Category Archives: Spirituality

Good News

Our days, our lives , and our spirits flourish the more we surround our selves with good news. Below I lift you up with two inspiring stories, both of which are strangely linked to the Iraq war.

james with studentFor the first, we celebrate two  educators from Toronto, who came home from New York City with a 2015 Digital Book Award, leading the way to the creation of paperless schools.  Both men, James and Jamie are part of the Connect School for Languages, which James was inspired to create as a result of the Iraq war. Check out the article I wrote in Good News Toronto, about these ordinary guys and their really cool paperless textbooks.

The other even more evocative piece of good news relates to a man, who lost his leg and arm in the Iraq war, wowing the world on Dancing With the Stars.  A horrible situation enables him to inspire the world, as he displays like never before, the awesome beauty, courage and spirit he possesses. He is my greatest dancer.

Below I share a video of Noah Galloway’s inspiring story and performance.

International Day of Happiness

whdToday, March 20, is the International Day of Happiness.

Enjoy the World Happiness Playlist created by John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Cody Simpson, David Guetta, James Blunt and Charlize Theron in collaboration with the United Nations. Watch the video they created below, and share it with your world. Take a moment to dance, laugh, or just connect with another.

Happy International Happiness Day to all.

How To Deal With Anger & Insecurities “Surrender To Your Better Self!”

Have you ever done something out of anger or frustration; something crazy, which in hindsight you realized was kind of crazy? I have. The other day, I got up to make a report at a church council meeting and mentioned the pain on the stroke affected side of my body. I also inadvertently indicated that it was triggered by a few miserable people in the room (my judgement, of course).

My upset and my pain had more to do with the fact that I was in no mood to be there. For some time I had been feeling useless, ineffective and completely immobile.   So when the meeting seemed held-up by some church members who I felt were unnecessarily vigilant, I wanted to rip their mouths off (or maybe just pinch them into recognizing their foolishness, not recognizing that if anyone was really foolish, it was me).

When I saw my craziness, I could have just forgiven myself and say ‘I am only human.’ However as people who are striving to better human beings, we need to have a strategy for handling our craziness, especially when triggered by the perceived craziness of others. It’s not enough just to be quiet, and give off the air of spiritual maturity on the inside, when on the outside we are ready to crucify someone with our words and our thoughts. How can we actually feel and display the type of spiritual maturity, inside and out, which changes us and the world around us? Judge Lynn Toler has a brilliant answer.

Could some of us be missing the purpose of life?

It is a new year and many of us focus the purpose of our life on achieving things. We concentrate on things like being more successful in business, getting a new job, losing weight and a whole host of other things. Yet all these things are useless without something much more important; something which is the true purpose for life and the foundation of our happiness.

Let me give you an example. I grew up being told by others, and noticing my own awareness, that my sisters were prettier than me. So I turned my attention to my brain. I became known as the one who did the best in school. What I didn’t understand was that it isn’t important how pretty, how smart, or how accomplished any of us are.

character
What really matters is how virtuous, loving, kind, and peaceful we are. I thought I could use my brain to become more accomplished or make better decisions than my sisters, my mother, and many others. Yet, this thinking allowed my ego to run away with me; until I had a stroke. Then the only meaningful part of me that was left to heal me and guide me through life was the love, positivity and spirituality within me. This is true with regards to all the things we consider important; such as profession, employment and relationships.

Buddha said:

Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.

When we have a character focused on love and doing good deeds for others, our ego is shut down. Therefore we cannot help but become better and better at being who we are, and doing the good we are meant to do. This is the foundation for whatever we want to achieve.

What will you do to strengthen your character in 2015? Consider the following.

character

Say Welcome to ‘No’: A Strategy for Going After Our Ultimate Success

The time has come for us to go after many more opportunities, ask more questions, and take more risks, while welcoming the many instances that we will hear the word ‘no’.

Have you ever talked yourself out of going for a job, approaching ano
person that interests you, or asking for something you needed; all because you feared rejection? Did you know that successful people experience more ‘no’ than others. They experience countless rejection and failures because they take more risks and do far more than others. We all can learn how to get what we want most in life, if we understand the true meaning of the rejecting word ‘no.’

A successful mountain lion catches its prey
A successful mountain lion catches its prey

Let’s consider the example of a mountain lion and its prey.  When the mountain lion goes after a deer, it does not get discouraged, even though the deer says ‘no way!’ To many it would seem as though the mountain lion does not have a single chance of catching the too swift deer. Yet, the mountain lion does not fear. It does not get emotionally hurt. It does not take its failure personally. Instead, it keeps focus on its ultimate prize, which is to catch a deer and not necessarily the one that escaped. It uses all its many failures to become smarter, and looks for opportunities to try again, having no doubt that it will succeed. Eventually, it perseveres and turns an unsuspecting deer’s ‘no’ into ‘yes’.

The successful among us are like mountain lions. However, we all need to be like Mountain Lions and welcome the necessary rejections of life. We need these rejections to develop the perseverance, skill, and confidence of a mountain lion. We need them to test our faith, and develop greater patience and fortitude needed to fearlessly go after our greatest desires.

Rejection often brings a message that says ‘you are greater than that which you seek. You are worth far more than you imagined.’ If you allow it to, it will push you in a direction that promises something much greater that the ‘yes’ you were hoping for.

In 2015 and beyond, I will use this  ‘welcoming no’ or ‘mountain lion philosophy’ to go after many possible rejections, for among this I will find my ultimate success.  Will you join me?

I will say more in future posts.

Blessing Others – Opening Our Selves for Our Blessings

Real winners of the Heart and Stroke Lottery.
Real winners of the Heart and Stroke Lottery.

Thought I would share the Heart&Stroke Lottery piece to which I contributed. Click here to see. I am the fifth panel. I share this and the piece I recently wrote Good News | Our everyday heroes…(Living Life in The Silent World of the Deaf), to support these organization. I do not make money from doing work for these and other charities; I contribute primarily because of the blessing they can provide to others. I also do it because I must give, and I find it difficult overcoming barriers to paid employment as a middle-aged stroke survivor. I ask for your prayers that this work will also be a blessings to me, as I continue to find my purpose and my place after  my stroke blessing.

Online Dating and Professionals

onlinedatingI told one of my best friends that I had signed up on a dating website. She too is divorced and would love a second chance at a relationship. However, as a professional, she found it embarrassing, and was afraid that people she knew might see her. I understood what she was saying for I felt that way, until I decided to live in the 21st century.

In my single yesterday world, years have gone by and I have not meeting any potential partners. I therefore chose to add to my comfortable normal hang-outs (church, the gym, and various professional places), and go where there are many potential partners waiting to meet me.

I had to go on-line, where I personally know of four professional women who met their partners.

It’s been a few days since I reluctantly signed up, and I am learning how to be real. This is not an easy thing, for I have a limp and limited income. Nonetheless, my supposed weaknesses have turned out to be my greatest blessings, for they are guiding me to myself and to my ideal partner.

Will I succeed in finding what I want? I have faith that I will, on the web or off.  Either way, just looking and talking awaken something in me that has been sleeping for far too long.

I truly believe, if we go for what you want, we almost always find some great blessing.

Single Parenting and A Defiant Pre-Teen

dawnanddaughter2Until I find myself a husband, I’ve got to do my best to raise a  mentally, physically and spiritually healthy child on my own. It’s not easy, especially with a pre-teen daughter (12-year-old), who is the greatest fun, but also feels the need to flex her royal muscles.

This morning I went into her room, as I do every morning, to ensure she was up for school. She was in bed reading!

Flabbergasted, I asked her what she was doing bed.

She answered “I felt like reading.”

I did not feel like responding to her attempts to irritate me. So I said what I often say, “there are always consequences for our actions.”

She shrugged her shoulders and mumbled, “umm,” meaning she didn’t care.

She is normally a good kid except when she wants to test me, and she was certainly testing me.  I, however, was not in any mood for an argument. So I had to think of something good to help her feel the consequences of how she chose to address me.

I went downstairs to the kitchen. After dressing, she entered the kitchen in a nonchalant manner.

“I need tooth paste,” she said.

“umm,” I responded shrugging my shoulder. I was giving her a taste of her own medicine.

“uhh,” she said shockingly, expressing her total confusion.

“You felt this was an appropriate way to address me,” I said. She was not ready to give in, so she said “I’ll just take yours,” and off she went.

Normally I would stay and say goodbye as she goes out the door.  I didn’t this time and I regret that. I went off to my computer in the basement.

She called me. I did not answer. She came downstairs saw me working on the computer, and knew it wasn’t over.

My own behaviour was probably the actions of an imperfect mother, or one who had no-one to bounce her ideas off of. Still, I was and am still determined to teach her a lesson.

She left for school without saying goodbye, and I am sorry for that. I like to always say “goodbye, have a great day,” as she goes out the door. I will try not to let that happen again.

The good thing is that she knows  it’s not over, and will come home, as she has done before, sheepishly ready for her consequence. That consequence will be a good one. I am creating a sheet which will list her disrespectful  as well as her extraordinarily good behaviours. That sheet will be shared weekly with her father, my mother, her uncles, her aunt, and others. It will affect the costume she asked her uncle for as well as her precious Christmas gifts.  It will begin with today’s behaviour, where it goes from there is up to her. I want her to see a visible link between behaviour and consequences.

What do you think. What would you do?

How Healthy is Your Mind

All of us at sometime or another struggle to stay in balance.

As stated by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA):

Mental health is key to our well-being. We can’t be truly healthy without it. It involves how we feel, think, act, and interact with the world around us. Mental health is about realizing our potential, coping with the normal stresses of life, and making a contribution to our community. It may be more helpful to think of good mental health as thriving. Good mental health isn’t about avoiding problems or trying to achieve a ‘perfect’ life. It’s about living well and feeling capable despite challenges.

How healthy is your mind. Take CMHA’s mental health meter. Please share what you see.

Based on my  story, (available on Amazon), If I had taken this test, I would have seen the alarm bells. Thankfully, I now have the mindset and the tools to focus on my mental health and the well-being of my spirit.

Can you play a part in transforming the world from a place of mental health crisis into a mental health oasis?

Are you mentally healthy?

Depression, anxiety, suicide, bi-polar disorders, substance abuse, and so on – did you know the world in a mental health crisis?

Some 20% of Canadians and Americans and 25% of British people reported mental health/illness concerns. The correct figure is probably far higher than that – I for one, would never have reported a mental health issue. I didn’t know I was seriously depressed; and even if I did, fear of the stigma of mental illness would have stopped me from admitting it.

What about you? Take a look at the following chart, do you see yourself on one side or the other. Why?

Mental Health-1