Diversity

“In diversity there is beauty and strength” ~ Maya Angelou

Just like every person is different, so too are our talents and the way we do things. Let’s look at a couple of examples of how each of us have talents that are unique to each of us.

As a kid in the kitchen of our home economics class, we were all given the same a banana bread recipe to make for a grade. At the end of class, each of us presented the results to the teacher for our grade. I looked around the room at my classmates results. I was surprised to see all of the end results of our assignment. Each of us had different results even tho our the recipes were all the same. My banana bread may have risen more than Jane’s but hers was moister than Kim’s.

Another example is my skills as a caregiver. I can remember countless times during my time working as an aide that I was told that I was the best one that gave a shower, made a bed, or helped a patient somehow. I’d also been told I was the worst too(chuckle). Even though I told my patients/clients that I was doing the same thing as my coworkers did, they still said that I did my job different in some way than the others.

Whenever each person brings their own unique talents together with others we can create a type of harmony. When all of us create harmony together, and don’t argue who’s better than another, we learn that although each of us is different, we learn that we are stronger together.

Thought for the day: No matter what the task is at hand, each of us has our own unique way of doing things. That diversity can make us Stronger together.

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

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Diversity

“In diversity there is beauty and strength” ~ Maya Angelou

Just like every person is different, so too are our talents and the way we do things. Let’s look at a couple of examples of how each of us have talents that are unique to each of us.

As a kid in the kitchen of our home economics class, we were all given the same a banana bread recipe to make for a grade. At the end of class, each of us presented the results to the teacher for our grade. I looked around the room at my classmates results. I was surprised to see all of the end results of our assignment. Each of us had different results even tho our the recipes were all the same. My banana bread may have risen more than Jane’s but hers was moister than Kim’s.

Another example is my skills as a caregiver. I can remember countless times during my time working as an aide that I was told that I was the best one that gave a shower, made a bed, or helped a patient somehow. I’d also been told I was the worst too(chuckle). Even though I told my patients/clients that I was doing the same thing as my coworkers did, they still said that I did my job different in some way than the others.

Whenever each person brings their own unique talents together with others we can create a type of harmony. When all of us create harmony together, and don’t argue who’s better than another, we learn that although each of us is different, we learn that we are stronger together.

Thought for the day: No matter what the task is at hand, each of us has our own unique way of doing things. That diversity can make us Stronger together.

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

Tolerance

“Everyone has a responsibility to not only tolerate another person’s point of view, but also to accept it eagerly as a challenge to your own understanding. And express those challenges in terms of serving other people.” Arlo Guthrie

You’ve probably seen me list tolerance when I’ve shared about Spiritual Principles. Tolerance is when you respect someone’s opinions and accept their ideas, opinions, beliefs, practices, behavior or situation no matter their race or ethnic origins, etc. – even if you disagree or find them nonsensical.

Part of being tolerant is acceptance, another Spiritual Principle. When we are accepting, we are willing to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others. Self acceptance is an acceptance of yourself as you are, warts and all.

I’m sure you’ve also probably heard that opinions are like…well, everyone’s got one. Everybody has an opinion on something which is all well and good. Unfortunately today, when that opinion is expressed somebody, somewhere will be offended. I don’t care what the topic is, someone will inevitably be offended.

You see, each of us is a unique individual who was raised differently, with different values, beliefs and/or learned different things in our lives. This gives each of us a different perspective. This can in turn give us an opportunity to learn new ways to do things and also a new way to look at problems or situations differently from each other. Believe it or not, relationships can become stronger and a new level of respect for that person can be achieved when we have disagreements.

Thought for the day: It’s ok to agree to disagree with each other. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean that whatever relationship we have with that person is over.

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

Are You Part of the Problem or the Solution?

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” ~ Dr Martin Luther King Jr

This post is not meant to inflame the already tense time we are living in. If my words offend you, I kindly ask that instead of leaving a nasty comment, just stop reading and go to the next post. This piece is meant solely to be a voice of reason in the sea of madness.

There seems to be a growing, yet disturbing, trend in America in recent years. Anger, resentment, divisiveness, intolerance, ignorance, hypocrisy, and dishonesty. And that is just the short list. All of this can be attributed to many factors. Social media and mainstream media are at the top of the list. However, there’s one thing that has made things worse. Politics, rather the politicizing, of just about everything we do from writing common sense legislation to what we have for breakfast. There are plenty of people out there willing to take a stand and protest what they feel is wrong.

What about taking a stand and protesting for what’s right? Are we all that scared to do that?

I have to say, I’ve seen my fair share of debates on the news involving some of the more controversial topics and I have to wonder, where has basic civility gone in our country? As an objective observer, I’ve noticed a couple things that always end up happening during these debates. Three of the most glaring observations are that at some point 1) while one person is trying to have a civilized, rational discussion, the other person spews hate filled word vomit, 2) one of the debaters, without fail, resorts to name calling and someone is always room blame.

I have a question. How does any this solve anything?

There are some things we can we do to fix this mess. Let’s look at the name calling, the hateful word vomit and shouting down others first.

I’d like to encourage you to try something if you get an a chance. Watch two people debating a controversial topic. You could also watch or read the news from different outlets. There’s one catch though. You need to do this without an opinion either way and with an open mind. If you choose do this, you’ll see that one side tries to rationally discuss the situation and come up with logical solutions to the problem.

You will also notice that instead of coming up with another idea, the other person who disagrees starts throwing around labels like racist, bigot, misogynist, xenophobe, feminist, etc. I don’t know about anyone else, but if someone were to call me one of those names I would get angry in the blink of an eye. Name calling not only shuts down the conversation, but it invalidates everything you just said. Not only that, but the person you just called a bigot, etc is probably far from it.

Sometimes the person who disagrees will shout down or talk louder than the person trying to have the rational and logical discussion. If you and I are shouting at each other, can you hear what I’m saying even if we agree on a solution? I know I wouldn’t be able to hear you.

Finally, something I hear a lot of on mainstream media, see on social media or hear from others in general. Someone always gets blamed for everything that happens. While there may be someone or something that caused the problem(s) we see today, blaming doesn’t help anything either.

All of this only fuels the flames of anger and makes the divide between you and me even bigger.

One way to fix all of this is with the Spiritual Principles that I’ve written about for some time. These Principles can help combat the anger, resentment, divisiveness, intolerance, ignorance, hypocrisy, and dishonesty I mentioned earlier. Principles like open mindedness, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, honesty, compassion, empathy, integrity, humility and acceptance are just a few that can help.

Obviously everyone isn’t going to agree on everything. What we CAN DO is either compromise on some stuff or we can agree to disagree. As I said earlier, name calling based on differing viewpoints solves nothing but fuel the fire and makes the divide between you and I even greater.

You may have heard some version of the following quote, “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” by Maya Angelou. The keywords in that quote are “in diversity there…is strength.” While some journalists and news pundits argue or question this, it is actually true. Think about it for a moment. You and I have two different solutions to the same problem. But if we look at both of our ideas, there may be aspects of each of our solutions that will work.

Another quote by Eldridge Cleaver comes to mind when I see a debate descending into madness. “If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.” As I watch these mini debates and see what each person does, or doesn’t do, I find myself yelling at the tv, “So, what’s your idea? What’s your solution to this problem?!” Seriously, if you disagree with me and my thoughts, instead of throwing blame around, calling me names or shouting me down, tell me your ideas. Maybe together we can fix the problem.

Thought for the day: Instead of spewing hateful word vomit, name calling and throwing blame around, let’s all of us everywhere try something different for a change. Let’s try practicing the Spiritual Principles. Let’s also work on being part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Don’t do it for your sake or mine. Do it for the sake of the future.

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

Impulsivity

“Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others– it only changes yours” ~ Shannon L. Alder

I’ve had times throughout the years when anger, resentment and jealousy have changed my heart. These were times when I acted on impulse. The problem was that my first thoughts were not exactly my best ones. I was wrong many times and I wronged others around me.

In the past when someone hurt me I got very angry and lashed out at them in a fit of anger. I did or said things that hurt the other person back. Looking back at those days, I realize that I acted like a little girl having a temper tantrum. Some years later, a friend pointed out my character defect of acting impulsively. I became angry with her because she didn’t understand how I felt or what I was going thru. We ended up fighting for a while. Later, when I thought about what she was saying and reflected back on the times I acted out, I realized she was right. I learned that just because “an eye for an eye” is in the Bible, doesn’t mean that it’s right.

Since those days, I’ve learned a little prayer that has helped me. The Serenity Prayer. “(Higher Power), grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” When I feel like acting out, I ask myself some simple questions. What or who can I not change? What or who can I change?

Thought for the day: I cannot change other people or situations but I can change myself and how I act, react, respond or none of the above.

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

The Success of Failure

“The pursuit of our dreams is not without any difficulty. Those who triumph have learned to overcome the difficulty.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t sugar coated things because sometimes that makes matters worse. Truth and reality may be difficult, but deception and misinformation have the potential to kill.

There has been a growing trend in recent years. Many people, myself included, scoffed at it in the beginning. Now that it seems to have picked up steam, it’s not so much a laughing matter. It’s the “everybody gets a prize” theory, even if that person loses. I’ve seen arguments for and against this theory. Now it’s time for a little truth. My next statement might sting a little so brace yourself.

Not everyone who gets a prize wins. Sometimes they actually lose, even if that person gets a prize for losing.

I remember, as a kid, my sister and I played board games with our parents. Sometimes my sister or I would win, but sometimes one of our parents won. When that happened, my sister and I didn’t pitch a fit, flip over the board game or picked up our toys and left. No, we accepted our loss and set the board up to play again.

When I was in elementary school, we had these yearly physical education competitions. I don’t remember winning at many of the events. I didn’t get a trophy, but I got the occasional a ribbon. If I didn’t get a ribbon, I got a certificate for participating. I was bummed out but I didn’t pitch a fit, cry or stomp off the field. I accepted that I wasn’t as good as the other kids and I knew it.

In junior high school, I had really good grades. They were so good that I was in the honor society for 2 years. Starting the following year, my grades weren’t good enough and I didn’t make the honor roll after that. I didn’t lay down a pitch a fit in the middle of the hallway. I took my lumps and accepted that I was going to have to study better and harder.

Then, in high school, I wanted a letter jacket so I could fit in with the cool kids. I knew I could get one if I played sports. So, I tried out for a couple of sports teams but I wasn’t good enough to make the team. I was disappointed, but I didn’t scream and cry or stomp my feet over it. I just practiced and tried harder the next time there were tryouts.

A couple of years later, I found out I could get my letter jacket if I took a certain number of music classes. When it was time to make my schedule out for my senior year with my guidance counselor, she told me some bad news. She informed me that I’d have to give up one of my music classes so I could take another class I needed to graduate. I weighed my choices between graduating and letter jacket. I eventually decided that graduation was more important than a silly jacket, but, just like the other times, I didn’t pitch a fit. I sucked it up and took the class I needed to take so I could graduate.

That year our band was entered into a national contest which was held about 8 hours away. We ended up in 3rd or 4th place. No we didn’t win but we as a team got a little 3” high trophy. Were we disappointed that we lost? Sure we were, but we were also proud of ourselves and how far we made it. By the way, I forgot to mention that we were a very small school, from a small town that no one even heard of. To give you an idea of how small our class was, there was about 80 kids in each grade.

By now you’re probably wondering what my point is to my trip down memory lane. I have a couple of them actually, rather lessons that I learned from not winning. The first thing I learned when I was young is that in life there are winners and losers. Not everyone who participates in a competition gets a prize, and that’s ok. You just practice and try harder the next time you try out.

My second point is that, when I didn’t get rewarded for losing, I actually won in the end. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? So how did I win when in reality I lost? Simple. I learned to not pitch a fit when I lost or didn’t get what I wanted in life because of a quote I heard. “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” by Henry Grantland Rice. The way I played the game showed my character. By not being a sore loser I was humble and I played with integrity.

Finally, and perhaps most important, I learned that sometimes when I don’t win a competition or get what I want, it may be a blessing for any number of reasons. Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Looking back on all those times that I didn’t get a job I really wanted, got dumped by a boyfriend, had my house fire, got divorced, or any other life on life’s terms stuff, I was understandably upset. However, I learned to pick myself up by my bootstraps and either try again or shift gears altogether. Eventually I’ve seen the blessings in each case.

“Practice makes perfect” was a phrase I heard quite frequently from all the adults in my life while was growing up. I used to hate hearing it because sometimes, no matter how much I practiced or tried, I wasn’t good enough. Despite all that, I grew without even realizing it. I learned to become a stubborn, perseverant, independent woman who learned that it really isn’t whether I win or lose, it’s how I play the game.

Thought for the day: I thought I’d close this with a few inspirational and motivating quotes:

“Failure is an opportunity to learn again” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana

“True success is the achievement of many failures” ~ Válgame

“Don’t fear mistakes, they are your stepping stone to success” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana

“Success sits on a mountain of mistakes” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana

“Success in life is not for those who run fast, but for those who keep running and always on the move.” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana

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

This too Shall Pass

“Nothing lasts forever – not even your troubles.” ~ Arnold H. Glasow

So many times when we’re having a rough time in life, we hear words like “Keep your chin up.”, “Everything happens for a reason.”, “Fake it til you make it.”, and many other platitudes like that. A lot of times those words can help and we can put on that happy smiley mask for the world to see for the short term. Sometimes we lie to others around us so they don’t see our pain. But what about in the longer term when we are crying and dying inside?

I had gone thru a very rough time in my life. Between the divorce, my ill parent, finance problems, and temporary homelessness I was ready to give up the good fight. Some of those platitudes I repeated to myself and when I couldn’t tell them to myself, my friends told them to me. I had to remind myself that I had been thru worse times. I needed to call on my ancestors and ask for their strength to hold me up. In all honesty I found this very difficult to do. I had times I hated those words and the things my friends told me. Eventually I made it thru my darkest hours.

Thought for the day: Life, and those bumps and potholes we hit in the road along the way, do get better. Maybe not in the way we hope, plan, or expect, but they get better in the way our Higher Power feels is right for us. All that He asks of us is that we are true to ourselves as well as others around us.

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