Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Monday, January 10, 2005

So Happy to See You

Do you know one of the best gifts you can give someone? Be happy to see them. Doesn't it make you feel good when you see someone smile and light up when you walk up? The same is true when you do that for others.

This is probably most important dealing with relationships in our homes. Regularly someone walks in the door only to start the "who had the worst day" game. In our house my husband makes it a point to come find me as soon as he walks in the door. He gives me a hug and a kiss. I make it a point to be happy to see him. Sure, there are problems and stresses from the day I want to discuss with him, but the minute he walks in is NOT the best time to do that. First it is most important he know how thrilled I am just to see him. The other stuff can usually wait until later.

This may sound hokey, but think for a minute. If your spouse had been missing for a time how excited would you be to see them come through that door then? How many times have we heard someone beg for just one more day, one more hour, just one last minute with someone they lost? What if we shared just a peice of that passion with our loved ones on a regular basis instead of waiting for a tragedy?

If you greeted your children with enthusiasm every time they came through the door, would you have to worry where they are? Really, do you get excited to go somewhere you are nagged at, given work without thanks, and critsized? No. You avoid those places! You go somewhere you feel welcome, somewhere you feel comfortable. Now if our homes were that way for everyone who lived there, where would the family want to be? Home! It doesn't take a genius to figure out why there is regularly the one kid's house that everyone wants to hang out. It usually has snacks given out by parents that are interested, but not nosy, in their kids and their friends, supportive not condemming, involved but without being overbearing. The kids feel welcomed and cared for.

Pop quiz: Why is the dog considered "man's best friend?" A dog is always excited to see you! Dogs don't care if you got the raise, if you remembered to stop at the store, if you cleaned your room or even if you have the latest clothes. Give them a little kindness and they will be overjoyed! You visit someone's house and scratch their dog behind the ears. Suddenly the owner tells you, "Oh, you've made a friend for life now." That dog then adores you. He'll be so excited every time he sees you, even if you just stepped out to use the restroom.

Now, what if we treated others in our home this way? What if we were excited to have them come home? What if we greeted friends so warmly they felt our genuine happiness at seeing them? Do you think they might want to see you more often? What if we treated co-workers with even an ounce of this delight? Would people want to help you out more? Does it make more sense that if more people are around you there are more people to share the workload?

After passing around some of this joy it seems only logical that some of it has to come back to you as well. When you are genuinly happy to see others it doesn't take long before they are delighted to see you too. After all, everyone is attractted to positive energy. Everyone likes to feel good.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Doing What You Love

I've been putting a lot of thought into the phrase "do what you love" lately. Trying to figure out your passion can be hard sometimes. Not all of us are lucky enough to just "know." Or we pass that period of our life and find our selves going, "now what?"

Currently I find myself in this position, looking for a way to do what drives me. It is so important to fufill that drive. Tonight I was watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent. A chess prodigy was forbidden to play and had left the country seeking refuge. He ended up going insane, killing an innocent girl. All he wanted to do was be allowed to play chess against the best in the world. The episode ended with a quote I found profound. "That's what happens when you keep people from doing what they do best; they go insane."

Now, insanity doesn't seem a likely outcome for me, but the likely outcomes of not doing what I love aren't good either. You may be asking by now what this mysterious love is then. Teenage kids. There are not enough places for kids to hang out. Not nearly enough people who care, and not enough recoginition for those who do. Parenting classes for those who have the tough job of raising these kids. Life changing camps, leadership, guidance. More than anything I want to give kids the knowledge that someone cares about them. Not just the star kids. Not just the druggie/at risk kids. All the kids. These kids are my passion.

Now I just need to figure out this translates into my life.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

One Nation, Under God

We teach our children to recite these words at a young age, but I must say I didn't really "get it" until I was out shopping the other day. Last summer I was privlaged to attend a wonderful self-improvement camp. They use a great analogy of being part of the same nation, the way Native Americans talked of nations. Because there is a lot of participation everyone feels pretty open and friendly towards each other while at camp. It was reflecting on this that brought about my great insight.

As I walked in to the store I looked over at a gentleman and smiled. He kind of nodded and looked away. It is amazing how much we as a society avoid eye contact with each other. When it does occur it seems awkward. The obvious gap saddened me. Suddenly I longed to be part of that "nation" again. As I contemplated this it began to dawn on me that this man and I were still part of the same "nation," not because of our nationality, but because of our home...Earth. Everyone on this planet is part of the same "nation." We are all going through this life the best we each know how at that point. If I extend myself to someone and they do not accept, it simply means they are in a different place right now. Perhaps the next person will welcome the connection.

I belive in God. More so, I belive in a Heavenly Father which means we are all His children. He loves each of us as His sons and daughters. If my blood sister does not respond favorably when I approach her, I am not all offended. I am concerned and offer more to her. When she is upset more love is always helpful. Should it be any different towards those I veiw as my spirit brothers and sisters?

Now what if we all took this approach to life? What if we all saw each other as part of the same community all striving together? What if we stopped assuming the other guy was out to get us and just assumed he was having an off day? What would happen if we all decided that rather than trying to offend, "the other guy" actually had our best interest at heart?

I once sat up very late holding my best friend as he cried, weeping the most bitter tears possible from the very depths of the human soul. His anguish for my well-being. He felt my religous convictions were damning me to eternal hell. I was so moved and touched by this. Although it did not change my beliefs in the least, it certainly drew us closer together as friends and increased my respect for him immensely. To feel so passionate about his beliefs and to care so deeply for me yet handle it with love not anger. How would this change the world? When we feel we are so right that the other person will suffer for all eternity for being wrong, what if we cried and offered love instead of yelling and fighting?

Better yet, what if we simply allowed others their beliefs? An agreement to disagree as it were. I am often complimented on how I handle the issue of homosexuality. My belief is simple. I belive it is wrong. This is my belief. Thus, I don't practice homosexuality. Now, when I meet someone who does belive in homosexuality do I tell them how bad and wrong they are? No. Why would I? They are entitled to their belief as I am entitled to mine. I don't like anyone telling me my religous preferences, parenting styles, or political convictions are "wrong" so why on earth would I do that to someone else?!?! If someone wants to know what I belive I am more than happy to share, discuss and exchange ideas. I do not argue, conjole or debate. That is not respect. Respect means accepting someone for who they are in that moment. It does not mean you have to agree with them, accept their beliefs as your own, or even like what they stand for. You accept that they are a person on this planet. They have feelings and thoughts just as you do. They are entitled to have their own opinions.

There is, of course, a line to this. Respect should be mutual. I do not condone in anyway the force of ideals onto another human being. Sharing, inviting, and the open exchange of ideas is wonderful. It is how we grow and enrich the planet. Yelling, forcing of one's will on another without invitation or consent, legal action without opportunity for objection, physical force...these are inexcusable.

These are my convictions and beliefs. We are all one Nation on this planet Earth. We are all under one God. Respect for each other is the best form of love that can be extended one to another.

Because these are my beliefs I can say to each of you: I love you, meaning I accept you for who you are right now. I respect you, I feel no need to force my will on you. And I don't care what you think of me in return. Have a GREAT day!

New Year's Resolutions

Well, I can't believe I put off posting so long! It may not seem like it to you, but it sure seems like it was only yesterday to me!

So...my "resolutions"

Laugh more and get angry less. Play with the kids more often. Use less, "I'm busy. Maybe later." and more "Sure, that sounds like fun." Work in the dirt, planting and helping life grow. Stay in touch with friends. Find mentors. Spend less. Earn more. Move more. Embrace my body instead of reject it. Write more letters. Say "thank you" more. cook. relax. eat more salad. touch my children more, hold them. read. drink more water.

Specific goals:
Buy 5-7 properties. Weigh 135-140. Be able to walk 5 miles without being winded. Deep breath and relax anytime I start getting angry or too emotional. At least 20 minutes a day one-on-one with on of the children. Cook at least 2 new dishes a month. Start facilitaing parenting classes. Begin book. Begin creating passive income streams.

THRIVE IN 2005!!