Personal Success · poetry

Alphabiography

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Photo by Jaime Serrano

I recently assigned an alphabiography to my 6th grade students. For each letter of the alphabet, they had to write 4 sentences regarding a meaningful topic (could be a noun, adjective, verb) to that letter. After reading theirs, I was inspired to write my own.  My version is presenting itself in poem form:

A is for Acceptance

I am learning to accept what is

to see every “flaw, mistake, tragedy” as beautiful

I’m getting better at not asking “why?”

And replacing it with “why not?”

 

 

*My Alphabiography project

 

 

 

Health · motivation · Personal Success

What’s Good About This?

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Sometimes, life seems pretty awful. We dread the tragedies, the upsets, and the disappointments. We try to cling to the successes, the celebrations, and the joy. But life keeps bringing us both. There is no need to fear the “bad” and then dwell on it when it (ultimately) happens.

What you can do is change your thinking.

You can see life differently, and thus, experience it differently. Everything can be good.

It starts with falling in love with reality, warts and all. Accept what is. Don’t judge it.

The other way to change your thinking it to ask the right questions.

One of the most important ones to ask yourself – in the face of adversities and hardship – is:

What is good about this?”

This question really is not that hard to ask. It seems difficult (if not impossible) because we’re programmed to react a certain way to certain events.

There is no changing reality. Your loved one died. You lost your job. You lost your home. You receive a cancer diagnosis. This is reality and no amount of crying or complaining will change it. 

Should you suffer for an extended period of time? Forever? If you suffer, does that do justice to your loved one who passed away? Does it prove you loved them enough?

No. You’re just suffering. And you might be causing those around you who love you to suffer, too.

This is a radical concept in our society. We seem to enjoy drama. But drama is draining.

When you seek the positive, your entire body changes for the better. So does your mind. And when you are light in body and mind, then you can act with clarity and energy. After all, that is what we are, energy. We live and we die, but the energy remains.

Keep asking the question. There is an answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

relationships

Non-Reaction

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Photo by Harli Marten

Engaging in an argument is futile.

Reacting to offensive remarks and actions is also unproductive.

When faced with distasteful feelings and thoughts (yours or someone else’s), imagine your insides to be transparent. Allow these episodes to go right through you.

Nothing is that serious.

This is why Buddha smiles.

 

 

 

relationships

True Suffering

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photo by Colton Brown

Until I started studying spiritual philosophy, I had a narrow definition of suffering which encompassed mostly physical pain: headaches, cancer, childbirth, broken bones, etc.

But I have realized that suffering is really what we do to ourselves with our (negative) thinking. Anxiety is suffering. Depression is suffering. Guilt and regret are suffering. Worrying is suffering!

In the path to non-suffering, one essential practice (according to the Tao, Buddhists and other spiritual practitioners, such as Eckhart Tolle) is to refrain from resisting reality. For example, if you are planning an outdoor party and it rains as your guests arrive, you do not resist reality (the rain). Instead, you simply move the party indoors and continue your celebration. If you complain and cry out against the rain, will it stop? No. But you pollute the environment for those around you (family and friends) with your resistance.

I propose a concerted effort to watch one’s language in this pursuit: eliminate the words “I wish.”

“I wish it wasn’t so hot in Phoenix!” [forecast: 110°F today]

“I wish my children were better at (fill in the blank)”

“I wish my spouse/co-workers would…”

Wishing for something that is counter to reality is inviting misery, disappointment and anguish.

Health · Personal Success

Canine Consciousness

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Justin Veenema

Dogs embody the very concept of presence. They live for the moment, not worrying about the future or reliving the past.

They do not judge.

They do not form attachments to anything (OK, maybe their toys and treats). But they’re not attached to goals or ideas.

They do not resist reality. They roll with it.

Let’s try to emulate our best friend. Let’s try to stop judging, attaching and resisting reality. Let’s be fully present.

 

 

 

 

motivation · Personal Success · relationships

Unshakable

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mercantile

I was shopping in a clothing store yesterday. I overheard one lady tell another, “Tag these before you put those away.” She said it in a very bossy and unkind way.

The other lady responded in a cheery tone, “Sounds good! I will definitely do that.”

Another command in a cold tone followed: “When you’re done with those, these need to be put away.”

“Got it! I will do it right away. No problem!”

For a second, I wondered if they were joking around. But there was no joviality or levity with the first lady. She was dead serious. The commands continued with the same enthusiastic, positive voice responding. They didn’t share a laugh. It was a genuine conversation with the junior retailer maintaining a positive demeanor.

The cheery saleslady demonstrated true persistence and integrity. Most people react to negativity with more negativity. In remaining unchanged, the lively retailer took responsibility for her own actions and her own feelings. She was unshakably positive. This is what is meant by “non-reaction” (Tolle). This is one of the keys to inner peace.