Learning about Love: Day 100 – I feel loved

The other day, my friend called. I was at home, ill with a nasty virus.

My friend commented about the way my voice sounded and asked if she could bring me some nice hot tea from Tim Horton’s. When I replied with, “thanks for the offer, but I’ll be fine”, she asked if I needed anything at the store.

My friend explained that she had to go to the grocery store for herself and then she thought she’d go through the Tim Horton’s drive-thru so it was no trouble for her to pick something up for me as well.

I hemmed and hawed thinking that I didn’t have any more than a few dollars of change in my purse. I was low on milk and would need some more for my tea, so I mentioned that I could use a small container of milk.

Then my friend asked if I would like a bagel or a biscuit. “Can I bring you a sandwich?” she asked. “What kind would you like?

I hesitated and I hesitated. I could tell my friend was concerned about making sure I was eating while nursing the cold virus, but I didn’t want to impose.

Embracing help when it’s offered is something I’m learning slowly.

“Would you like turkey?” my friend asked.

I told her I liked the new turkey Panini. She said she’d stop by in an hour.

When my friend arrived, she handed me a large container of milk, a large cup of tea, a turkey Panini sandwich and a chocolate chip happy face cookie.

As I walked back to my apartment with my hands full of blessings, a warm fuzzy feeling welled up inside.

It was the best tasting turkey sandwich I’ve had.

Later that evening, I called my friend to tell her that I felt so loved by her care and thanked her for our friendship.

I learned that receiving love is just as important as giving love.

This post marks the end of my 100-day learning about love challenge. Much like my 100-day gratitude challenge, I feel like a different person to the one who began the challenge.

The insights and shifts I’ve experienced is phenomenal. I’d like to share them with you over the next few weeks or so.

Thank you for following along and for your comments. I’ve been really busy with so much going on and haven’t been able to keep up with blogging activities as much as I’d like to.

Wishing all a wonderful week.


Learning about Love: Day 84 – A Hole in my Heart

An empty bench by the river.

A twinge of loneliness came to visit today. An empty feeling in the pit of my stomach emerged and I knew it wasn’t hunger; at least, not the hungry for food kind.

The lyrics of a song came to mind: “Another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody.”

I sighed thinking how lovely it would be to have a special someone in my life. Someone to go on outings with. Someone to have fun with. Someone with whom I really clicked.

When it comes to men, I haven’t had much luck.

Relationships have always been a challenge for me, as was choosing a good man. I had good men interested in me. I just wasn’t interested in them.

I took on the challenges; the ones that needed my help.

When it came to relationships, I lost myself.

In hindsight, I think I lost myself in relationships just like I lost myself in cigarettes and alcohol. All of these things served as a diversion. Although I wasn’t consciously aware of this at the time.

Cigarettes, alcohol and needy relationships distracted me from the hole in my heart. A hole that began very early in life. A hole that was passed down. A hole that didn’t belong to me, but that I took on anyway because I was too young to know it wasn’t mine.

My story is not a new one. It happens all the time in society. Everywhere one looks, one can see someone putting their crap on someone else.

We do it unconsciously and we do it habitually.

In learning about love, one can wake up to recognize unconscious behavior, beliefs and attitudes.

I learned that the hole in my heart is the love and compassion I didn’t have for myself. It was the missing lesson in early life that begged for attention until I was ready to hear.

I’m listening now.

Learning about Love: Day 76 – A Call to Help

A rose for a rose.

Have you ever heard a story that made you feel that you just had to do something to help?

Today, I went to visit a yoga teacher. Her name is Kate Stevely. Kate’s been practicing yoga for forty-five years. I figured she knew her stuff.

I wanted to find out if Kate could help my body to move again. Since dealing with severe RA symptoms and inflammation in every joint, my body has ceased up.  Range of motion is quite limited in all joints and almost non-existent in some.

Kate said it’s important to keep the body moving, even if all you can manage is in the smallest degree. Motion helps to remove toxins.

Kate knows about chronic illness. Her niece, Barbara, experiences chronic illness and in 2009 Barbara had her colon removed.

Since then, she’s had numerous surgeries due to blockages and now she’s at the point where the doctor’s cannot do anymore surgery because of too much scar tissue.

Barbara is on a diet of pureed food to minimize stomach blockages.

Kate, Barbara’s aunt, found a facility in Florida that will assist in loosening the scar tissue in Barbara’s intestines and abdomen.

Barbara’s friend, Lisa is helping to raise funds so that Barbara can get the help she needs. All Lisa is asking for is $1 from each individual until they reach $10,000.

It would be awesome if we could help Lisa and Kate create a miracle for Barbara by contributing $1 to their fundraiser called “Project Paper Crane”.

If everyone you knew contributed $1, it won’t take long to reach the goal.

Here is a link to Lisa’s plea on Barbara’s blog (click here). And here is a link to the fundraiser page (click here).

I’ve only given a small summary here on my blog to help raise awareness for Barbara, please read both page links above to get all the details.

I sincerely appreciate the time you take to read the blog and visit the links I provide.

Love and blessings to all. 🙂

Photo credit: FreeDigitalphotosdotnet

Learning about Love: Day 75 – Teachings from the Dalai Lama

Cardinal HE Donald Wuerl welcomes His Holiness...

Cardinal HE Donald Wuerl welcomes His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My one hundred day learning about love challenge is three-quarters over. It seems like it was just last week that I posted part two of teachings from the Dalai Lama. I was shocked to realize it was twenty-five days ago.

But even though one hundred days is only twenty-five days away, I’ll continue this learning about love challenge beyond and see what miracles unfold.

Most of you know the last two posts focused on the teachings of the Dalai Lama.  In Learning about Love:  Day 48, we learned that according to His Holiness:

  • The purpose of life is to be happy.
  • We achieve happiness through mental peace.
  • Mental peace comes from the development of love and compassion.
  • Love and compassion is developed through caring for the happiness of others and cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others.
  • Whether we want to admit it or not, the truth is, we are interdependent with one another.
  • Mutual cooperation is evident in nature.
  • When babies and children are raised in unhappy homes where affection, cuddling and love are withheld they have impaired development and lack the ability for love.
  • “the affection and respect of others are vital for our happiness.” Dalai Lama

Then, we learned in Learning about Love:  Day 50:

  • Our need for love is the foundation of our existence because our existence is dependent on the help (love) of others.
  • The main cause of depression is lack of the affection (compassion/love) from others.
  • Obstacles to the development of compassion are; an innate self-centeredness, desire and attachment, personal neediness.
  • Compassion is not only an emotional response. It’s a reasoned firm commitment toward another that doesn’t change when they behave negatively.

Now, we learn how to develop compassion.

First off, the Dalai Lama is quick to point out that developing this kind of compassion is not easy at all.

His Holiness appeals to the power of human reasoning. Regardless of the vast differences in personality, character traits and behaviors, each one of us is a human being. Each one of us has a desire for happiness and wishes to avoid suffering. Each one of us has a right to happiness and avoid suffering. All human beings are equal in their right to obtain happiness.

“Now, when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all. As long as they are human beings experiencing pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate between them or to alter your concern for them if they behave negatively.”

He states that we have such trouble developing this kind of compassion because we are attached to feeling independent and self-existent. (I think the Dalai Lama is saying that we think we are the only ones that matter. It’s all about ME way of thinking.)

How do we start developing compassion? The Dalai Lama answers:

  • Remove anger and hatred.
  • Develop faculties of reason and patience.
  • When a problem occurs, remain humble. Be sincere and concerned the outcome is fair.
  • It is possible to adopt a firm stand while maintaining compassion. One may act strongly without anger.
  • Help prevent others from suffering the consequences of their own acts.
  • Consider enemies your best teacher. Be grateful for this.
  • Practice makes perfect.
  • Be concerned for your friends. Help them. Serve them. Make more friends.
  • When we loose our status, health and finances, we learn what true friendship is.
  • Greet all people you meet as a brother or sister because we all share an identical need for love.
  • A sincere and open heart brings self-worth and confidence.
  • Develop good human qualities.

This brings me to the end of writing about love and compassion from the Dalai Lama. I think it’s time I went out and practiced now.

I hope you enjoyed this post as well as the last two posts on the teachings of the Dalai Lama. Please visit the link below (source) to read the entire article as I have only provided a summary here on the blog.

Source: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet website.

I wish to express my sincere thank you to His Holiness for the work he does in this world. I have a much better understanding of how to develop my capacity for compassion now.

Learning about Love: Day 50 – Teachings from the Dalai Lama

English: Ursula Goodenough with His Holiness t...

English: Ursula Goodenough with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, ASCB (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m learning about love and compassion from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

In addition, I’m reading a book titled, “Owning Your Own Shadow”, author, Robert A. Johnson (1991).  I plan to outline some of the ideas explored by Johnson who is an acclaimed Jungian analyst and best selling author in a future post.

It will be interesting to see how the two topics meld, or not.

By the way, the reason I’m reading the shadow book is to fulfill a requirement to write a reflection paper on the topic of Psychology and Spirituality for a year long spiritual deepening program I enrolled in last June.

I am thrilled to participate in the program because it’s exactly what I was looking for; a focused way to deepen my spiritual journey. The program began in June with a five-day retreat which was phenomenal. It will end next June with a four-day retreat and in between we have a number of requirements to fulfill. I may write about it in more detail in a later post.

To get back to the Dalai Lama teachings, I’ll recap a few points from last post;

  • The purpose of life is to be happy.
  • We achieve happiness through mental peace.
  • Mental peace comes from the development of love and compassion.
  • Love and compassion is developed through caring for the happiness of others and cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others.
  • Whether we want to admit it or not, the truth is, we are interdependent with one another.
  • Mutual cooperation is evident in nature.
  • When babies and children are raised in unhappy homes where affection, cuddling and love are withheld they have impaired development and lack the ability for love.
  • “the affection and respect of others are vital for our happiness.” Dalai Lama

The preceding points are summed up by the following statement from His Holiness;

“It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence.”

If interdependence is a fundamental law of nature, then why do many of us live isolated from others with an emphasis on self-reliance and self-sufficiency?

“Recently I met a group of scientists in America who said that the rate of mental illness in their country was quite high-around twelve percent of the population. It became clear during our discussion that the main cause of depression was not a lack of material necessities but a deprivation of the affection of the others.”

Do we as a society refrain from the display of human affection in our daily life?

“whether or not we are consciously aware of it, from the day we are born, the need for human affection is in our very blood. Even if the affection comes from an animal or someone we would normally consider an enemy, both children and adults will naturally gravitate towards it.”

What are some obstacles to the development of compassion?

  • “we all have an innate self-centeredness that inhibits our love for others.”
  • “Many forms of compassionate feeling are mixed with desire and attachment.”
  • “love (that is) motivated more by personal need than by genuine care for the other individual.”

What exactly is compassion?

“True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively.”

Wow! It seems to me, from reading this, that it takes a high degree of awareness to consistently demonstrate love and compassion in all affairs.

The next post will address how to accomplish this task.

Source: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet website.

Learning about Love: Day 48 – Teachings from the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama brings togeth...

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama brings together Buddhists and Western scientists every two years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, I felt drawn to study teachings from His Holiness the  Dalai Lama. While I am still in the early stages of study, I felt called to share what I’ve learned thus far.

According to the Dalai Lama, the purpose of life is to be happy and the way to achieve happiness is through mental peace. His Holiness states,

“From my own limited experience, I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.”

So − how do we develop love and compassion and what are the benefits?

“The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.”

Why does love and compassion bring happiness?

“Ultimately, the reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else. The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another. However capable and skillful an individual may be, left alone, he or she will not survive. However vigorous and independent one may feel during the most prosperous periods of life, when one is sick or very young or very old, one must depend on the support of others.”

The Dalai Lama further explains that interdependence is a fundamental law of nature.  He mentions that the smallest insects are social beings who survive through mutual cooperation innately knowing they are interconnected.

In fact; oceans, forests, clouds, and flowers, arise because of the interaction of subtle energy patterns.

“It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence.”

The Tibetan teacher points out;

“If the child is not held, hugged, cuddled, or loved, its development will be impaired and its brain will not mature properly.”

He observes and surmises;

“Nowadays, many children grow up in unhappy homes. If they do not receive proper affection, in later life they will rarely love their parents and, not infrequently, will find it hard to love others.”

And, the conclusion is;

“the affection and respect of others are vital for our happiness.”

But it doesn’t end here. Part two will follow next post.

Source:  His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet website.

Learning about Love: Day 43

Pink (blurry) flower.

I love having blog-neighbours! Each one of you elevates me with your beautiful inspiring comments. I feel much better today. Thank you all.

I think I see how I got off track over the last while.

First off, my focus shifted. Activities I really like to do and that energize me took a back seat to activities that drain me and that I don’t like all that much.  I moved away from the path that makes me the happiest.

Second, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I let negative thoughts about my life affect my feelings. Thoughts such as, “My life should be better than it is. I should have a successful career by now. Everyone zooms past me. I shouldn’t have to live below the poverty level. I should have better health by now. My life’s been the same forever. Will I ever “make it”?”

Waaah. Waaah. Waaah. Whew! It’s exhausting! The mind is so funny.

I think I hear Byron Katie utter, “Can you find a stress-free reason to keep those thoughts?”

“No, Katie,  I don’t think I can.”

In response to Linda Willows comment on yesterday’s post, I wrote, “When I look back over my entire life, I realize that on one level, not much has changed. Although I live my life in a more conscious way now, sometimes I feel that I’m just doing the same things only with more awareness. The actual state or external conditions of my life is exactly as they were all those years ago. Sometimes, I wonder about fate. Could it really be possible that we choose our life before birth. I wonder what others think about this.”

Fate? Destiny? Could this be the mind’s attempt to explain why I’m not where I think I should be.

Later, I went to visit Cathy at Treatment Talk. Her post, 25 Quotes From Cheryl Strayed, Author of “Wild”, got me thinking that maybe my external life hasn’t changed much because I haven’t challenged myself enough.  Maybe I need to do something way way outside my comfort zone. I don’t know. I think it’s worth pondering.

Cheryl Strayed, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. Cathy’s daughter ventured to a wilderness camp and spent one of the night’s in the wilderness. All. By. Herself.  Wow!

What do you think? Does your life change much? Have you done anything that’s way outside your comfort zone? Any thoughts on fate? Destiny?