Stories

Today in my family history class we all shared stories on the Memories app. It was fun to learn more about each other. I realize the importance of creating a record for others. It’s fun. It’s easy. I’m trying to stay motivated to continue teaching this class. I think I discovered that I can stay jazzed about it by being super flexible with the curriculum. By making every group attend for 6 weeks, it gets boring if they are fast learners. I only needed 3 weeks with this group. They are all computer savvy and fast learners so what took the first group 6 only took us 3. So I took authoritative, teacher privilege to graduate them all early. Brother Stevens will take a few weeks to round me up another batch, and that’s just fine with me. I miss attending gospel doctrine.

 

What You See

What you see is what you get! I love this story that Jack Kornfield told in my morning meditations. He spoke of a man traveling to a new town. Before entering the town he met an old, wise woman on the path. He asked her what the people in the new town were like. The woman replied, “What were the people like in the town you are coming from?”

The man replied, “Oh they were liars, cheaters, downright no gooders!” To which the wise woman said, “Oh you will find them much the same in this town.”

Moments later another man crossed her path on his way into town and stopped to inquire as to the nature of the citizens of her fair town. She asked, “What were the people like from the town you are coming from?” And the man replied, “Oh, they were the most wonderful people! kind, loving and doing their level best.” The wise woman smiled and said, “You will find them much the same in this town.”

And so it is, what we see is what we get! I will choose to see the good!

Loyalty

Today I want to write briefly about loyalty. Stephen Covey shared this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

He went on to say that what we say about others when they are not around reveals our character, integrity, and loyalty. We should never say anything about anyone that we wouldn’t want them to hear, or that we would be too ashamed or embarrassed to say in their presence. When we talk about others we should do so with the understanding that whatever we say they will eventually end up hearing–because most of the time they will. Not only does backbiting and gossip often get back to the individual, but it convinces those witnessing it that we would be just as quick to criticize them if they were not around.

I love the food for thought Covey dishes out when he queries:

When have you participated in talking about people behind their backs? What is the consequence of this behavior to your own character? to other people’s view of you? When you defend the integrity of a person who is absent, what does that say to those who are present?

The next time people within your hearing are criticizing or discussing a person who is absent , decline to participate. See what happens as a result.

I agree with Eleanor and Mr. Covey. What we say about others when they are not around says a whole lot about us. We should be loyal to other human beings and only say what we wouldn’t be ashamed to have them hear. I try valiantly to always live by this rule, but I do know I’m not perfect and therefore there is room to improve. I want to be impeccable with my word.

Understanding and Fear

I have a theory about understanding and fear. We fear that which we don’t understand. That is why I believe the scriptures admonish us to gain understanding:

with all thy getting get understanding (Proverbs 4:7).

Understanding opens our hearts which leads to compassion and love. And perfect love casteth out all fear.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear (1 Jn 4:18).

I used to be afraid of studying certain subjects. I was taught they were bad. Recently, I have been studying books on all subjects. I have studied all the major world religions, spirituality, dreams, visions, NDE’s (near death experiences), neurology, history, and more. And I have a list of topics I can’t wait to dive into that include astronomy, astrology, energy, paranormalities, psychic powers,  astral planes, etc. and this list gets ever longer because every time I read one a book on one of these new topics, I discover a slew of new topics that captivate my fancy and I can barely wait to dive on in. I can’t believe how much time I’ve wasted in fear. And this fear has not only kept me from understanding; it has kept me from love.

He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Understanding engenders eliminates fear. Where there is no fear, there is love. I refuse to live in fear, therefore, I will religiously seek understanding.

Which is Right?

Here is my new favorite gem of a story. Symbolic and rich with meaning in so many ways. I’ll just share what I’ve titled Which is Right? and you can apply as you like.

Two men who were having a dispute sought out an elderly rabbi to help them settle. Having listened to the first, the rabbi replied, “You are in the right.” The second man insisted on being heard and after hearing, the rabbi replied, “You’re also right.” The wife of the rabbi, who was in the other room, called out, “But they both can’t be right!” The rabbi reflects and then nods before concluding, “You’re also right!”

And so you have it–some serious food for thought. Was the rabbi right? Is rightness relative and how is one to determine which is right?

Seneca

I cannot believe I am just now discovering Seneca! His words are mighty, inspiring and life changing. Thank you, Tim Ferris, for the introduction. Positively brilliant!

Today I read Seneca’s letter Discursiveness in Reading. He is a hearty proponent of thoroughly digesting the works of a few great authors over nibbling from several.

Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady. You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind. Everywhere means nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner.

Now whether or not I agree with his argument is not the point of my post today, for what I found most impactful was this statement:

everywhere is nowhere

Sometimes I feel that way as I try to multi-task through a slew of to-dos. I have learned that I do better when I tackle one task at a time–and my performance peaks when I don’t overload my plate. I achieve the flow state when I work with single-minded focus.

Furthermore, Seneca believed:

The primary indication of a well-ordered mind is a man’s ability to remain in one place and linger in his own company.

Again, life is so much more peaceful and enjoyable when you aren’t overprogrammed and frazzled. It seems that our consumerism society suffers from over-buying, over-committing, over-spending, over-scheduling, over-programming, over-everything. There is something to be said about cutting back. Simplifying. Sitting still. Meditating. Pondering. Being at Peace.

Epicurus wisely stated:

Contented poverty is an honourable estate.

To which Seneca added:

Indeed, if it be contented, it is not poverty at all. It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.

I agree with Seneca when it comes to money, but where I seem to still struggle with a paucity mentality regards the realm of time. I still sometimes feel that I never have enough. Even though I’ve been allotted the same as others, I often pine for more. And while I strive mightily to optimize my every hour, the optimization efforts have a way of becoming quite onerous.

That is why I also like to apply Seneca’s wisdom from his letter The Discursiveness of Reading to the way I view time.  When I find myself focusing on my lack of time, I feel poor. When I stop seeking to perfectly “manage” my time, I feel rich and free.  For me, learning to enjoy my time no matter my endeavor is something I’m working on. I don’t always have to be doing something productive

For me, learning to enjoy my time, no matter my endeavor, is something I’m working on. I don’t always have to be doing something productive because time, like money, is meant to be spent. The abundance mentality I feel so strongly about when it comes to wealth is something I’m striving to transfer to my perception of time.

As Seneca so wisely states:

Do you ask what is the proper limit to wealth? It is, first, to have what is necessary, and, second, to have what is enough.

When it comes to time or money, feeling that you have sufficient for your needs is true wealth indeed.

SteemIt

Well, I did it! I finally signed up for steem it and made my first two posts. I submitted the first one late last night and the second one I just barely posted this morning. My first post was entitled Happy Endings and can be read here:

https:[email protected]/happy-endings

Today’s post is titled: Let Freedom Ring | The Truth About Beliefs and can be read here:

Let Freedom Ring | The Truth About Beliefs and can be read here:

and can be read here:

https:[email protected]/let-freedom-ring-or-the-truth-about-beliefs

I already had 2 people read and upvote my first post. And that was before I learned how to add a picture. That means my post had no thumbnail. So this morning I researched how to add a thumbnail and went back and edited it. It will be fun to see if adding images result in more clicks and votes.  I suspect it will. Additionally, you can promote your posts. I think I will need to try that when I feel like I’ve curated enough content and I like a post enough to share it. Seems like you will only get out of steemit what you put into it and that requires so much more than creating content. I think you need to be in there commenting on others posts and basically being active. Honestly, I ain’t got no time for that. What I think I will do is jus keep creating content because I do it on my blog anyway and at least here I can earn some small cash. It won’t amount to much, but it will maybe be kind of fun. I’ll post there for one week and if at the end it seems worth it, I’ll continue.

Here’s to collecting steem by letting off some steam! 😉

Morpheus on Beliefs

So I finally watched the CleanFlicks version of the Matrix. In fact, Matt and I borrowed the trilogy from a friend. There were some great quotes in the series–even if some of the fight scenes lasted WAY too long.  One of my favorite quotes was from Morpheus on beliefs. You can watch it now:

Commander Locke:
Damnit, Morpheus, not everyone believes what you believe.

Morpheus:
My beliefs don’t require them to.

What a wonderful world this would be if everyone believed as Morpheus. I’ve got more to say about beliefs and truths, but right now I’m more interested in going to bed.

Knowing

There are very few things I know. In fact, each day I realize how much I don’t know. And I’m okay with that, but it seems that others aren’t. Why do so many struggle with “not knowing?” So much so that they have to stand before others and testify that they “Do Know?”

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting at church and one individual stood to bear his testimony and it was unbearable because it was so overbearing. First, it felt like a contrived performance. Second, the gentlemen seemed to be shouting his convictions.  The theatrical display was so disconcerting because it felt like he was trying too hard to convince himself that what he was saying was indeed true. What it really felt like he was saying was, “I need desperately for what I’m saying to be true.” He was like a drowning man, grasping for something solid to hold on to.

The whole episode was uncomfortable and I was glad when it was over. What was it about him claiming to know that bothered me so? I was pondering on it when divine synchronicity stepped in. My dear friend–and I call him my dear friend because he has had such a profound impact upon my life–pinpointed exactly why the testimony yesterday felt so unbearable and overbearing in his post he entitled: Three Simple Words that Could Save Humanity.

It was an excellent entry and I especially appreciated this quote he shared by Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) 

You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.

My friend and I had a discussion about the gentleman’s testimony and Palmer’s post about truth and not knowing. We decided that obvious truths don’t tend to get us all excited. Nor do we feel the need to stand up in front of others and testify of them. In fact, the more intense people are when they testify and claim to know the truth the more it tends to push me away. Their intensity feels like an attempt to convince themselves that what they are saying is true. Instead of convincing others they simply reveal their insecurity in their beliefs and it becomes apparent that they are trying mightily to convince themselves of what they are claiming to “know.”

I love how Mr. Palmer closed his post on Not Knowing:

Because none of us truly know with absolute certainty who we are, where we came from, why we’re here, where we’re going, and who or what — if anything — is running the whole show, each of us has a fundamental choice:

  1. –Be afraid of not knowing, and in that fear, close our minds and hearts in an attempt to protect ourselves, or

–Be comfortable and at peace with not knowing, and in that peace, open our minds and hearts to love and acceptance.

Not knowing doesn’t have to be what tears us apart — it can be the very thing that brings all of humanity together.

Amen Brother Palmer. Amen. I don’t know if what you are saying is true, but it feels true to me and it’s what I currently choose to believe.

Cuddling With My Cat

Today I learned a lot while cuddling with my cat. Actually, it was my cat that started cuddling with me. Don’t believe me? I have proof. Check out his paws.

He’s got them totally wrapped around me. I was typing my blog post when Sox hopped onto my lap. I was busy, and considered ignoring him so I could get my work done, but I found it difficult to resist his overtures.

I set aside the laptop and began to pet him. In fact, I found him so adorable, that I grabbed him tight and began to give him a big ‘ole squeeze. The moment I tightened my grip he prepared to spring away and escape. Being restrained is something that Sox hates. And that wasn’t what he was looking for when he decided to join me. Quickly, I loosened my grip and decided to give him love the way he wanted it.

The minute I relinquished my hold and instead started stroking his head–just like he loves–Sox relaxed and settled down onto my lap. He began his roaring purr. And that’s when my epiphany occurred. In that moment, I realized the importance of loving others the way they want to be loved–not the way I want to love them. You see, I want to hold and squeeze Sox. I want to hold him tight and rock him back and forth like he’s my little baby. Sox, however, doesn’t want to feel restrained. He wants to have me stroke his head, his back, and under his chin. When I gave up on what I wanted to give and instead gave him what he wanted to receive, we connected in a more powerful and meaningful way.

I’m grateful for the lessons I learned today from cuddling with my cat. First, I learned that I need to be willing to set aside whatever I may be trying to accomplish when someone comes calling for love. Second, I need to resist the urge to give others what I think they need, or what I want to give, and instead, I will look for the ways in which they would like for me to meet their needs. I will give them love in the manner they desire to receive.  And we will both be blessed.