Toxicity

Over and over again I attempt to figure out how to keep toxic personalities and behaviors out of my life. I recently read a blog insinuating that someone needs to be compassionate towards people who are negative as they may be going through a particularly difficult time or just having a bad day. I am that person. However, that does not mean that I need to embrace those people who are self-centered, selfish and cruel. The people who spew hate and poison – the toxic person.

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”
Maya Angelou

There is so much anguish in the world, so many people who suffer unimaginable atrocities and have not even the most basic of human rights. I can barely stand the silly trivialities, gossip and blabber that so many people engage in on a daily basis. Please don’t get me wrong, Im am neither severe or stern. I love to laugh and have a wacky sense of humor which I have often used to survive times of emotional crisis. However, I do not care that you sat in the hot summer sun twice without proper protection and now you can’t sleep.  I don’t care when your children went out to play or went to the bathroom. I don’t care that Sue is a terrible mother or that Sally does not have the most stylish attire in the world.  I really don’t want to hear how many hundreds of dollars you spent on stuff so that you appear to be keeping up with others.

Here are a few things I do care about.  I care that the people of Syria have even one day without any violence. I care that not everyone has a safe place to lay their heads each night.  I care that millions of children in the world do not have clean water to drink. I care that so many people use fear and hatred as a way to survive. I care about compassion and tolerance for all.

 

 

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Living Light

Two weeks ago I acted as worship leader for the new minister in our programed Quaker Meeting. We met beforehand and he provided me with some “crumbs” and left the rest up to me. One thought held more relevance to me than the others – we need to go beyond the happy idea of an inner light and find a way to make that light alive – living and breathing.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”   Martin Luther King, Jr.

The day after I was worship leader I had a terrible fall before work and shattered the bottom half of my knee cap. I am temporarily living at my mother and father’s on one floor and have plenty of time to ruminate on the living light. I have seen it in action and been extremely aware of it since my injury from members of my meeting, friends and co-workers. I have been showered with cards, gifts, flowers, food and well wishes.  The living light was nearly visible and that kind of light spreads to the darkest corners. Well, at least some of the dark corners. I know these people who let their light so shine before men every single day and I am glad!

Wealth


Life holds so many simple blessings, each day bringing its own individual wonder.
John McLeod

When I was a little girl I wanted to look like Cinderella and be loved by several Prince Charming types. I thought I would like to live in a modern day castle with all the latest conveniences and a wardrobe like Couture Barbie. Even as a young adult I believed that what I wanted was a less regal variation of that same dream. Then when I married a peasant type I realized that I was never going to realize that materialistic dream. I became quite jealous of family and friends who had more stuff than I had. As our only child began to grow up with emotional problems the dream began to turn into a nightmare. I shook my fist at fairy tales and all the advertisements that twisted my brain and my heart. What was this madness of more equals better, that appearances are more important than the light within?

I am not sure when the little seed that had been planted in my heart when I was young began to take root but it did and has been growing ever since. There is still a small part of me that wants more clothes, books and stuff. I am continually aware of this and determined  to work at this issue. However, I would like to share with you the extravagant wealth which I am blessed with. When did I get past my ego enough to realize just how rich I am? It is so corny but so true that compared to so much of the world I am living in the lap of luxury.  So many live with no clean water, no shoes or doctors.no beds or homes or countries. There have been times when I have had multiple TV’s, radios and other electronic devices going at the same time. Seriously?

Now I count my riches in the number of honest-to-goodness friends I have and the realization that I have everything I need and more. I would like to spend my time going forward sharing my riches with the rest of the world.

Diversity

 

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

Maya Angelou

I begin to see a theme in much of my writing of late. It seems that a fear of “something” is what lies beneath all of the negative emotions in the world. What I don’t understand is why there is such a fear of other human beings. People of other spiritual backgrounds, cultures,color and beliefs only fascinate me. Always excited to compare likenesses and differences I eagerly await any opportunity to chat with people who look, sound and speak differently than I.

The problem for me seems to hit closer to home. My intolerance is for those in my culture who speak my language and supposedly come from similar social and religious background and think that they are far superior to everyone else. Contact and conversation with these people usually makes my blood pressure sky rocket at which time my self-righteous monster rears its ugly head! This is certainly an area I need to continue to work on. These are the times I love to re-read “The Work” of Byron Katie to remind myself that it is not my job nor my responsibility to tell others how to think, feel or react. Nor is it my job to judge my neighbor, co-worker or family member even though at times I would like to do just that. I have often asked myself how much I would like to live in a world where everyone thought and acted exactly like I do? I am certain that this world would be more boring than anything imaginable. So what I would wish for myself and the entire planet is that humankind would be just that – kind to humans. However Byron Katie reminds me, “When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time. How do I know that the wind should blow? It’s blowing!

Byron Katie from “Loving What Is”

 

 

 

 

Changes

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

I have been continually watching changes over the past week primarily due to the fact that I am stuck in a lift chair since I broke my knee cap last Monday. However there is a lovely view from this chair and I am able to watch the shadows of daylight change each day as well as the night lights and stars. At this particular time of year there are are other more noticeable changes taking place. There is a most enjoyable small wooded area behind my parent’s house and while most of what I can see remains in the greens of late summer there are signs of change. In the northeast we expect this change and most of us accept it as well. The oranging and brownig of the leaves and grass heralding the end of one season and the beginning of the next. That is the way of nature. I have never seen or heard a maple tree throwing a fit as it drops its leaves. Why then do we humans fight so very hard against the inevitability and marvel of change?

I will not pretend that I have never been resistant to change but as I grow older I often look forward to it. What is the pupose of plodding along day after day living the same old routine? How will we learn, grow and evolve? I am currently in a situation which has brought about an amazing amount pf change and adjustment not only for me but my seventy-something parent, the office I work in and even my spiritual community. I am trying very hard to remain positive and to accept the help of others but more importantly I am beginning to see this as a tremendous opportunity to shake off some leaves and grow deeper and stronger.

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