Making Someone’s Day

Do you remember the last time someone ‘made your day’ and how you felt inside?

Can you remember a time you made someone else’s day? Was it something you said, perhaps some kind words. Or maybe it was something you did, like an unexpected, good deed.

Did it happen naturally, without any forethought or was it a conscious choice you made and planned?

Did any part of you wonder what you might get in return or was it an altruistic act, kindness for the sake of kindness?

One of the interesting things about either, making someone else’s day or someone making your day, is how deep the love feels. I’ve often experienced feeling intensely touched by the actions of others. Their actions don’t even need to be directed toward me. Just witnessing love in action is wonderful, no matter where it’s found.

This past Sunday, while driving on our way home from the local food co-op, my wife and I were approaching a traffic light and it turned red, giving me a chance to make a roadside donation. That’s my phrase for offering some money to someone by the side of the road. In this case, it was a couple. I handed the folded twenty I keep in my car door for this purpose, to the young woman standing closest to our car. She reached for the money and offered me a grateful smile and their thanks in return. The traffic light remained red for a long time, which gave her the opportunity to explain that she and her husband were on their way back home to Louisiana and this would be very helpful.

I know some folks think giving money to ‘pan-handlers’ (the term most often applied to someone asking for money by the side of the road), isn’t a very good idea. I respect their point of view, and yet have come to a different conclusion and from my experience it’s a sure way to ‘make someone’s day’, no matter what they use the money for. I have offered myself a lot of practice in fully releasing any strings I might have wanted to attach to the money and so, both the giver and receiver in this exchange can share in making each other’s day.

Awhile back, a friend of mine told me she reads a book I’ve wrote (Little Buddha Book One) every night before she goes to bed. She told me it makes her happy, calms her from her day and allows her to drift off to sleep smiling. These kind words not only made my day, but they brought tears to my eyes. As a writer, unless someone tells you, you never know if your writings mean anything to anyone, so it was a very precious gift to me.

Knowing how good making someone’s day feels, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. I need an answer to this question.

What could it be? Is life so filled with ‘necessary things’ that I don’t have any time left over?

I immediately poked a hole in this theory. The two exchanges I’ve mentioned in this post account for perhaps four minutes in total, which easily tells me I DO have the time.

So, what’s the real reason?

I think it’s pretty simple actually. It’s a lack of focus on my part, an absence of attention to things that could matter greatly to me in my life and to others I come into contact with. I don’t say this to criticize myself (or you by proxy, as a reader). I say this to myself to heighten my awareness of what is, or can be, important and deeply meaningful to me in my life.

Sometimes all it takes is a moment of recognition that making someone’s day is a pathway for love to enter the world. A simple, direct, heart touching way and it’s free for anyone who wants it.

What a blessing.

I’ll Be Happy When

Is there a right time to be happy in this life?

My answer to this seemingly simple question makes a big difference in the quality of my life.

I’ve spent a great deal of time living a conditional life. You may know what I mean already, but if not, here are some examples of a statements I’ve made.

I’ll be happy when I reach a specific goal.

I’ll be happy when my TO DO list is complete.

I’ll be happy when the balance in my account is high enough.

It’s possible you could add statements of your own, especially if you’re a pro at this like I am. I want to say, ‘like I was’, but I’m not there yet. I still struggle with this affliction.

The funny (and not so funny) thing is that I’m usually not happy when I achieve my objective. Sure, there is a momentary high, but very soon after, I set a new goal, add another item to the list or increase the account balance target.

I accept that this whole delayed happiness issue I have is fixable and I’ve made observations over the course of time which have helped. Here’s four that I’ve discovered.

The chances of my being happy decrease the more I look forward or look backward.

The chances of my being happy increase when I live in the present moment.

The chances of my being happy decrease with each prerequisite I attach to a goal or desire.

And the chances of my being happy increase when I release all the conditions I’ve attached.

Yes, it’s all up to me. But that’s fair because I’m the one who views the world this way. Yes, I had help. I learned by watching and listening to others. I saw what they did and copied them.

I was taught to have goals and aims and to accomplish wonderful things. You may have been to. And some of us were taught to wait to be happy until we’d fully achieved our goals. Perhaps the reason was so that we would continue to strive. Maybe otherwise we would be satisfied with less than our goal. Maybe we’d just be slackers.

I’ve always known that living a conditional life would be painful. I think I could tell from the beginning it didn’t feel right. But when you are a kid, you are trained to comply, so I did.

The problem with this is you can’t grow up without questioning things. Without knowing why they are important. And I want to grow up. I want to chuck all the conditions I attach to thoughts and ideas and dreams out the window.

I think that’s where they all belong. Maybe you’ll want to join me in this adventure.

My first step is to be happy to begin with. I’m not prepared to wait any longer. My life is far too short to wait any longer. I’m going to celebrate the simple things, like breathing, walking, sleeping, eating, loving. I’m going to learn from my rich history. I’m going to spend more time doing the things I love, because they are awash in happiness. And when I feel the need to pursue a goal or aim, I’m going to ask myself…why? Why is this important to me? If I can’t answer that, well then, it’s not going to make the list.

So, if you walk by my house someday, be careful, because I may still be throwing my unnecessary ‘conditions’ out of the window and I know you don’t want them either.

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A Sense of Fairness

Often it seems that fairness is hard to come by. We are apt to judge by so many different standards that arriving at any agreement becomes difficult. It can make you wonder if there is such a thing as fairness.

I’m pretty sure the whole idea starts out early in life, as if we were born with an inner sense of what could be considered fair. Watching children for even a short period of time it’s likely you’ll spot this. I think most parents would say it happens every day. One child has a toy the other wants and an argument breaks out or one of the children rips the toy from the others hand and runs away, each one shouting, “it’s not fair”.

I’m not sure that any of us ever outgrows some version of this.

We seem to have an expectation that life will be fair. Why is this? Who is it that made this promise to us, as if the world owes each one of this valuable gift?

When the balance tips and we sense injustice, it hurts. We feel it most keenly when we act in a certain way, using our idea of good behavior. We anticipate or expect a reward and if we don’t receive it, we may claim that life is not fair because, after all we’ve done our part.

This happens all throughout our lives. At home, in school, at work and in our relationships.

Maybe part of the challenge is that we don’t all use the same definitions of the word ‘fair’. One dictionary says that ‘fair’ is defined as, ‘acting in accordance with rules or standards’.

I can certainly see how this creates a problem. Whose rules are we talking about? And who is in charge of setting up the standards? If we end up with numerous rules and standards, how could there ever be any hope that there would be only ONE way to measure fairness?

Maybe it’s time to take a step back.

There seems to me to be a short, medium and long view here.

In the short view, we have two basic choices, we either complain about a situation or we accept it. In the medium view, we may choose to try to find ways to change a situation and arrive at a better sense of fairness. A negotiation of sorts.

I wonder if there is a long view we can take. One that supposes that life is operating on a grander scale than we can see. That fairness is bigger and broader than we thought.

Three questions pop up for me.

Do I actually know all of the facts involved so that I can make a determination about fairness? Not even remotely likely. There are just too many things I may not know.

At what point is it wise for me disregard my opinion about fairness, if it makes me unhappy? After all, I don’t have control over every outcome. If it’s more important to lead a happy satisfied life, maybe it doesn’t matter as much about my perception of fairness.

And the most important question is who can I turn to for some insight and inspiration?

My answer is always the same, the divine. For me, it is the part of (god) I call Lia (love in action). When I asked her for guidance about fairness, she asked me to trust that everything in life ‘serves me’, no matter how it looks at the time and that there is always an underlying love that threads through every action.

To truly understand, I need examples. Maybe you do too, so here is a quick one.

I invariably pick the slow lane at the grocery check-out, which can feel unfair. If I step back I recognize this is a feeling, not a fact and that if it makes me unhappy, that is my choice, but not a wise one nor worth the cost. And if I look a bit deeper, I notice that, while I am waiting I see more. I have a chance to slow down and breathe and make eye contact with others. I can even close my eyes and call Lia to me and savor my connection to the divine.

So, it’s okay with me if I end up in the slow lane because I’m changing the name now to – the savor lane.

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Free Will

Imagine you are sitting at a desk. You are in a comfortable chair with your feet firmly placed on the floor. Your posture is upright and your mind is sharp. You look down and see a piece of paper laying across the top of the desk. Surprisingly, it stretches out endlessly in to the left and to the right. A pen rests on the paper and you pick it up.

A voice calls out to you with a question. It is a soothing voice, one you think you ought to recognize. You decide to let go of trying to know who it is and center in on the question itself.

The voice says, “This is the continuum of ‘free will’ and you stand at the middle point. The left end represents your belief that you do not have any free will and that all things are already decided for you. The right end signifies that you believe you have absolute free will to decide whatever you want to experience in life, with no barriers or requirements. Consider carefully, because whatever you choose will determine the course of your life. On what part of the paper do you choose to make your mark?”

This is no simple decision.

Many of us are taught through our religious training that (god), regardless of the tradition, has a ‘will’ for us. Ordinarily, this ‘will’ is either unknown to us or must be told to us by others, who are said to possess greater understanding. They become the interpreters of (god’s) will.

I wonder, how is it that they know something we don’t? How have they come by this knowledge and how can they tell all others what is right and true for them?

I wanted to know more about this, so I asked (god) (Lia) this morning, and this is what she said.

“You may choose to experience life as unhappiness, discontentment and unfulfillment by choosing fear (rather than love) as the basis for your decisions. Aligning with what others tell you is my will is one way to do this. What is happening here is that you are allowing others to control your decisions out of fear that I will be displeased with you and reject you. You are accepting that they know the truth but that you don’t. Your trust is placed in them, rather than in me and in yourself. Whenever you concede to others, you lose all of your power and sacrifice your free will, which is your greatest and most beautiful gift.”

She went on to say, “This may surprise you, but I have no will for you to behave in any particular or specific manner. That does not mean that I do not know what you choose. I do. I also know that if it is your desire to live a happy, contented, joy filled life, exercising your free will is the pathway. You are made completely and entirely of love, so you are your most happy, contented, joy filled self when you are acting (choosing) in accordance with your very nature. There is an alignment of love in this. Just because I know this to be true, I do not have a will for you to be this way. That is your choice.”

And finally, she said, “You are in this world to create and experience whatever you desire. Free will gives you the choice to align with fear or with love. This is up to you.”

Accepting this as the truth for me, I feel free to choose any option and embrace any opportunity, knowing that the ones that most serve me are those made from love, because they align with my very nature.

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Energy

I share a belief held by many scientists that everything in our world is part of an energy field. Actually, the claim is even larger, because most state that everything in the universe is part of one vast energy field. Imagine that everything, ranging from the grandest scale all the way down to the unseen quantum level is included.

Belief in this is challenging for many, because they want undisputed proof. They want evidence in support of these claims. For them, feeling it is not enough, they want the facts.

For those scientists who do believe, and for all of the rest of us who join them, several big questions arise. Chief among them, what force created and sustains this incredible energy field?

One of the beautiful things in this world is that each of us is free to decide for ourselves.

I’m glad this is the case.

I’m a big believer in free will and my ability to choose my own direction.

I’d like to share what feels like the truth to me. I believe that

LOVE is the powerful force that creates and sustains this energy field and sets everything in motion. I believe that love creates vibrations that oscillate as frequencies. And these frequencies are in constant motion within and surrounding everything.

For humans, and perhaps all essences, it seems to me that we are nourished and depleted according to the flow of energy entering and exiting our being. And so, our sense of happiness or suffering occurs as a result of shifts in our energy fields.

At times, certain events which appear to be outside of our control, challenge us and disturb our energy flow. We may even perceive that we have needs that are unmet, which create further problems for us. The longer these situations continue, the more our balance is affected.

You might ask, how does this theory relate to everyday life? That’s a very good question and one I’ve been pondering lately.

I’ve discovered that all of the answers I desire come from (god). Lately my answers have come through a part of (god) I call Lia, which stands for Love In Action. For me, she and the other parts of (god) are what powers the universal energy field.

I’m not asking you to accept this as your truth, but I’d like to share what she had to say to me about when our needs are not met, to see if it might be helpful to you.

These are her words to me.

“Need is a distortion of the truth and a false impression. The feeling of need shifts your attention away from love and draws you into a feeling of ‘lack’, where you believe you are not whole. It makes you feel that you must acquire some missing piece or pieces. The truth is you are already whole and surrounded by an energy field of love. 

Need is a mirage. You know this as the truth most deeply when you observe that once you receive what you felt you needed and intensely desired, that it did not fill you up. Or, if it did, that the feeling was only temporary, quickly faded and was replaced by a new sense of need.

The way through and beyond this is to realize you ‘lack’ nothing, because you are already complete and always connected to love and to the vast energetic field of love.

(She continued) And before you ask, yes, of course there are ‘things’ you don’t have, but things don’t, nor will they ever, make you feel complete. Love alone provides this.”

So, I’ve decided to trust Lia and when a need in me arises, to remember her words and her promise to always love me.

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Joyful

Do you know the TV and magazine ads that promise to help you deal with physical issues you might be experiencing? No matter what problem you have, there’s a drug or treatment that offers you help in managing your symptoms or condition. I’m very glad that this type of assistance exists and it’s wonderful to know that when you need support, it’s available to you.

The last time I saw one of these ads I wondered, is there some kind of pill or treatment for ‘conditional happiness’?

You may be wondering what this is.

Here are some of the symptoms. Do you create certain criteria that must be met BEFORE you can be happy? A list of items to check off, otherwise you think happiness can’t be experienced. Do you find yourself feeling happy and then wonder how long it can possibly last? And then, sure enough, it falls away. Do you wonder how it is even conceivable to be happy, given the state of the world? You want to be happy, but you feel so much stands in your way.

I’d like to propose a radical idea for you to consider.

What if we shifted our perspective? What if we all were designed to be happy? Suppose your core nature contained everything you need to be happy, and that buried deep within you, there is a place of perfect peace. A place you can draw from any time you need or want to.

While I’m thinking about this, I’m considering my choice of words. Maybe ‘happiness’ isn’t the right word. Perhaps, ‘contentment’ would be better. No, contentment feels limited, sort of like settling for something.

How about ‘joyful’? Yes, I like that word. I like opening it up to see that it means, filled with joy. What an awesome concept. I want to be filled with joy.

So, let me start over.

What if we all were full of joy by design? What if we came here to this earth with the capacity to feel joy no matter what we encountered. What if we believed that joy was our very nature. I love the way that feels.

Is this possible for you to conceive? I hope so.

Imagine what the world would be like if we believed that joy is a fundamental part of us, centered deep within each of us.

How would this change things?

Ahhhh, isn’t that the real question?

One important thought comes to me. If I truly believed that I am filled with joy, and that it is always accessible to me, I could see things from a very different perspective. I could allow joy to flow through me and embrace it with delight.

On seeing a person by the side of the road asking for money because they are homeless, I could open my heart and spirit and let my joy overflow. I could open my window and share from my abundance and watch as my joy spread into another person’s world.

I could look around and see the beautiful turn of colors in the leaves. I could get lost in the aroma of fresh baked cookies coming out of the oven. I could glory in the connection with others who share this world with me, like you. I could reveal joy wherever I looked.

Rather than living according to what I see outside of me, I could live from my center of joy. What a wonderful choice to have.