Category: Peace

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

Letting Go Is So Powerful

“When we understand the needs
that motivate our own and others behavior,
we have no enemies.”

–Marshall Rosenberg

I talk about letting go of the rope quite often. It is that rope that is interwoven throughout all of my lessons in one way or another. It is all about letting go of the resistance that I have developed, often as a protective measure, but ultimately self-defeating. 

I’m often reminded of the tug-o-war game where one person or many pulls against an equal sum on the other end of the rope trying to win by brute force, whether moving the opponent across a line, real or imaginary or some undesirable obstacle like a patch of muddy water. Back and forth they go, gaining ground, losing ground, until there is a final victory for one side and failure on the other. It is the epitome of the win-lose theme that is displayed in almost every sport, as well as in business, and even in personal relationships and family. Someone is a winner, and the other one a loser.

But, more than this, it is about resistance. The winner in the tug-o-war game is the one or the team that has the most resistance. Resistance is desired. It is a good thing. Not so in life, as I have learned time and time again. So, my mantra has become, letting go of the rope. The rope represents resistance. It represents struggle, perseverance, brute strength (or trickery). The more we resist, the longer we’re in the game. The longer we’re in the game, the higher the chance of resisting enough to resist more than the opponents on the other end of the rope. 

The opponents are trying so hard to outdo each other. It’s fighting. It’s cajoling. It’s fun if you win and not if you lose. This is how so many of us are taught how life is. You’ve got to get out there and make it happen, take no prisoners, win at all costs. But, really, it is a zero-sum game at best. When one wins and one loses, that speaks volumes about a vision of lack, or a lack-mentality. There’s not enough for everyone, so you have to go out and work hard and make sure you get yours. It’s bad advice at best, and debilitating at its worst.

To me, the rope has become such a great metaphor to describe the struggle that so many live and that I spent most of my life living. It is also a perfect metaphor for letting go, by opening my hands and simply letting go of the rope, making my own choices regardless of what others may think

I spent a lot of years learning that letting go was my answer or the key pieces of the puzzle of my life. I have spent all the remaining years practicing letting go.

Holding on is so normal, and letting go is the opposite, or so it seems. But, it doesn’t matter to me anymore what someone else thinks is normal or abnormal. Part of letting go of the rope is taking charge of my life, making better decisions, and enjoying my journey in joy instead of struggle, choosing love instead of fear and so much more.

I Create My Emotions With My Thoughts, Not The Other Way Around

“Why does a dog wag its tail? 
 Because a dog is smarter than its tail. 
 If the tail were smarter, 
 the tail would wag the dog.” 

 — From the movie, Wag the Dog 

[Classic post from 3-13-14]

Albert K Strong wisely said, “Our emotions don’t tell us what to think. Our emotions tell us what we are thinking.” I have dealt with some powerful emotions over the years–even to the point that some would call depression.

Mostly my clear memory of those times tells me I was mainly feeling sorry for myself and hoping others would join me. It was clear to me that my emotions were ruling my life. This is as the quote above where the tail is wagging the dog. There was a lot of dog wagging going on in my life for a long time. And, to make it more normal, everyone I knew around me was experiencing similar things. We attract people that way.

I learned a lot about the power of emotions and about what they mean in my studies in the last ten years. Once I accepted the premise that my emotions were an indicator of where my thinking was and that if I were to change my thinking, my emotion would change, everything began to change for me.

Three books and a seminar with time separation between was all I needed to be changed in this. The seminar was an Anthony Robbins weekend event that began with a Friday evening walking on hot coals action. The rest of the weekend was equally powerful. The books are Awaken the Giant Within, by Anthony Robbins, Love Is Letting Go Of Fear by Gerald Jampolsky, and The Astonishing Power Of Emotions by Esther and Jerry Hicks. One of these is powerful enough, but all three left no doubt whatsoever.

Everything we do, we do because we think we will feel better. Often, we make a choice that doesn’t match that idea and we don’t feel very good. That is an indication of needing a different choice. The goal is always to feel good, or joy. One of my favorite books is so appropriate in its title: Joy Is My Compass by Alan Cohen. It is my compass now. And, I have so much joy every single day and I keep wanting even more.

If I find myself thinking something that feels fearful, worrisome, or otherwise attached to an emotion that doesn’t feel good, I now know to choose a better feeling thought right away and stay on that track. Sometimes, I find myself going back and forth a lot in a short time, and most of that is old tapes and habit, but I know full well that I am in charge of my tail, not the other way around. With that attitude, feeling poorly hasn’t got a chance.

All I need to ever do is choose a better feeling thought, and then a better feeling thought and a better feeling thought. I can’t normally go from depression to joy in one step, so I just keep choosing better feeling thoughts and then I feel better, and better, and better.

Here’s how Abraham via Esther Hicks says it best: “No matter what the issue is, don’t try to justify why to don’t feel good. And don’t try to justify why you should feel differently. Don’t try to blame whatever it is you think the reason is that’s keeping you from feeling good. All of that is wasted effort. Just try to feel better right now.”

I Am In Charge Of My Tail. When It Is Wagging, I Am On The Right Track.

Spread Some Joy Today–by choosing better feeling thoughts throughout the day.

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.

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

Disciplining My Disappointment

I was introduced to and began studying Jim Rohn’s teachings in 1980 and I remember this from him as it was yesterday: “You’ve got to learn to discipline your disappointment.” I loved that phrase and got its meaning and it stood out for me because I experienced a lot of disappointment in my life as if I were a pinball in a pinball machine being flipped and bouncing off bumpers racking up point after point to gather and carry into my future experience. The idea of disciplining that disappointment was a new concept to me then and I was excited to begin working on that toward the end of releasing disappointment altogether if that was possible. It is and it was, and I was relatively successful in this endeavor. Eventually, I found a better way. An easier way. A much more effective way to release my disappointment.

The word discipline carries the idea of focus, determination, and effort, or work as in deciding to work out or get into a routine of intentional exercise. I’ve not been very consistent in that arena and so the word discipline didn’t help me. What I found instead is the idea of the tug-o-war game and rather than struggle with the opponent on the other end disciplining my focus, effort, strength, and determination, I simply opened my hands and let the rope fall to the ground. I dropped the rope. What I found was that it required almost zero effort, focus, strength, or determination. No. It was so easy, so simple, and the most effective way to end my association with disappointment entirely. Now if I ever begin–and the key word here is, begin–to feel any measure of disappointment, I know what is going on because I am aware and so I immediately picture myself opening my hands and dropping the rope. And then it is ended immediately.

Most of these attributes that we may aspire to such as disciplining our disappointment, or anger, or jealousy, or any other negative emotional state, are most effectively achieved without any effort at all. Letting go is the most powerful thing I have ever learned to deal with these kinds of issues and situations. It doesn’t mean that your historical memories will not trigger a negative state from time to time, but as I begin to feel that happening and because I am now aware, I know what to do, and I can act on it immediately before it has a chance to grow. I am in control. And, it is without any effort at all. It is simply awareness and choice.

We Are All Enough

“We’re not held back
by the love we didn’t receive in the past,
but by the love,
we’re not extending in the present.” 

— Marianne Williamson

[Classic post from 2-20-17]

I read this quote. Then put it down. Then picked it up again and again. In a short time, I became mesmerized by it. There was a wash of thoughts that came through as if this quote opened a floodgate of sorts.

Yesterday I received an email where a reader expressed some thoughts about yesterday’s post about enlightenment and found it hard to let go because there is still a strong urge to seek approval from others. I love it when people write to me, and I gave a response that came to me that I thought might be helpful.

I shared something I learned early in my study of sales that I learned from someone else about having an air of indifference. Not indifference, but just an air of it. It’s sort of a self-protection device to take a ‘no’ as a choice and not as a personal attack. Having an air of indifference as if I won’t die if they say ‘no’ allows me to keep my wits about me and my personal feelings from running amok.

Then this quote came to me this morning and opened that approval idea wide. All that love we didn’t receive in the past that we live over and over again, even as the past is long gone. It is something we hold onto though it is not necessary to continue to do so. But to paraphrase Marianne’s quote, “we’re not held back by what was, but only what is.” In other words, it is the present moment that is all there really is. We can live in the memory or the moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh said, “to be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” I delight in this statement. At the same time, I can so relate to the reader because the majority of my life I craved approval, sought it all day every day, and I would be unhappy if my attempts to manipulate the approval of others failed, which they did all the time. Yet I persisted in my quest.

Then, I found a book that put me on a path toward change from this quest. It is a short book that is so profound. I have read it so many times over the years and have given away hundreds of copies, especially to young people. The title is, Love Is Letting Go of Fear, by Gerald Jampolsky. This book gave me permission to accept myself, to approve of myself, and not have such a need to have others approving or loving me. It was the first book I ever read about loving myself enough to awaken me to the choices I always have had available to me and yet previously ignored.

No, we’re not held back by the love or the approval or anything else we think we were lacking in the past. . . unless we keep living it over and over again in the present. What really matters right now is what we are thinking and doing right now. That letting-go book encouraged me to make different choices and to let the past be–to let go of it, release it, accept it for what it was–a part of the journey to here and now. For it is in the here and now that all my power resides. Here is where I decide to let go or reach out.

It is not the ________ we didn’t receive in the past, but the ________ we’re not extending in the present. We choose every moment of every part of our lives. If we begin by accepting ourselves, our past, our family, our entire history, and our inherent power to choose, we can let go as we choose, and extend all that we are today in as much joy as we will allow.

We Are All Enough. Exactly As We Are. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by laying down the rope of the need to have others approve of us. We are the deciders and we cannot make others do anything. By letting go, we release ourselves to our own freedom.

Jenna

She is nine
and she asked me,
“Grandma,
are you rich?”
“Am I rich?”
What does the
wisdom of my heart say?

“Yes, Jenna, I am rich, for
I own the golden
sunlight of the morning
and the evening star
of the north.
My emeralds are the oak leaves
and my diamonds their dew drops.
More beautiful than rubies
are the crimson roses
that climb the picket fence.

My home is large and very beautiful
stretching from daybreak
to nightfall.
Decorated with fields of wild flowers
and flocks of flying geese.

For you see, Jenna,
the deep blue ocean
with its dancing waves
and the great pines
that sing in the breeze
belong to me.

But most precious
of all my riches
Are the people
of my life.

Each a rare jewel
an original,
a gift.
Each with a smile
like no other,
a beauty
to melt my heart,
a flower
to fill my bouquet of life.

Yes, Jenna
When you run
to hug me;
when the gentle night
holds me in my sleep;
when the sun
warms the day;
when your grandfather whistles–
I am rich beyond measure,
for I have known
the wonder of Love.”

— Donna F. Fletcher
Reflections of the Heart

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.

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Mesa, AZ