Archive for love

How Do You Feel About World Peace?

When you hear someone make a reference to ‘world peace,’ what goes through your mind? 

– Gosh, I hope I get to see that in my lifetime;
– What are you, some kind of hippie-peace-freak from the 60s;
– I don’t see that happening – ever;
Or do you simply think,
Whatever?

Rather than being in the doom-and-gloom perspective, or even the critical or apathetic perspectives, I find myself closer to the “Polyanna” end of the spectrum. Although I don’t go all the way to thinking it will happen during my lifetime, I’d love to be proven wrong on that.

It is a pretty big dream, I’ll admit. And maybe it won’t ever happen. Who knows? I certainly don’t.

What I do know, however, is that it definitely won’t happen, if we don’t do one very important thing:

Be the change.

Yeah, I know we hear that a lot these days. But to me, it’s more than just a platitude. I think of it as more of a call to being and a call to action. It’s a call which, should we choose to answer it, invites each of us to do our part in the noble quest for World Peace. What an opportunity.

And if it’s an opportunity in which you want to participate, then in the words of Dr. Seuss, “Today is your day!

It’s World Peace Day, 2014.

The grassroots movement of World Peace Day was started in 1997 by a man named Don Morris. Maybe you’ve heard of Mr. Morris by a different name. He also goes by “Peaceguy.”

Peaceguy wrote a prayer, which is posted below. It’s beautiful and moving; inspiring and motivating. In it, he makes many important points. I believe that praying this prayer, using it as a mantra, or simply reading it often, is one of the ways we have a chance of making the grand and exquisite vision of World Peace a reality. And at the end of the prayer, he points out another way, his most vital point of all:

To change the world, we must change ourselves.

There’s that message again.

Here is Peaceguy’s Prayer.

May the people on this planet be changed.
Changed from hatred to love,
Changed from greed to giving,
Changed from selfishness to selflessness,
Changed from apathy to action,
Changed from jealousy to joy over someone’s accomplishments,
Changed from intolerance to acceptance,
Changed from being destructive to being constructive,
Changed from fighting to peace,
Changed from killing to protecting life,
Changed from censorship to freedom,
Changed from ignorance to education,
Changed from fearing our differences to rejoicing our variety.

May we each take it upon ourselves to feed the hungry, cure the sick,
House the homeless, educate the illiterate, love the unloved,
Compete to do the right thing instead of winning at any cost,
Make heroes that teach our children to
Make the world a better place instead of glorifying violence and war,
Stand up and speak out against things that are wrong
Instead of sitting back and waiting for someone else,
Demand honesty from our governments,
Demand honesty from ourselves.

May we each take responsibility for our own actions
And realize that by refusing to change ourselves,
We condone all the evils in the world.
If one person changes they teach others by example,
Who in turn change and teach more,
One person becomes as a pebble rolling down a mountain,

Picking up more pebbles as it continues,
Becoming an avalanche of change.

It can happen, it must happen, it will happen.

I’m just about to reach the “too long” mark for this post (or maybe I’ve already passed it). I don’t want to run you off before you finish it (and miss the treats at the end, so I’ll do my best to wrap it up.

I plan to become a part of World Peace Movement, to get on the “Peace Train,” in the words of Cat Stevens. But I’m going to start small. Maybe I’ll make some origami peace cranes as Peaceguy suggests (and gives instructions for) on the World Peace Day website. Or maybe my gesture will be something even simpler, such as driving with my headlights on, as he also suggests.

Frankly, I think what matters more than what we do, is that we do something. I also think it matters that, while we’re doing that something, we do it with the vision of World Peace in hearts and our minds.

So this is my plan: tomorrow – maybe even today – I will make my own unique contribution in an effort to one day bring about World Peace.

Are you with me? I hope you are, whether it’s on November 17, December 17, or sometime in 2017. I promise you’ll be in good company.

In fact, here’s a message from some astronauts at the International Space Station:

And here’s a message from Cat Stevens/Yusef Islam who was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

Call me a Polyanna, but I think we can do it.

And so did Margaret Mead. It was she who said,

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change to world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.

Amen and Peace!

What To Do When Harm Has Been Done?

I came across a beautiful story this week. I shared it with my current Daring Way™ group, and I just had to share with you, too, my faithful True Voices Blog readers.

It’s short, yet it really made me think. Maybe you’ll experience something similar. Enjoy. (FYI: I haven’t neutralized the gender-specific pronouns, but I’m sure you’ll see that it could apply to either gender.)

The person who shared it with me got it from Films For Action (www.FilmsForAction.org), but beyond that, I don’t know the origin.

There’s an African tribe in which, when someone does something harmful, that person is taken to the center of the village where the whole tribe comes and surrounds him.

For two days, they will say to the man all the good things that he has done.

The tribe believes that each human being comes into the world as good, that each one of us desires only safety, love, peace, and happiness.

But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes.

The community sees those mistakes as a cry for help.

They unite then to lift him, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth of which he had been temporarily disconnected: “I am good.”

And to that I say, “Amen.”

Make a Difference Day!

Hey! I’m posting this on October 24th, in the hope that you’ll read this post by October 25th, just in time to catch the wave of…

Make a Difference Day!

I know that a lot of these “special” days are often just for fun, but this one’s for real.  Surprisingly, Make a Difference Day has been around for over 20 years. It was started by USA Weekend along with Points of Light. It’s the nation’s largest day of service, and it always falls on the fourth Saturday of the October.

I wonder if that has something to do with the weather. But I digress!

It’s kind of sad that we need a day named Make a Difference Day to get us out there helping each other en masse. But what’s even sadder is that most of us, myself included until very recently, don’t even know about it!

So that’s my mission with this blog post. No philosophizing, no life story, no spiritual concept to ponder, although I could certainly do any of those here. Nope! Just a public service announcement about this truly special day, an opportunity to do something that improves the life of a neighbor – a neighbor you know or one you just haven’t met yet.

Not sure what to do?

Just go to the Make a Difference Day website, and you can find something fun and close to home. No matter where you live, I feel pretty sure that there’s some project you can join in on. Just go to USA Weekend’s website, or the Points of Light website and do a quick search.

Been wanting to get a project started? Gather some people in your community, and get it going!

I’ll be spending most of my day driving to and then performing a wedding, so I won’t be able to do one of the official Make a Difference Day projects here in the Atlanta area. But I’m making a commitment to you right here and now, that I’ll do my darnedest to make a difference everywhere I go. For one, I certainly hope I make a difference for the couple I’m marrying, but I’m getting paid for that, so I can’t count it as a volunteer project. But, I could pay for the coffee of the person behind me in line. I could offer my neighbor who doesn’t drive a lift to the grocery store and back. And/or I could simply give a smile to all those whose paths I cross.

So, regardless of your plans for Saturday, October 25th, I hope you’ll join in. If you have children and you live in the Atlanta area, there’s a group just for you. It’s called Pebble Tossers (I love that name), and you can check it out here. If you’re sans kids, just check out main website. And I think I read that they even have a Facebook page!

Who knows?

Maybe doing these things, big or small, will feel so good to us, we’ll start making a difference for our neighbors (two-legged and four-legged) on other days, too. 🙂

And please, do share this post widely so we can also spread the word! My Sun Deck Kwan Yin would greatly appreciate your pitching in. Thank you from both of us.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

 

Profile Picture + One

By Guest Blogger, Betsey Brogan.

“The younger generation” has grumbled about how the average age on Facebook is old enough to be grandparents. No, it didn’t start out that way. But, as time goes on, more of us who have seen lots of birthdays have found joy in reconnecting with long time friends through Facebook.

Unlike many things in our hectic lives, it’s easy to log on and learn about friends, see and share pictures, and jot a note – all in the time it takes to eat breakfast. We’re able to write to people, who. because of distance and time, had fallen off our to-do lists; people with whom re-connecting does the heart some good.

Then I post a picture of myself and my same sex partner. Yikes! Talk about stepping out onto a whole new platform of risky.

The way I look at it, though, is that some, those who don’t know about my 10 year relationship, may be surprised. But if we are to be authentic in our “sharing,” I want them to know about my house and home, which includes this fantastic woman who wants to be with me in the good and bad for the rest of my life.

Others may see my profile pic and say to themselves:,“I guess I don’t want to ‘friend’ her after all.” And to them I say, “It’s my life, and it’s up to me whether I want to live it authentically or live in such a way that is easier for others to take.

When I first came out to my Dad many, many years ago, his first response was, “Your mother and I will always love you, just don’t tell anyone OK?” Bless his heart. Over time, he came to realize that being gay wasn’t fatal and what truly matters is how a person loves, lives and contributes to her community.

Posting a picture of my partner and me may be risky. I’ll never know what those who regretted “friending” me thought when they saw it. I do know that it has welcomed some of my friends from the past to seek me out as counsel, in regards to how to interact with their gay children. That is really an honor.

Something about living out loud, and risking being authentic, has signaled to my dear friends, that I am a safe place for tough questions they are asking themselves. What an honor, really. And how reaffirming that I can live a life I am proud of.

So, Dad, if you are listening, “I don’t go out of my way to tell anyone I am gay, just as you don’t tell anyone that you are an American. It’s just who I am.”

Live your life to the fullest, live with integrity, and don’t be surprised if someday someone asks you questions from their heart. What a gift those ‘heart to heart’ talks are. What a precious gift.

This post originally appeared as a part of True Voices’ RiskADay project, which has now concluded.

 is on her way to creating World Peace – one massage at a time. On-site Chair Massage and In-Home table massage. Bringing Stress Relief to You.

Throw Forward Thursday

It’s Throw Back Thursday on Facebook.  I feel sure you’ve enjoyed, as have I, seeing the pictures of your friends as adorable newborns, as toddlers trying to walk, teenagers striving to find themselves, couples getting married, and more.

Today, however, I want to offer you something different: Throw Forward Thursday.

You see, I’ve just watched an incredible video, one that I hope you’ll stop right now and watch along with me, as I watch again and again. It’s aimed at women, but I do believe the brave men who watch it will be just as inspired by it as I’ve been.

Please – whoever you are, no matter your gender, your age, or any other circumstance or situation you find yourself in –  please, give yourself the gift of the 4 minutes and 15 seconds it takes to watch this short, powerful film.

I wholeheartedly invite you do so, and then comment with your feedback. I’d love to hear how it affected you – what you thought, what you felt, what you are re-inspired to do, or what you are now inspired to do and/or be for the very first time. In other words, as a result of watching this motivating movie, how will you now Be You Out Loud as never before?

Here’s the video: Your Calling?

PS A favor: If you are willing, I ask you to please share this – specifically the post, and in general, my website and blog, too. You may not get a prize, but you will get my deep appreciation.

PPS Some shameless self-promotion: If you know others who could benefit from a conversation with me, about their callings or  anything else on their minds and hearts, please ask them to email me for an appointment.them to me. It would be my pleasure to offer this to them, as my gift. Why? Because it would mean I’d get t0 be myself out loud, while helping them get clear on how to do that for themselves! And if this person is you, and you’re not a current client, you’re just as welcome to contact me for a chat! Come on in, the water’s fine!

As Is

By guest blogger, Andrea Lea

Last night I had a gentle aha moment… usually they slam into me and I am juiced and invigorated by the energy of them, but this was different. It kind of slid in like mud under a closed door. I was feeling resistant to it and defeated by it – it felt like an impossibility for me. It was too obvious. I should have mastered this already. One of those teachings that we’ve all heard so many times that we are numb to its power (at least I was).

No matter how hard you push, you will not move forward until you accept yourself HERE in the moment of NOW.

Oh no. Wait, wait, wait… Really?

I have no shortage of ideas or enthusiasm – ever. I am gloriously tapped in to Grace and am able to channel wisdom and universal love and non-judgment for everybody else. I will risk saying that I am an inspiration to many around me, and it is no risk saying that I am completely sincere in all my efforts. But I have placed such conditions on my love for myself that I can never ever feel safe there.

I am so harsh – mean, even. I am racked with a guilt that is a near-tangible, very conscious part of my every day life. Guilt is not God-energy. Guilt overrides joy and blocks flow. I put myself down and belittle my own efforts before they’ve been made. I shoot down my ideas and place them under the category of “Excellent and Profitable Idea for Someone More Capable and Valid than YOU.” I have frozen myself – paralyzed my progress – with the kind of pressure you see rich white parents in the movies put on their kids to move in a certain direction or else.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a miserable person. I’m just stuck. This week a dear friend who is stuck in a different way reached out to me and I told him to try to picture himself where he wanted to be. We talked about some of those details and I said to him, “For me, this requires no imagination. That is who you already are. That is how I see you.” It was very powerful for him to hear that. My love for this friend is unconditional. When he achieves what he is striving for in life, I will not love him any more or less than I do right now. My love for him is as constant as time. I will be happy for him. But he is right now the person I love.

I have a beautiful life, one for which I am limitlessly grateful. I have the most amazing and resilient family. My daughter is such a gracious teacher for me, and so beautiful look at and soft to hold. My dad is a present and loving parent and grandparent who moves quietly beyond the usual parameters of those titles with joy and non-judgment. My boyfriend is a true love; supportive and creative in thought and action, shares my core beliefs, and remains completely calm when I am stormy (a miracle in itself, I tell you), and is my most fun playmate ever. My home is warm and open and comfortable, full of kids and dogs and friends and family. My cupboard is full and there’s always something delicious on the stove.

I am surrounded with so much love. But right now, I need to learn to love myself in this moment. There are so many things I want to do… but I cannot withhold love and acceptance until they are all done… Until I’m perfect!

Today I am going to risk calling in some help. I am going to borrow the love and the vision my dear ones hold for me, and start seeing myself and loving myself the way they love me. They know my imperfections, and they place no conditions. I am going to do my best to do unto myself the way I do unto others: that means no judging, only encouraging and loving. Sometimes moving forward means standing still and accepting not only what the moment of now brings, but also accepting yourself, warts and all, in that moment, right where you are on your path.

Holler if you hear me…

Andrea Lea is a writer who is cracking the code of the symbolic and recording the spiritually hilarious. Her adventures so far have included several years and a cooking show in post-Apartheid South Africa, a stint in rural south Georgia, a brief but sparkling singing career which she intends to revive, and a glorious indigo daughter named Dom. When she’s not painting, taking photos, writing, singing, or doing laundry, Andrea can be found in her kitchen, channeling her grandmother through new recipes, and feeding folks.

This post was originally posted RiskADay.com.

Three, Three, Three Cs in One Post!

For the last several days, I’ve been at the farm – walking, writing, dreaming, and planning. A large part of my work here has been creating content in preparation for delivering discussions, workshops, and retreats on the ground-breaking work of Dr. Brené Brown. As you probably know, I’ve been studying with her and her team since September of 2011. I’m currently authorized to offer her work, and soon, I’ll be Certified!

You may know of Dr. Brown from her best-selling books, I Thought It Was Just Me, The Gifts of Imperfection, and Daring Greatly, or from seeing her TED talks from 2010 and 2012. Or maybe you’ve come to know her more recently, perhaps from seeing her two appearances on SuperSoulSunday with Oprah Winfrey.

What does all of this have to do with the AB…Zs of Self-Care series? Well, because of this immersion into her work, I’ve decided that in this blog post, I’ll have not one word inspired by the letter C, but three! And these three are… Courage, Compassion, and Connection.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that these words were already of huge importance to me, even before I started working with Brené.  That’s one reason I’m so excited about delivering offerings based on her research for a long time to come.

Today, I’m  excited about simply sharing with you one of the many powerful tidbits from Brené; one that includes the three Cs. I think it’s probably meaty enough for us to ponder a good while. Brené says,

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

Be Afraid

 

Really – it’s ok. We’re built for it. Facing up to fear takes courage, and most of us probably have more than we think.  The word courage comes from the French “coeur” or the Latin “cor,” meaning heart.  So there it is – our heart is our “courage muscle.”  We all have it and to make it stronger, we need to exercise it.

Just like putting in regular time at the gym keeps many of our other muscles strong, we can build our courage muscle too – by taking risks.  This doesn’t mean you have to climb a mountain or jump from an airplane (but if you’re moved to do so, by all means, do).  Risks can be large or small, and what might be a risk for me isn’t necessarily one for you.  But deciding and planning to take “risks of the heart” and then taking note of the outcome can help you to Learn about yourself, Love who and what you find in the learning, Live the life that only you can live, and then Lead the world, by joyful example, to do the same. Read more about how others are doing this at my RiskADay blog.

Notice that I didn’t say that you have to be “successful.”  In taking risks, we don’t always get the result that we want.  But trust me, rewards do come regardless of the outcome of taking the risk.  If we truly follow our hearts, there’s value simply in that.  “Cor” is also the root of the English word core.  Isn’t that fitting?  The desires of our heart are truly at the core of who we are.  Perhaps that’s why this can be difficult.

We live in an extremely risk-averse society, and we don’t like disappointment.  Making the conscious decision to take a risk isn’t easy.  We worry:  What if I fail?  What if I look foolish? What if I do get the result I want, and then find I don’t really want it?  This is where a strong courage muscle makes the difference.  The practice of risk-taking helps us to recognize that there will always be reward, rather than allowing ourselves to be stalled in worry and regret.  If we are open to the lesson to be learned simply from taking the risk, we learn more about ourselves, our desires, our limits, our dreams.  We exercise our courage muscle and it grows stronger.  We grow stronger.  The world grows stronger.  But that’s for another post, so stay tuned!

Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway. – Robert Anthony