Mind My OWN Business

“I don’t know how people get so anti-something. Mind your own business. Take care of your own affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”

Betty White

It is only within the last three or four years I have actually been minding my OWN business more consistently. My minding other people’s business showed up as worry about others when I could not do anything about them, or their situation, or what happened to them in the past. I have always cared about others. In fact, I was too “other” focused most of the time. At times, I was clueless about what I felt or needed.

I have married people and had partners in business where I supported their dreams, and put my own dreams on the back burner. This level of naivete used to be detrimental for me in my own life. I DO NOT recommend it. When others acted unkindly towards me, or spoke unkindly, I could NOT respond. I was, too stunned. I have joked that if I were to write an autobiography it would have been called “Deer in Headlights”. I dismissed myself consistently. I believed in the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is a great way to live, but I did not know how to discern which people were the loving and kind people to be around. In other words, I made some poor choices of partners and people in my life. I was minding other’s business instead of my own.

The good news is I survived it all and am now minding my own business more and learning about what I feel and don’t go to denial as long as I used to when something painful surfaces in my life. Truthfully, it takes me a bit of time to get to the core of the pain. Not fun, but it is freeing once I have released it. I am very grateful to be able to meditate and go to prayer. That is how I get to the nuggets that free me. Also outside help of friends, family, and a counselor help me over the hump of my difficulties. Once I resurface in humanity, I find I am more open and kinder to everyone I meet. Even on a rainy day I find that faint rainbow way across the valley where I live. I get my smile back with no effort required. And I find I have to pray a lot about the pain and meanness I see out in the world because I alone can NOT fix it.

I wonder about why so many people feel they have been given license to be mean today. Then I think back and remember when I used to be an angrier person. I had resentments I kept to myself because way down in my subconscious I did NOT like some of the choices I was making, but I did NOT want to admit to them. Those choices did not make me feel good about myself. I was not always kind to my partners because of the resentments I was hiding. Is this one of the sources where all this MEANNESS is coming from for others today?

Would we have a different world if all of us minded our own business and lives? If all of us looked into our own hearts and past which made us feel resentful and uncovered our own pain and lived our own lives, what would that world look like?

In the USA we can state our own opinions about whatever we believe, although, appropriately, “hate” speech is illegal, but when we enact laws to stop others from living their lives, loving who they love, or being who they are, I think we have gone too far. We are messing with other people’s lives. Then we are not protecting all of humanity. Then we are not working with or respecting all people. Then we have created an “US” vs “THEM” way of living together, which is NEVER harmonious or kind. These kinds of feeling are the sources for all wars, hatred, and division. This is is the worst kind of minding other people’s business.

I will just keep chugging along and do my best to mind my OWN business, and now I temper my own behavior with making more suggestions, and offering help to family, friends, and people I meet when they ASK me for it. I don’t assume it is OK to butt in. By making this change in MY behavior, I have become more thankful and present in my OWN life, knowing that my source has given me an opportunity to live my life fully and joyously, and I will not squander the gift of my life and being a part of this beautiful world.

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“Blowing in the Wind”

The photos last week of the little 5 year-old Syrian boy who had survived the bombing, touched my heart. Often I have to turn off stories about the Syrian war. By now it is possible that between 200,000 and 400,000 thousand people have died. Often all I feel I can do is pray. I am a peace supporter. I protested the second Iraq War of George W. Bush for months and months. I became a peace advocate in my 30s, so I was not a hippy in the 60s and 70s and part of the protest of the Vietnam War. However, today Bob Dylan’s song touches my heart, particularly the line:
“Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’till he knows
That too many people have died?”
When will all these wars end? “Blowing in the Wind” answers that question for me.

That is how I feel about the endless wars that have been the backdrop of my entire life. I did not experience them directly, but I had a taste of them through teaching some of the immigrants I taught English to as an English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) teacher. First, I learned a little from my Vietnamese students in New Hampshire and even in North Carolina and also from the other teachers who taught with me. This was long after the War in Vietnam had ended (in 1990).

The first year I taught as an ESL teacher, I read “When Heaven and Earth Changed Places” by Le Ly Hayslip. Ms. Hayslip is Vietnamese, so the book was written from her perspective. When I saw the movie that Stone made from her book, it became much more the point of view of her American soldier husband, so Hayslip’s story was diminished. In any case, her book helped me to slightly understand who I was teaching at the time. I learned that first year teaching that the wars we Americans fight, when our troops leave these countries, they are left destroyed. After destroying their countries, then there is new wave of displaced people and immigrants who have suffered the ravages of war at the hand of American foreign policy.

Later in my career I taught Korean students, Palestinians, a few Syrian students, long before the present war in Syria. One of those students had a family that was living in Egypt when it used to be more stable. I had the good fortune to teach students from most of the countries of the world and because we needed to practice speaking and listening besides teaching English, I was able to learn something about their lives.

I love the USA, but I have deeply revulsion to our foreign policies in world. I believe that since the end of World War II, which ended before I was born, most of our foreign policies have been bankrupt, greedy, and very destructive.

A man who understood war well, President (and General) Dwight Eisenhower, warned us Americans before he left office at the beginning of 1961 NOT to create a “Military-Industrial Complex”.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
-President Dwight David Eisenhower

This is President Eisenhower’s entire farewell speech:

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

Our politicians did not heed Eisenhower’s wisdom. Greed superseded wisdom.

I have no idea how to stop all of the wars. What I do know is that I personally must be at peace within myself and like myself. When I am feeling down, I notice I am NOT as kind to others. I have to start by being kind to myself. Stressing myself about “getting things done” and pressuring myself is NOT a good way to treat myself. Also when I disconnect myself from my heart and my source, I find I think and act more negatively towards others. I believe this is the beginning of callousness towards others and the “roots of all war”. All I can do is correct myself. If each of us, focuses on our own lives and also is willing to work with others, I believe it is possible to end war. Also getting the profit and greed out of war and selling implements of war: guns, rockets, etc. to others is also necessary. No telling when that might happen. No matter what, I can still be as peaceful as I can and live a happier life because I choose to be kinder towards myself and others.

I love this song. It says my point of view in a song, “Down to YOU”. Thank you, Bonnie Raitt.

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Love and Empathy Conquers Hate and Fear

When I have been afraid, I can NOT think straight. I feel I have no possibilities, or I feel helpless and hopeless. When I can become vulnerable enough and admit my fear and notice why I am afraid, then I can work to tell the truth to myself or others about my fear(s). Then I am free again and can notice other possible ways to deal with a situation or challenge than when I was blinded by my fear.

I was going through this process the few last weeks. This was not an instant process. It took me some time to unravel it. I also had to ask for help from my source. After I did this, I calmed down and was able to more patiently navigate my way through my recent and even ongoing challenges. I found a possible solution that I was unable to even fathom when I had been so fearful.

I have noticed that when I am fearful, I am also less loving and empathetic. I am quicker to anger. Over the last few months, with all of the mass shootings, shootings of African Americans, and police officers and unrest and shootings around the world, I have resisted going to fear, but it crept in anyway. Denying it was there was not helping. Also I have been disturbed and saddened by the hate I have witnessed against all groups of people.

Hate has an energy that is palpable and very dark. However, I and we humans have a way to conquer hate and fear, and that is with love and empathy.

From Wayne Dyer’s Book, page 27: “The Power of Intention” he said in his chapter: “The Seven Faces of Intention”:

“…Love… is a higher/faster energy than the energy of hate.”

Also on the same page Mr. Dyer said:

“Thoughts and emotions are pure energy. When higher energies occupy the same field as lower energies, the lower energies convert to higher energies.”

Therefore, in the presence of the energy of LOVE, hate is conquered.

Getting to this place of LOVE is definitely not automatic for me. What I can do, is begin with myself. I need to begin with being kinder and more loving to myself, only then can I give love or at least have empathy for others. First, I have to shift and acknowledge my fear or anger if I have any. Recently, I found what was under my fear was a very old resentment, which I needed to admit to myself. This included that I needed to become willing to be an observer of my own actions, emotions, and triggers. My source helps me to see what those are when I become willing to be humble and listen from a place of silence. I am no saint. I am aware I need all the help I can get, so I ask or pray for it.

“Love is the most powerful and still the most unknown energy of the world.”

– Teil de Chardin

I just saw this this Tuesday. This young man shows what LOVE and EMPATHY are in his unbelievable rap. Don’t miss it! Keep kleenex handy.

http://eagnews.org/video-eighth-graders-explicit-white-boy-privilege-poem-wins-school-competition/

Sorry, initially I copied and pasted the wrong rap!

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Change and Changing

“There is nothing permanent except CHANGE.”
– Heraclitus (Died 475 B.C.)

In nature change is obvious. Every day I see the changes from light to dark, seasons changing and places that have changed. Change is inevitable, and I am pretty good at accepting those changes.

Making changes in my OWN life has usually been dramatic for me. The one constant has always been ME. I have been the one present for those changes, so I needed to learn to become clearer about my part in making better choices for the next stage and changes in my life. It took me surrendering and learning that I am not in control of everything. I needed to learn it was my SOURCE’s
Way NOT MY Way for my life. I can plan, make goals and set deadlines, but I am NOT in control of every outcome! I have been deluding and frustrating myself when I believed this in the past.

The other thing that made change so difficult for me was my expectations of how things SHOULD be. Those phony pictures in my head, the DISNEY version of the perfect family and the prince arriving to save me, were FALSE expectations. When I look back at my life resisting CHANGE has just cost me a lot of undue suffering, which today I am learning to let go of. Yeah, FREEDOM!

I remember hearing about new way of seeing change at a workshop at least 35 years ago, from a very smart young man who had to use a wheelchair all the time. He had completely accepted this huge change in his life. He said that he had seen many able-body people who were disabled in their thinking and attitudes. At the time, I did not realize and was not aware that I was one of the people of whom he was speaking.

My sister-in-law, who is a beautiful human being called me as I was getting ready to publish this blog. She is in my life now and is an extraordinary woman who had a spinal cord injury almost 30 years ago when she was in her thirties.
She had to change her whole life. At first, after her accident, she said that she felt rage at her new fate. She said that she has transmuted that rage into positive action. Sometimes the only positive action she can do is pray.

As you can tell, I love inspirational stories about people who are making great changes. May 9th, I heard about a program that is helping convicts change their lives. It was on PRI (Public Radio International) during the show “The Takeaway” with John Hockenberry. A community college program is retraining inmates in Walla-Walla, Washington. Take a listen:
http://www.wnyc.org/story/walla-walla-community-college-prisoner-education-program/

Years ago I heard another quote:

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
– Heraclitus

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Thinking with My Heart

What do I mean by “thinking with my heart”? I mean I have found if I feel first and then think, I make better choices for myself. I am a happier person. I care more about myself and others when I live from this space. I feel more present in my life, not just going through the motions.

My “automatic” thinking tends to be darker, more fearful, more competitive, and less creative. My automatic thinking came often from fear and expecting the worst. When I go to my automatic thinking, I am less open and see fewer possibilities for myself and others.

Look out at our world. Would it be a better place for all of us, if we felt what we needed to before we reacted to situations and conversations? Would we be more compassionate? I believe we would. What I have noticed about myself is that I like myself more when I say something or act in a more open and generous way towards others. This takes effort. I have to reflect longer before I respond to people. Instead of making snap judgments, I take longer to assess what is going on before I respond to something or take action.

“The heart has its own language. The heart knows a hundred thousand ways to speak.” -Rumi

This is a TEDx Talk which speaks about this subject by Magdalena Bak-Maier:

Naturally, there have been times when I have felt angry, and that was an appropriate reaction to what was happening. Thinking with my heart does not mean denying what is happening or has happened in the past. I can return to thinking with my heart once I have processed whatever I need to.

Another huge factor that keeps me thinking with my heart is I need to check in with “my source”. My source is a force I believe connects me with every other living thing. This source helps to guide me towards thinking from a more loving space filled with compassion for all including myself. What is great today, I have more choices how I respond when I think with my heart.

“Our days are HAPPIER when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece our mind.”

Thank you, Pinterest, for this saying.

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Giver and Healer

Thanks to by brother, Larry Wade, for the beautiful background photo from the the Central Andes of Chile. The mountains are Torres del Paine.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been healing with the help of my source. Sometimes the past comes and has to be dealt with. My source, family, and dear friends helped me through. Spiritual healing is like looking up at these beautiful mountains, and it can be challenging, too. As I continue to heal, I now feel freer and more connected to my source. To grow and learn I had to be still and listen. To be still I had to SLOW myself down.

I am glad to get my energy back, and I was thankful for the time that I had to follow the four letter word: REST, along with my source. I had no other choice. So often in life before now, I would pick myself up so quickly, the word REST was not something I had ever known. In that state while I was healing, I could even be more aware of how good a shower felt, or how good a dinner tasted, or how beautiful the clouds are. Life became very simple. I could only do ONE thing at a time.

This is what Joshua Becker said about rest:

The Underappreciation of Rest in Today’s Society

“The only journey is the one within.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

I found out that on my journey within that I was never alone. My source, family, and close friends were always there for support and comfort me. Learning this at a deeper level of understanding and feeling it in my heart was truly the greatest gift to me!

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My Source

For many years I had no source outside myself.  I was aimless and confused, but I wouldn’t admit it for a minute. I was an “independent thinker”, so I thought.

mountain spring

spring, a source begins

When I look back at me then, I thought I knew what I was doing. I was certain and almost proud I had no source outside myself, except people.  I had no spiritual center, and in moments, when I was willing to question myself, I did not feel quite “whole”, nor did I fully understand what I was feeling.

mountain spring 2

mountain spring continues

While I was teaching, I prepared adult students for the GED test. They shared amazing stories with me, including even their near death experiences. The curriculum I taught included the basic laws of physics for their GED tests. That taught me that energy is not destroyed.

At that time, other events occurred in my life which involved family members who were spared from near misses with death: one with a collision with snow plow, and another family member who fell off a roof. Added to these events, when my daughter was driving day or at night in the New England town where we lived, I sent her “white light” as a way to protect her and to stop myself from worrying. I started to question my lack of a spiritual source and faith in anything. I no longer had all the “answers” and explanations for what I was experiencing in my life.

Lesley Hazelton gives a moving TED talk about Doubt in relationship with Faith about Mohammed. She lived in Israel from 1966 to 1979. In the following talk, she speaks about the Moslem faith that I came to know and understand from my friends, who are Moslems, and from students, who I taught who are Moslems.

It is:  www.ted.com/talks/lesley_hazleton_the_doubt_essential_to_faith

 

water goes into stream

water further from my source

 Now when I feel confused, fear, hopeless, or am in pain, I ask for help from my source and receive solace and serenity when I am patient. I am deeply thankful that I have found my source. My life feels fuller, more joyful, and I love myself, others, and nature more than I ever have before.
Thank you, source!
spring source 3

my constant source

“Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you.  They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn perfect patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion. ”     –   Buddha

 

 

 

 

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