The Devil Made Me Do It!

A great gift in life is to know your intentions. If at every moment and in every situation, with every encounter, you are aware of what motivates you and what the desired outcome is, you are golden.

Peace is possible.

But not if you as an individual, have not taken the time to explore your intentions.

With all my heart. I believe if we all looked into our hearts with compassion for ourselves we would not have an intention to harm others. Harming others causes deep suffering. To harm another, is to harm yourself.

If we are unaware of what is in our heart, so often our intentions become confused and we hurt those who are dear to us because we do not understand the meaning of our own actions.

If something as simple as lunch with a friend, can turn into hurtful speech. How can we have peace in this world?

Start right there. With a single interaction with a friend. What is your intention? To foster compassion? To cause harm? To weave peace in this world?

We don’t even have peace among our friends.

“What was your intention?”

“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

“Then how could you mock me like that?”

“I was just kidding.”

“By belittling me?”

“You’re too sensitive.”

“You’re mean.”

“I wasn’t mean on purpose.”

“What was your intention?”

“To be funny?”

“Seriously.”

“The Devil made me do it?”

“I respect your attempt at humor. I was a fan of Flip Wilson back in the day.”

“I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

“Then, why did you make fun of me?”

“I don’t know.”

And so.

We have a choice. Sit. Listen. What is your intention?

Stop Being a Bully

Bullying is rampant in our schools. How do we stop it? Why does it seem so intractable?

I would argue that a huge contributor to the problem is that we adults have not figured out how to stop this behavior among ourselves.

Yes. It happens to adults. We get bullied. We are bullies. And it’s not just the fodder for campaigning politicians. I know this, because this aggressive manipulation was recently leveled upon me.

Normally. Back in the day. I would laugh it off. And pretend it wasn’t real. Didn’t happen. So middle-school.

But. Lo’and behold.  Upon examining the situation. Indeed there it was. I was being bullied.

And I’m not going to take it any more. From. Any. One.

And so. Harmony vs. Dissonance.

We all pretend to strive for harmony. And yet, so many of us are ill-equipped to achieve it. We walk around spouting the desire for accord and yet by our actions, behaviors, and yes, beliefs create only discord.

Discord. Dissonance. Isn’t that so much easier? It takes no skill at all. Simply pound your fists on the keyboard.

But to create harmony, you need a bit of training. You need to listen. And discern. You need to manage your emotions. You need always to be kind even when you don’t feel like it.

Recognize when you are acting unskillfully. When you are being a bully. Recognize what that behavior truly creates.

If You Only Have a Hammer

I suppose if you’re in a bad mood it feels good to just hammer away.

And for heaven sake, I know you’ve got all the reasons in the world to be in a bad mood. Stress. Uncertainty. Disappointment. Discomfort. Whatever – there are one million reasons any of us can claim for this certain disposition.

Sadly however. You know the saying,

“When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Why is it that so many of us only carry a hammer when we’re pissy? What if we could pack a few other tools on that tool belt. Use a few more skills.

Because. Let’s turn it around.

Have you ever been the nail? You know. When you find yourself  thinking. Oh oh. My good friend here only brought her hammer today. Shoot. What did I do to deserve this turn of events? Well. Nothing, I just look like a nail.

And so. My advice for today. Don’t leave home with just your hammer. And if you do. Bring some hard hats along for all the nails you encounter.

A Village of Seven Billion

Max has been under the weather. I sent him to school anyway. (I had some stuff to do this morning!) The nurse called at 12:15. I went to school and brought Max home.

Here’s the funny part though. The nurse called another mom in the neighborhood by mistake. With a slip of the mind she confused Max for Mac.

The best part is. I know Mac’s mom would have taken care of Max and brought him home if I wasn’t available.

It takes a village.

I love our neighborhood. I love the support of our community. I absolutely have confidence that if we are in need we can count on our friends and neighbors.

I know for sure because I have seen them come together in sickness and in health. In good times and in bad. In joy as well as sorrow.

We need to keep growing that. We need to extend that sense of community from the very depths of our hearts. From our actions in the voter’s booth to how we behave at the Best Buy.

We can feel that sense of community not just for our friends, but also for our friends’ friends. And even our not friends.

We are all in this crazy world together. Right?

The Rest is Cake

Grandma

This is my grandma. She was awesome. I loved visiting her more than anything.

She lived in a little four room house. Along with two bedrooms upstairs, there was a big kitchen, which was also the dining room, the sewing room and the laundry room. There was one light above. Turned on or off by pulling the string. The refrigerator always held six bottles of Pepsi for us kids. And dad’s favorite beer.

The living room was heavenly. It smelled like cedar and comfort. The davenport was perpetually decorated by grandma’s latest crocheted afghan.  There was an ancient upright piano where we would entertain ourselves for hours, even though we only knew parts of three songs. Later on, grandma added a rocking chair and tv table for playing solitaire. African violets flourished on stands by the front windows.

The back porches both upstairs and downstairs were rooms for exploration and imagination. Filled with years of life’s collectings.

And in the little patch of land behind the house. A gigantic cherry tree and a honeysuckle bush. Whose flowers, somehow we actually sucked honey from.

Grandma’s husband, my mom’s father, passed away when my mom was 15. Grandma was a widow for 36 years. Almost twice as long as she was married. She worked until she was 72 years old at the Fredonia Seed Factory filling packets.

She sewed us flannel pajamas and always remembered special occasions with a card and two dollars. She visited us via Greyhound bus. A three-hour trip. And would always be sure to return before Monday. So that she could collect her Social Security check. She never missed church on Sunday and said the rosary daily.

She was the most simple, most kind, most easy-going person I have ever known. I love her with all my heart. To know today, that she has always embodied the lesson I have been searching for.

She never wanted more than she needed.