“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour … If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?” ~ Charlotte Brontë

Spiritual Principles are similar to the Golden Rule(Do unto others…) and aren’t religious. They point us towards the good ways that our Higher Power wants us to live. The following is a partial list; Honesty, Acceptance, Hope, Commitment, Faith, Humility, Unconditional love, Perseverance, Vigilance, Sharing, Caring, Patience, Forgiveness, Kindness, Responsibility, Tolerance, Trust, and Gratitude.

Values are a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life. A few examples of values are; Determination, Reason, Common Sense, Reliable, Individuality, Efficient and so on. Some of these are basic common courtesy while others can develop over time as we grow.

Parents and guardians in all cultures have tried to instill these principles in children for centuries. When we live by and practice these principles it helps us to be happy, balanced and respectful people. These Spiritual Principles have molded and shaped many lives over the millennia. Whether it’s 10 A.D., 1500, or 2000, living Spiritual Principles has been beneficial to Kings and other types of leaders. Just as a judge would show mercy to a law breaker or a criminal, other leaders or Kings would. Of course this didn’t apply to just Kings and Rulers.

Thought for the day: Maybe if everyone, no matter who you are or where you live, practiced these Principles and Values maybe, just maybe we can bring about peace.

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Our Journey

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~ Lao Tzu

When we go on a journey what are we doing? We’re going from one place to another. How do we do that? We walk, drive, or fly. Each event we go thru is a step on that journey. We experience all kinds of things that bring us joy, sadness, anger, laughter and all other feelings in between. Each experience has something to teach us. Sometimes the events are big, while some are small but everywhere we go, everything we do, shapes our journey. We learn and grow. Quite often, we don’t know we’ve grown or learned anything until we’re past whatever we’re going thru.

My 1st total life upheaval was when the apartment building I lived in caught on fire nearly 13 years ago. There were so many reminders that made me cry for some time. I think it was around the time I was given a possible reason for it happening that I began to heal. That reason was because I couldn’t do what I needed to on my own, so, my Higher Power helped me the best way He knew how. Instead of continuing to mope around, I finally picked myself up by my bootstraps and started to live life again.

Thought for the day: Today, when I look back, I see the lessons learned even tho I may not have thought so at the time. I may look back and shed a tear in my heart over the good memories, I see the lessons I’ve learned and the growth I’ve had because of them.

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#Compassion. #Peace #Empathy #Tolerance

“When you put your foot on the gas pedal and push it all the way to the floor and the RPM’s are all the way to the red line, what happens to the engine after a period of time?” ~My former psychology teacher

We are living in stressful times aren’t we? Mass murders, terrorist attacks and so on. Top that off with troubles in Syria, North Korea, Iran, Russia and our own political garbage. Watching or reading the news today is very frustrating and depressing. One can look at these times with despair and spew hateful word vomit or one can look at these times with hope.

In recent months and years, we’ve become very polarized on virtually every topic and we also seem to politicize every topic. Why? Do we like how we feel when we fight with someone else? Do we like fighting with everyone about everything all the time? I don’t know about you but I sure don’t enjoy fighting with anyone over anything at any time.

These days we have information coming at us from all directions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from tv, print, and of course social media. There are also all kinds of pundits, political leaders and other commentators who throw around hateful comments and unrealistic ideas about how these situations should or shouldn’t be handled. At some point, fingers start pointing then anyone and everyone is blamed for everything that happens.

When we hear/read about the stuff on the news or on social media sites we often leave nasty comments. This continues the cycle of blame and anger which fuels the hate in the hearts of men and women everywhere. I do not care to cite examples because that, too, will fuel the hatred cycle.

I remember a time when our leaders, actors, musicians and athletes were our role models. Some were even our heroes. Today, in our current political climate, this isn’t so much true.

We cannot allow this to keep happening.

There is something we keep forgetting when horrific and awful events happen. The outpouring of human compassion. Strangers helping other strangers in a time of need. Lines of racial division, political affiliation or views, creed, sexual/gender preference and socio-economic tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage. Strangers donate food, water, money, time and even blood to other total strangers. The fact all of this support and compassion goes unreported is disgraceful.

There is another reason that we cannot allow this rhetoric to keep happening.

There’s one thing you may not know about anger and fighting. Those things are poison to our bodies. I take that back, they’re more like a cancer, sometimes a very aggressive cancer. Think of the question I asked above. What would happen to the engine if you floored it for a length of time? It would most likely die a lot sooner than if the engine normal. Adrenaline in our bodies is somewhat like gasoline or oil in a car and stressors like anger and hate are like our foot on the gas pedal.

When we are stuck in that cycle of anger and hate, our bodies begin to break down. These emotions eat away at us bite by bite. We may begin to eat poorly. Instead of eating relatively healthy, we end comfort food. We start out with upset stomachs and headaches. At some point we may develop high blood pressure or elevated blood sugar. Maybe our immune system weakens and we get the flu more often than we used to. Eventually we will end up having a heart attack, a stroke or we may actually get cancer.

I’ve occasionally gone on a politically themed social media post and read the comments that others have left and became enraged at the insensitive, hateful, misinformed and dumb comments left by uninformed people. Just as I start to write an inflammatory comment, I realize I am just continuing the cycle. The same is true when I read or watch the news. To not contribute to the cycle, I’ve had to leave the more political social media posts or pages altogether or change the tv station.

So, how can we move passed all this “stuff”? There are a couple of lessons I’ve learned in life that can help us move away from the cycle of anger, blame and hate – but it’ll take some work.

One is to practice Spiritual Principles like hope, surrender, acceptance, honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, faith, tolerance, patience, humility, unconditional love, compassion, sharing and caring. If we do this we put principles before personalities which teaches us to treat everyone equally.

This leads us to follow The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want to be accepted or tolerated, then you need to accept and tolerate others. If you want respect and honesty, then be respectful and honest with others. Many of us learned to do this when we were young but somewhere along the way we forgot these lessons or we chose not to follow them.

Perhaps some day we’ll wake up and see how our actions and our words affect others and we can at least live a bit more peaceful. Then again, that is probably just a pipe dream.

Thought for the day: If we want to have a more peaceful coexistence with each other, we have to practice Spiritual Principles and the Golden Rule again.

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The Answer

“Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” ~ Former Democratic President John F Kennedy

“You don’t believe this? You’re a ‘-ist’!” “You think that way? You’re a ‘-phobe!’”

Every day, often numerous times a day, we are calling each other derogatory names. If we don’t like the way a person thinks, we call them racist, misogynist, sexist and numerous other names. Some are not fit for this author to print. In 90% of the cases, though, we are far from correct in the names we hurl at each other. That person is the opposite of those names.

Yes, there’s no doubt we have serious issues in this America and the world. Yes, many things that need fixing are things that are fixable, but first we need to get out of our own way. We need to find ways to compromise without completely compromising our values, morals, and principles.

No one person is right on all things in life. We can begin today to reach across whatever aisle that divides us and learn about another person whose thoughts and opinions are different than ours. Instead of name calling, ask questions and each of you give a little to each other. If we each do this, we can begin to agree on ways to fix some of our issues that plague our society.

Having different viewpoints is natural. Where our diversity is our strength is when we can come together and use those differences to bring about positive changes.

Thought for the day: The next time someone disagrees with you, instead of putting your fingers in your ears saying, “La, la, la, I can’t hear you!” try listening to understand.

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Questions to Ponder Part 2

This is Part 2 of Questions to Ponder. As i said yesterday…

I consider myself to be a reasonable person. When it comes to hot button topics and political differences of opinion, I like to look at both sides of the discussion, add in a little common sense, then come to a reasonable conclusion. After watching numerous debates between pundits on the news, I have to admit that I don’t understand how some people think.

Using some wisdom I’ve acquired, I have some questions and/or thoughts about some hot button topics that I’d like you, the reader, to ponder. I simply ask that you have an open mind as you read because if we are to discuss these hot button topics we need to look at both sides of the debate. If you don’t want to read another point of view, feel free to skip reading this, just know that we can never stop fighting and find common ground as long as we are closed minded steeple following the crowd.

Gun Control

We’re all well aware of recent mass shootings in the country, especially in schools. I agree 100% that we need to make some changes. However, in each tragedy, weren’t there laws already in place that could’ve prevented these people from getting a gun? Thinking of recent mass shootings and laws that are currently on the books, where did the system fail?

“Guns kill people.” This statement isn’t entirely true. By itself, a gun sitting on a table is a hunk of harmless metal. So is a knife and a car. When any one of them is put in a human’s hands, they become tools capable of killing a human or an animal. Wasn’t there an incident in 2017 when a terrorist ran over some people with his car then got out and started stabbing people?

Here are a couple of statistics. Every day people are killed or injured in motor vehicle accidents. Drunk driving is responsible for 28 deaths every day and texting while driving causes roughly 300,000 accidents every year. And, reportedly more than four times as many people are stabbed to death than killed with rifles of any kind.

Where are the chants or protesting to have cars and knives banned?

Something else that puzzles me. Anytime there’s a mass shooting, law abiding gun owners are blamed and punished first. How did a law abiding gun owner cause the mass shooting? If your response is that they didn’t cause it, then why are they blamed? How do you feel when you’re blamed and punished for something you didn’t do? I can think of numerous shootings where others were clearly to blame. Pertinent mental health concerns weren’t reported and addressed, concerned citizens reported their concerns to the proper authorities but the authorities did nothing, or someone else who could pass a background check purchased the gun for the shooter who couldn’t pass the check. Perhaps the most egregious incident was when armed personnel were outside setting a perimeter while the gunman was inside still killing people. If you had a gun and people were being killed, wouldn’t you confront the gunman and save people?

Why not blame the person that picked that hunk of harmless metal and turned it into a tool for killing others? Why are they blameless?

Finally, after you create all of these new laws, will criminal abide by these laws? If a criminal REALLY want a gun, will they not do anything to get one? Take a look at cities like Chicago, Detroit, St Louis, Oakland, Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Buffalo. Some of these cities have some of the strictest gun laws and they’ve got some of the worst violence in the country. These guns aren’t licensed, aren’t permitted, there are no background checks and they are never purchased legally.

The gun control debate wouldn’t be complete without discussing school shootings. Aside from my previous thoughts on obtaining a gun, there are other things we can do to prevent these from happening. Perhaps the best idea I’ve heard is to have trained armed people in the school. This can be retired law enforcement and/or retired military veterans because they are highly trained to use firearms. If teachers and school administrators want to be armed, great. They can be trained and licensed too.

Entertainers, politicians and other famous people are protected by armed guards, right? Airports, train stations and some stores are protected by armed guards, right? Why are we not protecting the most precious people in our lives with armed guards?

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is true. Who can stop a bad guy with a gun? Someone using words to talk the gunman down? Someone armed with a slingshot and rocks?

Police Brutality

In recent years, there have been protests, some of which were violent, because police officers shot and killed a suspect – usually it’s a white officer killing an African American suspect. To start with, do you really think that all police officers are racist killers? Of the instances where this happens, are you getting the whole story? Is it possible that witnesses who are videotaping are missing the part of the story where that suspect also had a gun? Was that suspect in some way resisting the officers command to comply with their orders, particularly the order to stop running? Did that suspect do something to threaten that officer?

How about the witness who videotapes the situation. Did they record what happened before the suspect was shot or roughed up? Did they do something that they shouldn’t have like maybe punching the officer or threatening them in some way?

Are there bad police officers? Yes there are. Are ALL police officers bad? Not hardly.

Don’t get me wrong when I say this, because any life taken at the hands of another human being is tragic and (peaceful)protesting for change is a good thing. Where are the protests for the innocent people dying at the hands of violent people in their own communities by criminals with guns who, by the way, probably got their guns illegally.

For those who think that either the military and/or the police should be eliminated, consider this, who will you call or who will protect you when a bad guy with a gun hurts you or your family?

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Questions to Ponder(Part 1)

I consider myself to be a reasonable person. When it comes to hot button topics and political differences of opinion, I like to look at both sides of the discussion, add in a little common sense, then come to a reasonable conclusion. After watching numerous debates between pundits on the news, I have to admit that I don’t understand how some people think.

Using some wisdom I’ve acquired, I have some questions and/or thoughts about some hot button topics that I’d like you, the reader, to ponder. I simply ask that you have an open mind as you read because if we are to discuss these hot button topics we need to look at both sides of the debate. If you don’t want to read another point of view, feel free to skip reading this, just know that we can never stop fighting and find common ground as long as we are closed minded steeple following the crowd.

Since this ended up longer than I intended, I’m breaking it up into smaller pieces.

Illegal Immigration and amnesty

Say you’re at your favorite restaurant and it’s really busy. You have to wait quite a while for a table. While you’re waiting in line to get seated, numerous people come in and get seated before you. Now, say you’re at the same restaurant and other people who were seated after you were waited on and served before you. Do these two scenarios anger you? What if you’re in line to get into the movies, a concert or sporting event and a bunch of people cut in front of you and get in before you. Are you not angry? Do you say something like, “Hey, I was here first!”

This is how legal immigrants who are going or have gone thru the hoops of becoming legal citizens feel when an illegal immigrant comes in and is given citizenship before they are and without going thru the same hoops as they do.

Here’s another scenario. Your home has walls and a door that locks, maybe windows that lock and a fence around the perimeter of your property. When you leave your home or go to bed at night do you lock your doors? Do you keep the gate on your fence closed? If your answer is yes, why do you? Is it to keep strangers and criminals out? Is it because you want to know who’s coming into your home or on your property? You don’t invite strangers or criminals in your home, right?

Why then do we allow strangers and criminals into our country that we call home?

An elected official is sworn to uphold laws and to protect the citizens who voted for them, correct? Why, then, do they allow criminal illegal immigrants walk the streets of their communities – especially rapists and murders? Do they think that just because they are protected from being deported that they’ll miraculously be law abiding people?

If you, an American citizen, go into another country illegally, would you be given or expect to be given the same rights and benefits as the legal citizens of that country? If so, do you really think you’d be given those rights and benefits?

White privilege

Let’s start this topic with the definition of “white privilege”. According to the Oxford English dictionary, “white privilege” is, “Inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.” Doesn’t this sound a little bit like racism in reverse? Doesn’t this also sound a bit like victimhood? “JQ Citizen is successful because they’re white. JQ Doe isn’t successful because they’re black/brown/ red/yellow/purple ?”

OK, take one white person, one black person, one brown person, etc and put them in three separate economic categories, poor, middle class and rich. Give each person in each category the same educational opportunities. I’ll bet each person will be successful or fail to be successful on some level but it won’t have anything to do with their color or economic status. How many times do you hear an athlete, entertainer, politician or CEO who is black/brown/ red/yellow/purple came from humble beginnings and worked hard to be successful?

Could it be that we are telling black/brown/red/yellow/purple kids that because of their skin color that they’ll never be good at anything or they’ll never be successful?

Truth is that no matter what hand we are dealt in life, each one of us in all skin colors and faiths have choices that we make that will help us to succeed or fail. Not everyone can get a trophy, but everyone can work hard and make the right choices to get that trophy

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“Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over another’s sins … In a word, there are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them all is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13.

Think of someone you love. Pick anyone. What if that someone you love is sick or has fallen on hard times? Would you love them then? How about if that person made some bad choices that took them down a path in life that’s not good for them? What if that person you love hurt you in some way? Would you still love them?

If you said yes to any of those questions you are practicing unconditional love. Loving without condition or limitation, under any circumstance and despite disappointment. It’s also caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. It’s seeing past whatever “bad” a person is going thru to their true self and still loving them.

I’ve been blessed to feel this kind of love during a time in my life when I wasn’t so loveable. I’d done and said a lot of things to other people in my life that couldn’t be taken back. Some people turned their backs on me but others…the others loved me no matter what I did. If it were not for those people who loved me when I was at my worst, I never would have made it thru those dark times to be who I am today.

Thought for the day: Because of this love I am able to give unconditional love to others who may not be so loveable too.

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