The Daily Word

Your Monday Muse: Positive Planning for Peace!

Positivity The first step, we are advised in The Daily Word, is to surround ourselves with Positive People. It seems simple and a small thing. But it is true that if you have been surrounded by nabobs of negativity, there will be a definite change in your positivity outlook. Positivity can be infectious. And it doesn’t have to be of the Pollyanna-ish nature where you simply think happy thoughts and feel that all things will always turn out for the best in this best of all possible worlds. Positive thinking and positive planning are the outward signs of inward grace in most cases. The blessings we have in our life are not always those that we see in an obvious and material way. If we have been blessed with good friends in life, and have had opportunities to meet wonderful people, then we have something to be thankful for. And we have seen from past weeks that when opportunities are open and we can keep an open mind to the possibilities that exist in our life, we can feel gratitude. Optimism is a gift. Positivity is something we can adopt in our attitude over a period of time and planning. Positivity is an outlook. When we want to be forward thinking in this world, we can begin with positive planning in our life! Compassion Compassion is another gift we can give to others. And it is something to be cultivated and learned at times. Some of us are born with a compassionate nature, but compassion is something that we can adapt and promote each day. How we react to others can teach us and open a window into our souls. When we practice empathy, it will help to heal divisions and anger that we see around us each day. And when we have compassion for those who seem out of control and are hurting themselves, we can understand and use this as a teaching moment. We can talk with those we love about ways to avoid lashing out and also finding ways to help rather than simply ways to condemn. Compassion can be the ultimate in teachable moments! Peace in the World We have often heard of a running cliché about wanting to find “World Peace.” It seems to be this elusive talking point that we have said by rote is a much desired goal, but we know it’s not a real ‘thing.’  But when we have a spiritual base in our hearts and in our souls, then we can aspire to find peace. Inner peace is the starting point we can use to achieve the elusive goal of finding peace in the outer world. We can, as they say, become part of the solution rather than just being another part of the problem. Each day, when we feed our soul with a positive outlook for facing challenges and problems, when we practice compassion for ourselves as well as others, then we are beginning to see a path for peace in our own time. The key to all this, of course, is love. Jesus told us this simple truth.  He actually whispered the answers to the test in our ear. In past weeks we have talked about opening the door to possibilities.  The possibilities include actively working for peace in our lives and in our world.  We are called upon to look for a path of salvation for ourselves and for an outer world that cries at times for the simple solutions we have been given. The answer to peace in our time is laid before us. We can choose love each day. Bible Verse: As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience- Colossians 3:12 Mantra: I will choose to create a positive outlook in my life that will assist me over hurdles and challenges each day. And I will choose to show compassion, for myself and for others in my life each day. And finally, I will work to cultivate the inner peace that we have been striving for in The Growing Group. By feeding my soul with a positive outlook, and showing compassion, I am working towards peace in my life and in my lifetime. Love is the key to unlock the door each day.

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Monday Muse: On Mother’s Love and a Grateful Heart

A Mother’s Love With the upcoming holiday of Mother’s Day, it makes many of us reflect on the idea of what comprises a Mother’s Love. In The Daily Word, it’s noted that whether your mother is still living or has passed on, the love that she held for you in her heart is something that lives on. It is an inspiration that is always felt. I am grateful and blessed that my mother is still living. Many of my closest friends have already had to say goodbye to both their parents. It’s a bittersweet holiday to celebrate our parents on Mothers Day or Fathers Day-when they are not here. But it also serves as a reminder of the celebration of their lives and their legacy that lives on in their children and in their deeds. We know from experience, most of us, that a Mother’s Love is one of the strongest bonds in existence and it is a force that is almost impossible to break. And when we contemplate our own lives, our work, our deeds, and what we want to achieve, we can find untold strength in that bond that is felt in our Mothers love for us. Looking back in our lives, we remember often the inspiration and encouragement that only a mother can give to her child. And we remember how that love has kept us going! It is something that we can build on and find strength and courage in nurturing each day.   A Grateful Heart… To that end, we bring a grateful heart to each new project or plan that we seek to begin. With that, there is a psalm that tells us to give thanks with our whole heart. That is the part that is reserved at times for those we love the best. We need to open our heart to make it whole and to observe the blessings we have gathered in our lives. After a particularly rough month, and through the past year in dealing with the Pandemic, I’ve often had to fall back and remind myself of the blessings I have received in this life. And it is with that same grateful heart that I have found so many people willing to help and to encourage and to wrap my loved ones in grace and in kindness. It is the strength of that love, given with a whole heart, and in particular, the love that is needed to give to our friends and families who need that resilient and encompassing bond of love from us reaching out with a heart made whole by love.  We reach out in the spirit of that universal Mother’s Love for her own.  And it is rewarded by enveloping those who seek it with the encouragement and grace that we have felt in that all-encompassing love. It truly takes a great, big and grace-filled heart to enfold a flock of people with that love. Sharing in that gratitude is what gives us the warmest feeling of fulfillment as we move forward in life. Release There is a memorable song by Bob Dylan that speaks of a wish and a lament-Any day now, I shall be Released. We speak of a great release when we know that things are coming to a close. And so it is when we have experienced watching a loved one struggle with pain and illness, that we recognize death as a kind of release. When we release and let go of those things that we once thought were important in our lives, it is a lifting of the spirit that will almost always make you feel lighter. Your spirit has felt this release. It’s more than the type of relief we feel when we see a messy desk or room that has been cleaned and cleared. In some respects, the corners of our own soul have clutter to clear up. When we do release the heaviness of long held beliefs and anger, there is a lightness of spirit. The old saying is this; “It would make a Mother proud.” We have spoken of the strength of a Mother’s Love, and the idea of living with gratitude for all we have received. The final part of this process brings us round to the release that will lead to the joy of a Mother’s Love and the fulfillment of a grateful heart. When we can set things free that have bound our spirit in pain and sorrow, we can achieve great things. Bible Verse: I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart- Psalm 9:1 Mantra: I will be mindful of the all-encompassing power of a Mother’s Love, and be grateful each day for the chance to nurture and renew the bonds of love I have had and may still seek in others. And finally, I am going to take deep breaths and live each day of the week, mindful of the spirit of loving others with a whole heart. I will release all the inner angst and worry that plagues me, just as I release deep breaths and expel all of the past sorrow and pain. And I will feel lighter in my step and my thoughts when I release the past and live with a grateful and loving heart.

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Your Monday Muse: Finding the time & Meeting Expectations

Finding Time I find there is never enough time in the day to do all the things that we want to do…Remember the old Twilight Zone where the man longs for the time to just read all the books he wants? And then his glasses break and he cannot do what he really wants to do! But in real life, it’s not broken glasses but a path of broken promises that we make to ourselves that leads us down a path of dissatisfaction and delay. We realize there will never be a ‘good time’ to start to follow our dreams or accomplish or goals. We have to make the time and to start making time for the priorities we have in life. There is a divine order to the universe, we are told. So when we know that there are spiritual goals in our life as well as personal ones, then it gives us strength to carry on with the things we need to do to follow our dreams. Vigor If you are like me, you are wishing for more energy each day! And if your schedule is interrupted by a change of seasons or a big project that is on deadline, it is even more draining. We need to come to a place in our mind and our thoughts that will fill our spirit and to renew our source of energy from within. A “tap’ if you will, like a pub tap for beer, where we can simply refresh our minds and bodies. There is a description in “The Daily Word” of someone who feels the presence of God and is enervated and energized. The point of prayer and meditation is to find a time and place to center yourself, and your restless thoughts and chaotic schedule, and become grounded in your own quiet place. To find that peace each day is difficult. And all people have different levels of energy to draw from that, as Psalm 23 tells us it will “restoreth our souls.” We need to find that point of rescue in our lives each day, to draw from the tap and find that peaceful place to give us the vigor and the energy we need to fulfill our goals. Expectation Remember that song by Carly Simon called, “Anticipation?” It was a good feeling to put into words and song that lightness of spirit we feel when we anticipate something good. Our expectations, as we are often told, may be too high and we can then have a sinking or a let-down feeling when we realize that our reality may not match our expectations in life. If we have faith in the spirit, then we understand that our lives are unfolding within the arc of our spiritual universe. And we can always find the expectation for positive things in our life when we see that we have a partner in God. We can become cautious and plan only for the worst to occur in our lives, and always live in that safe space. Or instead, we can make plans for the best of outcomes and we can then plan to see them unfold. But there is no outcome of the possible if we cannot imagine it in our lives. If we give ourselves over to the expectation that we will succeed, we can match that with our vigor and positive planning to match the expectations with a new sense of purpose. Let your expectations meet with reality when you partner with God. I can do all things through him who strengthens me- Phillipians 4:13 Mantra: I will make a plan to find the time each day to carve out the space I need to plan my positive outcomes for the future. Each day I will make point of finding time, and restoring my energy to give me vigor and lightness of heart when I make my positive plans for the future. Finally, I will think of the expectations I have had in the past and make plans to partner with God for positive outcomes for my future.

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