Talent. America’s got talent. Korea’s got talent. Lots of countries got talent. We celebrate talent worldwide. And, sure, talent is great. Check out this young ventriloquist singing her, and her puppet’s, heart out. It’s captivating.
But something is missing from the equation when the spotlight is on talent alone. We are too quick to assume that you are simply born with talent…. or not. You can either sing, dance, act, or whatever the ‘talent’ is from a very early age or you’re just out of luck. But that is simply not the case. Behind any good audition or performance, any bestselling book debut or praiseworthy poem is a lot of practice and perseverance. No one springs from the womb singing opera or tap dancing. It’s just not done. And, if you don’t agree, take a look at this clip of Ed Sheeran singing–an adult, but not quite the adult we’ve come to love listening to.
It’s never too late to start developing a new talent. Imagine what the world would look like if the TV shows were America’s [or substitute any country here] Got Perseverance (or Passion or Dedication). What would that show look like?
Think of all the people you’ve brushed up against as you went about your day today. Were their lives made better by the encounter? Even something as simple as a greeting or smile can brighten someone else’s day, and they in turn will be more encouraged to brighten someone else’s day and so on and so on and so on. Good cheer ripples out into the world endlessly. So, of course, does a dour grumpy mood. But who needs more of that?
Consider your actions today. You’re making ripples of one kind or another.
How do we bring peace to a contentious world? Perhaps the only way is to meet hate with love, anger with forgiveness, strife with peace. Please take a minute to enjoy these children singing Make Me a Channel of Your Peace:
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord.
And where there is doubt true faith in You.
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is despair in life let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness only light.
And where there’s sadness ever joy.
Oh, Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in giving to all man that we receive,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.
We think of gratitude as something for the high points of life. But what if it is a practice we cultivate, day in and day out, for all the moments in life? What if we actively look for the good in a dismal situation? What if we seek out the positives that came from trauma? Perhaps bad experiences led you to meet someone who has become important to you or to be able to help others going through something similar. Somehow, someway, there is good to be found in any situation.
As we practice building up our gratitude muscles, we become more resilient. In this lovely article by Kristi Nelson, she says:
Gratefulness, like mindfulness or yoga, is an awareness practice and a way of training, deepening, and directing our attention. The point is not to become an expert in grateful living—never wavering from a grateful outlook—but to recognize that gratefulness can offer us a “touchstone” for life (especially in difficult times) where we can return our awareness again and again in order to shift or expand our perspective. Like other forms of practice, gratefulness makes us more resilient and flexible, and also offers a way to frame and learn from everything that unfolds in our lives. Through practicing over time, we gradually become more and more able to recognize the opportunity in every moment. Practice helps us to deliver on presence, and being present leads to so much else that is beneficial.
If you have a moment, enjoy this lovely video to welcome you into your day with gratitude and love.
Do you have any difficult people in your life? Chances are you can’t force them to be less toxic, but there are steps you can take to be less bothered by the encounter. In this article by Christine Carter, she suggests, among other things, that showing mercy to this difficult person will rebound to you:
Anne Lamott defines mercy as radical kindness bolstered by forgiveness, and it allows us to alter a communication dynamic, even when we are interacting with someone mired in anger or fear or jealousy. We do this by offering them a gift from our heart. You probably won’t be able to get rid of your negative thoughts about them, and you won’t be able to change them, but you can make an effort to be a loving person. Can you buy them a cup of coffee? Can you hold space for their suffering? Can you send a loving-kindness meditation their way?
Forgiveness takes this kindness to a whole new level. I used to think I couldn’t really forgive someone who’d hurt me until they’d asked for forgiveness, preferably in the form of a moving and remorseful apology letter.
But I’ve learned that to heal ourselves we must forgive whether or not we’re asked for forgiveness, and whether or not the person is still hurting us. When we do, we feel happier and more peaceful. This means that you might need to forgive the other person at the end of every day—or, on bad days, every hour. Forgiveness is an ongoing practice, not a one-time deal.
When we find ways to show mercy to even the person who has cost us sleep and love and even our well-being, something miraculous happens. “When we manage a flash of mercy for someone we don’t like, especially a truly awful person, including ourselves,” Anne Lamott writes, “we experience a great spiritual moment, a new point of view that can make us gasp.”
Here’s the real miracle: Our mercy boomerangs back to us. When we show radical kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance—and when we tell the truth in even the most difficult relationship—we start to show ourselves those things. We realize that we can love and forgive and accept even the most terrible aspects of our own being, even if it is only for a moment. We start to show ourselvesthe truth, and this makes us feel free.
Perhaps you can show that difficult person mercy today.
Those of us with pets know how close the bond between animal and human can be. You look deep into the eyes of a cat or dog and see another soul, one who greets you, perhaps, with unrestrained love and affection. We think of ourselves as caring for our pets and sometimes forget how deeply they care for us in return. The bond between animal and human can be transcendent. And, beyond dogs and cats, is that close bond possible?
In this remarkable video, consider Blue, the pot-bellied therapy pig who cheers up seniors in assisted living:
It is not unusual to see 2 year old Blue in the hallways cheering up people a few times a month….
[Blue’s certification as a therapy pig] has been rewarding for both pig and people. The potbelly helps residents “get out of their element” and forget about pain or depression they may be experiencing, says Nu Vista Living Facility lifestyle director Pamela Collins.
“It’s amazing how much Blue is drawn to the people at the nursing home, it is as if she just knows that they need her,” said Zamora-Duran.
Life on Earth is complex, and the possibilities for connection nearly limitless. Isn’t it remarkable that we all–humans and animals–can connect as we share this planet?
It’s so easy to be mad, to rush, to grumble, to push and bluster our way through life without stopping to consider, or even think about, the lives of all the people we brush up against. It might stop us in our tracks if we knew the burdens other people were carrying. It might make us slow down, consider our actions, be kind, refuse to contribute to the existing pain and suffering. If only there were some way to see inside, to know what other people were experiencing. Is that what it would take? In this insightful and powerful video, we learn just that. Would it make a difference if we could actually feel someone else’s pain and sorrow? Would it slow us down to treat each other with kindness? What would it take?
Need to lighten up? Does it seem like you’ve been serious and somber for a long time? One way is to immerse yourself in laughter. Go to a park, and listen to the little ones play. Think of funny jokes. Consider the absurdity of things. For help, listen to these little ones and their rip snorters.
In every life, there comes a time where you consider what kind of a person you want to be. Sometimes this is when you make career goals, but often it involves thinking about the ways you want to relate to others independent of any job.
Think back over your own life. Who made a difference when you really needed it, who inspired you, nurtured you, helped you grow and develop? Perhaps there is something there you can now emulate for others.
But, also, consider what may have been missing that you really felt you needed but didn’t have. An attentive parent, a true friend, a nurturing teacher. Someone who saw beyond the external and valued your worth. Perhaps there is someone in your life who needs this type of role model just as much as you did. Maybe that person is you.
Imagine what a difference you can make!