at a situation with new eyes. The distilled essence how a character in a story copes with the challenges of life can teach us an important lesson. For a short moment a story helps to quiet our mind, which allows us to take a deep breath and regain some serenity. In this sense a good, powerful story can act as a wise, compassionate guide.

I hope you enjoy the story of…

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Thought for the day: 23 February 2017 – practicing peace.

I’ve spent the past few days practicing peace. What I mean by that is taking the time to acknowledge and connect to a calm, quiet, peaceful place inside myself, to be aware of the peace, and then to attempt to carry it with me during my day to day activities.

Like anything that hasn’t been a habit, I know these things take time and practice to become a natural response.  We automatically do what we’ve done in the past, so creating a new behaviour (like practicing peace) takes repetition and consistency. In times of stress or unease we are so quick revert back to responses that we’ve used before and so I think it might take me a while to get into the habit of doing this as a natural activity. But I’m excited with my progress. I am aware of times of peace, particularly at work, and have been trying to cultivate and stay in that place of peace regardless of what activities I’m performing at work.

Ok, so it’s only been a few days but so far, so good. Maybe it’s about mindfulness but I am certainly aware of having a sense of peace and being able to carry it with me for periods of time. That’s gotta be a bonus!

I’ve shared this saying in the past but feel as if I have to share it again because it sums up so beautifully what I’m aiming for. I have a belief in God and believe that it’s God’s peace that I’m carrying with me.

4 Peace

I wish you peace.

Putting the pieces back

Putting the pieces back

This poem by Ali of ‘flashlight batteries’ is beautiful and such a wonderful example of love, commitment and friendship. Just had to share it 🙂

flashlight batteries - poetry

I will walk beside you. Fill your cracks

with care. Speak your strengths, over

and over until they are glue. Help you

see all truly beautiful things were once

broken. I will love you with abandon

pour a hot cup of tea. Search for your

missing shards. Pluck out sharp words

used for self-inflicted pain. Chant, cheer,

and call your name. I will run ahead

to look for danger and get behind to push.

But please know you have the final piece

to set in place. I can’t make you whole again.

© Ali Grimshaw 2017

Photo thanks to PIXABAY

#Loveuary Challenge 

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Thought for today: 21 February 2017

dont-judge-someone3

I’m sure some of you must get bored hearing the same sort of messages over and over but I seem to need to be reminded over and over:  a) not to judge others, and b) everyone has their own issues – my issues are my issues, you have your own issues which I know nothing about, but everyone has stuff going on in their lives – their own issues, battles, joys and pain… and we all need a bit of space from time to time, a little compassion now and then, a degree of kindness and friendship and respect. So this is yet another reminder to myself – to go easy on others, just as I would like to think others will go easy on me.

“A little more kindness, a little less judgement”

Remember:  a little kindness can go a long way…

Thought for the day: perfection

theres-no-need-to-be-perfect

Ok, I screwed up. I take full responsibility. I made some unwise decisions. I went out with a group of girlfriends and let myself get drunk, and not just drunk – I got totally written off. “One step away from being legless” I was told. I’m supposed to be an adult, old enough to know better, etc, etc.  I woke the next morning feeling embarrassed and ashamed. This explains yesterday’s poem ‘Legless’.

Hindsight is a wonderful teacher. I’ve felt my own emotional pain. I’ve acknowledged my error. So in order to move on from here, I need to forgive myself and then shut the door to that memory – not revisit it every five minutes or every half hour. I need to close the door and walk away and leave it there. That doesn’t mean I forget, but simply that choose not to revisit the memory and the associated negative feelings. To forgive myself and move on.

This morning I found this quote. It sums up how I want to feel. I’m not there yet but I’m working towards it. I’d like to be a friend, to comfort, care and maybe even inspire others – so this quote is for me. It’s fits me, right here where I stand today.

And I will move on. And I will close that door and walk away. And I will hope that my behaviour, how I deal with my imperfections can still be an inspiration to others.

Feeling humble, honest and imperfect.

Thought for the day: 17 February 2017

genius

You are extraordinarily unique!

You are special. We all have different gifts and talents, abilities, preferences, traits and so much more. We are all unique in our own wonderfully individual ways.

The thing I find somewhat sobering in the above saying, is that I wonder how often, as civilisation has developed, how many people have lived their lives feeling stupid, wrong, naughty, ignorant, rude, evil, immoral, wicked, depraved… and similar negative feelings when they were actually just fish who couldn’t climb trees? I wonder how often civilisation has negatively judged and labelled people and then treated them accordingly as outcasts or idiots, when actually they were just different and wouldn’t fit the current mold of that time or place?

Look at some of the world’s greatest artists and musicians, philosophers, poets, writers, scientists, athletes, politicians and sportspeople. Few are exceptional in more than one or two fields. No-one excels at everything!  For some it can take a lifetime to find their calling or to uncover their passion(s).

I wonder how often in my past I have thought myself foolish for not being able to do what I thought I ought to be doing – when actually I was a goldfish who was pretty good at being a goldfish but lousy at climbing trees, or throwing balls or playing chess.

I believe that I am unique, and that I’m where I am supposed to be. If I’m a goldfish, I want to embrace my ‘goldfishness’ and to be the best goldfish that I can be.

Or as Abraham Lincoln said  “Whatever you are, be a good one.”