Tuesday, January 24, 2017

All You Need is Love

Is love the thing that makes the world go around? If it is, why are we seeing less and less of it demonstrated in the world today? It seems that this fast paced world full of extremes seems to have forgotten about love in all of it's forms. I'm less afraid of climate change than I am of the lack of love that seems to be winning the day. There are basically three kinds of love that we demonstrate on a regular basis.

Romantic / Erotic Love:

This is when you become so enamored with someone, you can't be too close to them. You want to be part of each other. Today this happens too fast and really doesn't last as long as it should. In fact the emphasis in today's world seems to be focused on the erotic form only often leaving the romantic part at a low or non-existent level for fun / kicks. It is easy to be seduced into temporary erotic acts that is not compatible with what we really desire long term. This sometimes shows a lack of real love.

An Affectionate Love:

This is when you feel a fondness or an endearment towards someone and you care for them, but not in a romantic way. You feel a closeness and want only the best for this person. This is typical of a friendship and you want to spend time with them frequently. Today there are so many channels for people to express their friendships and "likes" openly. Social media gives us an opportunity to devote time to friendship efficiently without being present. While this is an opportunity, it also carries some "bad juju". First you can have fake friendships and secondly you can hurt others more easily. It may be on purpose or not even knowing. This sometimes shows a lack of love as well.

 A Great Interest:

This is when you like an activity or a thing in a significant way. People want to spend time pursuing this love. This is a very fulfilling thing to have and it makes us satisfied. The problem comes in that when we pursue this thing so much that we unknowingly hurt the two kinds of love mentioned above. Too much time can be spent pursuing interest to the detriment of others we love. This sometimes show a lack of love.

Bottom Line:

There is a greater love than all these three that is the love that is sacrificial and puts others ahead of our convenience or desires. This is the kind of love that God has for all of us, but we do not take advantage of his free gift of love.  God loves us more than we can comprehend. This is the true kind of love we all should seek. This kind of love can be turned around and shown to others. It may be doing something for person who makes you feel unformatable. I would like to start turning to love more, by spending more time with the ones I love and doing something nice for the strangers I meet along the way, even if they appear unsavory or offend me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Who is Unlovable?

You see people everyday that make you wonder who could love them? People pushing to get ahead of others and not stopping to help those who can't keep up. Their noses are in their phones and they are quite oblivious to the fact there are others around them. While they are probably pursuing goals that are important to them, they have little regard for the hurt people left in their wake. Does this make them unlovable?

People are Hard to Love:

It seems today that people have lost their kindness button and seem to be out for themselves at the expense of others. There is more public insulting than I can ever remember. It was there before the election year of 2016, which seems to have amped up the hate machines on both sides based on what I see on Facebook. There is brutal criticism going on all around us and it has been magnified by many outlets like social media, tabloids and reality TV shows. There seems to be a real raw edge being exposed and it makes loving people difficult. One really has to work at loving others today.

I'm Hard to Love: 

Sometimes I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see. Sometimes I don't react well to people and situations. I usually kick myself later and wonder why anyone would love me for the long term. Sometimes my gifts and personality work for me to meet people, but sometimes I am just like those other goal driven people I mentioned above and don't behave well. I sometimes feel unlovable and I have to work at it.

We all Want to Connect:

Deep down we all need and want to connect with God and others. If we feel unlovable and we see the lack of love in others, we are likely to double down our efforts to love God.  Is that what God really wants?

Bottom Line: 

God loves all of us more than we can imagine. He understands we are not capable of loving others or ourselves like he does, so He helps us. It's hard for us to understand that God thinks we are all a treasure to Him. To that end, God, who knows what's good for us, gave us Christ to be the perfect intermediator on our behalf. God's own son had to die to reconcile our relationship. Painfully, my son died in 2014 and it was not my choice. God chose for his son to die for us. Now that's love.

Monday, January 9, 2017

There Has to be a Better Way

We live in a fast paced world today and if you don't keep up you feel like you will be buried. If you don't keep up with the work pace, someone will replace you. If you don't keep up with your relationships. you will be left out of the action. If you don't plan for the future now, you will be destitute later in life. If you don't eat well or exercise, you will pay for it later in life. If we aren't proactive,  our competitors will outflank us. This sounds so stressful, one is likely to have health problems just thinking about it. Is there a better way?

A Better Way by Showing Mercy, Kindness & Forgiveness:

It is so easy to get ruffled by the rudeness of the world today. People cut you off driving and act like you are in their way. People all rush to get off the airplane to be first. Folks are rude to people in service jobs. If you just sit and observe modern behavior, it's gotten plain ugly at times. Practicing some kindness proactively and forgiveness in reaction mode would go along way to improving our little worlds. Yes there will always be rude people, but if we all take steps to show some kindness, the world would be better. We don't have to look for it in our leaders, we just need to practice it. 

A Better Way by Showing Thankfulness:

If you are thankful every day for something, you have to be in a better state of mind. There is always somebody who has it worse than you do. Concentrate on being thankful for a few things every day. Even if you have to put them in you "to do" lists or on your calendar, you should be thankful for something. This really works when you encounter those rude folks as well. You can be thankful that you have seen a bad example and that you were spared from responding badly.

A Better Way by Stopping to Enjoy and Meditate:

We need those moments of silence and peace. It is hard to find them, but when you are bored and in a safe place exercise a prayer, a meditation or an appreciation of a special memory. It may be in a quiet time when you are trying to sleep, Maybe it's when your plugged into great music when you can think of peaceful moments. Maybe it's at Yoga or when you are doing boring exercise, mental refreshment is essential to practice. 

Bottom Line: 

There are better ways to live and enjoy life. It's important to practice and enjoy mercy as we all make mistakes of omission. It's important to be thankful and accept your life as good in at least some small way. Get away from the buzz and stimulation to get in touch with nature or your God, who wants a encounter with you. There is a better way besides blasting people on social media or getting upset with some news story that stokes your emotions. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017: Seeking A Better Self

2016 ended and we all sighed with relief. We saw some of the most famous and gifted pass away, especially at the years close. These celebrity deaths affected all generations this time as some were heroes of the younger generations. There is not much of a silver lining in these deaths other than all of us need to embrace our lives with better relationships. Love is the answer to a 2016, where so much hate was visible and so much death was witnessed. We all will likely seek a better 2017, but there is an opportunity to seek a better self to help assure a better year for us all.

A Better Self with Spiritual Depth:

Have you ever felt the peace of a sunset, the beauty of nature or the solitude of a quiet time. These are moments that speak to your spirit. Seeking these experiences will grow your spirit and give God a chance to speak to your heart. Separation from the hustle, technical immersion, and business of life will be a key for a better 2017. This works in good or bad times.

A Better Self with Loved Ones & Friends:

Deepening your relationships with your closest peeps is a proven way to have a better life thus a better 2017. This may mean being less prideful and more vulnerable than you have in the past. Expressing positive thoughts and making these statements out loud to your loved ones always pays dividends. Being kind, to even strangers, never hurts. Now if we could only be kind to those who cut us off in traffic :)

A Better Self with Thankfulness:

No matter who you are and what circumstances you are experiencing, you can find something to be thankful for. It just takes a moment to focus on what is good in your life. Don't look at the rich and famous who have it all, but look at those who are needy or suffering to be thankful. There is always someone who has it worse than you and they are not hard to find. Be thankful for something as often as you can.

A Better Self with Service:

You can always express your love and increase your self worth by helping others. Giving to charity is an easy way to get started, but the real payback comes with spending time and talent to serve others. When you actually see and feel the impact of your service, the value to your self image is extraordinary.

A Better Self with Investment:

You also need to invest in yourself. Maybe its taking time for one of your favorite hobbies, maybe it's learning something new, maybe it's meeting some new people or deepening your relationship with others. Setting some small doable goals and accomplishing them is key. Once success is experienced, repeat the process again and again. Don't cruise, but keep investing and stretching.

Bottom Line:

2017 can be a better year for you despite your circumstances, if create a better self. If circumstances are great there is a multiplier effect. We hope your 2017 is better and would appreciate if you shared other self improvement approaches. May God bless you richly in 2017.