Category: Forgiveness

Spread Some Joy Today > Forgiveness

Love Them. Love Them Anyway. Love Them Regardless.

“The secret of health for both mind and body
is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about
the future, but to live the present moment
wisely and earnestly.”

— Siddhartha Gautama

“It makes no difference how deeply seated may
be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how
muddled the tangle, how great the mistake.
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.”

— Emmet Fox

[Classic post from 6-28-12. Note: As I reread this post, I thought of similar events in people’s lives that I know or know of. I thought it was an enlightening reminder to consider how we can enjoy the present moments with our loved ones and to worry not about the past or the future. There is positive in every so-called tragedy and as we open to what we can find in that way we are both transformed.]

Since I’ve shared a lot of myself in these blogs, I will continue that by telling you that my wife is dying in front of me and fading more each day. She has ALS, and other ailments and in the last year has aged at least ten. She was forced to retire this year by not being able to function in her capacity any longer. Most recently she was a Children’s Pastor, and now on disability with a fatal disorder.

How do I turn that into an inspiration? It depends on how one would look at this.

Indeed, it would be so easy to say how sad it is and to mourn the why’s and wherefore’s, seek blame, and that list goes on much longer, and it is to no avail anyway. If I believe that these things just are given out at random to undeserving souls, or some devil was to blame, or anything at all we might think of from the outside, it is a seriously sad situation. And, at the same time, feeling sorry and feeling the potential loss is casting a dark shadow on anything like love.

Yesterday, I talked about accepting situations as if we had planned and executed them on purpose, whether consciously or unconsciously. In my mind, it is only with this kind of thought that I can deal with this by accepting and to feel love rather than all those other fearful and sorrowful emotions.

Does the way we think affect our health? I think there is no doubt in my mind and we can watch people over time and see how they deal with things and one way is an illness. Is it too late? I don’t believe so, but it is not up to me. This kind of talk from me falls on deaf ears, but I am too close and she has her own mind and beliefs many of which do not match mine.

So what to do?

Love her. Find joy. Stay in the moment as much as I can because in the moment there is only love and no fear. Don’t treat her as being less than, or excessively careful and all that fear stuff, but to just enjoy all the little moments that we used to let go by unnoticed and unappreciated.

Life can change in an instant when someone goes quickly. Life can change in moments in situations like this. A lot of people around her are sad and avoid seeing her, talking with her because her speech is affected so much now, but I debate with her and challenge her and have fun with her. She was a debate champion and I never even got close to winning an argument on any subject and never had any fun with it either. But now, I have fun.

Now we just go do things on the spur of the moment or do things we haven’t done in a long time, go for coffee which never was her favorite and is now for some reason. It’s not about making up for lost time, or anything like that, it is just a relaxing in allowing the present moment to take priority. It never used to but does now. And, that is a lesson I’ve been working on accepting and learning of late as well.

I talked about one of my favorite books, Power To Praise by Merlin Carothers and that book is what taught me to praise God for everything including things that my previous training taught me to condemn. It is so powerfully true and in the practicing of it, I see his message so clear. It is acceptance, then appreciation and love.

It is also an inspiration to pay more attention to the present every day regardless of health and circumstance. I’ve always liked that quote that says, “if you truly love God, what is there to worry about?

Happiness Is A Choice To Be So By Appreciating The Abundance Of Love We Have In Us And Around Us. There Is An Endless Supply. Endless. Use It.

Spread Some Joy Today–See the sparkle in the eye, the smile of love in the face. See yourself as a reflection of others.

The Paradigm Of Love: Wealth Of The Heart

Once I knew a person of great heart wealth. She was ninety-two, a little bent from time. Her hair was white, her wrinkles deep, her eyes radiated light and love. She was beautiful, and she was one of my great teachers. Although we only spent one hour together, she changed my life.

Mary Hadley lived in a small room in a complex for the elderly in Pasadena, California. Her material possessions were the pictures on the walls and the teapot from which she poured our tea.

I, a stranger making a ministerial visit, knocked on her door. After a long moment, she opened the door, and I explained my being there. Suddenly her eyes lit up, and she explained, “Every day I ask, ‘Lord, what miracles do you have for me today?’ And here you are!” She thought I was a miracle, and this was the first time I felt like a miracle.

Such Divine-Human Love radiated from this small weathered being that I felt immersed in radiant light. When I was leaving the complex, someone told me, “Everyone loves Mary Hadley.” What is this love that can embrace a stranger and recognize another as a miracle?

Can the wealth of Mary Hadley be counted?

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Heaven On Earth

Heaven on Earth is
not “the Heaven of Heavens,”
not the eternal kingdom,
not the perfect place.

For in Heaven on Earth
are the tears
for another’s pain,
for the wounded souls,
for God’s violated gifts.

Heartbreak abounds in
Heaven on Earth,
yet also are there tears
of joy in spring’s blooming,
of rapture in a setting sun,
of wonder in a child’s smile.

Heaven on Earth
cannot be found
by “doubt” or “disbelief,”
is denied the worldly wise,
is unknown to human pride.

For in Heaven on Earth
heart touches heart;
gentleness holds the frightened;
joy sees the other and dances,
and the newborn pine rises out of ashes.

Heaven on Earth is lived
in a moment of “Light,”
in a moment of knowing,
in a moment of deep tenderness,
in a moment of kneeling.

For Heaven on Earth
is Love’s dwelling place
known to all
who open to Love.

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

I Have Power

“Only human beings can reorder their lives
any day they choose by refining their philosophy.”

–Jim Rohn

I suppose I could say that it all begins with the realization that I have power, and if I don’t yet recognize that as a fundamental truth, that I can learn to recognize the power. What power? The power to change my life to more of what I want and less of what I don’t want. The power to lead my life instead of having others dictate or circumstances determine my fate. The power to have a great life, to be happy generally, and to feel purpose and to find fulfillment in my life and my relationships with others. It means that instead of hoping that my life might turn out well, having the power means that I actually control it.

Another way I might reflect on this is that it means that I am accepting responsibility for my life, or to be in charge of my life. It took a lot of years for me to get to the point where I was really accepting full responsibility for my life and how it has turned out. But, I began accepting responsibility a little at a time, while I was still seeing other people outside of me causing issues, and circumstances that weren’t to my liking. I still blamed things and people outside of myself for much that went on that I didn’t like. There were even some periods of feeling powerless, yet little by little, I made progress.

Jim Rohn was a big help in the philosophy of that, but I never seemed to live up to my own comparison with his views of a successful person. I tried. I listened to the tapes, read his books, and generally loved what he was saying, and even practiced, but I still fell short. That is so often how we feel when we are comparing ourselves to others. And, yet, as I said, progress was happening; albeit, slowly.

It would take almost another 30 years to really get to the point of fully accepting my own ability and responsibility for changing my life to my own desires, and letting go of all that resistance that is demonstrated so blatantly in blame, disappointment, unworthiness, and powerlessness.

I think it is extremely important to acknowledge and accept the inner power that we have at our disposal. It is and has always been there, but many may be so caught up in what is going on around them and the disparity they feel about them, that they just don’t realize the control of their lives they can have.

In fact, I believe that all of our learning is simply and exquisitely to remember what we already know—to re-member, re-connect. I believe that we have all the answers we ever need within us via our inner connection with God or All-That-Is. At the same time, it is great to make connections with other people and be subject to some of their influence to enhance ourselves too. These connections are not haphazard as they might seem but are co-creating with others for the benefit of all. There is something beautiful in sharing knowledge with others. It is the same vibration as love.

Who Taught Me?

Below is a poetic phrase that touched me deeply and really stood apart from the rest of the poem. The whole poem is excellent, and I so enjoyed this piece of it that I wanted to share that insight with you in case you may have a similar sense. I am very clear now in my life that happiness is indeed in the heart and not in the world. Now the one line that stood miles apart for me is this: [Who taught me] “that my true self is beyond me?” I know now that it is not beyond me as I allow my alignment with it and with the unconditional love that my true self embodies. Equally enlightening was the first two phrases: “Who taught me that getting is taking?” Wow! What a fascinating thought. I hope you enjoy this poem today.

Who taught me
that getting is taking,
not giving;
that happiness is in the world
not in the heart;
that my true self
is beyond me?

_________________________________________________________

When?

When did I become
and ego, not a truth
surrendering my divinity
for the world?

How did I become
someone I’m not,
a hollow person caught
in a misled crowd
moving to the worldly tune,
competing for the worthless prize?

Who taught me
that getting is taking,
not giving;
that happiness is in the world
not in the heart;
that my true self
is beyond me?

Who is this me
acting on the stage of life?
Who is this one
who can smile
while the heart cries,
who can make the
meaningless meaningful,
who can pretend that all is right
when it isn’t?

Who is this me
who has learned
my lines as an actor in a play
but doesn’t know why
the words are hollow?
Who is this me
who turns away from rainbows
and forgets the roses?

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

An Ordinary Miracle

Sadly, for too long
I lived the worldly life
searching the world
for my happiness,
guided by others’ opinions,
giving away my truth;
my autonomy.

Mine was the ordinary life
with its ups and downs
and underlying unease
held in check by fear,
limited in vision,
bounded by ignorance,
weary from trying.

Then, one day,
grace awakened
my ordinary life to Holy Life;
joy flowed forth;
peace permeated;
disappointment
turned to celebration.

My ordinary life
became a miracle.

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

Minding My Own Business

“Mind your own business!” 

— My mother when I was a child

[Classic post from 3-19-14]

Pay attention to my work. It is not my work to change anyone.

How prophetic my mother’s words sound to me now, but back then I just ignored them and paused until she left the room. Albert K Strong says it a different way: “If you don’t want to see, don’t look.” Thoreau said it a bit differently when he said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

I have known many people, some intimately, who pay so much attention to what other people are doing or saying. I was in that club myself as I recall. Usually, it was considered negative things like whether or not the neighbor down the street is watering or mowing their lawn, or how long that car has been parked in the driveway without moving or removing trees, or their kids running around, and the list is pretty much endless.

It seems like the more we focus on what other people are doing that is not what we like, the more of that we see until we are almost constantly upset. But I chose to not look, or at least not give it any of my focus. I cannot help but see when my eyes are open, because it is light entering my eyes, but I don’t have to pay any attention to it, and I have 100% control over what I decide to think about it.

This also applies to how people act in the grocery store or at work, church, the bank, the special place you’re at on the weekend, the child crying in the restaurant, and all the everyday kind of situations we go through. What will I choose to focus on? Though I look, what will I choose to see? Do I want to be upset, angry, disappointed, or do I want to enjoy myself, have a good time? Great questions to ask because that is exactly how it is. I get to choose what I see, what I think about it, causing my emotions to tell me how I feel.

My work of minding my own business is to focus on me and how I want to feel. If I put any energy toward all the things that by my own judgment are going wrong in the world, there isn’t enough time in my entire life to even know them all. By the same token, if I put any energy toward all the things that by my own judgment are wonderful, or doing well in the world, there isn’t enough time in my entire life to even know all of them. But I know which of those will cause me to enjoy myself, have a good time, and feel good, and which will not. My work is me. Not them.

Why should I spend my life worrying about other people and what they are doing or not doing? Why should I spend my life worrying about all the stuff in the headlines? Or the President and Congress, or the economy, global warming, and a world of problems? What good does it do me? Let me emphasize that phrase, what GOOD does it do me?

My work, my business is my own alignment with me and I have purposely made a decision to want to feel good as much of the time as possible, so I will choose what I decide to see, what I will think about it, and consequently how I will feel.

“You Empower What You Fight. You Withdraw Power From What You Release.” — Alan Cohen

Spread Some Joy Today–“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Patience Is Just Plain Fun!

“The greatest power 
is often simple patience.”

— E. Joseph Cossman

 
[Classic post from 3-23-14]
 
My Life Lessons 

This is a series of revelations about my life that I am sharing with others for what it may be worth. These come from a lifetime of study and experience of others and myself, and I now translate them to words. These will be numbered; however, they are not in order of importance as all are equally important. It is just a way for me to keep track of them in this series. I hope you find value in them.

Life Lesson #14

Patience is not only a virtue, it’s just plain fun.

I have learned to be a patient man, and I have learned it from people and circumstances that challenged me to make that choice. Well, I accepted the challenges with eagerness because I made a decision that I wanted to learn to be a patient man.

Some people think that having patience is enduring something, which sounds like that stiff-upper-lip thing in England. Patience in the Bible is often spoken in the same manner. To me that is more like tolerance, meaning you are putting up with it though you do not want to. Maybe you can’t even wait to get out of the situation to get back into the world of fast-moving impatience.

I borrowed a bit of a quote from Wayne Dyer and created my own about this subject. Here it is: “Patience isn’t tolerating or putting up with. It is allowing things, situations, or people to be as they are without any insistence that they be anything else.” I think that says it nicely.

To me, patience is also calmness. I remember several years ago when I first read a quote by James Allen, and as soon as I read it, the whole thing resonated with me and I wanted to become that person. Here’s the quote: “The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.” Isn’t that a wonderful image? I love it.

All of these are great. Each is well-spoken and describes the idea of patience nicely. From the time I was a child, I had always heard the quote, “patience is a virtue.” I never really knew what it meant, and putting it into practice was torture. Later in my life, after finally making a decision that I wanted to become a patient man, I found that practice was what helped me get it going, and after a time, I began to have fun with it, and now I look forward to opportunities where I can practice it.

But, before I could really practice it, I had to get rid of the idea of tolerance, endurance, holding my breath, and other ideas of patience. What I found was that it was more real when I would unplug from the situation, suspend all judgment, and the keyword was to relax.

So, I went back to my vision of the tug-o-war and my struggle to pull the rope was my impatience with the situation or the person, and patience was more obvious to me as in letting go of the rope. I began to practice as if I were standing outside just watching the situation with no real interest other than to just enjoy it. That worked extremely well.

By stepping back, letting go of the rope, and just observing brought me joy. I was really having fun and smiling the whole time. Others around me might be complaining, demonstrating their impatience, and so on, and here I was in the same situation, having joy. Who knew? It’s hard to say how much of a difference it has made in my recent life, but it is tremendous.

“Circumstance Does Not Make The Man; It Reveals Him To Himself.” — James Allen 

Spread Some Joy Today–Let go of the rope. Relax. Breathe deeply. Experience joy.

Life Lesson #7: Forgiveness

“It’s not just other people we need to forgive.
We also need to forgive ourselves.
For all the things we didn’t do.
All the things we should have done.”

— Mitch Albom

[Classic post from 3-16-14]

My Life Lessons

This is a series of revelations about my life that I am sharing with others for what it may be worth. These come from a lifetime of study and experience of others and myself, and I now translate them into words. These will be numbered; however, they are not in order of importance as all are equally important. It is just a way for me to keep track of them in this series. I hope you find value in them.

Life Lesson #7

Forgiveness is sublime, and it is not for others, but ourselves.

I might add to Mitch Albom’s quote above, all the things we did, and all the things we shouldn’t have done. It’s great to forgive ourselves for things we should have done but didn’t do, yet is taken to a whole new level when we forgive ourselves for things we have actually done, yet have always regretted by feeling we shouldn’t have done them.

I think that if we are human, we err. If we are acting on impulse, eventually we will act in a way that in a time of more clarity, we would have made another choice. Maybe someone else was affected in the process, and that can add to the burden that we continually add to ourselves over time for these errors in judgment and/or action.

Probably of all the things that I have learned to help me through life, the action of forgiveness of myself is high on the list of importance to me, and I have also been very successful in changing the way I have viewed past so-called errors or mistakes.

The thing that has helped me the most has been to put into a picture in my head what forgiving is. To me, regret and self-judgment is exactly like a game of tug-o-war where I am pulling with all my might against a foe or foes on the other side of the pit. It seems that the harder I pulled, the harder it was held firm. I could never seem to move the opponent enough to matter. The reason is that the opponent was me and is of equal strength. Essentially, I was fighting myself without any success.

The change in me came when I realized that all I needed to do was let go of the rope. At first, I thought that was quitting, and in a short time, I realized that it was a success instead. As soon as I let go, the opponent didn’t fall down, but disappeared entirely, along with the rope and the pit.

Now I use this strategy purposefully in many ways in my life, and mainly to forgive myself for those things I should have done, shouldn’t have done, failed to do, and did. Once I get some time as perspective, I often see that these things weren’t mistakes at all, but an essential part of my journey.

Forgiving others is a piece of cake to me. I just let go of the rope. As long as I am not forgiving them, I am at war with myself, and that war is no fun, and I find pain at every turn and negative thoughts that run in a circle over and over again. So, I’ve learned to just let go of the rope in my mind and the act of forgiveness has been achieved. I have released the issue, and I have at the same time, released myself from the self-imposed burden.

Forgiving myself was not a piece of cake to me, but as I learned to let go of the rope and practiced it, felt it, I began forgiving myself more and more. Now it is easier. Sometimes one of those issues comes back from an old memory tape, and it is easier still because I have dealt with it before and know what to do.

I have often found that letting go is the most powerful thing I can do.

“Sometimes You Don’t Realize Your Own Strength Until You Come Face To Face With Your Greatest Weakness.” — Susan Gale

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