Tag Archives: compassion

God Unplugged & In Real Time

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love others as you love yourself.” But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always critical and catty, watch out! Beware of ruining each other. Galatians 5:14-15 Life Application Bible.

Recently, and after a long separation from God I have returned to my faith. More will be written on that journey in future posts, however reading back through this blog will provide a snap shot of the last few years journey.

This morning I am reflecting on the above Bible passage and its real life possibilities and implications.

To love others as we love ourselves always confused me, because as someone who really doesn’t feel a whole lot of love for myself (but I am getting better) I wondered why on earth I would want to treat others the way I treat myself.

Since reading and studying more on this passage I have come to understand it this way. We all have, an inherit instinct to preserve ourselves. The need to eat when hungry, sleep in a warm bed when tired, and live in a decent clean environment. These are our basic needs we love to take care of for survival. And this is the very minimal way we can show our love and support for others. We all know a person lacking in any of these carnal needs will find it very difficult to feel or learn about love and compassion.

The second verse of the above passage warns about being critical and catty. This truth I have come to know on a personal level through interactions with many people and God willing I can summarize effectively below.

Having met with different types of people and knowing we take away grains of their beliefs I noticed something very interesting. There is a multitude of people who tend to be flippant, catty, critical and manipulative (the language of shame) in their approach to correcting what they perceive as a “wrong”. When met with one of these people I notice it triggers feelings of defensiveness and shame in those who do not understand their true identity in Christ.

This type of council leads to thoughts of rebellion and can cause the receiver to act out in ways opposite to the message the sender was trying to convey. Rebellion is part of our natural instinct so it is probably unhelpful to trigger that instinct when attempting to
help someone who’s actions are harmful to themselves or others. This is evident in cases of bullying that lead to feelings of depression and in extreme instances, suicide.

There is a second type of person who takes an entirely different approach to supportive correction. They are kind, loving, humble and and supportive (the language of guilt). While they offer critical direction and support toward growth, they are not critically judgmental. This type of teaching tends to stick and produce a real and positive change for many (myself included). Guilt when used as guide post to help us correct our wrong actions is a great way to improve the lives of ourselves and others.

Of course this is all dependent on the receiver. If a student desires to be kind, loving humble and supportive their natural sense of rebellion will not be triggered by someone who is using the language of guilt vs. the language of shame.

I know myself I tend to ask more questions of the second type of person, and take a curious interest in what sorts of things helped shape a person of this caliber. A person who is humble enough to realize they have no worthy judgement against anyone.

Sheila Walsh – Guilt tells you, you’ve done something wrong. Shame tells you, you are something wrong.

Anyway the two extremes are just examples and for discussion purposes. I think many of us are somewhere in between and can be catty and sarcastic one day and more loving and supportive the next. It is all part of the human experience.

For me returning to faith in God allows me to read, study and meditate on these simple nuggets of truth. And when I find myself putting them into practice more and more frequently in my life I thank God. I thank God that it allow me to reach out in loving, kind, humble and supportive ways more effectively.

So there it is in a simple grape seed. “To be catty, smart mouthed and critical is human while actions of humility, love and kind supportive correction is divine.

Blessings

I’m An Orphan

I realized tonight it has been quite sometime since I lasted posted to this blog. Normally I enjoy posting inspirational, uplifting and of course frugal pieces here.

Tonight I would like to share my current situation as it will (I am sure) lead into more positive and motivational words in the near future.

Just over a month ago on February 13th 2014 my father passed away. This was not really a shock in terms of suddenness as he had been sick for some time. It was more a shock in the realization that I was now parent less having lost mom 5 years ago.

When my mother passed it hit me pretty hard as it was unexpected. It took a few years to really come to grips with the loss. Sadly, I guess it is true what they say, we can pretty much get used to anything because I find myself accepting the loss of my father far more easily and with less pain and confusion.

I find my thoughts fluctuating these days between the sense of losing both parents and the feeling of peace that comes after facing such a tremendous fear as the death of ones parents.

I am beginning to sense a sort of wisdom and patience I didn’t previously have. It is the belief that so many little things just are not that important anymore, and certainly not to be feared. I go through my days with greater clarity of the things that need to be done, and get them done.

Is there a metamorphosis occurring here? I guess time will tell. But for my readers I just wanted to touch base this evening and share where my head, heart and spirit are currently residing.

Be well all, there is lots more to come!

Christmas Ice Storm 2013

The area where I live was hard hit by an ice storm on December 22nd 2013. It was like nothing we have ever experienced, and honestly I hope to never see again.

Saturday December 21, 2013 was the first hint I had that there might be an issue. I was watching the weather channel and getting ready for Christmas. The weather person said, “a 1-2 degree fluctuation in temp, once the precipitation begins could be the difference between freezing rain capable of reeking havoc on the area, or merely rain that  can wash away the accumulated Christmas snow. I looked out the window. A tree in the backyard had lost a branch.

The backyard:

SAM_0440“It’s only one branch, maybe the tree was dead,” I reasoned. Most of us are happier being complacent and taking on a “wait and see” attitude when it comes to weather predictions. I mean what else can you do with news like that, right?

I slept restlessly that night and kept waking up to vague noises coming from the park behind the house. I needed sleep as Sunday was going to be a very busy shopping day. Although the Christmas presents were ready to go, well most of them anyway, there was still a lot of fresh produce, meats and fishes to  purchase for Christmas Eve/Day festivities.

I awoke Sunday morning and stretched expecting to find a few downed trees outside the house. I sat up and looked out the window. Something was VERY different. Why was I looking at grey sky when I should be seeing the branches of the 50 ft Maples splayed just outside the windows across the horizon. Disoriented I got up and went to the window.

I started to cry as I tried to comprehend what I was looking at.  Each of the tall trees lining the back yard and those beyond in the park  had shed many of their large branches and were lying on the ground. Not just one or two , but most of them. Everywhere I looked the beautiful mature trees had lost many of their branches.

The park:

SAM_0451The Backyard:

SAM_0508I have a lower roof that obstructs the view of the backyard from our bedroom window. Feeling a little disoriented, I went downstairs to get a better view. What I saw when reaching the windows brought a fresh flood of tears. The backyard and garden I write about in a gardening blog was completely devastated. Large branches, the tops of the missing skyline trees I usually see from the bedroom, were lying across the yard creating an impenetrable barrier between me and the garden. Thankfully the house was spared from damage.

The Backyard:

SAM_0470“Oh no,” I thought. “What about the old maple tree on the front lawn?” I opened the door and peeked outside, not really interested in seeing a branch laying across the car in the driveway.
I experienced a moment of relief. Although caked in an inch of ice, the maple was intact. Its branches hung precariously under the weight of ice but were still attached to the main trunk.

The Front yard:

SAM_0529 We started calling around and checking on the kids and friends/family to ensure everyone was o.k. My daughter along with our granddaughter came over and we spent the day together as my husband went out with the rest of the guys to help with the removal of trees from roads and driveways. Honestly I was quite upset at the sight of the storms devastation and so happy to have them there with me. They are wonderful girls and I want to say thanks and “I love you and guys!”.

We had coffee and watched the news. Hundreds of thousands of people across the area were without power. No serious injuries or fatalities had been reported. I said a prayer for all to stay safe.

While we tried to carry on with some degree of normal routine it was impossible. Branches were crashing down outside, bouncing off roofs and hitting fences. With each thud, I jumped out of my skin. If I never hear that noise again it will be a blessing. It begins with a crackling of ice as the branch starts to give way under the weight, turns into the harsh sound of wood tearing as the branch separates from the tree. Next the sound of ice chunks falling and hitting the frozen snow, and finally ends with a sound I can only describe as similar to a traffic accident.

The Park:

SAM_0500 Each thud made my heart sink. I wished I could stop it, and knew that wasn’t possible. For a few hours the branches were breaking off every few minutes, and we just watched helpless to do anything about it. I was terrified one of the branches still clinging to the tops of tall trees in the backyard would come down on the house or car.

After a coffee we dressed and ventured out to see how neighbors were doing. We kept to the middle of the street avoiding trees full of ice on front lawns. I was amazed how much debris had barely missed several cars.

The Street:

SAM_0455SAM_0460People were outside shoveling and trying to clean up the mess. Everyone we spoke with was safe and had amazing stories to share about the storm.

Sadly we heard on the news the next day of several fatalities related to improper use of BBQ and generators during the storm. A result of those without power doing their best to keep warm. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones due to the storm, or its aftermath during this holiday season ice storm.

We Canadians are for the most part a hearty bunch able to withstand and recover from Mother Nature’s quirky whims and furious temper tantrums.

The following day my husband told me to look out the window. I really didn’t want to see the devastation again. He coaxed me over to take a peek. What I saw was a beautiful, stunning and blinding sight. The sun had finally come out and its rays were hitting the ice covered trees turning it into something beyond a scene on a Christmas card or anything technology can mimic or cameras can accurately capture. It was absolutely glorious. Each and every branch covered in twinkling diamonds of ice. It was so brilliant we had to shield our eyes in order to see it.

The Backyard & Park:

SAM_0539There is beauty in everything, or so they say. The beauty of our Christmas Ice Storm 2013 is in the way community came together and supported each other and the stunning view the storm left behind in its wake.

After loosing December 22nd to the Christmas Ice Storm, we were still able to pull off our Christmas Eve/Day celebrations. We lost Sunday which created extra work, however Christmas arrived, storm or no storm just as it always does!

I want to wish friends, family, fellow bloggers/readers and all who stumble upon this blog a wonderful and safe holiday season and only the best this coming year has to offer.

The Zany Blogger

I am amazed how fast November has flown by. After this entry there are 3 posts to go and I am starting to wonder what to do with myself next month to stay out of trouble.

Anyway as the month fizzles away the posts seem to be getting more and more punchy. Trying to find something to write about every day has been an enjoyable and eye opening challenge.

Therefore without further introduction let me present my latest silly post.

He called you what?!

So yesterday while I was talking to someone in real time. I got around to asking him if he was enjoying the blog.

He told me he didn’t have a lot of spare time, but had read some of my “zany” posts.

Later when I got home the worry wart in my brain starting singing.
“He called you zany that means crazy. He must not think much of you,” and on and on it went.

I quieted the wart with a dose of compound positivity and got to thinking about the word zany.

I thought about what it means, light, easy going, silly, free spirited,
funny. “Well that’s not so bad,” I reminded myself, considering that is what I look for in life as often as possible. Actually, if I am honest with myself it is probably exactly what I was going for in the posts. For someone like me who is allergic to labels I guess you might say I’m turning into a hypocrite. I really, kinda love this label.

Here’s an idea, maybe I can call myself ‘The Zany Blogger’. It works doesn’t it?

How do you handle the worry wart choir that plays in your head?
Love it or hate it, I don’t think we can ever silence it. Just maybe though, we can have a little fun with it?

Cycling Through The Winter Blues

The weather turned icy and cold here today as it normally does around this time of year in Canada. Gone are the warm summer breezes and brisk, bright autumn days, replaced by winters’ icy touch.

With the colder temps setting in it is time to store the bike. I will miss that little piece of metal on wheels. We started a new adventure together this year and I learned about possibilities. It also reminded me how to feel like a kid again.

It was a good fall season, no worries or regrets because as soon as the weather warms up and the ice melts I will be out there pedaling along the streets and down through the parks once more, offering a smile and sincere “Good day” to those I pass by.

The winter time in Canada brings with it darker and colder days and for those of us who live in this climate, exercise is crucially important. A couple of months without sun can lead to depression, aka cabin fever.

With the bike tucked away in the garage, I turn back to the treadmill. It is perfectly situated beside a window overlooking the park. As I have done for many years over the winter months I will spend hours walking miles while watching snow storms and winter winds blow.

I have used that machine to walk through many a winter blahs. Worrying, at times, that there was nothing more for me. Thinking I would spend the rest of my life on a treadmill leading to no where.

But there is more, and the cycling adventures are proving it to me. Life is a journey. There are steps to be taken in order to grasp more of it.

Walking the treadmill built strength in my legs. This strength allowed me to hop back on the bike and continue the journey. A journey 4 years ago didn’t cross my mind.

Life has ups and downs, and sometimes we want to give up. Maybe it is true what they say, “we just have to keep going.” And when an opportunity to do something new presents itself, go ahead and give it a try.

“Step out, risk, live, love and laugh.” These are more than words, or pretty cliches. They are real time events to be experienced each day.

What new thing can you try today?

Debtless & Cheap – A Pause In Cheapville

I’m off my usual subject today, hopefully by the end of reading this post you will understand why.

I was working on the wool mitties this morning. For more on the mitten story see blog post here: https://ariescottrell.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/debtless-cheap-turn-wasted-money-into-wonderful-gifts/  When an unexpected knock at the door caused me to loose count on the pattern. I knew the person standing there, we’ll call him M, because he was the same man who had adopted a
kitten from us back in early fall.

Ya, I’ll have to write a post explaining why we had kittens in the first place. Another blogging idea. 🙂

Anyway back too M. standing on my front porch. He wasn’t doing very good and explained that for personal reasons he was no longer able to care for and house the kitten, who we nicknamed Tigger2.

SAM_0273He said, he didn’t want to send the kitten to the pound, which I was happy to hear. Conditions in that place are not fit for anything living. I didn’t bother to mention he would have been asked if he wanted to euthanize the cat because they have no room for more animals.

Let me mention here that when I gave M. the kitten the last thing I said to him was, “Just know you can bring him back any time no questions asked if there is a problem.” And true to my word, I took him in.

As M. left he scratched Tigger2 on the head and said, “I love him you know.” His expression of affection for the kitten made me smile and I knew that was true. This was very hard for him and I didn’t want to prolong it. He is a nice person with his priorities
straight and giving the kitten back was a very unselfish act and the right thing to do.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “We’ll find a place for him.”

SAM_0274
Now here is the quirky twist to this story. I wasn’t really surprised to see the kitten, although his return was unexpected. Let me explain.

Throughout the week I have been getting (let’s call it intuition) that one of the kittens might be coming back. Or at least that was how I interpreted it.

First I heard from several of the kittens owners that the little ones are going crazy right now. Which is normal behavior for a cat of that age. One of the new owners really seems to be struggling and I reminded him that can be returned if necessary.

Next, I turned on a show called animal intervention that is new to me. For those unfamiliar with it. Basically two people tour homes in which there is suspected inadequate care for big cats and other wild animals. Where they find poor conditions they attempt to work with the owners to either fix up the housing or relocate them to a safer and healthier location.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I watched a big cat owner unselfishly surrender the animals he loved so dearly to a sanctuary because he was no longer able to care for them. I was very impressed with this unselfish act, much the same way M impressed me this morning.

De ja vous or what?

Anyway as impressed as I am the work begins. We need to find a new home for Tigger2 where he can be happy and healthy and thrive with unselfish people. People very much like M. who
are willing to share their home with this adorable little guy. If you know of anyone who might be interested in adopting Tigger please get in touch with me.

Thank you

Write A Great Story – It’s All About Connection

If you seek to be understood, first seek to understand. Stephen Covey

Writers love to write, or at least I hope they do, otherwise it might be a waste of time. I love to write and was doing so from personal perspective and for my pleasure. But only to write for self enjoyment and through the blinders of my beliefs became an even bigger waste of time. I believed the story would sell itself based on the passion and love put into it.

My thinking is shifting and while writing this way can be fun and help connect with a few people, ultimately it is not my souls’ goal.

A story read by a handful of people and totally ignored by the majority is a result of writing from narrow perspective. The reason it is largely ignored is simple; there is no connection with the greater population whose perspectives differ from our own. Or more harshly stated, they simply do not care about the story because it has no connection to their own understanding or life.

The purpose of a great fictional tale is to create a story that connects with many readers. Those readers are people. Individuals with ideas and beliefs not always the same as our own. If the goal is to be read by and connect with many an ability to create characters with diverse perspectives real. When that aim is accomplished the writer has done their job effectively.

If enough honest effort, a sort of paying the price, has gone into the writing and the story is well marketed  many more will read, connect with and hopefully enjoy it.

However, enjoyment is not the goal either. If the tale is disliked that’s OK because the key here is connection.

This week I read a book on how to achieve deeper connections with others. I learned that stepping outside of my little sense of reality and truly listening minus my personal biased and judgements is a powerful way to understand beliefs that are foreign to me. When I successfully understand where another is coming from the knowledge base in the brain expands.

In checking the personal perspective at the door before stepping into new worlds we take on an empathic ability to listen. Living one’s life from a place of empathy is a great way to co exists with people.  We learn to see the world through their eyes and our understanding of reality in all its shapes and colors grows.

I started reading this self help material to improve interpersonal relationships. The writer in me soon discovered it is not limited to improving interactions. I wondered how the understanding of others can improve the writing.

Learning about the beliefs and perspectives of others can be used to develop characters in a big way. It supplies access to broader perspective and all the differing ideas swirling around in this great big world. The beliefs of others can help us achieve a depth of writing that is unavailable in our small narrow world view.

The characters become more realistic as these new perspectives are integrated into their development. As opposed to cardboard cut outs of what we believe to be true of others. The more personal perspective is checked at the door before entering the home of another, or in this case the story of a character, the easier it is to write about their lives honestly.

When interactions involve openly listening without judgement to a person, a new ability to practice compassion is developed. We treat people with respect and empathy. This compassionate action spills over onto the page creating rich characters in story.

We stop judging and censoring the characters in much the same way we are learning to stop doing it with real people. No longer satisfied with creating cookie cutter persona’s that exist only in our small personal beliefs, the characters begin to run freely through our mind. Stepping out and behaving in ways that are authentic to the to that characters paradigm. We may not always agree with a characters action but we will accept it and write it with as much understanding on his/her perspective as we have learned from our real time interactions with people.

The simplest truth here is this: when we are open to others in real life by silencing our perspective for a time. We gain a level of empathy and compassion. Stories are then written minus the judgmental censorship that is a result of a narrow view point. Perspective has broadened to include multiple ideas, beliefs and struggles. We choose to write as well as live in the spirit of empathy. Life and the stories we write now take on the multiple realities we live within each moment.