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Walking a Few Steps


We all have different personalities so it’s sometimes difficult to understand why people do the things they do. It’s easy to see someone doing something and call it stupid. But is it stupid because we couldn’t imagine ourselves doing the same thing, or because we see someone struggling with something going on in their life? Rather than judge why a person is doing something, maybe it’s just better to ask how someone is doing, if not for curiosity, to actually help.

We have to remember that we all have things in our lives that are challenges to us. What may seem small to us may be a huge challenge for someone else, and that’s okay. We all come from different walks of life and have had to deal with different things. Our lessons in life are all different. So perhaps rather than questioning or ridiculing someone’s decisions or actions, lend a hand.

Try to walk a few steps with someone, but not so you can make them more like you, but so they can really be themselves. It’s amazing what can happen when we carry the load together.

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Life on Repeat


It can sometimes feel like life is on repeat. We see the same lessons replaying in our life, sometimes with different people or slightly different circumstances. It all seems too familiar, like we’ve been there before, and perhaps we have. It’s easy to chalk it all up to coincidence or even some divine punishment, as if we were paying some penance for a long forgotten sin whose debt has long since been repaid.

We tell ourselves that we know, that we understand, and that we will be different the next time we are presented with a given set of circumstances. But, will we really be that different? Will we stop and remember all the times we’ve turned our backs? We like to tell ourselves we will, and perhaps God or the universe presents us with these opportunities, not as a test or punishment, but as a chance at self-redemption. Perhaps we are given these opportunities, not to gain God’s love, because that love as already been there, but to show ourselves that yes, we can be different. We can be compassionate. We can be understanding. We can show love. We can be our better selves. We can be these things and are these things at all times, no matter how we judge ourselves and others.

There are no perfect set of circumstances where the peace of the world will show itself. It’s up to us to make it happen. We make it happen in our daily lives, through our interactions with each other, through compassion and understanding, one moment at a time.

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The Enemy of Good


Fear is the enemy of good. Like a weapon, it is wielded against the weak, the scared and the vulnerable. Blinded, we swallow every word and every story we are told. Like yes men, we nod our heads, and take in everything we are spoon fed. Rather than question or look within to the universal truths that are in each of our hearts, we harden ourselves. Fear becomes a veil lowered over our eyes. It paralyzes.

Used by bullies and politicians, it has become a favored tool by religious leaders. Rather than preach love and compassion, many seek to demonize others for their differences. In the name of God, they cast out those who would oppose their version of the truth. As if gatekeepers to heaven, they brand all those who would disagree, an enemy. Fear has imprisoned them. And from behind their bars, they preach hate.

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Blessings of the Homeless


When many view the homeless, at the very worst they are viewed as a blight and as a nuisance. They are the undesirables. At the very best, they’re seen as people needing to be saved or helped. They are viewed with pity.

We think that on any particular day if we just help one we’ll somehow remove the guilt for not stopping long enough to truly care. We see ourselves as some blessing this person has been waiting for all day. We give, but we often do it with hesitation. What if this person does drugs? What if this person is just going to waste it? What if this person isn’t really homeless?
We see ourselves as a blessing to the homeless person, but we never turn the question around. What if in reality this homeless person is a blessing for us?

The homeless teach us humility. They teach us kindness. They teach us compassion. They remind us of humanity, and how often and how easy it is to lose it. Let us not forget. Let us be thankful.

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Healing Life


When the world feels quiet and it is as though you are all alone, do not look at life as a punishment. When life meets us with challenges, it is easy to believe that we are being punished. Everyday can seem like something new is on our doorstep to torture us. Everything stacks up like weights. The first reaction is to fight back, to push back against the forces that seem to be keeping us down. And as we push back, it gets more and more difficult. We see everyone as an enemy, even the innocents.

But when we pause, and we view ourselves, removed from the situation, we soon see. It is not that we are being punished or being burdened. We are given a chance to breathe. Only when everything is stripped from us, are we ready to truly see ourselves and what we’ve become. Rather than becoming ourselves, we have become the world around us, except that the world is sick.

We emulate it in our daily lives. We seek it out, and nurture it, instead of releasing it and allowing love to flourish. The small blessings become lost on us. We seek miracle upon miracle hoping that something will wake us from our slumber, that we will see what we already know is in front of us.

Nothing can wake us no matter how small or big the miracle, unless we are ready to shed the pain. This life can either be a blessing, or a prison. It can heal us or torture us. When we decide what we want it to be, then perhaps we can truly live.

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Compassionate Truth


It’s not enough to speak the truth. The truth spoken, or unspoken does not need saving. It stands on it’s own. And though we may feel righteous in our dealings with the truth and how we choose to convey it, it does not go unnoticed.

Being right for the sake of being right is a meaningless feat. Pointing out the truth, when it is blatantly obvious or subtly so makes no difference. What matters is the compassion through which we convey God’s love. In conveying His love, we speak the truth and our tongues know no difference. When our heart speaks, there is no need to look back on our words, to wonder whether what we’ve said, or what we’ve written is just or not, for it is so.

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The Sick


Mother TeresaThe sick are not a burden upon us, but a reminder of our humanity. They remind us of compassion, a compassion that is often lost in a world of billions of individuals but seemingly disconnected individuals. Trapped in our own sense of self, it is often easier for us to disconnect, to wash our hands of others and the world around us.

We seek an escape. We do it through our work, television and through the many mindless distractions that fill our lives. And yet none of those things brings us back to a grounded reality in who we really are as people. In a world of many distractions, it is easy to isolate our emotions and even our spirit from the things that truly matter to us. If not for ourselves, we must take notice at those around us. Let us take notice of our family, our friends and even the strangers who come through our lives.

Suffering is all about us, and many do it alone. There are many brave faces, and many more aching hearts. Through compassion. Through loving comfort, through prayer, and even through a smile, the burdens that seem unbearable become feathers on our backs.

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Rescue Helicopter


Rescue HelicopterToday I saw a fire rescue helicopter land from my office. When the rotors stopped and the wind stopped blowing, nurses came with a gurney to transfer a patient from the helicopter to the hospital. It was only a few yards. The person who came out was a mere four feet, if that, accompanied by what could only be the child’s mother.

What struck me more than the sight of the child and the thought of what might have happened to him, was the sight of the pilot. As everything came to a calm, and all who was left on the helipad was the pilot, there was an awareness, an awareness of the graveness of the situation. The pilot did a quick inspection of the helicopter, simply walking around it and giving it a once over, but his eyes told more.

It was not that it was routine, as I’m sure it was, but his stare was dead. A dead stare into the barely visible downtown skyline said it all. None of what was in front of him mattered. A mother, shell shocked, or perhaps just being strong for her child, was stone faced, and nurses who probably see more in a single day than most can handle, kept the child and mother calm. The gravity of life weighed on him. Only a few feet from the edge, his hands firmly in his pockets, he has not moved. Life goes on on the streets below him. Cars scurry about. People’s lives continue. All of it is masked by the smog that fills the air. None of it seems to matter.

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Exhaustion


Laying in the MudExhaustion forces us to slow down. It forces us to stop, to think, to reflect. It forces our guard down and to see and experience the world in ways we normally would not. Our filters are dropped and suddenly what we say is what we feel and what we feel is often very raw.

The truth comes out and sometimes our reaction is to apologize for what in effect, is being honest. Giving in to that raw honesty is not a sign of weakness or callousness. Rather putting oneself in a position of vulnerability is a gift of trust that the other person will not take advantage or judge. It is an exchange of understanding and compassion.

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Long Suffering


The words I could not say…

We love you.

We will miss you.

Forever in our hearts there will be a place for you.

We miss your company and yet you have not gone.

We miss your smile and yet you have not stopped smiling.

We miss your guidance and yet you have never stopped guiding.

We miss your warmth and yet your light shines ever brighter.

Go in peace, but never too far away.

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