“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” Dalai Lama
Does kindness matter?
I think so, and there are compelling reasons to make it a priority in our lives, for the world needs it now more than ever.
A few months ago, while watching television in a hotel in the Midwestern United States, I saw a commercial for a local program which mentors the elderly.
I heard the narrator say, “One of the ways we mentor the elderly is take them out and teach them how to shoot squirrels.”
Seriously? Mindless killing of animals just to pass the time? That really breaks my heart.
7 REASONS WHY KINDNESS MATTERS
Research shows that repeated acts of kindness:
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” ~Mike Murdock
What do we call something we do daily? A habit.
Part of the work of becoming a conscious human being is looking at our habits and patterns and seeing whether they serve us . . . or hold us back.
Sometimes we do things without even knowing why.
I love the story about a mother teaching her ten year-old how to cook a roast. As part of the preparation, the mother cut the ends off the roast before putting it in the pan.
The daughter asked why and the mother replied, “Well, honey, that’s how my mother taught me to do it.”
“But why?” asked the daughter.
I recently heard a Chinese saying about Western culture: “People in the West are always getting ready to live.”
That made me stop and reflect on how much time I have spent “getting ready” for the next direction I want to go in my life.
A fair amount of time, actually. And much of it was wasted time.
In fact, much of it was merely procrastination.
That is why I’ve taken to heart a phrase I heard last year by Steven Pressfield: “Start before you’re ready.”
Do you rush around “getting ready” to find the perfect mate, find the perfect job or house or car?
Or start that creative project?
Do you wait for conditions to be just right to start something new? I used to think I had to create the perfect office environment before I could start writing.
There’s no such thing!
Do you delay taking vacation time until you can afford to go to Paris? When there are perfectly interesting cities and places nearby?
Don’t let excuses hold you back!
Encouraging a child to earn their own money does more than teach them responsibility. It gives them the confidence to tackle anything. In this lovely excerpt from “The Wind Is My Mother,” Bear Heart tells the story of his first job: earning money planting cotton.
My dad taught me to hitch a team of horses to a wagon and a plow when I was eight years old and when I was ten he gave me two acres of land, saying, “If you want to plant something, go ahead. If you don’t plant anything, let it grow wild. Maybe some rabbits will come, feed upon the plant life and you can kill a rabbit to have something to eat. It’s your choice.”
Don’t let it sit idle, let it yield something — that’s what he was teaching me.
I just watched former President Jimmy Carter’s May 2015 TED talk entitled, “Why I believe the mistreatment of women is the number one human rights abuse.”
It’s riveting and enlightening [in a dark sort of way]. And it’s something we all need to know about if we are to correct these major abuses around the world. Just 16 minutes long, it’s well worth a watch.
If you’re like me, I learned in grade school that the U.S. Constitution was based on ancient Greek democracy. Which was a creative stretch of the truth, since ancient Greece was not a democracy.
My research as to what children are taught today about the origin of our government is also disappointing.
Apparently the Founding Fathers simply created it out of thin air, or were influenced by European governments even though there was no democracy anywhere in Europe at that time.
THE TRUE HISTORY OF OUR CONSTITUTION
The truth is that the U.S. Constitution is modeled in both principle and form on the Great Law of Peace of the Native American tribe known as the Iroquois.
Well, just when I thought Pope Francis couldn’t be any cooler, he has come out with an eloquent 10 commandments for stopping climate change and the “disturbing warming” of our planet.
One would think he was Native American.
These 10 commandments were part of a 182-page encyclical on climate change entitled “Laudato Si [Praised Be To You]; On Care for Our Common Home.”
Encyclicals are teaching documents traditionally addressed to Catholics worldwide, but this one was addressed to “every person living on this planet.”
In it, he said, “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”
Here are the Ten Commandments of Climate Change
Years ago I was at a party and walked into a room where a group of friends were playing on a small pool table. Curious, I asked what they were playing.
“Pocket billiards. Want to play?”
“Sure,” I replied, “what do I do?”
Pointing to the various pockets and handing me a cue, my friend said, “shoot this ball into this pocket and that ball into this other pocket,” etc., etc.
Much to my friends’ amazement, I did exactly that, because I was too naïve and inexperienced to know it was supposed to be hard!
So there was a super power I didn’t know I had.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and find they were the big things.” Robert Brault
One of the things I love about the Native American spiritual path is the focus on appreciating the simple things in life.
Simple things are often hard to relate to in today’s world of overwhelm.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, says we human beings currently create as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of civilization up through 2003!
And yet our bodies were, and still are, designed to be in tune with the sun, the moon, the seasons, and the cycles of nature. That simplicity is what our souls long for.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Were you here before?
How will you know?
Reincarnation is the spiritual belief that when we leave our physical body, our souls eventually re-enter another physical body and we live another life. Possibly over and over.
But perhaps we don’t need to reenter a physical body to live again, because consciousness may very well survive death, the brain and the body!
The Roman poet Lucan summarizes the Celtic attitude to death as follows: “Death is the middle of a long life.”
I once asked my Muskogee Creek teacher, Bear Heart, if Native Americans believe in reincarnation.
This was his one word answer: “Yes.”
“James, earn this… earn it.” Dying words of Capt. John Miller to Private James Ryan in the film, Saving Private Ryan.
Officially, Memorial Day in the United States is a day for remembering and honoring all Americans who died in any war.
Unfortunately, Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of the summer holiday, with people focusing on shopping, family gatherings, picnics and sporting events. So we sometimes forget the real meaning of the Day.
In traditional Native societies, the moon time, or menstrual cycle, is seen as something sacred. Yet my mother called it “the curse.”
What do the Natives know that our mother’s didn’t?
I used to share moon time teachings with women’s groups only, but I’ve decided that men need this information, too.
For my women readers, this is information that has been lost in our society, but it can help us in achieving the life balance we all seek.
To my male readers, please read this in the spirit of gaining a better understanding of female mysteries! Learn to appreciate the women in your life as energetic beings in tune with the cycles of nature.
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
That goes for how we treat ourselves, too.
I just listened to a talk by one of my mentors, Brendon Burchard. He made an interesting point about ending our focus on limiting beliefs and instead focusing on what works.
Brendon related the following email conversation he had with one of his coaching clients:
Client: “But what about my doubts and fears?”
Brendon: “What of them? They’re not going to go away. The question is, are they winning the day, or are you? What of your greatness and power? When you connect there, finally, after all this time, your insecurities will be irrelevant.”
We’ve heard it before: what we focus on expands.
Do you want to focus on your problems? Or what works?Continue reading
“Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher.” Oprah Winfrey
Do you sometimes wish you had someone to answer all your questions and tell you how to run your life?
Tell you which path to take when you’re at a cross-roads?
I’ve wished for that many times.
When life seems confusing and hard, it would be so nice to have someone we respect just say, “Here, why not take this path. This is what you should do.”
Well, the fact is, we all do have people like that in our lives. They’re called role models.
This is a guest post by David Nelson, PhD
A few months ago, Molly and I were having supper together in a real nice little vegan café in Madison, Wisconsin. We were exchanging stories of our ways of helping people cope, and I relayed to her one of the experiences I had in teaching people how to relax.
I also explained how many counselors today are just very boring in their professions, and need to spice it up a bit.
You see, about 10 years ago, a gentleman came into my office stating that he had chronic pain in his lower back. He explained he was a carpenter and that the only thing that seemed to help him manage his pain was smoking marijuana.
He turned to me and said, “I heard you do hypnosis, and I was wondering if you could hypnotize me to be stoned all the time? I don’t want to lose my job with a dirty urine analysis. I figured if I could hypnotize myself to be stoned, it would manage my pain and I could keep my job.”
My first thought was, “Is he kidding?”
Then it dawned on me, “Why not?”
Ancient cultures throughout history have celebrated this time of rebirth of Mother Earth. But what does it mean for us?
The earth is comprised of 70% water and, on average, so is the human body. That alone is a giant clue as to how interconnected we are.
What happens to the earth’s energy also happens within us, therefore we can experience more harmony if we work with the earth’s cycles instead of ignoring them. It’s not just another day.
Here are some of the aspects of the Spring Equinox and how you can incorporate them into your own life so as to better communicate with the spiritual forces of the earth.
Do you struggle with staying positive?
Are you someone who sees the glass as half empty?
Research shows that people who practice positive thinking are less likely to be unemployed and more likely to be physically healthier and live longer.
That should be some good incentive to try to think more positive.
Yes, it does take practice. But the good news is that anyone can learn to do it.
I used to be chronically sad and depressed. All the clothes in my closet were navy blue because I had the “blues” all the time.
Then one day a friend I hadn’t seen in a month asked me how I was and I started saying, “Well, I’ve been having a hard time lately…”
When someone cuts you off in traffic, do you feel indignant?
If you’re like me, your answer was probably “yes.”
For many people, the first reaction in that situation is a negative one.
But given the state of affairs in the world, wouldn’t it be a good thing to put out a higher vibration?
To add good vibes where they’re needed?
To make the world a better place?
I’m sure you agree. But how does one do that?
I believe practicing compassion is one of the very best ways to do it.
[Tweet “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.” — Dalai Lama]
We never know what challenges and hardships another person may be dealing with that might cause them to act in a way we don’t like.
My friend Teri told me this story about herself:
Tuesday morning I arrived at 8:27 a.m. for my 8:30 yoga class and found all the students standing outside in the parking lot.
I live in Michigan, and it was snowing and the wind chill temperature was 3 degrees. I couldn’t have been more mystified to find everyone outside!
I was told the outside door was locked and the teacher wasn’t there.
One student said she had a key and we could go in and practice yoga on our own, or at least get out of the cold. No one moved.
And no one checked the door to make sure it was really locked. We all just relied on the report of the first person to try it.
While I texted the studio owner, someone else called her to see if she knew where our teacher was. The owner in turn called the teacher, who was actually inside and hadn’t realized the door had locked behind her!
She immediately popped her head out the door and let us all in!
Now, this all took place over the course of just five minutes. But, at 3 degrees, it was a very long five minutes.
I reflected during class on the irony of the fact that we all readily assumed we were locked out when one of us even offered to unlock the door, and the teacher was inside the whole time.
No one even double-checked that the door was really locked.
This was a prime example of assumptions leading us astray.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent your life slathering on sunscreen every time you were out in the sun.
Everyone said to do it. It was a no brainer, right?
Well, guess what? As with many pieces of health advice, “everyone” turns out to be wrong!
The latest research shows that if you apply sunscreen every time you’re in the sun, you’re blocking the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. Adequate vitamin D may reduce your risk of up to 16 different types of cancer, including: pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate and skin.
Vitamin D contributes to healthy bones, lowering blood pressure and protecting against a host of other diseases. Yes, you can take a supplement, but it will never be as good as the direct source of the sun.
In the USA, vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic levels. Ironically, vitamin D deficiency can lead to aggressive forms of skin cancer. A ground-breaking 2011 study published in Cancer Prevention Research suggests that optimal blood levels of vitamin D offers protection against sunburn and skin cancer.