My Issue With Breast Is Best

6th pic presentationThis is an article my daughter wrote about breast cancer which touched my heart. It is worth reading and better than anything I could ever write. It was written from the heart. It is important to remember that the hurts we bear and suffer are not always obvious. We will perhaps never know or understand fully what another person endures because we don’t walk in their shoes and never will.

“”Dignity is The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes. It is the moment you stop comparing yourself to others because it undermines your worth, education and your parent’s wisdom. Dignity is the moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. People’s opinions don’t matter.”

Shannon L. Alder

I read another post about the poison of GMO, corn syrup, baby formula.  One more post in an extensive news-feed.  It is opinion, and I can scroll past, but it feels like another not so subtle reminder of the “breast is best” undercurrent that permeates everything baby related.   As a physician I feel that breast feeding is ideal.  When I was a third year resident and I had my first baby I was adamant about exclusively breast feeding.  I cried when my milk didn’t come in right away after a long induction.   I also relished the fact that my newborn grew into a chubby, giggly infant and it was due to my own body.  I pumped and breastfed, it was a blur of insomnia knowing that I would have to go back to work.  I took time off and managed to keep a freezer full of breast milk in case my supply dropped off when I did go back.  As a resident with overnight calls I knew I couldn’t be sure how often I could pump, pagers go off, codes happen, patients, admissions, rapid responses, they don’t wait for pumping.  I was determined, I continued to pump, overnight, sometimes in bathrooms, call rooms, it depended on how far of a walk, and which were occupied.   I was determined to make the one year mark.

With my second child I was an attending working part time and it definitely went more smoothly.   Somewhere around the fifth month I noticed my supply dropping.  I did everything I could but I had to supplement and I remember stopping around eight months. I was disappointed and heartbroken.  I resigned myself to formula feeding and when I felt lumps in one breast I chalked it up to milk ducts.

That was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The fear was overwhelming and paralyzing, I could only think about my babies, a nine month old and a two year old.  It was biopsy after biopsy, ultrasound guided, stereotypical, MRI guided.  They saw abnormalities on the other side, and I had additional biopsies.   I was waiting for surgery for final staging.  I thought about how precious our time is and our health is.  I opted for the bilateral mastectomy. It was a personal decision.

Fast forward almost four years, past a stage one diagnosis, a year of treatment and we were blessed with another beautiful healthy baby.  It felt like a gift, directly from God, I have living breathing snuggly, proof that a very difficult time was over.  Like all parents, I want the best for my baby, and I opted for formula.

The baby is happy, healthy, and then I have to question why the articles about poison formula make me so angry.  Why do I want to wear a sign that says “I breast fed two babies and had breast cancer.”  Why does it need an explanation, an excuse? Is it because I’m around educated moms that tend to exclusively breastfeed? I couldn’t figure out why I felt so much guilt taking out a bottle.

I thought about a particular conversation I had with a friend after diagnosis and her comment was “wow, I just couldn’t do it, make a decision and choose to have a mastectomy like that.”   That was when I realized that this wasn’t something I chose.  Everything was secondary to my family and health.  So much worse happens to wonderful people who didn’t “choose” the situations they went through.  With breastfeeding we need to stop shaming women for situations that are beyond their control.  So many women I know keep tally lists, they track things like how long they breastfed, if they supplemented, was it exclusive breastfeeding, bottle feeding , natural births, c-sections, epidurals, and the list could go on.   Being a mother is hard work and no one chooses less than their best for their babies.  Why do we compare so much? I doubt that fathers are asking each other how many games they attend, how many times they read before bed, or if their kids still crawled into their beds at night.  Yet it’s “best” to read to children before bed, and it’s “best” to have a sleep schedule with children.   If we want more moms to breastfeed, instead of assuming they made the choice to do less than “best”, and making them feel guilty for it, maybe we should analyze the barriers to breastfeeding. The majority of mothers in this country start off breast feeding and over time that number significantly drops. Why? Are there places to pump privately? Is there time off for breastfeeding, or does the day simply get extended? Is there maternity leave, paid time off, uninterrupted time, is it convenient at work?

How do we counsel moms in the hospital? Is it a one size fits all approach? Maybe a little formula before your supply kicks in, is really okay. Maybe nipple confusion isn’t as large of a problem as it seems.   I had a mother who breastfed for years, and if it wasn’t for her support I might not have breastfed as long as I did.  The singular statement of “breast is best” has finality to it that any alternative is giving your baby simply less.   What if you don’t have breasts? I might be a minority but there are numerous reasons a mother might not exclusively breast feed, medications, work schedules, supply issues, surrogates, mental health issues.  I still think they’re doing their best.  Not smoking is “best”, an hour a day of exercise is “best”, a healthy BMI is “best”, do we adhere to it?  So why are we making so many mothers feel guilty if they don’t breastfeed?

I know lots of great moms taking awesome care of their kids, free-range, tiger moms, gluten free, dairy free, formula feeding, stay at home, working, helicopter, paleo, vegan, breast feeding mothers.  I know they love their kids, I know they are doing their “best” everyday.

“When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to judging others and narrow the vision of God. The road to righteousness and arrogance is a parallel road that can intersect each other several times throughout a person’s life. It’s often hard to recognize one road from another. What makes them different is the road to righteousness is paved with the love of humanity. The road to arrogance is paved with the love of self.” Shannon Alder

“There are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the outcomes from their choices. However, if you turn it over to God he promises that you will see the big picture in the hereafter. Nothing is too small to be a mistake.”  Shannon Alder

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?” Shannon Alder

“Reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us.”

 

Holding Grudges

holding-grudges

Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well.”  Dalai Lama

“An open heart is an open mind.” Dalai Lama.

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves”  Dalai Lama

“The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.” Dalai Lama

“One problem with our current society is that we have an attitude towards education as if it is there to simply make you more clever, make you more ingenious… Even though our society does not emphasize this, the most important use of knowledge and education is to help us understand the importance of engaging in more wholesome actions and bringing about discipline within our minds. The proper utilization of our intelligence and knowledge is to effect changes from within to develop a good heart.”  Dalai Lama

Grudges is a nasty  word to begin a post but if we are hoping to let the grudge go then it is a post full of hope. I like everyone else have carried my grudges like trophies in my pocket. In a way I am proud of them because it denotes suffering and endured pain. It proves I have endurance and stamina to  have put up with such situations. I have instilled in myself all the reasons I was right and I absolve myself from any guilty feelings. If I must give myself any blame I go with 10 percent. Somehow that appears to be an acceptable amount.

There are times when others  lose patience and end up out of control. I don’t care what their complaint is they have no  right to treat me poorly so I shut them off and refuse to listen to them. It proves my point that they are totally in the wrong and I am in the right. I also get the sense that I am slightly protected from the next person who wants to  take advantage of me. I am armored and the hurt they toss out at me doesn’t penetrate so easily. In a way I see this as a win for me.

These thoughts have kept me safe but also removed from other people. I calm myself with the thought who wants to be friends with them anyways. I suppose I shut out some people too  quickly but I don’t want any suffering. I am cautious now and as soon as I discover  anything I dislike in another person  I remove them from my life. It works for me and I have constructed a thicker coat of armor with every removal.

One day I was thinking about nothing in particular and my mind began to wonder. The more I reflected the more curious I  became. I recalled someone telling me to look at the dark within myself if I was really so brave. Of course I thought they had a nerve to imply I was dark inside. They hardly knew me so to say such a thing made me immediately cross them off of my friend list.

Well as I had no special things to  think about this particular day I began to open the door to the dark room of my mind. At first I was uneasy in a way I can’t explain. I felt confused about what I was searching for. Was it faults and guilt? I was annoyed at what I was doing and almost closed the door but the sense of “It’s too late”, crept into my thoughts. I ventured to study my role in the many negative happenings of my life and discovered to my dismay that in most negative  transactions I had plenty of blame. I began to sense that I was totally at fault most times. I then calmed down accepting the knowledge that there was blame all around. I went from innocence to total guilt  to enlightenment.

Nobody is faultless and we all have much to learn. Unfortunately the lessons are the most profound when they are the hardest and most painful to experience. If we don’t choose to accept fault and truth we lose the lesson. If we want to fault others the poison of our unclear thoughts filters throughout our body and drags us down. To honestly live you must let go of the grudges. When you judge others you discover you are part of the judged people. Learning to forgive relieves you of judging expecting and assuming. This will set you free to live a life of compassion.

I never wanted to peer into the darkness but I discovered the need to let go of grudges. We all spread pain along our life paths. We require as much forgiveness as the next person. In order to understand this one must open the door to their dark side. It isn’t to find out how much guilt you have but to let go of it. It is there but we don’t look at it. Once we do, we understand let go and let God move us in a better  direction of forgiveness and peace.

“Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you. However, if it taught you to hold onto grudges, seek revenge, not forgive or show compassion, to categorize people as good or bad, to distrust and be guarded with your feelings then you didn’t learn a thing. God doesn’t bring you lessons to close your heart. He brings you lessons to open it, by developing compassion, learning to listen, seeking to understand instead of speculating, practicing empathy and developing conflict resolution through communication. If he brought you perfect people, how would you ever learn to spiritually evolve?”  Shannon Adler

“Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.” Dalai Lama

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”  Dalai Lama

“The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.”  Dalai Lama

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.”    Cris Jami

“When you hold a grudge, you want someone else’s sorrow to reflect your level of hurt but the two rarely meet.” Steve Maraboli

 

THE INTROSPECTIVE HABIT

animals

Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” C.G. Jung

“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” Elizabeth Gilbert

“The most introspective of souls are often those that have been hurt the most.” Shannon L. Alder

How important it is to be more introspective before we say and do those simple things that wound others so deeply. I can’t count the number of times I feel like some of the things I am doing are so trivial and unimportant. I actually  think I am wasting my time by stopping to chat with another person for a few minutes. Now it is clearer to me that most if not all of those inconsequential happenings are some major life events.

I suppose this sounds trite and sort of ridiculous I guess.  I am trying to be introspective  because I realize the importance  of those trivial days filled with conversations and encounters. I do not have the time to think more about them with my busy schedule yet they hold more meaning and consequence than I can believe. I remember how awesome I feel when I speak to some of my neighbors who fill me with cheer with just their smiles.

It is easy to hurt another person with our simple exchange of talks or actions. Clearly it explains how relevant those words and actions actually are. I hear from numerous people about the rudeness of others whether it is the clerk at a store, a co-worker, friend or relative. The hurt is genuine. I am too stunned at first to offer a reply and by the time I think of something the opportunity escapes me. Of course the wound is carried with me for a long time and the frustration of not having  retaliated and defended myself lasts a long time.

Worrying about the many jobs and plans I have for each day leaves me little time to be introspective. I have to accomplish so much and I don’t have time to breathe never mind rethink what I am going to say or do. I can’t take the time to think before I speak. Who does that? It is more honest to speak your mind and state the facts I tell myself. If someone can’t take the honesty then isn’t it their  issue not my issue? Am I responsible for the world’s  feelings? Is it my fault if some people  are thin skinned? Shouldn’t they toughen up?

Actually the world has toughened up and allows the mental processes and physical processes to overtake any emotional concerns. I review my own encounters and wonder if we are going down the wrong path. Although it is important to get our work completed and make money to provide for the family, I believe it is more important to remember to take care of the emotional needs of children and adults.  By neglecting to do this we place more and more people into emotional states of emergency.

Now it seems like I am overreacting or sympathizing with the weaker members of society who must toughen up. I need more introspection on this for sure. If our choice is to wipe away empathy sympathy and compassion for others we  suffer the consequences. If one falls on the universal treadmill they will be stepped on walked over or tripped over. Many people step along without any offers of help. We can justify our actions because we have too many things to do.  should they have known better right? We do not take off the outer shell that surrounds us.

God help the kids who don’t fit in or conform to the norms of the society. They are ignored or tossed away. Honestly  we put little stock in the daily happenings of our world. Child abuse spousal abuse and drug abuse is on the rise. More people commit crimes of physical abuse.  There are so many disputes between people that  it gives rise to or egos. Every exchange we have with another person becomes an issue of winning or losing so we fight.

Our egos outmatch our hearts in every manner. As the ego gets bigger, the heart grows smaller.  If we are a bit introspective we discover that crushing another in a physical or verbal manner does not always make us the winner. We are full of anger and hate. It overflows and at any moment we attack  and it is not always justified.

There is perhaps more time spent on winning battles about who is right or wrong than spent on getting along and finding peace. If our child comes home from school and complains about a bullying issue we send them back to school in fight mode. Do we attempt to explain the right and wrong of the problem which takes more time? Introspection is required here unless we want the shorter route of time and then encourage our kids to fight back.

Now I am seeing why those simple little meaningless acts of care and concern are not so simple. They are holding the world in their hands. Whether or not the world is dropped depends on the words and exploits we exhibit. Doesn’t it appear to be important to use some introspection once in awhile or every day? If people reach the end of their rope when dealing with minor issues then why is it not plausible to see the world doing the same thing?

Becoming  more introspective enhances our intuitive knowledge by teaching us how to be more compassionate, empathetic and mindful of all people. The simple thoughtful conversations and manners that generate from that attitude bring more enlightenment to the world than all the plans of the greatest of people. Introspection, kindness and love take care of more problems without the need of experiencing guilt or the need to forgive. Introspection also leads to a slowing down of our expectations and an enhancement  of our patience.

“The inertia of the mind urges it to slide down the easy slope of imagination, rather than to climb the steep slope of introspection.” Marcel Proust

“If the whole universe can be found in our own body and mind, this is where we need to make our inquires. We all have the answers within ourselves, we just have not got in touch with them yet. The potential of finding the truth within requires faith in ourselves.” Ayya Khema

“Judgmental heart has lack of introspection.” Toba Beta

“God whispered, “You endured a lot. For that I am truly sorry, but grateful. I needed you to struggle to help so many. Through that process you would grow into who you have now become. Didn’t you know that I gave all my struggles to my favorite children? One only needs to look at the struggles given to your older brother Jesus to know how important you have been to me.” Shannon L. ALder

Understand The Defensive Egos

understand-the-defensive-egos“Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility! Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate! Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness!” Joy Bell C.

“There will always be someone willing to hurt you, put you down, gossip about you, belittle your accomplishments and judge your soul. It is a fact that we all must face. However, if you realize that God is a best friend that stands beside you when others cast stones you will never be afraid, never feel worthless and never feel alone.”    Shannon L. Alder

“When you stop living your life based on what others think of you real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self-acceptance opened.”    Shannon L. Alder

Have you ever had a disagreement with a friend and felt  the defensive egos rising to the  surface? We fault the other person for the majority of the encounter? I have a sense that all of us like to believe we bear the lesser of the blame. Our minds can twist and turn any words said or gesture so that it fits the scenario we perceive as the truth. They spoke unkind words and gave no care for our feelings. They deserve our retaliation because they started it. I am so guilty of this myself but recently for some strange reason I began to rethink an incident and realized that they did say the words I accused them of saying but I recalled their face gestures. I remembered the softness of their face as well as the quietness of their voice. They had not actually been ranting at me nor accusing me just stating what they perceived as the truth. I was the one who was upset and unwilling to give in because of the words spoken even if those words were not in malice.

What I took from the encounter was the fact that it was my own insecurity that made me feel vulnerable and under attack. I lacked the confidence to state my position in a clear manner instead of lashing out negatives. It made me think about other times and situations in which arguments got a little tense or even heated from either side misinterpreting what the words or disagreement was all about. There was obviously an underlying issue which neither party was aware of. How strange this seemed to be.

I wondered if all arguments were meshed within deeper anxieties and resentments. It also made me comprehend how fragile we all are especially when it comes to our egos. As much as we defend the fact that we don’t have big egos, without a doubt we have fragile ones. Is that just as worrisome? I believe it is. Big egos make huge crashes. Small egos make constant mini crashes. It is something worth pondering. It makes one realize that perhaps a healthy ego that has confidence in itself will not be full of a guarded sense of defending itself.

I trust that a healthy ego is important because it has to do with respecting one’s self which I consider to be relevant. It is only an unhealthy idea of ego that brings about the crash landings in one form or another. I have crashed landed myself and of course had to go back for the apologies. Neither in cases like these we can never be sure the incident is actually forgiven nor if it will be forgotten. I suppose it depends on who and what happened and how secure the forgiver is. Knowing self and having a sense of others brings enlightenment along with a generous heart for forgiveness.

Discussing why a fight or argument gets out of control has more to do with our frail egos than what the subject matter is. When it is over we tend to forget what the discussion was about but remember the crude or hurtful remarks more. Being called names means nothing. Just because someone says we are stupid, a bigot, fool, jerk or other unmentionable words does not change us in any way. We are still who we are no less. The problem can become an issue when we allow it to thrive by perseverating on it for days. It is a waste of time. It might even be better to think about why the comments that were made brought us such anger and pain. That is the true problem.

We are not old fat ugly or any other negative connotation unless we keep that word in our hearts. We live with ourselves so it is important to recall how we see ourselves. If it is in a negative manner then that is the dilemma we must overcome. Tell yourself every day how good you are and how much you do or can give to the world. Every person counts has importance deserves respect and adds to the movement of humanity as a whole. Don’t take affronts as insults because they are most times not meant to be interpreted that way.

You might offer help to one person who perceives this as your acknowledgement of their inability to do the job. To another person it is extremely appreciated because they desired the support. You can’t always be sure so offer it to all and let the negativity slide. The truth hurts most times but those who ask for it or need it will come to realize one day that it was important to have received it. Kids are a prime example. Many times the rules enforced by parents appear to be harsh. It is only when they are grown that they can perceive the truth. Parents therefore must be strong in their teachings regardless of the complaints of their children.

Once one understands that the anger and insults are primarily frustration and insecurity on the other side, one can see through this and tone down a possible quarrel. As much as we all talk and enjoy talking we leave the majority of our truths hidden along with our sensitivity. It makes it difficult for everyone to wade through the waters of life and living. What works for one person does not work for another. The person yelling at another also has feelings which are obvious. The person remaining quiet is manifesting all their ability on maintaining their sensitivity in avoiding a battle. Hopefully in the end we all learn to get along, excuse an outburst of anger and accept each other on a higher level of tranquility.

“I am convinced that the jealous, the angry, the bitter and the egotistical are the first to race to the top of mountains. A confident person enjoys the journey, the people they meet along the way and sees life not as a competition. They reach the summit last because they know God isn’t at the top waiting for them. He is down below helping his followers to understand that the view is glorious where ever you stand.”    Shannon L. Alder

“A man’s spirit is free, but his pride binds him with chains of suffocation in a prison of his own insecurities”    Jeremy Aldana

“The older you get, the more you understand how your conscience works. The biggest and only critic lives in your perception of people’s perception of you rather than people’s perception of you.”      Criss Jam

“When you look at the past without God’s eyes, you subject yourself to deception. The past no longer exists and God doesn’t linger there. However, Satan will show you whatever you want to see and believe, so you will be trapped in an emotion that cannot communicate truth, beyond what you want to remember.”    Shannon L. Alder

“True confidence is not about what you take from someone to restore yourself, but what you give back to your critics because they need it more than you do.”   Shannon L. Alder

Right And Wrong

e2qG9e2aVF_1400538757449“if we tell them the brain is an app maybe they will use it.” Anonymous

“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after “Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
Leo Tolstoy

“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” Augustine of Hippo

Focusing more on what is honest mindful  and right about our lives and behavior sends what is dishonest immoral and wrong in our lives fleeing in despair. I know  we should focus on the good but are we pretending there is no bad in our midst? Is the fear of offending anyone keeping us from truth and reality? I can’t help but wonder that in all of our thoughts regarding freedom and democracy we  have lost the spirit of honesty, mindfulness, and conscience. We  all want to belong so much we have given up our right to see any problems in our speech behavior or attitude towards others. There is no amount of rules truths or guidelines that we do not bend in order to fit in or ease our conscience in some way. Whatever we do we can find a reason or excuse for our actions and free ourselves from blame and guilt.

How is it  we don’t see what is in front of our eyes. The brain washing needs to end and we need to stand up for what is of value to our souls and spirit. We are melting into one huge blob of unthinking creatures and should break  away from the brainwashing and wake up to the reality of truth. Are we content to let the family structure dissolve? Is it beneficial to promote the hero as someone who can defeat and crush everyone else? Is control power and strength what we really want or need?

The path we are on focuses on speaking up to others in a belligerent way. It is praiseworthy to knock others down or get revenge. We have leaned how to be the bully in every area of our lives and laugh at the losers who are “Left in our dust”. Have we really won? Have we asked what we have won? I see this as mindless thought and actions. It hurts people riles them up to get revenge and hurt back. The end I guess is when the last few of us are left standing. What a dreary world to look forward to.

I was thinking recently and it led to my thoughts of right and wrong and positive and negative actions. We have the freedom to think and act and speak the way we want regardless of the pain of the words. We can dress and be rude to others at will. We can step on others in order to get what we want while disregarding the cries of others. We are losing our humanness in place of power. Money fame and control lend power. The ones wielding the power can manipulate us bend us coerce us or sell us a fairy tale in order to gain and use our trust.

We see and hear bad language, immoral movies, crude dressing on young innocent kids that the surprise or shock factor is gone. We wonder at the crimes committed  yet we don’t look to ourselves and the world we are creating. It is time to  wake up smell the coffee and consider our spiritual self and where it is at. If one wants to fill their minds and brains with gruesome thoughts of all kinds then see it filter throughout society. What we are thinking of is what will be created. It is only a matter of time before killing will be accepted if the person doing it had a “GOOD REASON” to do it, such as revenge. Where is our moral  compass?

We have stopped attempting to lift people  up but instead have chosen to crush them into the ground. We are all vulnerable. I’m not sending out gloom and doom but truth and reality. Just watch television or read the paper or listen to the number of people or children killed all over the country. Does this bother us because I think it should. It is progressively worse and I feel like we are on a one way train towards a cliff. Enough of us have to get off and stop the train before we all crash.

everyone dies there is no escape and we all accept this. We don’t take anything with us except our spirit and or soul. Have we considered in what shape it is in? Have we filled our minds with honesty mindfulness and empathy for self and others? Have we stopped to think of others or excused ourselves of blame? At our death will we be absolved of our wrongdoing? Have we thought of any of it as wrong, immoral or offensive? I feel that it is a crucial time to start recalling what is good and pure in our lives. It is time to defend honesty and stop compromising our values in order to fit in with untruths and unworthy living. There is something to be scared of. It is called the lies and perversions present in our society. Covering it up like it doesn’t exist is likely the worse thing to do.  Just like the catholic church covered up child abuse with the false belief it was for the benefit of the church, people and humanity. I ask who’s betterment. Truth is never a mistake. It cleanses things.

If you think something is wrong perhaps  you are right. If you  feel uncomfortable about something then maybe you should not do it. If you are  tempted when in the presence of some people or places or things perhaps you should avoid it. Wake up and stop pretending you were lulled into something wrong becaiuse it is at that moment you are being lulled into believing you had no  choice. You always have a choice and it’s better to admit wrong and ask for forgiveness than to lie even to self and add to wrongdoings.

“The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.” Confucius

“Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.”    Jose Ortega y Gasset

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

“The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.”     Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Intentions

Animals10“Good intentions  are not enough; commitment and sacrifice are necessary.” Laurence G. Boldt

“Just because I am strong enough to handle pain doesn’t mean I deserve it.” Pix

“When our actions are based on good intentions, our soul has no regrets.” Anthony Douglas

“No man ever steps in the same river twice cause it’s not the same river and he is not the same man.” Heractitus

“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.” C. S. Lewis

Our intentions regarding any matter are mixed and hidden because we are trying to fathom ourselves and others. It may not make sense but if you ask someone why they performed a certain act of kindness or meanness they usually give a group of responses for the one question. It made sound like, “I wanted to help them and they supported me and I felt like  I owed them.” The list continues in a confusing way and you wonder why you asked the question in the first place.

Does this mean we don’t know ourselves? We perform kind acts due to payback? We support others because we feel others are  watching us? Lastly I wanted to Help. I surmise that the majority of us would rather not think about it and just take the credit. It makes us feel better if we can say this person helped me in the past and I owe them or I helped them in the past so they owe me. I wonder if we hate  to feel we owe someone in any way. I am always on watch myself to come to the aid of a person who helped me at another point in time.

It is funny how it  weighs on our conscience to settle the bill. We worry about settling a bill yet we don’t worry about settling an unkind word or action. It seems unsettling to think this person somehow is above us because they performed a kind service to us. We want to come to their aid  even if they don’t want it nor request it. I had a friend who needed to repay any  service I did for her immediately. It didn’t matter if I did not want the repay at that moment or ever. In her mind if she did something for me the debt was paid and her conscience was clear. Another friend I had done something for repaid me far into the future at a time when I truly needed help. I appreciated the second repay far more because she obviously noticed my need and jumped in versus the first repayment of helping when there was no demand.

I thought to myself maybe that was the crux of the issue. It is easier  to avoid facing the necessities  of others with a myriad of  excuses than to observe someone’s hardship and requirement of help. As usual, I am as guilty of this as anyone. If I don’t stop to think over my intentions then I might overlook someone in need. I might choose to ignore someone who requires support and ignore any possible good intentions of helpfulness on my part.

There are times when we do things at work in order to get the promotion or the eye of the boss. We like to receive the great reputation so we extend to others out of our wants rather than the other person’s privation. There is also the guilt factor which leads many of us to repay a debt because it looks good or aids us in some way. So many times good intentions are must do things. Being coerced into doing things happens every day. There are those people who volunteer to do something and force others to jump on the wagon. Of course these actions are many times worthwhile but again the good intentions may not be present.

I sometimes wonder if by going along with good actions we are picking up good vibes and learning to care. I certainly do hope so. It would be nice to see a world of compassion where all of us thought about the next person and their welfare. If every intention was compassionate and full of empathy we would have a better world to live in.

There are times others let us down because they  are thoughtless to our needs and feelings. Recalling those times we did the same to  others helps us to overcome the self pity. I am not saying to stop loving the self as most of us find little time to think about self yet we should. I am saying how easy it is to hurt others without intending to do so. The wrong look, remark, laugh or action can send us reeling for cover. The intention wasn’t there to cause pain but the hurt rang through loud and clear. I suppose we could wear some armor.

Our hope is to always have the best intentions. If we can’t do that perhaps we might attempt to think about others in a sincere way. When we come to realize we are all people with feelings maybe we will stop to think before we do or say something that is painful to another. There are those times our intentions are hurtful and we are now remorseful. There are also times when our intentions were totally honest and without any harm meant.

We don’t have to analyze every word or action done. We just have to try to do our best and observe any need we see that can be fulfilled. The kindness may never make the newspaper but it is always felt within the heart. There is nothing more revitalizing than experiencing that feeling, especially when it is performing an action that likely will never be repaid. That is when it is unconditional and not ever meant to be repaid. That is an unconditional act of love that will endlessly travel around the world.

“Think the best of each other especially of those you say you love. Assume the good and doubt the bad.” Jeffrey R. Holland

“Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.” Anonymous

“I will not die an lived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me. To make me less afraid and more accessible. To loosen my heart until it becomes a wing a torch a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom goes on as fruit.” Dawn Markova

Mercy Is The Other Side Of Love

Animals19“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
Oscar Wilde

“there is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eyes of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him… there is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He will forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need. I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.” Khaled Hosseini

I was looking up the word mercy the other day and discovered  so many words attached to it that it surprised me due to their different meanings like the words kindness, understanding and generosity. We might ask ourselves what does generosity have to do with mercy. Of course if you forgive someone who may not deserve forgiveness in most peoples’  eyes, so  perhaps you have bestowed mercy in a generous way. I had to think about it for a long time.

There are those people  who seem to constantly require  our forgiveness and we are not always in the mood  to be so generous or sympathetic which  are words for mercy. Extending mercy is right up there with forgiveness. It isn’t easy and can be impossible on certain days or situations. On the other side mercy and forgiveness can be extended on the most impossible day or situation if we see beyond our own pain and witness the hurting situation of another person.

Likely we are not always aware when we cause pain to others. We haven’t  walked in the shoes of a lot of people. To us in can appear that they are lazy, stupid, unkind and mean. Understanding their inner turmoil of unrest takes a lot of our time yet it is worth it. Even if we can’t fix their issues we can understand which is also a definition of mercy. Sometimes people don’t have the words for their pain like a toddler who can’t explain a situation beyond their comprehension. At times we only have our emotions which fire out of control. That will render us little  sympathy. (Another word for mercy)

Dan Skognes stated that, “Your greatest pain can give birth to your purpose.” If you think about that  you understand  how simple and complex that is. Many times we comprehend what another feels only by experiencing it ourselves. The impact ignites our desire  to shout this  knowledge to the world especially when we are surrounded by those who don’t get the core of the pain.

I believe that many times hurting people just want to be understood and acknowledged. They want us to see and understand or show mercy. The depth of one’s pain cannot be explained because we all experience situations in our  own way. However the reality is honest and the hurt others endure can be lifted somewhat and released. The hurt will be remembered at times but sharing it with others might dilute the pain.

On any given day we can extend mercy. It doesn’t cost us anything but a few words or simple act. The gift of compassion  or mercy is beyond measure and can set a person on a new path of love and life. I equate it to picking someone up from the floor. When they find love and relief they let go of  anger and fill themselves with love. That is when they can offer it to others and teach them how to let go of the negative by forgiving or showing mercy. That is also the point at which they might become the teacher rather than the rejected crushed unthinking or unfeeling  person. Their pain becomes a beacon to those who give pain without thought and those who are trying to resolve their pain.

My own childhood pain led me into teaching and working with children in need. I went back to college as an adult and got my undergraduate and graduate degree and certification in regular classroom instruction and special education. I blocked out most of my traumatic childhood but had an affinity for abused kids which I didn’t understand where it came from. Writing the book Tumbleweed Kid which will be published in the somewhat near future, came from the experiences of my classroom years of instruction as well as my own childhood.

I must admit my first copy of the book which is unavailable was anger and frustration at the parents. As I understood my own pain which was interfering with my sympathy or mercy I began to rewrite the book. I have forgiven  but the pain of childhood caused me to be intuitively aware of the feelings of kids and basically all people I am with. The sensitivity is sometimes overwhelming because I can’t let it go so easily. I worry about what I say and do so as not to offend anyone but of course it happens anyway. Now I tell myself if I have done so and know my intentions were never meant to hurt then I let go of any guilt.  It isn’t easy but it helps.

I’m all about relationships which get so muddled from insignificant issues. We just have to try to understand more with our hearts and stop analyzing so much in our heads. Even if you had a difficult childhood of any degree you can alter your own way of parenting. You can accept your pain and hurt but go down a different path. Have mercy on yourself and do better. Think about the kids and their kids etc. How many lives you will improve with your transformation. Understand where your anger is coming from or where your parents’ anger came from and resolve the issues. It isn’t easy but a conscious effort makes all the difference.

I never understood why I would freak out if my husband wanted to even slap the kids. I don’t  believe in spanking. I suffered when the kids at school told me home stories of suffering and pain. In the end I faced my own childhood issues and the problems in today’s home environments and hope to spread the idea of a better way of disciplining kids which begins with love first. Disciplining with love works the best. Parents are not bad just unaware of the damage they do when spreading anger fear and bullying. If society wonders where it comes from just check out the home environments of some children. We hate to look because it isn’t pretty and we don’t have the answers. Now the courage is necessary if we want to change the world for the better. Stop blaming others and look inside yourself for the answers. Don’t hate yourself instead put the energy into changing yourself to a more merciful person. Don’t forget what the definition of mercy means!

“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”  Abraham Lincoln

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. (Psalms 116:1-2 NIV)”  Anonymous

“The world will give you that once in awhile, a brief timeout; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where somebody dabs mercy on your beat-up life.”     Sue Monk Kidd

I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy. Og Mandino

“The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.”     Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Night is a time of rigor, but also of mercy. There are truths which one can see only when it’s dark”    Isaac Bashevis Singer