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Archive for September, 2006

RECOLLECTION

RECOLLECTION

Monday, September 18, 2006 was definitely not a very good day for me to say the least.   At 1:00pm I attended the Security Briefing and at the start of the meeting we were hit with the most disturbing and devastating news which struck us straight in the heart.  Canadian soldiers were at a local school giving out food, aid, toys, colouring books, crayons etc., etc., when a suicide bomber drove into the crowd on a bicycle and blew himself.  Four Canadian soldiers were killed and the number of children injured or killed is still unknown.  These are children as little as my daughter, nephews and niece.  It just brought tears to our eyes and I’m still shaken and angry by this.  
Thinking about the four brave Canadian soldiers who lost their lives while trying to make the kids happy, reminds me when I undertook that task on two occasions when I was in Camp Julien (Canadian Forces / NATO-ISAF Base) in the outskirts of Kabul City.

My task as an Assistant Engineer & Planner was assisting in the planning and engineering of facilities within Camp Julien.  I was also involved in helping the local communities in the Canadian Area Of Operations (AOO) and offer assistance to them, in the form of projects, to help rebuild their country and provide security and stability. Since we had been operating in this theatre, we co-ordinated and/or funded over 50 projects in the AOO.

Together with local contractors, and the security support of the rest of the Canadian Task Force, we have fixed hand pumps, dug wells, provided medical and dental supplies, repaired water reservoirs, provided desks for schools, re-built a bridge, provided blankets to an orphanage and assisted in the construction and formation of the first ever Children’s Burn Treatment Centre in Afghanistan. Our biggest project to date has been the re-construction of a local school that has more than 5000 students – 4000 of them girls. The fact that the majority of them are girls may not seem that important to most people, but here in Afghanistan, it is quite significant. When the Taliban ruled the country, girls were not allowed to attend schools. Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, girls have returned to school and are trying to catch up in an educational system that is in desperate need of support.

On a visit to one of the schools,we took some pens and notebooks to pass out to the students. As we were handing them out to the students, we were greeted with smiles and enthusiastic “tash-a-kours” (Afghani for thank you). However, in one of the classes a little girl who was about four years old began to cry when we handed her a pen and notebook. When our interpreter asked her why she was crying when she should be happy with her new gifts, she responded: “Sir, my father is very poor and this is likely the only pen and notebook I will ever receive – do you think it would be possible if I could have another one?” – Another bitter-sweet moment in my life in Afghanistan. 

My experiences here in Afghanistan have been very eye opening and spiritual. I have come to realize that the people of this country are very hard working, proud and resourceful. They have suffered and survived many years of war and still, to this day, they manage to give a smile and a friendly “salaam” (Afghani for hello) whenever they see us. An elder from one of the villages, told me that the people of Afghanistan are extremely happy that we (Canadians) have come to help them. He was deeply touched that the Canadians had left their country and their families for such a long time, just to help the people of Afghanistan. He told me that he has a great respect for Canada’s commitment to helping not only his people, but people all over the world – and doing it for no other reason than because they need help. His only wish was that if the Canadian people were ever in need, that he and his people would be there for us – no questions asked – to help in the same way that we have helped them. Another elder expressed that he was overjoyed when he heard that the Canadians were coming to help. He was very thankful that we had provided a well and fresh water for his village. The only other thing he wanted was for us to keep providing security for his country. He said that if Canada and ISAF continued to provide security in Afghanistan, then the people would be able to re-build the country – further evidence of the strong and proud nature of the Afghan people.

Working overseas for me has been very rewarding, but it also has its drawbacks. Although the work keeps me very busy, often times I think about my loved ones back home, who because of my absence bear a quieter, unassuming burden in support of my efforts. Although my children wish that I was back home with them, they have expressed a number of times how proud they are of the work I am doing over here.

The time I am spending here in Afghanistan will never be forgotten. The people and the places will forever remain lodged in my mind. The un-necessary destruction of a country, of a society, of innocent lives – a responsibility we, as fellow human beings have to bear. Are the people of Afghanistan better off for the work we have done here – I can only hope so. Am I a better person for having been able to carry out the work here? – I don’t know!!! This work and the people I have been fortunate to perform it with, will never be forgotten. And as a friend of mine always says – These are the times that create stories to tell your grandchildren; and tell them I will, with nothing but fond memories. 

I have three children studying – my oldest son Nathan is studying in college in Mississauga.  My younger two – Aaron and Maryann are both studying in St. Richard School in Mississauga.  As a father, it breaks my heart and brings me to tears to witness the suffering the little children of Afghanistan are going through ….  These children desire and long to study…. They are starving and crying for education.  As Canadians we have earned the honourable reputation of being known as Peacekeepers and Humanitarians.  Let us then use this honourable reputation and make a difference in Afghanistan — especially in the life of a child.  Let us give dignity back to these little children.

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At around 5:00pm Dany Rochefort (from Quebec) and and I left work and headed for home. 
 
While we were on Jalalabad road close to the US Camp Phoenix which is near the UNOCA Compound when we heard a thud on our jeep and my driver said we just got a flat tire.  I told him not to stop but to drive about a couple of  metres so that we were in sight of the US soldiers at Camp Phoenix. 
 
I got out of the vehicle and told Dany to stay inside, lock all doors and keep a watch toward the front while I watched the rear and surrounding areas for any suspicious activities or movements or any unsuspecting attacks.  The driver and I checked the rear punctured wheel and discovered a big lateral puncture caused by a bullet from an automatic rifle.  Anyways, the driver changed the tire and we continued on our way when we heard a huge explosion behind us which shook the vehicle. We didn’t stop and continued on.  I contacted base and gave my location stat and was advised to move out of the area as fast as we could because there was an explosion very close to where we had parked to change the tire which they believe was another suicide bomb attack.
 
This being the first incident for Dany, he freaked out when he heard the explosion and I had to calm him down by saying to him that paranoia
can be deadly in incidents like this.  One has to keep cool and calm which is key to survival.
 
This is the closest we have come to to becoming victims of a SVBIED (Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvished Explosive Device) attack.
 
INCIDENT REPORT
 
Description of incident:
At 17.20hrs a Suicide Vehicle Borne IED (SVBIED), Toyota Corolla, detonated against the back of a truck carrying a container (the truck was transporting a container made office).
The large explosion occurred approximately 1km west of the UNOCA compound on Jalalabad Road.
Initial reports suggest that the SVBIED, that was heading west towards the city, was chased by ANA/ANP and detonated prematurely. The blast effect shows that a large amount of explosives were used in the VBIED.
 
 Details of casualties:
      3 policemen (ANP), 4 local nationals and the suicide attacker were killed.
2 ANP and an unconfirmed number of local bystanders sustained injuries
 .

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THE COURAGE OF A SMILE

The Courage of a Smile

 The stream or river is a wonderful metaphor for life. Observing a gentle stream on a sunny day instills inner peace and harmony. But there are times when the waters swell, crush, pounding their banks. Like the human, the river can change character and transform from tranquility to torrent, from pacific to menacing threat.

Most of us have experienced life’s gentleness and warmth. But the world is “a’changing”. The threat of dark and turbulent waters engulfing our lives looms near. Terrorism, the dagger at the heart of civilized society, is spreading its tentacles in the global village, creating convulsions politically, economically, and socially. Under such increasing threat, confusion and weakness colors the canvass of our lives.

How do we tame this 21st century monster? To destroy the cancerous growth is an obvious priority. At the cancer’s core lies a cadre of demented, evil, and calculating fanatics who employ sophisticated mechanisms of destruction. This phenomenon has many historical precedents. But the one thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. The solution: prevention is far better than cure.

How do we redesign the seamier and uglier profile of humanity? In the long term, the answer lies not in defensive or invasive operations (necessary as this may be in the sort run to stem the immediate social hemorrhaging). In the long term, prevention and maintenance require two human experiences: joy and personal fulfillment. No-one has lifted his hand in anger when happy, and no-one seeks the other’s assets when fulfilled. It’s that simple – and yet so elusive.

I am a believer in chaos theory – the multiplier effect, the butterfly effect. The Hassidic founder and master, The Ba’al Shem Tov, taught: the leaf falling off the tree is a designated act of creation that alters the course of history. Everything we say and do (and even think and feel) leaves its signature in the ether of time/space. When we laugh, we produce ‘angels’ of laughter. When we share, we produce ‘angels’ of compassion.  In other words, we have the capacity to subtly, but definitively, change the face of humanity.  Researchers call this the ‘non-local’ field effect. The Frierdicker Rebbe noted that a good thought projected across the other side of the globe leaves a targeted effect, spiritually and materially.

Criminals and terrorists are not born! They are made from the hurt and pain within. But that hurt and pain can be undone – by you. The Lubavitcher Rebbe emphasized many times: a small act of goodness produces a major multiplier effect. A little light dispels the densest darkness. When you and I model kindness, understanding, compassion, happiness, humility – not only do we affect the world with our cosmic signatures, but we instill confidence and hope in those who are in our domain: our families, our clients, our colleagues, our club members, in ways that can only be understood through spiritual insight. Indeed, the ‘non-local’ effects extend even to those who seek our very destruction.

Social malaise doesn’t occur suddenly. Like many illnesses it begins with a diminished immune response mechanism through the three-fold shortcomings – the lack of qualitative nurture, commitment to prevention, and personal discipline.

Now, with the approach of Rosh HaShanna, lies a profound opportunity to become an integral facilitator of social change.  Rosh HaShannah is a spiritual dynamic, not just a calendar event. The Kabbalah and its Hassidic teachings inform us that over Rosh HaShannah the creative potential On-High reconfigures – literally. And the new configuration of fate and destiny is dramatically affected by each one of us – through our introspective discoveries plus the commitment to grow, to become a compassionate participant in the radical act of sacred life.

The answer lies in joy (laughter) and fulfillment (radical acceptance).

On the eve of Rosh HaShannah, we should undertake the following simple fivefold personal agenda:

Spend quiet time, without phones or people, introspecting pensively, deeply, thoroughly, and critically – allowing truths about your interpersonal style, your belief systems, your fears, to rise to the surface of consciousness and awareness. Have the courage to look at yourself in your spiritual mirror.

  •  Commit to undoing two of the shortcomings you recognize. But commit with sincerity and depth. Enshrine that commitment by sharing it with a loved one.

 

  •  Approach someone you may have wronged and humbly and unconditionally seek forgiveness. Bridge the gap and chasm of hurt, through the simplicity of spiritual touch.

 

  • Speak to God – verbally, uttering real words and sounds. Converse with God. Share your aspirations for yourself and the world. Don’t be afraid of your own voice.  And don’t be afraid of the Voice that answers you through the exigencies of your life.

 

  • Take on a real Mitzva for this coming year. There are Mitzvot for all peoples of the world. Mitzvot are the most powerful spiritual channels for globally neutralizing innate evil. If you have any doubts as to what is the most powerful Mitzva in your life, write to me and I will share with you.

You don’t fight fire with fire. You neutralize fire with water. Fire is Gevurah and water is Hessed. These are the two most powerful emotion tools in our spiritual repertoire. When we make peace, Shalom, in our physical domain, then the angels Gavr’iel (Gevurah) and Micha’el (Hessed) bring peace On-High. When that happens, evil is simply neutralized, without any fight, enmity, war or destruction. The ultimate expression of this is Mashiach. Live your life as if this depends on you alone – because it does! So do it!

Allow yourself to laugh and smile. Even force it. And the world will smile with you.

Allow yourself to accept, and the world will practice acceptance with you. This is the year.

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We find it very hard to accept our mistakes and shortcomings. We spend so much time contemplating our real or imagined good qualities that we become oblivious to our faults. In reality our mind is full of gross delusions but we ignore them and may even fool ourself into thinking that we do not have such repulsive minds. This is like pretending that there is no dirt in our house after sweeping it under the carpet.

It is often so painful to admit that we have faults that we make all manner of excuses rather than alter our exalted view of ourself. One of the most common ways of not facing up to our faults is to blame others. For instance, if we have a difficult relationship with someone we naturally conclude that it is entirely their fault – we are unable to accept that it is at least partly ours. Instead of taking responsibility for our actions and making an effort to change our behaviour, we argue with them and insist that it is they who must change. An exaggerated sense of our own importance thus leads to a critical attitude towards other people and makes it almost impossible to avoid conflict. The fact that we are oblivious to our faults does not prevent other people from noticing them and pointing them out, but when they do we feel that they are being unfair. Instead of looking honestly at our own behaviour to see whether or not the criticism is justified, our self-cherishing mind becomes defensive and retaliates by finding faults with them.

Another reason why we do not regard others as precious is that we pay attention to their faults whilst ignoring their good qualities. Unfortunately we have become very skilled in recognizing the faults of others, and we devote a great deal of mental energy to listing them, analyzing them, and even meditating on them! With this critical attitude, if we disagree with our partner or colleagues about something, instead of trying to understand their point of view we repeatedly think of many reasons why we are right and they are wrong. By focusing exclusively on their faults and limitations we become angry and resentful, and rather than cherishing them we develop the wish to harm or discredit them. In this way small disagreements can easily turn into conflicts that simmer for months.

Do not look for faults in others, but look for faults in yourself, and purge them like bad blood.

 

 

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WE SHOULD LOOK DEEPER INSIDE OYRSELVES TO SEE WHAT WE HAD AND WHAT WE HAVE LACKED.

 

WE SHOULD NOT ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE CAUGHT UP IN OUR OWN VERSION OF REALITY THAT WE ONLY SEE, HEAR AND FEEL OTHERS THE WAY OUR MIND WANTS US TO SEE THEM

 

IT IS OUR HABIT TO ERECT A BARRIER WE CALL "BLAME" THAT KEEPS US FROM EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATING GENUINELY WITH OTHERS AND WE FORTIFY IT WITH OUR OWN CONCEPTS OF WHO’S RIGHT AND WHO’S WRONG.  WE DO THAT WITH THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CLOSEST TO US. 

 

INSTEAD OF BLAMING THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CLOSEST TO US, WE SHOULD FIRST LOOK AT OURSELVES AND ASK OURSELVES IF WE HAVE BEEN REALLY TRUE TO OURSELVES.  BEFORE WE FEEL THE TENDENCY TO BLAME, WE SHOULD TRY TO GET IN TOUCH WITH WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE HOLDING ON TO OURSELVES SO TIGHTLY. WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BLAME? HOW DOES IT FEEL TO REJECT? WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO HATE? WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE RIGHTEOUSLY INDIGNANT?

 

 IN EACH OF US, THERE’S A LOT OF SOFTNESS, A LOT OF HEART. TOUCHING THAT SOFT SPOT HAS TO BE THE STARTING PLACE. THIS IS WHAT COMPASSION IS ALL ABOUT. WHEN WE STOP BLAMING LONG ENOUGH TO GIVE OURSELVES AN OPEN SPACE IN WHICH TO FEEL OUR SOFT SPOT, IT’S AS IF WE’RE REACHING DOWN TO TOUCH A LARGE WOUND THAT LIES RIGHT UNDERNEATH THE PROTECTIVE SHELL THAT BLAMING BUILDS.

 

COMPASSION AND EMPTINESS DON’T MEAN MUCH UNTIL WE START CULTIVATING OUR INNATE ABILITY SIMPLY TO BE THERE WITH PAIN WITH AN OPEN HEART AND THE WILLINGNESS NOT TO INSTANTLY TRY TO GET GROUND UNDER OUR FEET. FOR INSTANCE, IF WHAT WE’RE FEELING IS RAGE, WE USUALLY ASSUME THAT THERE ARE ONLY TWO WAYS TO RELATE TO IT. ONE IS TO BLAME OTHERS. LAY IT ALL ON SOMEBODY ELSE; DRIVE ALL BLAMES INTO EVERYONE ELSE. THE OTHER ALTERNATIVE IS TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT OUR RAGE AND BLAME OURSELVES.

 

BLAME IS A WAY IN WHICH WE SOLIDIFY OURSELVES. NOT ONLY DO WE POINT THE FINGER WHEN SOMETHING IS "WRONG," BUT WE ALSO WANT TO MAKE THINGS "RIGHT." IN ANY RELATIONSHIP THAT WE STICK WITH, BE IT MARRIAGE OR PARENTHOOD, EMPLOYMENT, A SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY, OR WHATEVER, WE MAY ALSO FIND THAT WE WANT TO MAKE IT "RIGHTER" THAN IT IS, BECAUSE WE’RE A LITTLE NERVOUS. MAYBE IT ISN’T EXACTLY LIVING UP TO OUR STANDARDS, SO WE JUSTIFY IT AND JUSTIFY IT AND TRY TO MAKE IT EXTREMELY RIGHT.

 

WE COME UP WITH SOME DOGMATIC BELIEF AND HOLD ON TO IT WITH A VENGEANCE, AGAIN TO SOLIDIFY OUR GROUND. WE HAVE SOME SENSE THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT ACCORDING TO OUR STANDARDS. IF WE JUST CAN’T STICK WITH A SITUATION ANY LONGER, THEN IT GOES OVER THE EDGE AND WE MAKE IT WRONG BECAUSE WE THINK THAT’S OUR ONLY ALTERNATIVE. SOMETHING’S RIGHT OR SOMETHING’S WRONG.

 

WE START WITH OURSELVES. WE MAKE OURSELVES RIGHT OR WE MAKE OURSELVES WRONG, EVERY DAY, EVERY WEEK, EVERY MONTH AND YEAR OF OUR LIVES. WE FEEL THAT WE HAVE TO BE RIGHT SO THAT WE CAN FEEL GOOD. WE DON’T WANT TO BE WRONG BECAUSE THEN WE’LL FEEL BAD. BUT WE COULD BE MORE COMPASSIONATE TOWARD ALL THESE PARTS OF OURSELVES. WHEN WE FEEL RIGHT, WE CAN LOOK AT THAT. FEELING RIGHT CAN FEEL GOOD; WE CAN BE COMPLETELY SURE OF HOW RIGHT WE ARE AND HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE AGREEING WITH US ABOUT HOW RIGHT WE ARE. BUT SUPPOSE SOMEONE DOES NOT AGREE WITH US? THEN WHAT HAPPENS? DO WE FIND OURSELVES GETTING ANGRY AND AGGRESSIVE? IF WE LOOK INTO THE VERY MOMENT OF ANGER OR AGGRESSION, WE MIGHT SEE THAT THIS IS WHAT WARS ARE MADE OF. THIS IS WHAT RACE RIOTS ARE MADE OF: FEELING THAT WE HAVE TO BE RIGHT, BEING THROWN OFF AND RIGHTEOUSLY INDIGNANT WHEN SOMEONE DISAGREES WITH US. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN WE FIND OURSELVES FEELING WRONG, CONVINCED THAT WE’RE WRONG, GETTING SOLID ABOUT BEING WRONG, WE COULD ALSO LOOK AT THAT. THE WHOLE RIGHT AND WRONG BUSINESS CLOSES US DOWN AND MAKES OUR WORLD SMALLER. WANTING SITUATIONS AND RELATIONSHIPS TO BE SOLID, PERMANENT, AND GRASPABLE OBSCURES THE PITH OF THE MATTER, WHICH IS THAT THINGS ARE FUNDAMENTALLY GROUNDLESS.

 

INSTEAD OF MAKING OTHERS RIGHT OR WRONG, OR BOTTLING UP RIGHT AND WRONG IN OURSELVES, THERE’S A MIDDLE WAY, A VERY POWERFUL MIDDLE WAY. WE COULD SEE IT AS SITTING ON THE RAZOR’S EDGE, NOT FALLING OFF TO THE RIGHT OR THE LEFT. THIS MIDDLE WAY INVOLVES NOT HANGING ON TO OUR VERSION SO TIGHTLY. IT INVOLVES KEEPING OUR HEARTS AND MINDS OPEN LONG ENOUGH TO ENTERTAIN THE IDEA THAT WHEN WE MAKE THINGS WRONG, WE DO IT OUT OF A DESIRE TO OBTAIN SOME KIND OF GROUND OR SECURITY. EQUALLY, WHEN WE MAKE THINGS RIGHT, WE ARE STILL TRYING TO OBTAIN SOME KIND OF GROUND OR SECURITY. COULD OUR MINDS AND OUR HEARTS BE BIG ENOUGH JUST TO HANG OUT IN THAT SPACE WHERE WE’RE NOT ENTIRELY CERTAIN ABOUT WHO’S RIGHT AND WHO’S WRONG? COULD WE HAVE NO AGENDA WHEN WE WALK INTO A ROOM WITH ANOTHER PERSON, NOT KNOWING WHAT TO SAY, NOT MAKING THAT PERSON WRONG OR RIGHT? COULD WE SEE, HEAR, FEEL OTHER PEOPLE AS THEY REALLY ARE? IT IS POWERFUL TO PRACTICE THIS WAY, BECAUSE WE’LL FIND OURSELVES CONTINUALLY RUSHING AROUND TO TRY TO FEEL SECURE AGAIN — TO MAKE OURSELVES OR THEM EITHER RIGHT OR WRONG. BUT TRUE COMMUNICATION CAN HAPPEN ONLY IN THAT OPEN SPACE.

     

WHETHER IT’S OURSELVES, OUR HASBAND, LOVERS, BOSSES, CHILDREN, LOCAL SCROOGE, OR THE POLITICAL SITUATION, IT’S MORE DARING AND REAL NOT TO SHUT ANYONE OUT OF OUR HEARTS AND NOT TO MAKE THE OTHER INTO AN ENEMY. IF WE BEGIN TO LIVE LIKE THIS, WE’LL FIND THAT WE ACTUALLY CAN’T MAKE THINGS COMPLETELY RIGHT OR COMPLETELY WRONG ANYMORE, BECAUSE THINGS ARE A LOT MORE SLIPPERY AND PLAYFUL THAN THAT. EVERYTHING IS AMBIGUOUS; EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS SHIFTING AND CHANGING, AND THERE ARE AS MANY DIFFERENT TAKES ON ANY GIVEN SITUATION AS THERE ARE PEOPLE INVOLVED. TRYING TO FIND ABSOLUTE RIGHTS AND WRONGS IS A TRICK WE PLAY ON OURSELVES TO FEEL SECURE AND COMFORTABLE.

     

THIS LEADS TO A BIGGER UNDERLYING ISSUE FOR ALL OF US: HOW ARE WE EVER GOING TO CHANGE ANYTHING? HOW IS THERE GOING TO BE LESS AGGRESSION IN THE UNIVERSE RATHER THAN MORE? WE CAN THEN BRING IT DOWN TO A MORE PERSONAL LEVEL: HOW DO I LEARN TO COMMUNICATE WITH SOMEBODY WHO IS HURTING ME OR SOMEONE WHO IS HURTING A LOT OF PEOPLE? HOW DO I SPEAK TO SOMEONE SO THAT SOME CHANGE ACTUALLY OCCURS? HOW DO I COMMUNICATE SO THAT THE SPACE OPENS UP AND BOTH OF US BEGIN TO TOUCH IN TO SOME KIND OF BASIC INTELLIGENCE THAT WE ALL SHARE? IN A POTENTIALLY VIOLENT ENCOUNTER, HOW DO I COMMUNICATE SO THAT NEITHER OF US BECOMES INCREASINGLY FURIOUS AND AGGRESSIVE? HOW DO I COMMUNICATE TO THE HEART SO THAT A STUCK SITUATION CAN VENTILATE? HOW DO I COMMUNICATE SO THAT THINGS THAT SEEM FROZEN, UNWORKABLE, AND ETERNALLY AGGRESSIVE BEGIN TO SOFTEN UP, AND SOME KIND OF COMPASSIONATE EXCHANGE BEGINS TO HAPPEN?

     

WELL, IT STARTS WITH BEING WILLING TO FEEL WHAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH. IT STARTS WITH BEING WILLING TO HAVE A COMPASSIONATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PARTS OF OURSELVES THAT WE FEEL ARE NOT WORTHY OF EXISTING ON THE PLANET. IF WE ARE WILLING THROUGH MEDITATION TO BE MINDFUL NOT ONLY OF WHAT FEELS COMFORTABLE, BUT ALSO OF WHAT PAIN FEELS LIKE, IF WE EVEN ASPIRE TO STAY AWAKE AND OPEN TO WHAT WE’RE FEELING, TO RECOGNIZE AND ACKNOWLEDGE IT AS BEST WE CAN IN EACH MOMENT, THEN SOMETHING BEGINS TO CHANGE.

     

COMPASSIONATE ACTION, BEING THERE FOR OTHERS, BEING ABLE TO ACT AND SPEAK IN A WAY THAT COMMUNICATES, STARTS WITH SEEING OURSELVES WHEN WE START TO MAKE OURSELVES RIGHT OR MAKE OURSELVES WRONG. AT THAT PARTICULAR POINT, WE COULD JUST CONTEMPLATE THE FACT THAT THERE IS A LARGER ALTERNATIVE TO EITHER OF THOSE, A MORE TENDER, SHAKY KIND OF PLACE WHERE WE COULD LIVE. THIS PLACE, IF WE CAN TOUCH IT, WILL HELP US TRAIN OURSELVES THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES TO OPEN FURTHER TO WHATEVER WE FEEL, TO OPEN FURTHER RATHER THAN SHUT DOWN MORE. WE’LL FIND THAT AS WE BEGIN TO COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS PRACTICE, AS WE BEGIN TO HAVE A SENSE OF CELEBRATING THE ASPECTS OF OURSELVES THAT WE FOUND SO IMPOSSIBLE BEFORE, SOMETHING WILL SHIFT IN US. SOMETHING WILL SHIFT PERMANENTLY IN US. OUR ANCIENT HABITUAL PATTERNS WILL BEGIN TO SOFTEN, AND WE’LL BEGIN TO SEE THE FACES AND HEAR THE WORDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE TALKING TO US.

    

IF WE BEGIN TO GET IN TOUCH WITH WHATEVER WE FEEL WITH SOME KIND OF KINDNESS, OUR PROTECTIVE SHELLS WILL MELT, AND WE’LL FIND THAT MORE AREAS OF OUR LIVES ARE WORKABLE. AS WE LEARN TO HAVE COMPASSION FOR OURSELVES, THE CIRCLE OF COMPASSION FOR OTHERS — WHAT AND WHOM WE CAN WORK WITH, AND HOW — BECOMES WIDER

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THE ACT OF FORGIVING

FORGIVENESS is a healing journey for both body and soul.
Forgiveness is possible even without penance.
 
FORGIVENESS is a gift you give to someone else; it’s an act of your own will.
Forgiveness comes from sorrow. Not sorrow for anything you have done, but sorrow for the very fact that everyone, including yourself, has the same revolting capacity to inflict harm on others, wittingly or unwittingly.
 
IN FORGIVING someone, you ultimately feel mercy for yourself and free yourself of hatred.

Hatred is the greatest burden and with that weight lifted, you have the satisfaction of discovering in yourself the real love that you always wanted.

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It’s all about life

LIFE isn’t about keeping score.

It’s not about your appearance or where you live.

It’s not about your status or the way you dress.

It isn’t about how accepted or unaccepted you are to society.

Life is about who you love and who you hurt.

It’s about how you feel about yourself.

It’s about trust, happiness and compassion.

It’s about sticking up for your friends and replacing inner hate with love.

Life is about avoiding jealousy, overcoming ignorance and building confidence.

It’s about what you say and mean and about seeing people for who they are and not what they have.

It is about choosing to use your life to touch someone else’s in a way that could never have been achieved otherwise.

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