Your Life, God’s Way

God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies Hudson Taylor

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Years ago, my church – Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida – rented a billboard near a busy highway. We were looking to attract people to what God was doing in our world. The ad featured an image of me (which made sense because the invitation was coming from the church, and well, I’m the pastor) with these words emblazoned across the ad:

Your Life, God’s Way

Despite the blinding vibrancy of my lime green golf shirt, we got a great response to that billboard. Lots of people visited Celebration for the first time and made it their home. Why? I seriously doubt it was due to my friendly-yet-penetrating gaze as drivers made their daily commute to work each day. No.

What drew people in was that the ad offered a different approach to the one thing everyone is concerned about and probably mulling over on their way to work: my life. Imagine the thoughts of those drivers. It’s not hard because we’ve all had them at one time or another, maybe at this very moment:

  • My life is a mess.
  • My life is going great.
  • My life doesn’t matter.
  • My life is about to change.
  • My life is falling apart.
  • My life has no purpose.
  • My life is too busy.
  • My life is depressing.
  • My life is over-the-top amazing.

The billboard reached all these people behind the wheel – all with different plans, experiences, hopes, disappointments, and so on – and offered them one more lens through which to view their life: God’s way.

Adding these two words has a way of changing our perspective. It forces us to pause and consider that there may be a completely different way of doing life than we are currently doing it, one we may never have considered. I’m sure more than one person drove by that billboard and thought, “God’s way,” huh? What does that look like? It’s gotta be better than the way I’m doing it.

When I first started thinking about my life in terms of God’s way, three life-altering, game-changing realizations came to mind. And speaking now as a pastor, let me add that these apply to anyone.

God has a “way” for our lives. Most people think God is not at all interested in the details of our lives. But he is.

He doesn’t sit in heaven simply watching our lives from the nosebleeds. God wants to be fully involved in your life, and He has a game plan, a path, a way for your life that is designed specifically for you (Psalm 37:23). As you make Him the first priority in your life, you’ll witness firsthand just how much God wants to be present and active in your life. You will experience His presence on a whole new level.

We don’t have to carry the weight of our life alone. Life is challenging, and the cares of life are heavy, but God doesn’t want you to carry the burden alone. Jesus invites you to keep step with Him while He does the heavy lifting (Matthew 11:28). When you put God first, you begin to live in response to Him as He shapes your life. Rather than striving to manipulate and control every outcome under your own strength, you will find that God is standing close, ready to help lighten the load.

God’s way is better than ours.

The Bible says that God’s way is perfect, refreshing, trustworthy, right, and enlightening (Psalm 19:7-8). I don’t know about you, but my way usually isn’t any of those things. Amazingly, God’s way is not only all those things, but it also meets us wherever we are.

When you feel like your life…

  • is a mess, God works all things out for your good (Romans 8:28).
  • is going great, God has greater things in store for you (1 Corinthians 2:9).
  • doesn’t matter, God ascribes incredible value to you (1 Peter 1:18-19).
  • is about to change, he will be with you every step of the way (Hebrews 13:5).
  • is falling apart, God is your strength and deliverer (Psalm 18:1-2).
  • has no purpose, God’s purpose for you will prevail (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • is too busy, God’s peace guards your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).
  • is depressing, he is the giver of joy (Romans 15:13).
  • is over-the-top amazing, there is a place to direct your gratitude (James 5:13).

God’s way for your life is the best possible way you can live. This is the God-first life. It’s the life God intends you to live.

Today’s article was written by Stovall Weems and is shared from the following website: https://www.faithgateway.com/your-life-gods-way/#.W3Q_gy-ZNmA

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How to Build a Meaningful Life And Make It Incredibly Amazing

You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again. Benjamin Franklin

Life and living it is a project and changing your life is the beginning. It’s a never-ending quest to share our best work with the rest of the world. You are responsible for that change. You need to define yourself, plan your change, make it happen. What you don’t want is spending the rest of your precious and short life, doing everything you absolutely hate.

To build the life you want, create the meaningful work you love!

We should all strive to find and do meaningful work that excites us. Work that brings out the best in you. Without it, work is boring, just something we do to pay the bills — which means we’re spending somewhere around half our waking hours (sometimes more) doing something we don’t like, just to pay the bills. Is that a life you want to live?

Your work fills a large part of your life, do everything in your power to make it awesome. If you haven’t found what makes you come alive yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. Everything else is secondary.

The beauty of meaningful work

You shouldn’t dread Mondays. Meaningful work doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or solve a global problem. It doesn’t have to cure cancer. Amazing work can be any kind of work; if it’s fulfilling your potential, and makes you lose yourself, you’ve found exactly what you need to live the life you want.

Ryan Robinson of Buffer says:

If your work is something you love, it will give clarity, drive, and happiness to all aspects of your life. If your work is meaningful, you’ll be more likely to stick with it in the long run, which means you’re more likely to be successful as a result.

Research has shown that finding meaning in one’s work increases motivation, engagement, empowerment, career development, job satisfaction, individual performance and personal fulfillment.

It can be anything from creating something new, improving an existing product or service, building something awesome, helping others, inspiring others, teaching others, setting in motion something that will make the world a better place, making something beautiful, creating something useful, moving the hearts of others.

Michael Steger, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Counseling Psychology and Applied Social Psychology programs at Colorado State University sees meaningful work as consisting of three, central components:

First, the work we do must make sense; we must know what’s being asked of us and be able to identify the personal or organizational resources we need to do our job.

Second, the work we do must have a point; we must be able to see how the little tasks we engage in build, brick-by-brick if you will, into an important part of the purpose of our company.

Finally, the work that we do must benefit some greater good; we must be able to see how our toil helps others, whether that’s saving the planet, saving a life, or making our co-workers’ jobs easier so that they can go home and really be available for their families and friends.

Give yourself something to pursue

“Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried.” — Tim O’Reilly

Right now is the best time EVER in human history to pursue your life’s work. Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. People who never give up on their life’s work. You have something to share with the rest of the world. Be an optimist. And make an impact in your own small way possible.

Kevin Kelly (co-founder of Wired magazine) explains:

“There has never been a better time in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/risk ratios, better returns, greater upside, than now. Right now, this minute. This is the time that folks in the future will look back at and say, “Oh to have been alive and well back then!”

People who choose well and focus on building something that matters to them first always go that extra mile. They never give up on their first try. There is always a second or even a third try. Embrace the fact that invention is a creative process. Come to terms with its presence, learn to accept the sting of it and keep moving.

Don’t fail to exercise your right to try something. Get into the habit of questioning the rules, of becoming curious about where you could try something different and where you could throw the windows open. You will be surprised at you are capable of.

Start with something you can do today or this week, even if you can commit a few minutes to it. And tomorrow, do it again. Maybe for a few more minutes. And so on.

Take no less than 100% responsibility for your life

Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing. Income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors. Your life is a sum of the choices you made yesterday. If you want a different outcome, change your behavior and habits.

Making a change is uncomfortable and can be overwhelming for you. It might mean you have to put in more time, money, and effort. But it’s the only way to get what you want.

Many people have so many things they want to do but they end up wishing all year round without taking action. Write what you want down and be guided by it.

Take even the smallest step every day to make that wish a reality. Make a decision to start somewhere. And when it’s time to get on with it, don’t postpone it. Do what you have to do.

Once you commit time to it and begin to put things on paper, every other idea about the people and resources you need to make it happen will begin to be clear to you.

Invest in your life’s work

Start a blog, write at least a little each day. Write a book. Or an ebook. Share your tips with others online or through a free ebook. Write poetry and publish it on the web. Create interesting, lovely or funny videos, put them on YouTube.

Create an app that will solve a problem in people’s lives. Become a watchdog to replace the faltering newspapers. Explore the world, and blog about it.

Try something you’ve always been afraid to try, and put it on video. Be yourself, loudly. Start a new company, doing only one thing, but doing it very well.

Start a business that does a service you’ve always wanted. Put your heart into something.

Say something that no one else dares to say. Do something others are afraid to do. Help someone no one else cares to help. Make the lives of others better.

Make music that makes others want to weep, to laugh, to create. Inspire others by being inspiring. Teach young people to do amazing things. Write a play, get others to act in it, record it. Empower others to do things they’ve never been able to do before.

Read, and read, and then write. Love, and love, and then help others to love. Do something good and ask others to pass it on. Be profound. Find focus in a world without it.

Become minimalist in a world of dizzying complexity. Reach out to those who are frustrated, depressed, angry, confused, sad, hurt. Be the voice for those without one. Learn, do, then teach.

Meet new people, become fast friends. Dare to be wrong. Take lots and lots of pictures. Explore new cultures. Be different. Paint a huge mural. Create a webcomic. Be a dork, but do it boldly.

Interview people. Observe people. Create new clothes. Take old stuff and make new stuff from it. Read weird stuff. Study the greats, and emulate them.

Be interested in others. Surprise people. Cook great food, and share it. Be open-minded. Help someone else start a small business. Focus on less but do it better.

Give people a ride in your car. Use Uber to your advantage. Start an online shop on Shopify. Create and sell stuff on Etsy.

Help others achieve their dreams. Put a smile on someone’s face, every day. Start an open-source project. Make a podcast. Start a movement. Be brave. Be honest. Be hilarious. Get really, really good at something. Practice a lot. A lot. Start now. Try.

If you’re willing to take the risk of sharing yourself and your ideas with the world, you can create value you will be proud of.

What you choose to do now matters

Everything around you, the place you live, your means of transport to work, the tools you use at work, technology for both learning and leisure were all made by people who are no smarter than you. You can add to human development and progress in your own small way. Choose to create.

If you’re already doing amazing Work, keep doing it. But if you feel like there’s nothing amazing on your to-do list, then it’s obvious the work you’re doing doesn’t excite you, and you don’t feel it matters. There are now insanely great and even free resources out there that can make it easy to show your work. Take advantage of them.

You don’t need permission to show the world what you are capable of. Right now, this minute, you can decide to start working on your most important work. And guess what, the world is ready to try it out.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be ready. The real world rewards those who get stuff done. You don’t even have to get it right. As long as you are ready for feedback, you can always iterate and make it better.

Build what brings out the best in you! Then, things cannot go wrong. Even if they do, you would have at least tried doing what excites you.

A side project has the potential to grow into something meaningful a lot of people could benefit from. Getting there may take some work but it takes a decision to get started. Something you do for fun on nights and weekends could turn into your new full-time dream business or invention.

Today and tomorrow are open with possibilities. All you have to do is decide to make use of them to start working on stuff that matters to you, and live the life, that you really want. It’s time for a healthy dose of practical optimism. Be bold and take a decision right now to start something you deeply care about.

The first key: start looking

If you don’t ever look for it, it’s not likely to just fall into your lap. Be curious now. Once you start looking for your amazing work, you’re much much more likely to find it.

That sounds kinda obvious, but it’s surprising how many of us will go through our work days (and years) without trying to find our Amazing Work, for many reasons. Maybe we don’t believe in ourselves, maybe we don’t think we have the time, maybe we’re putting it off until someday.

Well, start believing in yourself. Make the time. Make someday today.

Start by looking at the work you’re already doing: how can you find something in your work that excites you? Why did you get into it in the first place? When have you ever been excited about your work? What part of your work do you look forward to the most? How can you take it to the next level? What you do after work?

If you’ve really looked long and hard at your work and can’t find anything at all, nothing, nada that excites you, that might become exciting, then start looking elsewhere. What other work have you done that you love? What have you done that has made a difference?

Have you had any previous jobs that had exciting work? Do you have hobbies that excite you — perhaps those can be turned into amazing Work? What do you read about — online and off? Do those things excite you, and if so, can you find something in that line of work?

Talking to others can spark ideas — ask the people who know you best what they think you should do. Ask co-workers about things that excite them. Talk to people online.

Once you come up with some ideas, it’s time to start doing them, trying them, testing them out. Sometimes something can sound fun but not be as fun once you try it. Sometimes something can sound uninteresting, but once you do it, there’s much more fun to it than you thought.

It’s a process of experimenting — try things, give them a chance, and then pursue them if they’re exciting. If not, try something new. One thing to keep in mind, though — things can be more fun if you’re good at something, and it can take a while to get good at something. The key is to enjoy the learning process as well.

Now here is the most important part

Start working on the thing you need to be doing right now, this minute. No matter how slow you work on your most important work, you will still be ahead of everyone else who isn’t trying to fulfill a dream. Stop letting yourself procrastinate.

Action begets outcome. Outcome begets more action. You can only create or build when you make a move. Momentum builds through action. You can’t see the results you expect until you overcome your fear of starting and begin to take the first step at actually creating a new business, starting a new project or building the life you want. The only thing worse than failure is not starting.

Don’t discount the power of action no matter how small.

Start going through the motions of making progress. At first it might feel forced, but eventually, you’ll get in the groove. In the words of playwright Samuel Beckett:“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Your journey towards meaningful work begins today if it hasn’t already!

Today’s article was written by Thomas Oppong and is shared from the following website: https://medium.com/the-mission/how-to-create-the-successful-and-meaningiful-life-you-want-938842faefb9

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How to Set and Measure Personal Development Goals

Potential means nothing if you don’t do anything with it Anonymous

There are many paths to personal growth. Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted as saying, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” and this can absolutely be true. But challenges that nearly destroy us aren’t the only path to greater personal development.

Setting goals for your own personal development can be an effective (and less stressful) way to grow emotionally and intellectually. Setting goals that can help you to succeed as a person in the ways that are important to you can help you to streamline your life, minimize stress, and really become the person you were meant to be in far less time. They can also help you to stay mentally sharp as any lifetime learner can tell you.

Goals Worth Going After

Personal growth means different things to different people, but the following goals can be widely helpful in creating a life filled with healthy habits, greater happiness, and meaning in life.

Learn What Is Most Important to You

We all have values that are a vital part of who we are. To some people, artistic expression is an indispensable part of who they are, and they fare much better if they are creating, at least some of the time, in their lives. To some, helping others is something they must do, and the meaning it brings to them and others is what makes life valuable. Others need to be solving problems to feel alive.

The reason it matters to realize this is that many people fill their time with things that are important but aren’t aligned with their values, with what they value most in life. If you analyze what is important to you, you can set goals to ensure that you make this a greater part of your life.

Pinpoint Where You’re Limiting Yourself

Many people self-sabotage in one way or another without realizing it. Perhaps you don’t believe that you’re capable of achieving things that you really want to achieve, and you limit yourself by not trying. Perhaps you’re not allowing yourself to devote enough time to your goals because you’re getting bogged down by other things in your schedule that are less important but that you feel “must” be done. Maybe you just spend too much time on social media and not enough on going after what’s important to you in life.

When your health is compromised, it’s more challenging to focus on your goals in life. This is obviously true when facing serious health conditions, but it’s also true of less serious types of health compromises.

For example, most of us feel far more stressed and are not at our best when we haven’t had adequate sleep for a few nights in a row or have eaten unhealthy food for a few days. Focusing on taking care of your health can make a huge impact on the rest of your life.

Use Your Time Wisely
Time management is an important goal in itself. When you manage your time wisely, you have more energy and a far greater ability to pursue other things in life that are important to you. Time management enables you to maximize time spent in activities that feed you, motivate you, and help you develop yourself as a person.

Develop One Habit a Month
You may not be able to transform yourself in a few weeks, but focusing heavily on creating new habits on a regular basis can be transformative over the course of several months or years. The trick is to get into the habit of forming habits. Focus the bulk of your energy on making something new a standard part of your life, and then move on once you’ve become comfortable with it. This is the time to create a new habit.

Surround Yourself With Role Models
Have just one friend who is farther along on the path you hope to travel. Life coaches refer to these people as “expert friends” and they can be life-changing as they’ll have tips and inspiration you can pick up just by watching them be themselves. With these friends, watching becomes doing. This is also supported by social learning theory, which explains how it makes things easier when you have a friend to help you along the way.

Develop a Supportive Group
Using the momentum of a group can really help you to reach your goals. This is because peer pressure can be a strong influencer, so using it to your advantage is wise. Having people who can cheer you on when you win and help you to feel better when you lose can make all the difference with your success.

Unfortunately, not all friends are able to support you in this way. Some people naturally feel envious when their friends succeed too much. So, if you notice a friend being less than supportive when you reach a goal (and you have been supportive of them), you may want to simply avoid sharing your successes with this friend and move on to friends who are genuinely thrilled with your success and able to support you when you aren’t as successful as you’d like to be.

Remember to be this kind of friend as well. Another great idea is to find a group already focused around the goals you’re trying to attain. You’ll have built-in support, enthusiasm, and practical tips.

Learn Something New Each Month (or Year)

Self-development takes real focus. Learning a new language, for example, or developing a new skill can take time, and focusing the bulk of your energy toward immersing yourself in the pursuit of a goal is a great way to reach it. This is great when you want to really go deep into your knowledge and ability.

Follow Your Passion

You don’t have to pursue your hobbies as a career in order to fully explore them. It’s wonderful if you can make money doing what you love, but it doesn’t have to be a profession to be worth your time. Activities like this allow you to experience a sense of “flow,” which can increase your happiness levels and decrease stress as well. This means that you’ll experience benefits far beyond the mere acquisition of a new pastime.

How to Maintain Goals

Identifying goals to go after is an important first step. However, it’s also important to know how to pursue your goals. There are a few tricks to maintaining goals or adopting healthy habits.

  1. Set the right goals
  2. Take small, concrete steps
  3. Reward yourself along the way
  4. Consider slip-ups to be part of the process
Maintaining goals can be a little more involved than that, but this is the basic process. The vast majority of people who try to set personal growth goals tend to abandon them because they set their goals too high (or the wrong goals for their lifestyle), try to make too big of a change in too short of a time, don’t congratulate themselves for making progress on their goals, and give up if they have a slip. True success comes from breaking your goals down into smaller steps, rewarding your progress and, perhaps most importantly, trying again if you find yourself slipping up.

Setting personal goals that can really improve your life, and then sticking with them can help you to live the life you always hoped to have.

Today’s article was written by Elizabeth Scott, MS and is shared from the following website: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-set-and-measure-personal-development-goals-4161305

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You Are Worthy of Love and Respect

Never love anyone who treats you like you’re Ordinary Oscar Wilde

YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON.

Yes, you.

You deserve to be treated well by others. You deserve to be loved and respected. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have your needs met. You are worth investing time and energy into. You are capable of great things. Your feelings are important. You have power and wisdom inside of you. What you want matters.

And all this is still true, even if you make mistakes. Even if you are not perfect.

As a therapist and life coach, I have sat with some of the most phenomenally put-together, objectively successful, gorgeous, talented, and intelligent people in the world who still genuinely believe that they are irredeemably flawed. They run multi-million dollar businesses, go on international adventures, and accomplish astounding things, yet they struggle to feel like are valuable and worthy of love and respect. The disconnect between how amazing they are and how they feel about themselves is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

So how about you? Take a second and re-read the paragraph at the top of the page. Do those statements feel true to you? Or does a part of you cringe away from them, thinking that such things might be true for others but not for you? Does your brain instantly reject these ideas, firing back with an endless catalog of your many mistakes and short-comings: all the “evidence” to prove that you are less worthy somehow?

Why is it so easy to lose your confidence and your self-esteem?

You are a perfect, unique snowflake gliding through your time here on earth. There has never been anyone quite like you. You are smart, you are capable, and you are good. You are here to love and be loved. You have things about you that set you apart from other people. Maybe it’s your style, or your humor, or your tenacity. Maybe it’s the fearless way you’ve lived your life, or the heroic mountains you’ve climbed on your journey. Perhaps your most wonderful quality is the way you care so deeply for others.

But it’s easy to forget that when you have to fight for your right to be heard, respected and understood, in a world that pushes back.

Every single one of us has been bruised on this journey through life. We’ve all been disappointed by people. We’ve taken risks, only to fall flat and feel humiliated for our efforts. Maybe toxic relationships have made you feel diminished. Perhaps you didn’t get your needs met at a time that you desperately needed support, and you are still carrying the scars of those primary wounds.

Over time the injuries of life can erode your belief in yourself. You can get tricked into believing that your not-so-great life experiences define you. Niggling doubts like, “Maybe my [insert one: critical father / rejecting Ex / high school chemistry teacher] was right about me,” or “This is probably the best I can expect,” keep you from feeling that you deserve more.

But you cannot let the inevitable traumas of the human experience break you. You cannot allow yourself to be diminished by others. You must never allow your core self to be ground away by disappointment.

Why Your Healthy Self Esteem is So Vital

  1. Other people treat you the way you expect to be treated.
  2. You rise to meet your expectations of yourself.
  3. You make choices and take chances based on what you believe is possible.

Think about what could happen to you if you totally lost sight of your inner beauty, your worth, your potential, and your inherent right to be loved and respected? How chilling to consider the fate that might befall you if your life, and the people in it, began to conform to those expectations.

You must be your own hero. The world is hard enough without you tearing yourself down, beating yourself up for your failures, and punishing yourself. When you stop believing in yourself and your worth as a person, your abilities, and that you deserve to be treated well all is lost. No one else is going to be your champion — because no one can.

How to Heal Your Self Esteem

It’s time for you to take your power back. All faith is a choice. All beliefs are voluntary. You can decide to be your number one fan, and actively, intentionally build yourself up. You can support yourself from the inside out. In fact, you have to. No one else is going to be your champion — because no one can.

Remind yourself daily, hourly, or minute-by-minute on especially challenging days:

Only you get to decide what you are worth. Only you get to decide how you deserve to be treated by others. Only you decide what is possible for you.

Decide today: You are worthy of love and respect. You are capable of great things. You are a good, smart, strong person. Make those statements your mantra. Believe they are so. Act as if they are so. And watch as the world rises to meet YOU…

Today’s article was written by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby and is shared from the following website: https://www.growingself.com/self-esteem-believing-you-are-worthy-of-love-and-respect/

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Sharing Our Joys and Sorrows with Friends

Shared joy is double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow Swedish Proverb

What would life be like without friends? Not too good, at best. Even some of our relatives wind up also being our friends. Although I don’t have any brothers or sisters, I have had a lot of cousins, even second and third ones, who have been kind of like siblings to me; and some of them were among my closest friends. I also have some non-relatives who have been my most beloved and cherished friends for many decades; a few for over half a century. Over the years we’ve shared our joys and sorrows with each other; we’ve laughed and cried (a little) together, and we’ve stayed connected. In many ways, we’ve been dependent on each other and have given support and comfort whenever needed. But isn’t that what friends are for?

Back in 1982, Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager wrote a song in answer to that question; Dionne Warwick’s recording of it is an all-time classic.

That's What Friends Are For

Keep smilin’, keep shinin’
Knowin’ you can always count on me, for sure
That’s what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I’ll be on your side forever more
That’s what friends are for

The dictionary defines a friend as a person whom one knows, likes, and trusts; a favored companion; one who supports and sympathizes. I even have some young friends who fit that description. I feel very fortunate to have the friends I have, both the old ones and the new ones. But, of all of them, two of my best friends in life have been my mother and my father. Although they are both gone, they are still my friends. I use the wisdom they gave me often; I cherish it and them and know I am blessed to have had them in my life. While they were here we shared our joys and sorrows with each other; we were connected, interdependent, and felt a certain oneness when together.

One of my students and a friend Barbara Page, whose father had recently died, shared with me a letter he had written to her when she was 13 years old. Barbara had had a “crushing” experience at a dance and was very disappointed and depressed over the experience. Her dad, sensing her sadness, wrote her the letter, which she has carried with her in her wallet all these years . . . and still does

Dearest Barbara,

The greatest thrill of happiness is the sharing of our joy with the
ones we love and the ones who love us. Equally important is the
sharing of our sadness, both great and small, with our loved ones.

How terrible it would be to have to keep our joys and sorrows silent!

But, joys and sorrows are brief interludes, signposts sprinkled along our
journey through life. When joy comes to us, we relish and share
the pause, and continue on; but when momentary unhappiness befalls
us, we pause only long enough to tidy up our hearts, and then we
continue on wiser and better equipped for the much rougher road
ahead. A full life has never known complete joy, because unhappiness
is the lubricant to a full life.

“Along my journey, I cried ’cause I had no shoes,
‘Til I met a man along the way who had no legs.”

Your Father

EinsteinWe even have friends we’ve never met. I have lots of those: Gandhi, Einstein, Thich Nhat Hanh, Schweitzer, Jesus and the Buddha, to name a few. In that category, one of my friends . . . the late mythologist, writer and lecturer Joseph Campbell, is the source of one of my favorite quotations. Who said it first isn’t known, but besides Campbell, Will Rogers liked it and used it often. Here’s the quote: “There are no such things as strangers, only friends we’ve not yet met.”

Actually, being a Buddhist, I think there’s a good possibility that the Buddha may be the original source for that quotation. If not, I’m sure he agreed with it. In fact, he took it a step further. He taught that not only were we all friends connected to and dependent on each other, but we are all one. Maybe that’s why we feel the way we do about our friends. Maybe we feel that they are a part of us. We know they are a part of our life, an important and needed part. But maybe it’s more than that. No maybe about it; it’s all of the above.

The Buddha spoke of two truths: the mundane truth which is the one we use in carrying out the daily routine tasks of life, and the ultimate truth. Knowing the ultimate truth makes us more skillful in our every-day decision-making process. The mundane truth is that we are each separate individuals. The ultimate truth is that we also are all one; each one of us a part of the whole, like the Earth is one planet, but it consists of land, water, flora, animals, people, etc. Like one’s body: one wonderful vehicle with lots of parts . . . including arms, legs, fingers, toes, eyes, brains, heart, etc. (See March 2010 blog.)

If our brains aren’t able to fully understand and process this idea of oneness, then perhaps it’s a truth we can just leave to the heart for processing. Who said that it’s only the brain that thinks, feels and perceives? And who said that all the heart does is pump? There’s something Zen-ish here that may be worth meditating on. In any event, it’s not difficult to understand and appreciate the idea of friends and friendships, whether they come from our family or someone else’s, whether we’ve met them or not, and whether they are here or gone away.

We share our lives with our friends, and they share theirs with us. Sharing our friends’ joys and sorrows put ours in proper perspective. Each of us benefits from such sharing and helps us realize that the good times and the bad times make up the fullness of life itself. In fact, there are no good times and bad times; there are only times. We are the ones doing the labeling. Best not to get stuck with the label. Just keep smilin’, keep shinin’, knowing you can always count on a friend. It can be your dad or mom, your brother or cousin, a non-relative, or even someone you haven’t yet met.

Today’s article was shared from the following website: http://buddhismteacher.com/blog/?p=645

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