Today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me!! Of all the days in the calendar that we chose to mark as special, no date is greater than the day we awoke to this dream called life. Without this day, all others would be irrelevant. Read More
Several years ago, I set out to teach myself how to play harmonica. I had a desire to express myself musically and I chose the harmonica because A. I love blues and B. How hard can it be to play harmonica? It’s only got 10 holes, for crying out loud! Well, I learned very quickly that the instrument was MUCH harder than I thought but I still wanted to learn so I kept at it. Read More
I was listening to holiday music on the radio the other day and Irving Berlin’s classic “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)” came on. As I was listening to it, my mind began to drift as I started to count my own blessings. Among them were the usual suspects of friends, family and fortunate events. Before I knew it, I had amassed quite a list of blessings and with it, a profound sense of peace, joy and gratitude. The more I counted, the more I began to notice what I wasn’t counting; the moments between blessings. Read More
When we thank someone, we are delivering a blessing. No matter our faith or belief system, “thank you” is our way of showing appreciation and good wishes. It’s a way of letting someone know you love them for what they did. Is it important that we know that we love and appreciate each other? We believe that it is. Over the years, I’ve become quite good at giving thanks and expressing gratitude but it’s a different story when someone is expressing their thanks to me. Read More
When we talk about the right to “pursue happiness”, we are saying we have the right to pursue that which will make us happy. I’d like to open this up and simply say that we have the right to be happy. Read More
Philosopher George Santayana wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Over time this has been changed around a bit to refer to history in general and has been widely accepted as a true and logical statement. But, upon closer inspection, I’m starting to question it’s wisdom. Read More
Long ago, when I was just a little kid, I saw a comic on TV who was complaining about February being Black History Month (BHM). His complaint was “The man shorted us again! We have a month to celebrate our history but it’s the shortest month on the calendar!” As a black man, I certainly appreciate the gesture of having a month set aside to acknowledge the contributions of my race to American society but, for some reason, I’ve always remembered that routine and had this lingering feeling about BHM as being somewhat “less than”. Read More
When we find something we believe to be true we enter into a kind of relationship with that truth. In a very real way, we fall in love with that truth. We honor it by accepting it into our hearts. We consult it when making our judgments and decisions. We defend its virtues vigorously and forgive it’s faults generously. Because we consider truth to be good, we are proud of ourselves for finding it. We consider ourselves fortunate for knowing it and pity those that do not. Sometimes we do more than pity those that don’t share the same truth. We condemn, belittle and stifle all voices contrary to our beloved truth. The love affair continues until we are wooed by an even larger truth that we find is undeniable. When this happens, it’s just like ending any intense love affair. Denial, anger, confusion and then, the messy break up. In many cases, we will look back at the old discarded truth with resentment. Lamenting the time spent believing as a waste and that we are fools for loving such an incomplete truth. “How foolish we were to believe in Santa Claus.” It is this love affair that makes honest, civil discourse and debate so challenging. It often takes on the desperate tone of fighting for your deepest loved one instead of opening ourselves to finding greater, deeper levels of truth and therefore, of love.
Let us loosen our desperate grip on what we think is true to make way for new possibilities. Who knows what we could learn? Who knows what we could love?
When facing a dilemma or major problem in life, try this exercise:
Pretend that a good friend has come to you with the exact same problem you’re facing. They have brought this problem to you because you always see things from a different angle and give good advice. Now, listen attentively as your friend tells you all about the issue at hand. Let your friend go into detail about the history, the people involved and their feelings as you listen with an open heart and open mind. When they’re done explaining, your friend turns to you and says, “So, what should I do?” You pause for a moment, considering all you’ve heard and knowing the loving perfection and deep strength that resides in your friend. Then, you open your mouth and fearlessly give the best advice you can give.
So, how did it go? Was the advice something you’ve always considered or was a new option revealed? Will you now do as you have advised? Why not? Surely, you want the same joy and happiness for yourself as you would want for your dear friend. Do you trust yourself enough to accept the gift of your own advice?
“We need more love in the world.” I’ve heard it said time and time again but what does it mean? Is the government hiding vast quantities of love in a warehouse somewhere in Area 51? Are wealthy people buying up all the love and storing it in offshore bank accounts? No, love is a state of mind and, as such, is subject to our will and our choice. This means I have some good news and some bad news about love. I always like to get the bad news out of the way first so, let’s have it.
The bad news about love is that there simply isn’t any more to be found. That’s right, there’s no new love out there to be found and there will never be more love in the world than there is today. The love we have now is all the love that will ever be available. “What about the condition of the world today?” you ask, “If there’s no more love to be found, we’re doomed!” Yes, it would seem so, but wait, I haven’t gotten to the good news yet.
The good news is that our current supply of love is infinite and inexhaustible. Our problem with love is not of supply but of demand. When our conditions for love are met, we demand that the gates to our heart be opened and the order is obeyed without exception. When we love someone or something, the feeling is so powerful and all-consuming that we are fooled into thinking that it’s automatic and involuntary but this isn’t so. As powerful as the experience of love is, we only feel it after a certain set of conditions is met. Over time, we identify and choose which conditions meet our love criteria, like becoming a parent or adopting a puppy. What is the love criteria? It’s different for everyone depending on our experience but rest assured, we ALL have conditions for love. Love appears to be in short supply because our criteria has become so narrow. We only love those in our family, or religious group. We only love those in our city, town or country. Some people love animals but hate other people.
If we want to bring more love into the world, all we as individuals need to do is broaden our criteria for love to include more people and more conditions. Start small by replacing indifference with love. If you’re walking down the street and you see someone walking in the opposite direction, regardless of their appearance, say to your self “I love you.” You can do this anywhere. As you’re driving. At a party. At work. It’s virtually painless and requires no physical action on your part. You’re simply acknowledging a love that’s always been there, waiting for your command.