Love is a Song

” Love is but a song we sing, fears’ the way we die. You can make the mountains ring, or make the angels cry. Though the dove is on the wing, and you may not know why. Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, and try to love one another right now.” ~ Chet Powers

Some songs stand the test of time. “Get Together” is a song where the words and their meaning rings true even today some 50 years later.

You may have noticed that people are fighting everywhere these days. Whether it’s in another country or right here in our own communities. What is everyone fighting for/over? You name it. More land, more money, politics, religion, who did what to whom…the list goes on. What’s sad is that most of us were taught when we were young how to share and behave around others. Seems to me we that we forgot those things when we left the sandbox.

In a perfect world everyone would get along and there’d be no fighting, or we’d agree to disagree. We need spirited debates to make changes but not when it’s sister fighting sister and brother killing brother. If we’re not careful there will be no one and nothing left worth fighting for. When the fighting ends, we regret things we’ve said or done. By the time we decide to do something about it, we are to late. We never see the person or worse – they pass away.

Thought for the day: Don’t let pride get in the way of a simple “I’m sorry”. A friend once told me, “Swallow your pride, it contains no calories.”

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“Imagine there’s no countries … Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion … And the world will be as one. Imagine no possessions … No need for greed or hunger … Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world…” ~ John Lennon

When man first walked the Earth, he worked and cooperated with his fellow man. Somewhere along the way, one person hurt another somehow and another person became afraid of another person somehow. From these events, negative feelings and actions like hate and discrimination were born. These feelings and thoughts continued thru the millennia and many wars have been fought because of this and other reasons.

When we were young, many of us learned either our Higher Power’s teachings or the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself”. We were not created to hate, discriminate against or fight with one another. We we born to love and care for one another. Through the millennia each generation, religious faith, and ethnicity has dealt with hate and discrimination in different ways. Verbal and physical fighting, warfare, peaceful and violent protests, and so on.

For there to be peace in the world, it’s important for us to learn and practice Spiritual Principles like patience, respect, acceptance and tolerance for one another no matter what our race, religion, or socio-economic status is…everybody everywhere. It’s also important to embrace our similarities. It’s time for those who believe in love and living peacefully with one another to rise up and raise our voices louder than those of hatred. No fighting and shouting over one another. Let’s talk to and with each other.

Thought for the day: It is possible to end much of the anger, hatred and discrimination in this world. As Trent Shelton says, “It all starts with you”.

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“The only thing that divides is what you allow….” ~ Anonymous

Keep the above quote in mind as you read this.

The world as we know it is in a sad state these days. Whether it’s your own personal world or the entire world, everyone is turned upside down and inside out. Seems like everyone we meet these days is angry about something. So, what went wrong? I could list the reasons, but if I did, you’d be reading this all day.

I was scrolling thru my social media news feed, I stumbled upon this, “Let’s not focus on one particular situation, let’s focus on the world as we are one. The only thing that divides is what you allow. When did this all change? When has hatred become the only rule we have to follow?? Whatever happened to sending the much needed love to everyone?? When was the last time you smiled at a stranger or said good morning. My heart aches over the way the world has become and we as a society need to change this.” ~ Anonymous

These days, we are bombarded with information and misinformation 24/7. We find the majority of this stuff on the news, internet or social media. To often this information seems to be targeted to pit one person against another or at the very least make us angry. When then take that anger out into the world and infect others. We need to rise above all of this anger and hate. If we don’t…well I fear of where we’ll be 5, 10, 20 years from now. Practicing Spiritual Principles like acceptance, tolerance and patience can at least lower the temperature amongst us.

Thought for the day: Let’s start working together to make this a better world than when we found it.

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Why Do We Hate?

“…and why? Because I’m a Jew. Doesn’t a Jew have eyes? Doesn’t a Jew have hands, bodily organs, a human shape, five senses, feelings, and passions?” ~ William Shakespeare (from the Merchant of Venice)

How does you feel when you’re called names like rock star, angel, hero and sweetheart? Pretty good right? Now, what if you’re called names like racist, bigot, homophobe and misogynist? Not so good, I’ll bet. So if each of us knows that it hurts, why do we call each other derogatory names? Do we not know the pain these words cause? Or do we just not care? Just because we disagree on religion, politics or the weather, does not mean that I am some name that clearly does not reflect the real me.

Perhaps Shakespeare said it best in his 16th century play titled “The Merchant of Venice”. In his monologue in Act 3, Scene 1, one of the characters,  Shylock, says, “…Doesn’t a Jew eat the same food, get hurt with the same weapons, get sick with the same diseases, get healed by the same medicine, warm up in summer and cool off in winter just like a Christian?…” As divided we are as a nation, and even as a global community, we forget that each of us is the same under our skins. We each dream the same dreams and feel the same feelings.

We also forget something that unites us all. It also strengthens us. We forget that thru our diversity, we find strength. Rarely do two humans agree on all things but we each have ideas that can work together, if only we try.

Thought for the day: One person can’t save the world. Why not try today to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

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“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” ~Dr Martin Luther King Jr

When we forgive we stop feeling anger toward and stop blaming someone who has done something wrong. We don’t necessarily go up to the person, bop them on the head and say, “I declare you forgiven!” Of course if it were that easy none of us would hate anyone. Sometimes we need to forgive them in our hearts.

We can ask ourselves what we did to cause what happened or did we say something wrong or unnecessary? Could we have avoided what happened? This helps us look at our own actions to help us see our role in the situation which helps us grow. Sometimes no matter what we did or said could’ve changed the outcome and we need to accept this.

If we cannot forgive, we end up resenting whoever hurt us. This is a poison that slowly kills us from our insides out. Eventually we become bitter, lonely people because we trust or love anyone including ourselves. One thing we can do to help ourselves is say a prayer. The prayer doesn’t need to be big and fancy. Just something asking your Higher Power to help you to find forgiveness.

Thought for the day: “Free of Resentment Prayer” (Your Higher Power’s name), free me from my resentment toward ______. Please bless ______ in whatever it is that You know they may be needing this day. Please give _____ everything I want for myself. And may ______’s life be full of love health, peace, prosperity, and happiness as they seek to have a closer relationship with You.

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Learning from Crayons

Prayers to my fellow New Yorkers. So proud of all who showed up for the Halloween parade just hours after the terrorist attack. 

“We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.” ~Robert Fulghum

Funny how to get a point like this across we look at things from a child’s viewpoint. Another way we can look at this is to watch how young children live and play. Imagine a bunch of parents putting their children in a sandbox with other children of different skin colors and faiths and all they tell their child is to have fun and play nicely. What happens next is anyone’s guess but whatever happens you can pretty much guess they’ll all be playing together fairly well. Parents who encourage their children to play with other children in this way can set the tone for how they will grow up to be adults in a very diverse world. A world that seemingly grows more divisive by the day.

When we are born, we only know love. Somewhere along the way we are taught hate. It starts out small like being picky about what we eat. Then it progresses more in our school years when we start deciding who we associate and play with. Sometimes it starts when we’ve been teased by our peers because we befriend someone our peers think have less than desirable characteristics(enter the days of the jocks, nerds, preps, etc). Sometimes we learn to discriminate because of something we hear our parents say. Then there are some people that grew up learning nothing but hatred and discrimination.

I’m sure you all know that hatred is an intense emotion of dislike. But do you know why people hate?  Usually we hate others because of fear and how it manifests within us. We may be afraid of what that person will do to us. Maybe we heard something about that type of person, their race or their beliefs. On the other hand made we may be insecure, or jealous of something the other person has or we feel we deserve better, therefore that jealousy, or insecurity comes out in the form of anger/hate.

Also some people can evoke certain emotions in them like fear. They don’t hate people, they hate the emotions and fears that arise within them and project these fears/emotions onto others. To avoid the pain of dealing with their own emotions, they hate them. Also people hate because of mutually conflicting values.

Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. It encompasses words like prejudice, bias, bigotry, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, unfairness, inequity, favoritism, one-sidedness, and partisanship. The one word that sticks out to me is intolerance. This is an unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.

You probably know that hate, discrimination and intolerance are at record levels not just in America but all over the world. If we are to have any semblance of peace in this world we desperately need to learn to be more tolerant and accepting of people, especially for those who are different from us. Not one of us is a perfect person.  That job is left for someone else. Underneath our skins and beyond the name we give our Higher Power, we are ALL the same. Each of us has the same organs that keep us alive. Each of us also has feelings, goals, hopes and dreams.

Yes, we can learn a lot from crayons. Although they are all different colors, each one is made of wax and each one is covered with a paper label. They all get along well in the box. No matter how you arrange them, they still make a rainbow.  Just imagine what it would look like if red kicked blue out of the box or orange picked on green because of it’s color. It would make for quite a muddy mess. If we’re just a little more patient, tolerant and accepting we may not achieve world peace but we’ll have more peace in our own little world.

Thought for the day: What are some ways that you can practice patience, acceptance or tolerance?

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Freedom is Not Free

“If you’re not ready to die for it, put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary” ~Malcolm X

Protesting has been a way to make changes in the county since we became free from control of other countries. In recent years, masses of people have protested various injustices that they feel. Some have even protest the American Flag, the National Anthem, our troops and the country as a whole. While I applaud utilizing your Freedom of Speech and agree with peaceful protesting injustices in the country these are symbols of our freedom should be protected and respected. Granted, these acts are not illegal, it is disrespectful.

When you do that stuff to the flag or during the National Anthem it is like spitting on our military past, present and future soldiers, their families that support them, as well as our Founding Fathers. I’m quite certain that if you ask any veteran or their family members you will find that this is how they feel. I will almost bet if you look far enough in your family’s history you will find a relative who fought in some war.

This country was founded for and it’s citizens have fought for this country for one main reason – Freedom. Think about this if you will. I am quite certain that someone somewhere reading this does not have the Freedoms that we take for granted. There may even be someone somewhere reading this who would be in some serious trouble if they were even caught reading this. PleaseOur wars, for the most part, have been fought to preserve our way of life.

Thought for the day: Ask yourself this question, what would your life be like right now if Japan, Germany, Vietnam, Korea, England, France or any of the Middle East countries we’ve fought won? To get the answer just look at how life is right now in any of those countries. Would you have the happiness and freedoms you have now?

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