Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Taking Time to Clear Your Mind

Finding "Me time" is something struggled with for many years and took almost as many years of practice to be able to do and over the last few years I have fallen out of the habit. Let me tell you.. I can most definitely notice the difference!

This year I really need to dig out the discipline and start setting aside quiet time for myself to just relax and regroup. Meditation is one of my ways of doing this... the other is just spending some quality quiet time with nature, which is in its own way, a form of meditation.

We have several ponds where we live and one of them has a nice grassy hill on one side of it that is perfect for sitting and taking in the splendor of creation. I love to bring a blanket (sitting on the grass can get itchy after a while), find a nice smooth section of ground and sit facing the sun. Sometimes this also means facing the water - which is extra nice - but even if I'm with my back to the water I can still hear the fountain and reap the soothing benefits of the sound.

 There is nothing quite like the warm feel of the sun on your face, the cool touch of a light breeze on your skin and the tranquil sound of water rippling to bring you back to center and balance.

 Below is a great article from My Daily Om that also talks about ways to - and why you should - clear your mind...
Allowing Spirit In
Clearing Your Mind
by Madisyn Taylor

The more we practice settling our minds, the easier it will become over time.

After a full day out in the world, stories, words, images, and songs from any number of sources continue to play in our heads hours after we encounter them. Even as we lie in bed, in the quiet dark, our minds continue noisily processing all the input from our day. This can leave us feeling unsettled and harassed. It also makes it difficult to take in any new information or inspiration. Like a cluttered house that needs to be cleared if it is to have room for movement and new life, our minds need clearing if they are to be open to new information, ideas, and inspiration.

Too often, the activities we choose to help us relax only add to the clutter. Watching television, seeing a movie, reading a book, or talking to a friend all involve taking in more information. In order to really clear our minds, we need a break from mental stimulation. Activities like yoga, dancing, or taking a long walk help to draw our attention to our bodies, slowing our mental activity enough that our minds begin to settle. Deep breathing is an even simpler way to draw attention away from our mental activities. Once we are mentally relaxed, we can begin the process of clearing our minds. Most of us instinctively know what allows our minds to relax and release any unnecessary clutter. It may be meditation or time spent staring at the stars. Whatever it is, these exercises feel like a cool, cleansing bath for the brain and leave our minds feeling clear and open.

Setting aside time to clear our minds once a day creates a ritual that becomes second nature over time. Our minds will begin to settle with less effort the more we practice. Ultimately, the practice of clearing our minds allows us to be increasingly more open so that we can perceive the world as the fresh offering it is, free of yesterday’s mental clutter.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

More Guns are Not the Answer, More LOVE is...

More people owning guns isn't what we need to stop more shootings from happening.

More parents parenting is.
More friends looking out for each other is.
More people treating each other with dignity and respect is.

The majority of school/mall/movie theater shooters were disturbed young men who'd exhibited behavior and signs that were obvious to anyone who cared to take the time to notice them long before the embarked on their deadly rampage.

Had their parents been more active and involved in the kids lives, those signs would have been observed and help possibly obtained.
Had someone been a friend and offered an ear to listen, those disturbed young people might have begun to feel hope.
Had society placed more importance on treating each other with dignity and respect instead of being so self-absorbed and 'me me me', maybe those shooters would have felt like they mattered and never gotten to the point of thinking killing people was the only way their lives would ever mean anything.

Remove your kid from in front of the video game and be a parent.
Detach the cell phone from your kids ear and be a parent.
Ditch McDonald's for a sit down spaghetti dinner with your kid and be a parent.

Call someone you haven't talked to in a while and be a friend.
Invite an old pal over for dinner and be a friend.
Send someone a card just because you can and be a friend.

Smile at the next person you pass and show kindness.
Offer to get that item on the shelf that someone can't reach at the grocery store and express kindness.
Let someone who has fewer items in line check out before you and express kindness.

In 1997 - before stabbing his mom to death and walking into Pearl High School with a rifle Luke Woodham wrote this note...
I am not insane, I am angry. I killed because people like me are mistreated every day. I did this to show society, push us and we will push back. ... All throughout my life, I was ridiculed, always beaten, always hated. Can you, society, truly blame me for what I do? Yes, you will. ... It was not a cry for attention, it was not a cry for help. It was a scream in sheer agony saying that if you can't pry your eyes open, if I can't do it through pacifism, if I can't show you through the displaying of intelligence, then I will do it with a bullet

More people having guns would not have stopped Luke from being the object of bullying and abuse...
More people having guns would not have stopped James Holmes from suddenly dropping out of college and becoming isolated and unstable...
More people having guns would not have stopped Adam Lanza from staying holed up in his mother's basement playing terrorist style video games...

But more people taking an active and caring role in their lives may have....

Teach your children to respect themselves and others.
Teach them that they are WORTHY.
Teach them to combat fear and hate with LOVE....

 ....so that they never feel the isolation and loneliness that those children did
.....so that they know they are never alone no matter how bad things may seem
.....so that they respect and value themselves and their lives...

which will help them value and respect the lives of others.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Ghost (or God?) Radio

Sometimes the things we need to listen to are so we can share them for other people to hear...

While driving to work this morning something caught my vision in the corner of my eye - I looked down and my radio was adjusting the volume... by itself...

The radio had been on but the volume all the way down. After staring at the radio somewhat warily for a few seconds I hesitantly reached down and turned the knob to turn the volume up. My radio is almost always on either Power 88 or K-Love - both Christian radio stations

What I turned it up to was a caller on the air talking about how God had really pressed upon her heart recently to donate to the radio station... she didn't have the money.. things were really tight but she felt so led she went ahead and followed her heart and donated. 

After donating she cried and prayed - asking for a miracle. Money was really really tight for her family and even though it was a burden to give she knew she had to do it... 

Then on her way to work she got a call from a job she had interviewed a couple of months ago - offering her the position...... at 3 times the salary she was currently making.

Talking about your blessings returning back to you!

Tithing has always been very important to me and while there have been times money has been tight and I've slacked I'm blessed and thankful to say my faithfulness has always paid off and I'm now in a job where I can comfortably tithe. It is always a joy and a blessing to be able to give back to the places that bless me most.

While hearing her story was a blessing I had a feeling it wasn't really meant for me - so I'm sharing it with you. Hope it blesses you in the way you need it most. ^_^