Category: Kindness

Celebrating Automotive Mechanical Engineering – Part 1

[New post]

Preface: This is a series of personalized posts celebrating people, skills they've learned, things they make, and value they have added to our lives.

Today I am celebrating automotive mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering is such a diverse field that I decided to focus on different aspects of it and since I have experience with automotive mechanics, it is a good choice to begin this celebration. Even the field of automotive engineering is huge, so I'm choosing automatic transmissions for part 1.

I grew up where the majority of cars and pickups that I saw were manual transmissions, or what we called stick-shifts. Most were three-speed with the shifter on the steering wheel column. It was a very sporty upgrade to have the shifter on the floor. I didn't own a vehicle with an automatic until 1973. When I first started selling cars in 1972, even the full-size Chevrolet Impala had a three-speed on the column standard. Over the years, automatic transmissions began taking hold and expanding in the marketplace until now where it is somewhat harder to find a stick-shift except in very sporty cars or small cars.

I watch a lot of YouTube videos because I love to learn and there are so many entertaining videos that are also educational. One channel to point out here is Precision Transmission. It's a family-run transmission shop in Amarillo, Texas, and I have come to love them and the videos they produce. Richard, the owner, likes to teach others how to diagnose and repair transmissions so they last and function better than new. He's been honing his skills for over 40 years. Watching him tear down an automatic transmission is fun and it fascinates me. He has opened my eyes to so much about automatic transmissions, but he also demonstrates and promotes developing skills, the use of good tools, a work ethic that is admirable, and he exudes love for his family, his shop, his life, and his craft. I celebrate their whole family and the time and energy they put into sharing these videos.

From watching so many of his videos, I also celebrate the mechanical engineers who have created all the different automatic transmissions. When Richard at Precision Transmission is taking a unit apart, examining each piece, looking for wear and damaged parts on even the smallest and seemingly insignificant parts, I can just imagine the engineering teams that designed all the parts and how they work together. Richard will point out the changes from one GM 4L80E to another, pointing out why changes were made toward creating better and better products. Some of the parts simply amaze me and how they all are assembled together with precision each with their specific purpose. He knows from experience what kind of modifications he can make and the use of aftermarket parts to improve the longevity and operation of a transmission. I've been watching for almost a year now and I learn something new in every video.

There is much to celebrate in the engineering of the automatic transmission, and yet there is more in how they fit into the vehicle and the importance of regular servicing. It is fascinating how one aspect affects and interacts with the other. In fact, Richard says all the time that mounting the transmission into the vehicle is as critical as rebuilding it.

Today I celebrate all the people who have learned the skills to design and create these transmissions. I celebrate the companies who employ them and the people who buy them. All of it is in motion and all of it serves others components, other systems, other people, livelihoods, and more. When viewed this way it is more like a living organism rather than a piece of engineering. Every time I get in my car now and put it in gear I find myself celebrating automotive mechanical engineering and all the people that are involved in the process. I am blessed by their skills and their creations.

Turning From Prejudice Toward Love

From the web:
“As a noun, pre-justice is a preconceived opinion
that is not based on reason or actual experience.
As a verb, pre-justice is defined
as to give rise to prejudice; make biased.”

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My father died in an accident at age 36 a couple of days before his 37th birthday. I was 13 when he died. I was born in 1949 and he was 22 and my mom was 18. I was the eldest of three from that marriage which ended when I was five years old, my sister was three, and my little brother was only one. My parents were mid-western stock from Iowa and I was born in Iowa until we moved to southern California when I was two. My father was easily angered and quite prejudiced. I grew up early in a judgmental environment. As time went on, I heard more of that. My mother remarried and nothing changed as far as the prejudging of people, things, events were concerned. I got plenty of it from my mother as well, along with friends from school, neighbors, and more. It was normal to be prejudiced. It felt like we were supposed to judge others, their behavior, how they lived, and so much more.

The television promoted prejudice. It always has. It still does today. I began watching television in the early 1950’s. Long before color TV became a reality, television was colored with prejudice. Perhaps I should say lack of color. Movies showed it vividly. The schools I went to promoted prejudice in many ways, through choices of textbooks and who was allowed in, controlling teachers and curriculum to name a few.

I grew up in a white-dominated world. I heard so many words to describe those who weren’t white and even one group who was white but so far below standard as to be called trash. The N-word, the J-word, the other J-word, the C-word, the S-word, the other S-word, the I-word, along with all the color words that began with Y, R, B, the other B. Next, they were nationalized in groups based on where they lived now or where they were from or their lineage was from. Some were Mexican, Asian, Italian, German, African, South American, Icelandic, Pacific Islanders, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and many more.

Indeed, we have so many ways to segregate each other into compartments and categories dehumanizing the world. Even the word people has us and them and they. All of this doesn’t even address the various languages that are spoken, the religions we’ve created and fight about, the foods we eat, lifestyles, and so much more. All of this is easily a place to stand in prejudgment.

Of course, this is not news. It is normal. It is only called normal because it has become habitual and it only became habitual by repetition and it all came from somewhere to get inside of each of us. We learned it. It does not come naturally. It is taught, shared, preached, legislated, from our parents, other family, peers, friends, schools, churches, leaders, government rules and laws, and more. And, it cannot be different until we each decide to be different, to let go of those teachings, to see something more, to change, to grow. Based on this, it will never change outside of us. It can only change within us. The outside world that we think we see is but a reflection. We choose to love or we choose fear. Prejudice in all its forms is simply fear. So when I hear someone spouting nonsense about a group or a country, or idea, I see it for what it is. It is a fearful person sharing their fears. Many will share it openly. Rather than push against them, acceptance is the way toward love. Pushing against anything is expanding fear.

We’ve had such volumes and constant repetitions of prejudicial points of view brought into our lives that to release this and become prejudice-free is a real challenge. However, just like walking five miles is taking the first step and then another and another, releasing our learned fears and turning toward love is releasing some here, some there, again, and over again. We have such a tendency as people to focus on the destination when it is the journey that is life itself. We are all and always a work in progress. All we need first is to become aware. Then choose differently. Seeing how fear rules our lives is enlightening, and we always have had and always will have the power to turn toward love and drop the rope of fear. In so doing, we create the world in which we want to live. It doesn’t matter who or how many may follow our lead. Our own choice and actions are all that matter. Allowing the world to be whatever it is serves us. Allowing all others to think and act in whatever way they think is best for them is empowering for us.

My past is what it was at a different now. I get to choose every second of every day. I choose to release prejudice and have been on this beautifully unfolding journey for many years now. It is a joyous journey of constantly seeing contrast and then pivoting toward love. Love is my home base now. I am home. I am love.

Trust And Allowing Is Love

“I fully trust 
that others do know 
what is best for them.”
 
— Essence of the Tao Te Ching,17th Verse
by Wayne Dyer 
 

[Classic post from 1-30-16]

Excepting the concept of raising young children (and maybe that isn’t really the exception we may imagine it is), how many times in your life have you been around people that you think need your help. Maybe they seem to get it wrong a lot, or maybe they keep tripping over the same switch, or they say they want this and do that instead. And what about all those civil servants, teachers, and other so-called authorities that have their heads in the dark places? Maybe it even seems like the whole world is off the mark, and you wish you could get them back on track. They need to listen to you. And, if they did, they would do better. It’s so simple, right?

I have to admit to having had many of these kinds of thoughts over the years. Not many wanted to listen, or maybe I didn’t go bold and tell them, or maybe I did, but it didn’t do any good. They just weren’t ready I guess. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, and all that.

Then again, maybe people are trying to lead you and you don’t want to hear it. Who do they think they are trying to tell me what to do, how to do it? They should go mind their own business because they could use some help of their own.

I’m finally learning about people. Some are awake and some are not, but deep down inside, we are all made from the same materials from the same factory so to speak. We’re all wise inside. It’s this flabby, soft, bony thing that we walk around in that is making us look and seem different. And we all have different stimuli, desires, and ideas too. But, inside we are basically the same in that we come from the same Source. We are all wise when we connect with that Source within us. We know what to do when we are aligned in that way. We know what we want when we focus there.

When we allow others to be what and who they are and accept that they are perfect however they are, and though we may be willing to help should they desire that, we eventually learn to trust that they know best for themselves, we are in alignment with our Source because our Source is pure unconditional love.

We don’t have to agree with other people’s choices, and our judgment of those choices or those actions is the only thing that keeps us apart from them. We simply need to allow them to choose as they will, while we choose as we desire. If we focus on our own alignment, that will be sufficient, and in the end, as a result of that example, we may love others in a way that is desired by all, honoring and aligning with the Source within us. For that is, after all, the Source of unconditional love–that is how Source sees us all.

So it is a good reminder to read this 17th verse of the all-wise Tao Te Ching from time to time so that we can remember that our place is to allow, to love, to serve, to enjoy, and to be an example of our best self. The more we follow these thoughts on interactions with others, the better our own lives become.

Trust That They Know What Is Best For Them While We Allow All Of That To Be As It Is As We Make Our Own Choices For Our Own Fulfillment. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by focusing on what you want for yourself.

Taking Care Of Ourselves

“We’ve been taught 
that anything pleasurable is suspect. . . 
The thought of simply enjoying ourselves, 
savoring sensual experiences, 
makes us look over our shoulders 
for the pleasure police.” 
 
— Christiane Northrup, M.D. 
 

[Classic post from 1-21-16]

Since the beginning of these Daily Inspirations, I’ve shared so many of the books I was reading and some of the insights I’ve gleaned from them, many of which have enhanced my philosophy or my physical life. Many have thanked me for that and read some of them as well. So, today, I want to share another: Goddesses Never Age – The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being by Christiane Northrup, M.D. Yes, I’m a guy and this book is aimed at women, but I see it more as it is addressed to a human being of which I qualify completely.

I’m listening to the audiobook version and I also have the hardcover copy. Christiane narrates the unabridged audio herself, and I love that because you can so clearly hear the inflections and subtle pauses and emphasis that only the author could supply so perfectly.

It is a wonderful book and I am very much enjoying it. I have to say, that in my opinion, if you bought the book only to read chapter two, Goddesses Know the Power of Pleasure, it would be worth the cost and effort. I delighted in this chapter because in our society we follow so much the dictates of others in our schedules, methods, dress, and outlook. We fit in. We compartmentalize our activities by saving them for the weekend, vacation, and more. This chapter opens a floodgate of ideas of how to add pleasure, not only to every single day but many times throughout our busy days. It also makes a case for the health benefits–mental and physical–of putting more of our focus on pleasure.

Christiane says, “My prescription for general health is to experience more pleasure every day. . . big ones as well as small ones. . . opening the door on a particularly clear morning and smelling the air. Relishing the first moment when you step into a warm bath. Acknowledging that you’ve hit a new level of fitness and feel completely in tune with your body. How can you have these experiences more often? How can you make boring, everyday activities you do mindlessly into succulent pleasures?”

The predominant theme of this book is about aging–more specifically, aging with vitality, and yet I think it is good for any age because so much of it applies universally to living well and well-being. She says, “Agelessness is all about vitality, the creative force that gives birth to new life.”

Regardless of your age or gender, I think there is much in this book that will be of benefit. But, even if you simply take this idea of finding more pleasure in your everyday experiences, including while being at work, I’m sure that will add much to your life and your spirit.

Life Is Meant To Be Enjoyed By Being In Joy! 

Spread Some Joy Today–by allowing yourself many delightful little pleasures without guilt or concern of others.

Everything To Do With Character

“Character is that which can do without success.” 
 
— Ralph Waldo Emerson 
 

[Classic post from 3-7-16]

I think that sometimes we might think that achievement or a certain stature within a place has everything to do with character. It may have to do with a certain success in the way of accomplishment, but I think it has little or nothing to do with character.

I view character as that which we are; the accumulation of all that we are; that which we are when no other person is within sight or sound of ourselves. Achievement is not that which we are, as stature is not who we have become or from where we may have come in terms of lineage. Instead, character has no desire for success, or achievement, or stature. It is simply and perfectly that which we are this moment.

In That, We Are All Of Sufficient Character. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by relaxing in yourself, whom you have become to date, and with anticipation of all that you will be.

Success Is…

“I couldn't wait for success, 
so I went ahead without it.” 
 
— Jonathan Winters 
 

[Classic post from 1-2-16]

Success is such a strange word and has such a wide range of meanings that it is really hard to use with authority. I guess the simplest definition of success would be that things work out. But, I think that less than an end result, success is more like life in that it is a journey, and it is the journey that matters most.

Here are some words on success from Abraham, Esther Hicks to ponder for this brand new year, and for whatever value you may find in them:

“Life will always be working out for me… 

I like understanding that things are always evolving, and while there are many things that could be better where I am, it is not really a problem because “where I am” is constantly changing to something better. I like knowing that as I look for the best things around me where I am, those things become more prevalent in my experience. 

It is fun to know that things are always working out for me, and as I watch for the evidence of that. . . I see more evidence of that every day.” 

What A Great Attitude To Make Use Of, Don't You Think? 

Spread Some Joy Today–by loving yourself.

Same Old, Same Old? No Way!

“Your living is determined 
not so much by what life brings to you 
as by the attitude you bring to life; 
not so much by what happens to you 
as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” 
 
— Khalil Gibran 
 
 

[Classic post from 2-17-16]

I don't know about your area of the country or the world, but around here, and for some years now, the grocery stores, banks, and other businesses that we may go to often are trying hard to develop a relationship with us as customers, not by actually developing a relationship, but by asking insincere questions. Some of them are, “so what are your plans for the rest of the day?” at the grocery store, “how was your weekend?” at the bank, and other such dribble. It's as if we really have the time to answer those sincerely and to get into a conversation and exchange something of value. I just want to slap the manager who went to the seminar where they said this was a good thing to do and then came back and gave it out as a task to the people on the front line. Complete silliness.

Yesterday I went to the bank and one girl had been on vacation for a couple of weeks, and I said, “welcome back! I hope you had a great time!” So she says, “Thank you, I did.” Then she said, “has anything exciting been going on with you?” I didn't know how to answer that question because I don't think she would understand, so I said, “Not really.” Then she said, “just same old, same old, huh?” I said, “No. Have you seen the sky today?” And we were done.

The truth for me is that every minute of every day I have been experiencing life as if I was free to enjoy it all in a special way. I'm in awe of the sky some days. Yesterday was one of those days. It was the most magnificent display of wispy, curly, high white clouds against a blue background. The air was moving slowly. The temperature was like an early Spring. My pace was leisurely. I was enjoying everything around me including traffic with all sorts of people driving all manner of moving vehicles, going wherever they were going. I was thankful that I had money to deposit, and money to withdraw, I enjoyed watching Charlie on the seat sticking his head out of the window smelling the air, then later having him take me for a short walk.

My step-daughter, whom I haven't seen in two years, came to stay for a little over a week. She whipped my place into shape, adding new plants, doing many chores around the place all because she wanted to. I was fine with the way it was, but I was also fine with the way she put things in their place, added a woman's touch long missing from this place, teaching me how to grind coffee correctly with my coffee grinder. I thought I knew how, but I was in an illusion of skill. She had just left yesterday morning, so I was enjoying looking around at all that demonstrated she had passed through.

We got a new client that took many months to come about and my business partner was doing the first interview to get their service going. I was appreciating him and all that he brings to our business. In fact, it really is his business now.

Though we would love to have more rain, the weather for the last week has been in the mid-seventies to the low eighties. Everything is green because we did receive a good deal of rain in the last couple of months. It feels like a rebirth. Hearing lawn mowers going, weed whackers whacking, is an indication of growth. One day last week I didn't go anywhere and pretty much didn't do anything except be home with windows and doors open and just soak in the delight of the weather, the sunny skies, the birds chirping, and so much more. 

Has anything exciting been going on with me? Abso-fricken-lutely! And I gave you the short version. Same old, same old? Absolutely not. Everything was new, different, delightful, and I was in joy the entire time. Small talk is small. Stupid questions are stupid. If we are really interested in connecting with each other, let us ask better questions, and leave space for the real answer, or leave them out entirely.

Anything Exciting Going On? How About Being In Awe Every Single Day! 

Spread Some Joy Today–I will as soon as I find it. Hmmm. Where is that joy? I know it is around here somewhere. . . Oh! There it is! It's inside. Right where I left it.

Love IS Forgiveness

“Then Peter came and said to Him, 
“Lord, how often 
shall my brother sin against me 
and I forgive him? 
Up to seven times?” 
 
Jesus said to him, 
“I do not say to you, 
up to seven times, 
but up to seventy times seven.”” 
 
— The Bible,
Matthew 18:21,22, NAS 
 

[Classic post from 1-24-16]

Seventy times seven would be 490 times, but I think the point here is not a number, but always.

From the first time I read or heard that passage, I've taken it to heart. That doesn't mean that I haven't been in Peter's position, but that I haven't forgotten the lesson that this wonderful passage contains. 

Whether it is a debt or some other grievance that has caused conflict with another, how many times should we forgive them? Seventy times seven.

There is often confusion about forgiveness. The word indicates that we are releasing the other and giving them relief from the debt, or the transgression. That would be like Peter saying, “I hate this that happened by the poor dealing of another to me, and I don't want to forgive them, but you teach forgiveness, Lord, and I want to learn. I am willing to forgive them. How many times do I have to forgive such things? Did you say up to seven?”

Then, it is like the Lord saying, “No Peter. Not seven times. This isn't about them. It is about you. Forgiveness isn't letting them go free, it is about letting yourself free from the burden of carrying that weight with you affecting everything that you think and do. That's why I say, not seven, but seventy times seven. When you pay attention to your own feelings, you will know what feels right and what feels wrong. You will notice the tension and the resistance, and the joy. I want you to have joy. That is the purpose of forgiveness. It is to release you to experience more joy and to lighten any burdens that you have accumulated. Let go of it. Love your brothers. Love your so-called enemies. Love is the most powerful force in the heavens, and when you love yourself enough to let go of the hurt, you then can let go of the blame of the other, and allow love to fill all that space.”

Love Is Forgiveness. Love Is Kind. Love Is… 

Spread Some Joy Today–by releasing any of those accumulated hurts and so-called failings. Drop the rope. Just let go of it. Feel the relief in that. That is the path to joy.

Lighten Up!

“Be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe 
no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here.” 
 
— Max Ehrmann 
 

[Classic post from 1-19-16]

Many times when we are trying to change something and continually failing to follow through, we may beat up on ourselves for failing one more time, renewing our vow to break through tomorrow. Until tomorrow arrives. In that new present, our current passion, habitual thought, or habitual activity seems so much more comfortable and enticing. Then, we get mad at ourselves again, reiterate our vow to change, and that process may go on for years. I should know, as I have much personal experience in this.

I realized something recently that puts a different spin on all of that. It is this: stop beating myself up and start loving myself unconditionally. Beating myself up just reinforces a low self-image, imagining that I'm so weak that I cannot do as I want to do, and I do what is habitual instead. We are, after all, very habitual creatures. Habit is a benefit in our lives and it also can be a detriment. Nonetheless, beating myself is the worst thing I can do. It is not helpful, and it is not loving at all. 

You can see this in the world where you're out and about and you hear a parent berating their child, yelling impatiently at them, telling them what they are doing wrong. You can hear it on the sidelines at ball games with angry coaches thinking that their loud angry voice is of benefit to the players. You can even find it in the workplace with angry bosses or supervisors yelling at their workers, and finally, we can hear it at home with our spouses from time to time. None of it helps.

No, none of it helps because it is reinforcing the pattern that is supposedly desiring of change. In other words, rather than leading us away from the thing, we say we no longer want to do, or the behavior that is somehow “wrong,” the verbal abuse simply makes that stand out more. It is the exact same thing within ourselves. Beating ourselves up only reinforces the so-called failing.

Imagine you're God and that you are a loving God. You invented unconditional love. You promote it. Now imagine looking at the failing you. You've failed to follow through or change one more time. As a loving God, are you going to lay on some guilt and anger, or will you lavish total peace with your unconditional love? What would that unconditional love feel like? It would feel pretty dang good, don't you think? You might even begin feeling good about yourself, feeling your value, loving your life, blessing your actions as okay.

Now, if you really wanted to change, as opposed to thinking you need to change, you have a far better chance at fulfillment with the love than with the chiding. Wouldn't you agree?

Next time you want to change something, whether it is to begin something and move in a new direction, or to let loose of something no longer desired, feel the love. You can do the pretending I'm God thing if you need a little more authority, but I am certain that a loving God taught us how to love ourselves. It's part of our DNA. We simply forget from time to time. Be gentle and loving with yourself. You're the only you that exists. You're special. A loving God created you. Take joy in that.


More Love In The World Begins With You Loving Yourself. 

Spread Some Joy Today–let it be.

Not Accepting Unwanted Gifts

“If someone offers you a gift, 
and you do not accept that gift, 
to whom does the gift belong?” 
 
— Buddha 
 

[Classic post from 1-17-16]

From the Wayne Dyer book, There’s A Spiritual Answer To Every Problem: “There is a story concerning the Buddha, who is in the company of a fellow traveler who tests this great teacher with derogatory, insulting, disparaging, and bitter responses to anything the Buddha says. Every day, for three days when the Buddha spoke, the traveler responded by calling him a fool and ridiculing the Buddha in some arrogant fashion. Finally, at the end of the third day, the traveler could stand it no more. He asked, “How is it that you are able to be so loving and kind when all I’ve done for the past three days is dishonor and offend you? Each time I am disobliging to you, you respond in a loving manner. How is this possible?”

The Buddha responded with a question of his own for the traveler. “If someone offers you a gift, and you do not accept that gift, to whom does the gift belong?” His question provided the traveler with a new insight.

When someone offers you a gift of their insults, and you refuse to accept them, they obviously still belong to the original giver.

Not Accepting Unwanted Gifts Is Your Gift To Yourself. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by only accepting joy. Let the rest be on its way.

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Mesa, AZ