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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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