Reflections: Seeking Solace In Tragic Times…

Re-blogged from http://eof737.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/reflections-seeking-solace-in-tragic-times/#more-23939 

“I am sick of the solace of sorrow, And fear what the prophets foretold; I am tired of the tears of tomorrow, And wish that things were as of old; I have felt of the force of the fetters, I have drunk of the draught that embitters, And all is not gold.” Algernon Charles Swinburne

Reflections: Seeking Solace In Tragic Times… May We all seek Peace

By now, most of us have heard or read about the terrible massacre of innocent movie-goers in Aurora, Colorado. My heart, condolences and prayers go out to the families of the 12 souls who lost their lives, and to the 59 wounded who, most probably, will spend a life time reflecting on the events of that early Friday morning, in Theatre 9, as they sat waiting to watch a premiere showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” RIP Jessica Ghanwi, Alex Sullivan, and others yet un-named. Only James Holmes, the gunman, and God know why and what motivated him to head for that movie theater, armed to the teeth, and open fire minutes after the 12:05 a.m. movie screening began… We are all saddened by this event and at a loss for an explanation.

What I do know is that we live in a world where so many are frustrated, desperate, hurting, and unsure of what the future holds. As people continue to lose jobs, homes, and their sense of self, anger and depression can set in and fester into violence; leaving more hurting people and offering no solace to those killed or left to grieve. However, violence is not the answer. We must find uplifting outlets, a support system of people we trust, prayer partners or professional counseling to help us seek a positive path to recovery. Inflicting pain on others; be it family members, friends, co-workers, or even innocent bystanders will not diminish our pain only exacerbate it. The Aurora Colorado shootings are a painful reminder for us all. May we all seek Peace…

“There is nothing so bitter that a patient mind cannot find some solace for it” Seneca

Reflections: Seeking Solace In Tragic Times… May We all find Peace

From Death to Immortality
From the unreal lead us to the Real,
From darkness lead us to Light.
From death lead us to immortality.
Upanishads

What I do know is that even with the pain and suffering many are enduring globally, there is still plenty of opportunity for good in our world. In tragic times, we can seek solace by comforting others in pain and by listening and lending a hand when needed. We can do our part by showing compassion and helping others in need. It is the goodness, focused prayers, and massive positive intentions of those who uphold dharma and goodwill on our planet that sustain the world. Evil might rage on for a while but it is soon replaced… As for Gun control, if we cannot ban guns outright, there should at least be a ban on the sale of assault weapons, and a psychological test be standard requirement for all who wish to buy a gun. Please pray for all who were touched by this tragedy. May we all find Peace… More below

“Do not allow any circumstances to affect your faith in God, who is your strength and solace.” Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Reflections: Seeking Solace In Tragic Times… May We all become channels of Peace

Prayers of Comfort and Hope
God Is Our Hope
God is our hope and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof rage and swell,
and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same.
There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
Book of Common Prayer 1979 via Beliefnet.com

While we might not have answers, we can share our thoughts and prayers for those left behind. I cannot pretend to know the level of pain loved ones are coping with right now. However, we can send them our love, healing comfort and prayers. May we all become channels of healing and peace. What are your thoughts? What was your first reaction to the news? How would you describe your feelings about this tragedy? What advice would you offer? Do share! Thank you.

*Please bear with me as I catch up on your blogs and commenting… I’m still recovering from a bronchial cold and will be back on track with reading and responding to your blogs soon. Thank you all for your patience!

Positive Motivation Tip: May we all find peace ways to seek solace in difficult times…

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: Prayer Flags from Oliphant, Praying Hands by Aronki, from Flickr, White rose from my personal collection

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

 

Report: My Day as a Lab Rat

In his book “A New Earth” Eckhart Tolle wrote acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. Following through on my experiment stated here yesterday was quite enlightening and proved Tolle’s point.

As best I could kept score throughout the day of how frequently I sensed or expressed grateful vs. how often I grumbled or found fault. All the +1’s for the former and -1’s for the latter summed up to +17 by bedtime.

Thinking of being mostly a grateful and positive person I was caught somewhat unaware that small moments of dissatisfaction and frustration are still very present in my life. Episodes are generally about much smaller things than before, but still pop up. Getting a spot of lunch on my shirt, losing a report on my computer, getting cut off in traffic and cable service going off for several hours last evening are all examples of moments I grumbled or criticized

On the positive side, boy have I come a long way! My thankfulness has been heightened in the last year by writing this blog every day about something I am grateful for. My engrained habit now is to better notice both the large and small things I have to be thankful for. Examples noticed yesterday were the well-worn shoes I love and wore yesterday, a good quarterly report at work, lunch that was spicy and yummy, laughing with people I work with, my son calling, a much-needed thunderstorm last night, an esoteric but really good movie I watched last night and so on.

Paying attention to both positive and not so positive stuff made my day incredibly good. My discovery from the pointed attention was how much I have to be thankful for and how small what I have to grumble about is. In my experiment I kept track of incidents of thought, but not the weight of them. Looking back and thinking in terms of the significance, my final score would be at least +1000. My fault-finding and grumbling was all over small momentary things while the grateful moments were much more meaningful and juiced me up with good feelings that dissipated slowly.

Awareness is an amazing experience. When I am really, really paying attention whatever I am focused on seems to unfold itself to me. My day was filled with that happening over and over yesterday. The more aware I was, the more I loved life. The “bad” moments did not get me down for long or to any great degree. Watching for the “good” seemed to bring more of them.

My final comment on my experiment is “Wow”! One day of heightened awareness seems to have brought another one today. How wonderful life is when I am paying attention! I am highly grateful for the reminder of what my little experiment brought me.

Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.
Eckhart Tolle

Lab Rat Day

An interesting experiment I am going to conduct today: count how many times I complain or criticize, even in the smallest way, while I keep track of how frequently I express or sense gratitude, even for near trivial things. Every time I grumble or find fault I will score a minus one (-1) and each occasion of thankfulness or admiration will receive value of plus one (+1).

Without doubt there is hope at the end of this day of being my own “lab rat” I will find an ending tally of a good-sized positive number. I really won’t know though until this evening just before bed when I take stock of my final score for the day.

My scoring won’t be exact and does not need to be to get a sense of how full or empty I perceive my ‘glass of life’ to be. I’ll report here tomorrow on my results.

I encourage you to try this experiment with me and I’d be grateful if you do. Thank you.

‎Transformation is not five minutes from now;
it’s a present activity.
In this moment you can make a different choice,
and it’s these small choices and successes
that build up over time to help cultivate
a healthy self-image and self esteem.
Jillian Michaels

How You Play The Game

Being an ambitious and driven person it has been results I’ve focused on most for the majority of my life. I suppose that will never completely change. However in recent years I’ve learned to have a lot of respect for my effort. Being able to accurately see when I have “done my best” has become a healthy benchmark and a boost to my self-esteem. It took a lot of failures to discover giving something all I had to give was ultimately what matters most.

Was my effort toward what I was trying to accomplish the best I had to give at the time? Being able to ask that question and truthfully answer it has been a sizeable alteration of my vantage point. Now I know doing my absolute best puts me in a place where I own no one, especially myself, an apology or excuse.  My best is ALWAYS enough.  Giving all I have to something is an accomplishment within itself.

There is a positive bent to realizing all is not lost if I don’t win the battle. What matters is having the strength to try with all I know to do, to fight for my objective and face the possibility of falling short; of being defeated. If all I do is put a gold star by my name each time I master something or fully accomplish it, so much due credit will be lacking. Some of my greatest and most elegant struggles were for things I never completed or fully accomplished. Giving myself praise for effort lights my self-esteem up and recognizes I am what I do, not just what I accomplish.

My brain used to be like Velcro only for my full and rare successes.  I made them stick so I could wallow in them as long as I could.  My thoughts were like Teflon for what I failed doing or succeeding at.  I refused to let falling short stick to me and wanted to forget as fast as I possibly could.   

Of course I still like completely realizing an objective but the fact of its accomplishment has the most joy when I don’t dwell on it. When I stopped hiding my failures, things got better.  Being pleased with “me” all the times I did my very best, but fell short or did not complete what I had started gave me a lot more to be proud of. It turned out how I kept score internally matters a lot!  A corny, but true saying describes well what I have come to know first hand:  “It’s not if you win or lose, but how you play the game!”

So here I am today readily able to give myself full credit for a lot of time and effort diligently put into a failure. It’s the struggle that matters; the amount of heart and soul I put into my effort that has become an improved self-judgment yardstick. And I am far better for it and grateful for the perspective that allows me to see things that way.

There are defeats more triumphant than victories.
Michel de Montaigne

To Find Rest In Knowing Inwardly

Something I read once said people come in three basic varieties:
1. People who find something bad regardless of how good things may be.
2. People who find something good regardless of how bad things may be.
3. People who ‘go with the flow’ and generally accept whatever happens to them.
The conclusion was to have peace in your life, you need to be number two or three.

If life were only as simple as finding a bit of wisdom and then being able to consistently follow it. Category one above grabs me more than it should, but the seasoning of age has improved my ability to stay in number two and three more often than not. How? Acceptance and Growth.

Acceptance is described as a person’s ability to see the reality of a situation without attempting to change it, protest, or exit. The base word ‘accept’ has it roots in the Latin word ‘acquiēscere’ which means “to find rest in”.

Growth in people is generally defined as development and maturity from a lower or simpler way of being to one that is higher and more complex. Conceptually the word “grow” has its meaning derived from the Latin word “conscius “, meaning knowing inwardly”.

Simplifying the origin of ‘acceptance’ and ‘growth’ down to the meanings they sprouted from I came up with the phrase “to find rest in knowing inwardly”. That describes ‘peace’ as well as I have ever seen it stated!

The serenity prayer learned from attending Codependence Anonymous meetings helped me gain a good deal of insight. Taken a piece at a time this prayer is about change and growth with ‘acceptance’ bookends on either side. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change” (acceptance) ” courage to change the things I can” (growth) and wisdom to know the difference (acceptance).

At first I thought such thinking was far to simplistic to be helpful. My analytical mind believed to find peace I had to figure everything out. From the past to the future to the current moment my need was to find some balance of logic for everything that happened and for what everyone did. That’s like a never-ending adult ‘snipe hunt’.

Admission I am powerless over certain people and some circumstances then accepting that powerlessness is one of the keys to a better life. Trying to fix the unfixable used to be maddening and even today is at times is a challenge.  However, the more I apply acceptance the more peace from “resting in knowing inwardly” comes to me. I am grateful for every smidgen of it!

Our entire life consists ultimately
in accepting ourselves as we are.
Jean Anouilh

As Much Distortion as Reality

Look not at the days gone by with a forlorn heart.
They were simply the dots we can now connect with our present,
to help us draw the outline of a beautiful tomorrow.
Dodinsky

Holding memories too closely isn’t healthy. Grabbing on excessively to good memories eventually squeezes most of the goodness out of them.

Clinging to bad memories makes them stick more firmly to you like a used piece of tape you can’t shake off your fingers. Either way, spending time in yesterday causes minutes of today to be left empty and colorless.

The past can’t be recalled accurately.  Its impossible to come up with anything except a blurry representation of it.  What we recall is as much distortion as reality just like how carnival mirrors reflect our image back to us twisted and stretched.

Ultimately the past is past and with no amount of effort can it ever be seen as it was.

Without doubt I am aware I continue to recall the past with too much frequency, playing it over again hoping for some insight or change in what I remember. There is progress though! I do it far less than I used to and find that simple fact makes being alive today a better experience. The possibilities of the future appearing brighter has slowly become a way of life. I am grateful!

Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal.
Live this day as if it were your last.
The past is over and gone.
The future is not guaranteed.
Wayne Dyer

A Multi-Colored Continuum

At four years old I had all the world I wanted: Davy Crockett gloves with fringe, a tricycle, parents I still thought were cool and grandparents who fussed over their oldest grand boy. The world was a giant mystery that I was busy discovering. Each morning I woke up liking life.

With no kindergarten where I grew up, the day I was thrust into first grade was scary. I didn’t want to be there. Quiet and withdrawn, in time I found a good friend that got me through. The buddy was school that came easy. I liked succeeding at something and being appreciated for it.

Before I knew it the age of ten rolled around. This was the year life began to bring real disappointment and even fear as a “nasty stepfather” came into my life. I learned to dislike and even hate through how he treated my brother and I. The lesson was some people truly are evil.

It was a Sunday afternoon and I was thirteen when something never felt before came over me. A magnetic attraction toward a girl was sparkling new and near startling, but felt deliciously daring. I didn’t understand what was going on but I liked what I was feeling during that sweet and innocent afternoon.

In what felt like only a month, two more years passed and almost abruptly I was sixteen years old, had a car (a blue VW) and was ‘in love’ for the first time. I witnessed an amazing sense of being vibrantly alive before the coin flipped to introduce me to romantic heartbreak for the first time six months later.

The world began to go crazy. I was kicked out of home for reasons I don’t understand even today. I was a good kid, a Boy Scout and an honor student but the “evil pretend father” feared me after I stood up to him the first time. He took my car and pushed me out of the house.  Walking down the street with a suitcase and enough money for a motel and food for two days was one of the most fearful moments I’ve ever experienced.

The words I spoke in the phone booth were “I have no place to go. Can I come live with you?”. On the other end of the line was my birth father who was near a complete stranger.  I had seen him only twice since I was seven years old. From two hundred miles away came the word “yes” and one of the best years of my growing up began; my senior year of high school.

Looking back at the plethora of emotions touching me for the first time, my memory is clear of how bewildering life was during those formative years. At the same time I felt vibrantly alive during the ups and downs. Living was filled with near constant firsts and fresh experiences and quite possibly the deepest range of joy and unhappiness ever experienced. Each and every one was a tile in the mosaic of the person I am today.

In recent years the view has arrived of seeing life as a multi-colored continuum instead of separate individual experiences. Each and every event and occurrence are connected. Like a “draw by numbers” portrait those first eighteen years shaped the outline of who I became and am today. I am grateful to be able to look back now and realize how important ALL those experiences were.

I believe that everything happens for a reason.
People change so that you can learn to let go,
things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right,
you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself,
and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
Marilyn Monroe

If You Have Something to Say

Her Facebook page says “I am a myth. The myth is real”. If you go searching for information about C. JoyBell C. you won’t find much other than her quotes which are deep and frequently inspiration. All I can tell from a photo (above) and short interview I found on-line  is she is young with wisdom beyond her years.

C. Joybell C. is self-described as “an American born self-taught writer of Asiatic Anglo-Celtic European descent… grew up in-between cultures and crossing borders… great-grandfather was a Taoist High Priest… other great-grandfather was a Southern Georgia Baptist Herald. Fighting to live life for herself and not for others, she is defying her status quo in being a writer and this is exemplary of who she is.” She is the author of “Saint Paul Trois Châteaux: 1948” and “The Sun Is Snowing: Poetry & Prose.”

I can offer no more, except to gladly include here three quotes by C. JoyBell C. from goodreads.com.  I find her words moving and pass them on here with hope you find worth in them as well.

I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.

There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. But I’ll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically-manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.

The person in life that you will always be with the most, is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself. What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it’s your responsibility to be that person you want to be with. I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who’s not full of hate, who’s able to smile and be carefree. So that’s who I have to be.

Anais Nin wrote “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say”. That describes well how I feel about my discovery of C. JoyBell C.’s work. I am grateful to have the path of life bring me stumbling across what she has to say.

Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.
Sholem Asch

The Gift to My Life

Sometimes a picture truly is worth a thousand words. When I saw this photo for the first time this morning, feelings of intense gratitude for my son washed over me and brought a happy tear to my eye. He is far from perfect, but has become the man a father can be truly proud of. This Saturday he turns 30 years old and seeing the image above brought instant feelings of  gratefulness for the gift to my life he has always been. Happy Birthday Nick!

What Is A Dad?

A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up,
brushes you off,
and lets you try again.

A dad is someone who
wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks in silence
when you get hurt.

A dad is someone who
holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail…
What Is A Dad? Writer Unknown

Mac and The Banger

While not a first-hand personal experience, I have had friends who knew they were in the last few months of their life and had them share some of the wisdom facing death brought them. To a person the near end of days brought a kinder and a gentler nature.

My friends who were faced with a soon to come reality of dying seemed to love more deeply and express how they felt more openly. Things mattered little and people were about all they cared about. Their primary regrets I recall them sharing were not doing things they had wanted to do, working/chasing money too much and not spending more time with people they loved.

No one close to me wrote down their thoughts as death drew near, but what is just below I believe expresses what they left behind in their own way.

– STOP
Give yourself permission to take a moment to really look at yourself & where you are.

– CLEAR
Create some room for those voices in your head to speak their mind, & then try to hear them.

– SHIFT
Be fearless with change – it might be the best thing you ever did.

– RELEASE
Let go those things that aren’t a reflection of who you want to be & who you really are.

– EMBODY
Be what you were meant to be in all its crazy shapes and guises – why wait?

– ADORE
Love who you have been, who you are now & who you are going to be – it’s all you.

– ENRICH
Move in a direction that enhances, empowers and deepens your life.

It turns out that no one can imagine what’s really coming in our lives. We can plan, and do what we enjoy, but we can’t expect our plans to work out. Some of them might, while most probably won’t. Inventions and ideas will appear, and events will occur, that we could never foresee. That’s neither bad nor good, but it is real.

From a last post by Derek K Miller of Vancouver, Canada on May 4, 2011, shortly before his death from cancer.

Two friends now gone taught me a great deal about living by how they acted facing death. Tears well up as I think about Mac and Bill (better know as “The Banger”) and how much I love them still, even in their absence, and how grateful I am my life was blessed with their presence.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying.
Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.
Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now!
There are only so many tomorrows.”
Pope Paul VI