Monthly Archives: December 2012

12/18/12 – I wish I could show you…

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“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafiz

I talk to a lot of people on a daily/weekly basis, many of you know that about me. And after a few of these conversations the past week or so I realized that there is a theme I want to address, and it’s with this quote. We all get lonely and there is darkness in all of our lives that we have to get through, that’s inevitable, I just wish that I could show you the astonishing light of your own being…ALL OF YOU! I hope that all of you in my life know how truly beautiful you are, how special our relationships are to me and how just your presence in my life makes many of my dark times light.

I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being. ~ Hafiz of Persia

(Image from http://potpourrielle.tumblr.com/post/30015416099/i-wish-i-could-show-you-when-you-are-lonely-or-in)

12/16/12 – “We’re all parents. They’re all our children. This is our first task: Caring for our children.”

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“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau

Since the tragic shooting this past Friday I have thought A LOT about life and this world we live in. I have tried to make sense of something that makes absolutely no sense in my mind. But after watching the President speak in that town tonight and listening to the words he spoke, it made sense to me, at least just a little. President Obama said, ‎”We’re all parents. They’re all our children. This is our first task: Caring for our children.” He’s right. We are ALL parents. They are ALL our children, and caring for them is OUR job! I don’t have my own kids (my mom sometimes reminds me of this lol) but, in my eyes, I have millions of children! I’m responsible, in some tiny way, for every child that crosses my path. It is my responsibility to smile at them, to share positive energy with them, to look out for their safety, to teach them, to LOVE them even though I may not even know their names and to treat them as if they were my very own. We ALL have this responsibility! It is OUR job, as a nation, a society, a world, to teach these children how to love and respect one other. It is OUR responsibility to teach children strength, courage and self-love. Without children we are nothing. As a matter a fact, that’s all we are at the core, each and every one of us. We are all just grown children. The only thing that has changed over time is the fear that we have learned: The fear of what others will think of us, the fear of the unknown, the fear of what lies around the next corner and the fear of disappointment. What a terrible way to live. When we are young we are FEARLESS! When we are young we are full of endless LOVE! We can learn so much from children. But as we grow we hurt one another with our judgments and our words and our actions. We grow into guarded, scared adults when, deep down, we are all just the same children we always have been desiring to be seen and loved.

I’m not sure what made this gentleman do what he did, but I know what it taught me and reminded me of. I was bullied growing up. I was called names that ring in my head pretty much every day of my life, that, at 30 years of age, still bring me pain. I remember how, as each year went by, I got a little more insecure, a little more guarded and a little more worried about how others viewed me. I let it dictate many things in my life, many choices and many relationships. And I hate it! No one should EVER feel less beautiful, less wanted, less important! We are ALL beautiful and important children. We are all equal and deserve the same love, attention and respect. And I don’t want another child in this world to develop these senseless and unnecessary scars.

That’s what I take from all this. A reminder to go back to the golden rule, to treat others as we want to be treated. As Thoreau said above, “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” I couldn’t agree more. If we all spent more time seeing the world through the eyes of those around us we would be more aware of how we act and how the words we say and our actions affect others. If we all spent more time seeing the world through the eyes of a child. There is no doubt in my mind the compassion this would evoke in all of us and the respect that would be born for family, friends and strangers. We owe one another the same love and respect that we expect from those around us. When you wake up tomorrow, think of this. Look through each other’s eyes and remember that deep down we are all just innocent children with the same innate need and desire to be loved. Take on the task from the President and care for OUR children…of all ages!

I may not be the birth mother of any child that walks this green Earth, but I love EVERY one of them for the love, innocence and fearlessness that they represent. They remind me of what life is really all about, how beautiful and delicate each breathe and day really is and that, as John Lennon said, all we need is love! Let’s work on that…Every second of every day! We’ve lost sight of what is important in this world. It doesn’t matter how much money we make, it doesn’t matter our titles or positions in the work place, it’s the children in all of us and the love that we have for one another.

Good night!

(Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/photocillin/6697081753/)

12/4/12 – It’s not how much we give

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“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”  ― Mother Teresa

This article from Huff Post Healthy Living by Lisa Firestone is a must read. You can find the original story linked to the title below. And people wonder why I LOVE to give and give…..Enjoy 🙂

(OH and Happy Birthday to Lucy Vinnicombe XOXO)

 

Generosity: What’s in It for You?

by Lisa Firestone

Generosity is no longer the selfless act we’ve long thought it to be. Studies now suggest that one of the biggest benefactors of generosity is the person who is dishing it out.

Like a healthy diet, exercise, and good genes, generosity may increase your life span. A 2003research study at the University of Michigan reveals that the positive effects of generosity include improving one’s mental and physical health and promoting longevity. In another Michigan study, which traced 2,700 people over 10 years, researchers found that men who did regular volunteer work had death rates 2.5 times lower than men who didn’t. Generosity can help reduce stress, support one’s physical health and enhance one’s sense of purpose.

So what is it about generosity that makes it so vital to a happy and healthy life? First, it’s important to note that the form of generosity that most benefits us isn’t measured in a dollar amount or a physical gain. What matters is the sensitivity we offer another person. The more directly we see our personal efforts impact someone else, the more we gain from the experience of giving.

The second direct benefit we gain from giving is that generosity inherently shifts our focus off of ourselves. While it’s important to maintain a healthy level of self-awareness and sensitivity to oneself, often the focus we put on ourselves is filtered through a negative lens. Many of our thoughts about ourselves are tinged with criticism, stress, doubt, uncertainty and obsession, none of which do any good for our level of confidence and success.

People often mistakenly assume that being self-centered means being egotistical or vain. However, being self-centered can mean spending too much time listening to a “critical inner voice” inside our heads that critiques our every move and tells us we are failing in one or another area of our lives. Generosity distracts us from the scathing insults of this inner voice while creating quite a strong argument against it. It is difficult to prove we are worthless when we are watching someone else benefit from our actions.

Generosity is a natural confidence builder and a natural repellent of self-hatred. Not only does it make use feel better about ourselves, but it actively combats feelings of isolation and depression.People who battle depression have been shown to benefit from volunteering, as it gives them a sense of value and purpose while placing them in a social environment.

For example, a friend of mine was devastated by a break-up between him and his girlfriend of many years. The break up left him lacking in a sense of security, mutual friends, and a daily sense of self. His plummet into depression made him lethargic and demoralized. Setting his pain aside, he decided to spend some time volunteering at a senior center.

Within a short time, the few hours a week he spent reading aloud to people living in the senior center helped him to recognize his value. Not only that, he began to rebuild his social network as he made friends with staff members and fellow volunteers. Little by little and piece by piece, he was able to get his whole life together and regain his sense of happiness and fulfillment. The social networks that are forged through living a generous life are vast, rich and often have a deeper meaning to us.

In being generous, the sensitivity that we feel toward another person allows us to be more sensitive to ourselves and to give ourselves more value. A study of children found that when kids were offered praise without doing anything to warrant it, their self-esteem was unaffected. Conversely, when kids were praised for actual acts, such as generosity, their self-esteem was enhanced. The same principle holds true for all of us. Being built up with compliments has little effect on our self-worth, whereas the gratification of being generous enhances our sense of self. Furthermore, when we are in a giving state, we are more relaxed, attuned, and living in the moment. This state of being is contagious; people who are generous often create a snowball effect in others who in turn want to pay it forward.

Though consciously we may fail to see a downside to living an altruistic life, and we readily applaud acts of generosity in others, many of us fail to embrace generosity’s fundamental second step: allowing others to be generous to us. Those of us who have been taught to give without asking for anything in return feel ashamed or embarrassed at being given a hand. However, accepting generosity toward us is an important part of allowing ourselves to experience the many benefits of leading a giving life. It’s truly the give and take that brings us our greatest sense of joy.

As the holiday seasons commences, most of us inevitably begin to speed up and kick into action, throwing ourselves into end-of-the-year activities and planning our resolutions to improve ourselves in the upcoming year. Yet, what we tend to overlook is that by actually slowing down, focusing outward and noticing what other people need, we are often doing ourselves a real service by engaging in the one activity that will dramatically improve the quality of our lives.

Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at PsychAlive.org