#my3thanks

Gratitude Campaign Badge
USC’s Gratitude Campaign

When I checked my email the other day, I was surprised and happy to see an email from the community manager at USC School of Social Work with an invitation to their Gratitude Blog Carnival.

I was surprised that they had found my 100-Day Gratitude Challenge and happy to receive an invitation to write a blog post on gratitude thus pulling me out of hibernation to add one more post to this blog before another year comes to an end.

So—here are the three things I’m grateful for in 2013; family, friends and community.

Sometimes we don’t realize how important family is until a major challenge occurs. I feel very grateful and blessed to have a family that is there for me, no matter what.

Some of you know from my blog posts about the challenges I face living with the debilitating chronic illness of RA. Not only is RA physically devastating, it can have devastating emotional, social, mental and financial consequences as well.

If it were not for my family, I don’t know where I would be. I love my family so much that I want to hug each and every one of them every day.

It’s easy to take family for granted or harbor resentments and ill-feelings when we are caught up in our day-to-day tales of survival. Sometimes it takes a shock to wake us up to the fact that, “In the End, Only Love Matters. ”

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little effort, we can choose to wake up through the daily practice of gratitude.

Next to family, there is nothing more important than kind, loving and supportive friends. I am so very blessed to have friends of this caliber.

As with my family, I don’t know where I would be without my friends. Friends who go above and beyond the call of duty, who show up every time you need help without having to call to ask because they just somehow seem to know when to show up.

Sometimes friends are all a person has. Maybe their family is gone or not available for some reason. Friends become a major importance in these circumstances because everyone needs somebody to be there for them.

I cannot tell you how often I give thanks for my friends.

Community work is a world all of its own that has entered my life during the last two years. There is a different energy in community work than what I am use to in the “business world”.  Community is about collaboration and win-win scenarios, at least that is my experience thus far.

I like the idea of working together for the common good of all people that includes treating the environment and people with kindness, respect and dignity. Surely one day we will figure out on a grand scale how to meld business and community through new models of business so that no one is left behind and each one of us has an opportunity to achieve our full potential.

Through community involvement I feel so very grateful to meet incredibly creative, talented and energetic individuals who never cease to amaze me. There is so much good going on in the world when you stop to take a look. Awesome People Doing Amazing Things for their communities and our world.

I feel blessed to be a part of a great community where wonderful things are happening.

What three things are you grateful for in 2013?

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate your time and feel honored that you visited my blog.

Much love to all.

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 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 9

My life is unbelievable.

It was 6:30 p.m. on Monday when I decided to go downtown for ice cream and sit by the river. As I got ready, I felt a little melancholy. Most of my time is spent alone and sometimes the loneliness gets to me. This was one of those times.

I thought how nice it would be to have someone in my life. Then I thought about all the things that are attached to having someone special in my life and the previous thought vanished. I’m not ready for the whole enchilada.

I enjoyed a cup of very tasty organic blueberry ice cream while I sat at the picnic table by the river.

Mmmm ice cream

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. People were collecting in the park. Someone was setting up a small stage and a speaker and music system. Young women in workout clothes arrived. They told me it was Zumba in the park night. For two seconds I thought about participating, then I had a visual of what that would look like and decided to pass.

Zumba dancers

Just as I finished my very tasty ice cream I noticed an older woman walking toward the picnic table. I smiled.  She sat down. She told me that she has lived in the town for seven years and this is the first time she has been to the park.

We chatted for the next hour and a half. Then she invited me to her home to see her zapper.

I have wanted to try a zapper since I heard about them a number of years ago. The least expensive one I found was selling for $100.00. That’s a lot of money to throw away if the thing doesn’t work, I thought. So, I’ve never bought one.

A zapper is a device that sends electrical current into your body and kills parasites, apparently. Hulda Clark, the inventor, has the directions for how to make one in her book, “The Cure for all Disease.”

My park friend’s son-in-law made a few zapper’s up for her and her family. She has an extra one to lend to me when she finds where she put it. In the meantime, she gave me a treatment while I was at her house. All I felt was some pulsing sensations in my hands where I held the wet paper towel covered copper cylinders. I think the idea is to use it everyday until you notice relief from symptoms.

So — now I have a new friend with a zapper. Amazing! This stuff just magically happens. All I have to do is show up.

The greatest service is to recognize the essence or the reality of the other person. Everything else passes away, is transitory, but that recognition of the other as God and one with who you are, to see that, that is the greatest service you can give – the realization of who that person truly is beyond the form. ˜ Eckhart Tolle

Once again, thank you so much for accompanying me on this journey. Wishing everyone a really awesome day.

If you are new to this blog and wonder what this is all about, I’ve given myself a 100 day “Learning about Love” challenge. So — for the next 100 days, it’s all about love. My good friend calls it a “love makeover” (hehehe).

Thank you to all who accompany me on this journey. I really appreciate the support and wonderful comments. 🙂

I created a Facebook page for The Meaning for my Life to build a community where like-minded individuals can share the meaning for their life as well as items of inspiration to help keep us focused on Love, Life and Presence. Just give us a ‘Like’ and your in (hehe). The Like button is in the right sidebar under ‘My Story’ pages.

Learning about Love: Day 8

Today, I need some loving self-care.

As I write this post the time is 11:30 p.m. on July 1st. Earlier today, for about three hours, I helped a friend with some shop work. We filled and packed orders for shipment, broke down cardboard boxes for storage, displayed product on some shelves, did some rearranging and generally got a minute sampling of what my friend does for a living.

I had a great time. It was fun and interesting, but physically challenging. It seems that whenever I want to do something that involves more than sitting at the computer, walking to the car, driving to the store or wherever, the RA disease reminds me that I’m different; that I can’t keep up.

When I arrived home, I was exhausted and my feet hurt like anything. I had to lie down. So I did and fell asleep for two and a half hours. The sleep helped a bit.

As I sit down to write this post I still feel tired, my feet hurt to walk and my body aches. I so feel that I need to wrap myself in a blanket of Love and go back to bed. So that’s what I’m going to do and in the morning which is today, I will stay in bed until I feel rested, then start my day with a loving kindness meditation.

The resource I’ll use for a guided loving kindness meditation is at the UCLA Semel Institute – Mindfulness Awareness Research Centre

It’s a page of free downloadable mindful meditation audio’s. Two of my favourite’s are the short and longer versions of the Loving Kindness Meditation, however they are all very excellent.

I find that a loving kindness meditation is such a great way to restore my energy reserves. I’ll let you know how the day goes.

Once again, thank you so much for accompanying me on this journey. Wishing everyone a really awesome day.

If you are new to this blog and wonder what this is all about, I’ve given myself a 100 day “Learning about Love” challenge. So — for the next 100 days, it’s all about love. My good friend calls it a “love makeover” (hehehe).

Thank you to all who accompany me on this journey. I really appreciate the support and wonderful comments. 🙂

I created a Facebook page for The Meaning for my Life to build a community where like-minded individuals can share the meaning for their life as well as items of inspiration to help keep us focused on Love, Life and Presence. Just give us a ‘Like’ and your in (hehe). The Like button is in the right sidebar under ‘My Story’ pages.

I Found the Meaning for my Life

“The road is long

With many a winding turn

That leads us to who knows where

Who knows where

But I’m strong

Strong enough to carry him

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go.”

Lyrics by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell.

It seemed like an ordinary day.

As I returned home from the grocery store, I met Eileen. Some of you know Eileen from My New Friend. Eileen’s 92 now. She had another birthday.

Eileen was on her way toward the parking lot. I was on my way toward the apartment complex where we live. We met just outside the door to the building. Eileen noticed the grocery bags dangling from my hands.

“Here, I’ll open the door for you.” Eileen reached back into her pocket to retrieve her keys.

“Thank you, Eileen. How are you doing?”

“I couldn’t be better. Here, I’ll get the other door for you as well,” she offered while she scurried toward the inside door that led to the hall where my apartment unit was.

I followed, protesting, “Oh, no, you don’t have to do that, Eileen. You’re on your way out.”

As she stood holding the door open, looking up at me, she beamed, “We’re here to help others. I know that more than ever now.”

My heart melted.

“May I give you a hug, Eileen?”

Eileen smiled. The light shone through her eyes. I dropped the grocery bags to the floor.  We hugged.

Love Itself spoke to me that day.

My New Friend

123RF.com image

Two days after I moved into my new apartment in the seniors building (read here), someone angrily rapped my knocker. (All the apartment doors have brass knockers. They’re easier to hear and you don’t hurt your knuckles when you call on a neighbour.)

I opened my door. A short elderly woman leaned on her walker. She snarled, “You parked in my spot.”

Innocently, I responded, “Oh…. I did? The superintendent told me the parking was not assigned and I could park anywhere I liked.”

“He DID, DID he. Well I’ve had THAT spot for 12 years, ever since I moved in here, so you’ll have to find another spot,” the woman growled.

Hearing the commotion, a neighbour from down the hall approached us.

“There is a spot that no one is using at the end of the second row. You can park there if you like,” the neighbour offered.

“Thank you, I’ll move my car,” I replied sheepishly.

I’d had my first encounter with Eileen.

About a week later, I pulled into my parking spot at the end of the row while Eileen pulled into her spot, four cars down. We entered the building together.

“I just came from my son’s house,” she said gruffly. “The family took me out for brunch today for my 91st birthday.”

“Ninety-one, well happy birthday to you! Did you have fun?”

“Oh yes,” she responded as she eyed me suspiciously.

The next time I met Eileen coming in from the parking lot, she had forgotten her walker in her car. When I asked if I could help, she retorted, “I don’t need any help,” and toddled off back toward her car. Feeling a little foolish, I headed toward my apartment.

Eileen approached me one day while I did my laundry. She told me her story.

Twenty years ago, Eileen was on kidney dialysis due to poisoning from chemicals in the workplace. She said it was the worst time of her life. She prayed to either die or get off dialysis. A week later her kidneys started working again on their own and the doctor took her off the dialysis machine. She hasn’t needed dialysis since.

We had a nice chat about her life and her family.

Eileen bowed her head, “I have to apologize for that day I knocked at your door. I was so mean and you were so nice.”

“Don’t think anything of it, Eileen, it was nice to meet you,” I reassured.

That was six months ago.

The other day, I had the pleasure of accompanying Eileen to the Christmas banquet at her church.

We had just seated ourselves at one of the fifteen large round tables in the hall when a lady stopped by to greet Eileen. Eileen introduce me as her friend.

Eileen explained to the lady that she was without a car to drive for a few days.

The lady commented, “They clipped your wings, did they?”

I piped in, “I haven’t known Eileen for very long, but from what I can tell, I don’t think there is anyone who can clip Eileen’s wings.”

“You’re right about that,” the lady chuckled.

Eileen looked puzzled, “What did you say?”

I leaned closer and repeated my statement with a louder voice.

Eileen grinned, “It didn’t take you long to figure me out.”

We laughed. I’m sure I saw a twinkle in her eye.

The Christmas banquet featured a lovely home-made turkey dinner complete with a special guest in concert.

The buffet table was lined with dishes of coleslaw, mashed potatoes, corn, turnip, stuffing, turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, bread and butter. For dessert, we had plum pudding and cherry cheesecake (so much for my new eating plan, Oh well, it was worth it).

The special guest was Eduard Klassen in concert with his Paraguayan Folk Harp. Here is a taste of Eduard’s beautiful gift of music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bShYqGfko8k&feature=related

Hope you enjoyed Eduard’s music. It was a lovely Christmas concert and a lovely afternoon spent with Eileen.

Thank you Eileen.