Wouldn’t it be lovely to see with the eyes of a child again? What would we see? How would we see the people around us, the awe of nature, the challenge in a difficulty?
In this not-to-miss video, children are asked to describe how they are alike and different. The video has powerful reverberations for us all.
Have you ever noticed that someone’s words were exactly what you needed to hear at that moment? Perhaps even life-changing. When you are on the receiving end of such words, you have no doubt how important they are. Those words gave you hope, or let you see another side, or soothed your anger, or gave you purpose.
But sometimes, on the giving end of such words, we forget how important they can be. We forget to tell people how much we like them or how grateful we are for them or how we are in their corner. We rationalize–they’re just words. Who cares? It’s not life-changing.
But, in fact, as those of us who have heard such words at just the right time can attest, those words can indeed be life-changing. When they start a ripple of positivity that doesn’t begin or end with you, those words can set in motion other words and those new words just may reach someone at the right time to provide comfort or solace.
Keep shaking the world. Put kindness out there; the ripples will spread endlessly.
It is a joy to be part of a team—that synergistic thrill of brainstorming, the shared burdens and responsibilities, the excitement of seeing a project take shape. But who among us doesn’t remember a group project from grade school, perhaps, when we did more of the work while our teammates loafed? “The unfairness!” we shrieked. And, of course, once we shrieked, our partners shrieked as well. Couldn’t anyone appreciate what they were doing? And back and forth until the team spirit was gone, and everyone was just grumpy, burdened, or offended.
But if we can manage to not inject a focus on our own contributions and, instead, keep the focus on the work, isn’t it a joy to be part of a team? We have so many teams we are a part of–our families, our towns, our work, our countries, our world. Isn’t it lovely to see cooperative projects take shape? Isn’t it amazing to know that we can make a unique contribution?
The eye doesn’t complain to the foot that it isn’t doing a good enough job seeing. The back doesn’t tell the nose that it is not carrying its weight. Instead they work together, each contributing to the health and success of the body. How can we make a contribution to help get things done for good today?
Today, in the United States, we honor our veterans and thank them for their service defending this country and its principles of equality, freedom, and justice for all. Our understanding of those concepts has evolved over time, and taken some steps back, but today let us be grateful for how far we’ve come and consider the steps that we each might take today and every day to make this country move closer to the ideals for which it stands.
The Japanese Macaques, snow monkeys, are a deeply hierarchical society, their status in the group inherited from their mothers. Living in frigid temperatures, the upper class snow monkeys spend their time in natural hot springs, leaving the rest to huddle in the snow and look on as they luxuriate. The Emperor Penguins also live in frigid conditions, huddled together, but they constantly rotate, letting those most exposed on the outside come to the center for warmth. They take turns. It keeps those in the center from overheating and those on the fringes from freezing.
Sharing is an interesting phenomenon. It’s easy to see that when a society shares its resources, the whole group benefits, but how does that play out in the human species? Do we see the benefit to the whole group from sharing what we have, or do we focus on clutching more and more into our own fists? Some humans are uniquely able, it seems, to rationalize selfish behavior even when looking directly at the needs of others. But others consider their own resources an opportunity to help others. This is true both on an individual level, and on a larger societal level. It’s an interesting matter of perspective.
Some snow monkeys, some penguins. Which are you?
If you look for thorns, you’ll see thorns. If you look for love, you’ll see it all around you. And if you look for opportunities to make a difference, to shower people with love, and to take a stand for all that is good and right in the world, those opportunities will be there.
What opportunities do you see in the day ahead?
What if the world knew you only by the worst thing you’ve ever done? Assume everything’s public, no secrets, anything can be known by everyone. That’s a tough scenario, isn’t it? What would people think if they could see all the bad things you’ve done, the cruel things you’ve said, the opportunities to be kind you’ve missed?
Some of us live that reality–known by one event, judged by all and found lacking–the drug addict, the convict, the molester, the drop-out, the neglectful mom. And yet each of us is incredibly complex, capable of both good and bad, cruelty and kindness, and, most importantly, redemption.
How all of our souls hunger for someone to see that, even when we make mistakes, there is good in us, too, that we aren’t all bad. That mistake shouldn’t define us. Imagine how much more that is true for someone who has been shunned by society because of one wrong turn.
What can we do to look at each other as we see ourselves, complex, erring individuals worthy of love? What can we do to recognize that we are all kin?
So much of life depends on our perception of reality. When things go deeply wrong, how can we consider the opportunity hiding there? Perhaps there is a new way to do things, a better way to communicate, a method of engagement that factors in other perspectives. Failure is never failure, really. It is always an opportunity to learn, even if it is merely to learn what doesn’t work.
What obstacles are in your path right now? How can you look at them differently to see the new opportunities waiting?
Do we try too hard to control the results? To cling to our preferred outcomes? To our own sense of how things should be? In this thoughtful list (Click on link for discussion of each item), Dana Saviuc shares her suggestion of fifteen things we need to let go of in order to be happy:
1. Give up your need to always be right.
2. Give up your need for control.
3. Give up on blame.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk.
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible.
6. Give up complaining.
7. Give up the luxury of criticism.
8. Give up your need to impress others.
9. Give up your resistance to change.
10. Give up labels.
11. Give up on your fears.
12. Give up your excuses.
13. Give up the past.
14. Give up attachment.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations.
Lots of giving up, but so much more to be gained by the change in focus!
We wear our souls on our sleeves really, especially those of us who are artists. The created work sings of hope or despair, love or hate, trust or deceit. Much of what we believe about life is reflected in our created worlds.
But each of us is an artist, really. Consider the created worlds each of us makes with our online presence. Do we share stories of hope and unity or of despair and dissension? Do we seek to unify or to tear apart? Do we spread the beautiful or the ugly? What are we putting out there into the world with our words and actions?
When we share with the world, are we sharing the best of ourselves?