Gratitude is action as well as words

Bird Droppings November 11, 2011
Gratitude is action as well as words

Most mornings I am driving to school about four thirty or so in the morning but today with Veterans Day as a holiday I got to relax till maybe five or so. Today my wife had scheduled a medical procedure and we were at the doctor around seven this morning just as the sun was coming up. I by chance got a photo of a brilliant red maple tree shining in the rising sun. Usually at that time of day at home while I can see the sunrise it is you can watch and listen to the awakening of everything. While I was standing facing east to take in the full effect of the sunrise it was mainly cars and business sounds humming and popping around me. After several minutes a lone bird started chirping and soon another and within minutes I was visually and auditorally committed and nature in the midst of chaos caught my attention again. On this day of thanks to our veterans I am not only thankful but offer it is with sincere gratitude that I sit here writing today. To friends, family and those I do know thank you from my heart.

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart

It is only a few weeks ahead that as I will be waking up the morning after, while most folks will be still asleep, it seems that turkey has that effect on people here around the holidays. With the Thanksgiving holiday near I was thinking about gratitude. When I saw Eckhart’s quote about a month ago my first thought was to use it on Thanksgiving Day. But I really think it goes beyond a single day of giving thanks.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

“Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.” Northrup Christine

Being grateful opens doors and let’s people in. We live in such a protectionist society and reality. We are always trying to protect our own area of influence and self. However gratefulness can lift you up and take you beyond where you are now to another level.

“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” French Proverb

“It is another’s fault if he is ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so.” Seneca

Gratitude requires giving and in giving we are also offering of ourselves and building up within ourselves.

“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.” Ethel Percy Andrus

“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.” Richard Braustein

Life is about giving, sometimes what you offer to others is simply how and where you are placed in life and many times that provides the vehicle for your journey through life and direction for others.

“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” Flora Edwards

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran

So often we think of giving as money or food, but in reality giving of self that is the hardest and the most rewarding. Caring about people and sharing is much harder than simply providing a dollar or a can, the gratitude comes back within and through our hearts.

“He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.” Lao Tzu

“A handful of pine-seed will cover mountains with the green majesty of forests. I too will set my face to the wind and throw my handful of seed on high.” Fiona Macleod

When forester’s timber areas, often they will leave several healthy older trees to seed the remaining land. I have been in areas where clear cutting save for a few tree, has occurred and several years later a new forest has begun. But it is so important to plant seeds and to scatter them as to be a friend and to let friendships grow.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa

“The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.” Brian Tracy

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Edith Wharton

I remember a candlelight service so many years ago, one person carefully started with a lit candle and handed their light to another’s candle and each in turn went through the room lighting another’s and soon the room was filled with light. We are much like a candle light service if we share our light and love, and pass it on to the person next to you. It is to say thank you when you receive from another and offer always to another. So often life hands us unexpected surprises, gratitude extends and magnifies those times. Please as we get into this coming holiday season keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Can we add color to a gray world

Bird Droppings November 9, 2011
Can we add color to a gray world

In recent days I have been taking brilliant color photos and converting to duotones or simply black and white often with striking results. It was several nights back I had been having a series of vivid dreams or visions some might say. One in particular I was in a very repetitive series of images over and over looking for a solution. After several times waking up and falling right back to sleep and into this same over again dream it hit me. I was missing a simple piece to my puzzle in life.

“Never claim to know anything till you have experienced it.” Bear Heart, The Wind is my mother: The Life and teaching of a Native American Shaman

So much of what we teach in high school is third person and information and students never really gain an understanding because they never experience that bit or piece. It lacks relevance to them and becomes simply a moment in time.

“Stress is the body and mind’s response to any pressure that disrupts its normal balance. It occurs when our perceptions of events don’t meet our expectations and we don’t manage our reaction to the disappointment. As a response, stress expresses itself as resistance, tension, strain or frustration that throws off our physiological and psychological equilibrium, keeping us out-of-sync.” Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution

By chance I got into a discussion on perception a few days ago in with a graduate class. Amazing how we all seem to see the same world so differently. What my years of experience and learning see and what eighteen year olds limited years and even another person of my own age who has equally experienced life. Each of us has been different places, seen different things, and learned different methods and strategies in life.

“Cancer is my secret because none of my rivals has been that close to death and it makes you look at the world in a different light and that is a huge advantage.” Lance Armstrong

I remember waiting to here after my father was wheeled into surgery for stomach cancer we had been given the grim future by the surgeon just before he was taken in and were waiting as a family for news after. Amazing how the threat of death offers new perspective to life, it seems each second becomes so much more precious. Friends who have been in similar situations take a new outlook on life cherishing each moment as if it were the last.

“Do not say,” it is morning,” and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.” Rabindranath Tagore

When the surgeon walked out and said this was the smallest tumor he had ever removed from a patients stomach and still paraphrased, with but. It was a relief, life though had been redefined within our family. Meaning to each moment had been altered and our perception of each new moment somewhat clearer.

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.” C. S. Lewis

Our experiences and understandings and beliefs do have input and effect on our perception of each instant in our lives. They are sort of the filters we see and hear through and conversely understand through. I have a student who is extremely conservative and views everything as being altered to be politically correct. My student sees each item in their life as having been spun as in how the news media spins various news items. Many of us do as we watch news biased by opinion of the news broadcaster but I am amazed as I see one thing and my student’s view is nearly opposite.

“The solution to stress management lies in how we perceive the stresses in our lives. It’s not really the events taking place in our lives that cause stress. Stress depends entirely on how we perceive the events that happen to us. The good news is that since stress is a response—not the event that triggers the response—we can control it. Once we shift our perception of a situation and see it with more clarity, the stressful reaction can be reduced or released.” Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution

The difficult aspect however is changing perception, it has taken time and effort to come to the world view that we have. I think to my student whose views are so conservative at times. While they are hers on one hand many are handed down by her parents and family as well. The experiences of a family or society often impact the view of the individual as well.

“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” Ziggy

“You have to ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.” Kahlil Gibran

A cartoonist, a philosopher and a mystic poet would see a world differently perhaps yet there is an understanding among these three that the world has varying and differing views. Is the glass half full or half empty even though the amount of water is the same? We seem to be asked this in teaching quite a bit nearly daily. Of course then either way we are to fill the glass.

“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien

“It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals.” Charles Kuralt

Amazing how a linguist and newscaster see so similar, though one is famous for realism and the other for fantasy. Charles Kuralt’s trademark was his to the point clarity in news casting and J. R. Tolkien for his brilliance in creating a world where fantasy and magic are real for all who read the words.

“We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.” Anais Nin

“No life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.” Ellen Glasgow

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend” Henri Bergson

I often wonder as I go about each day as to how people see and hear what they do. What are the biases and prejudices that make their world appear as it does. So many people allow hatred and negativity into their lives through their limited perception of existence. I sat with a young man a few days ago helping him calm down, he was stressed by the actions of another student. He had been stressed to a point of wringing his hands till there were red. The other student walked away I am sure laughing how he had pushed this other fellow to near the breaking point, “all in fun”. Seems he was a big man on campus and it was part of his image.

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.” Martha Washington

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” Epictetus

One student sees humor another sees ridicule and shame. One student walks away laughing and another student sit in severe pain.

“Miracles seem to rest, not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from far off, but upon our perceptions being made finer so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear that which is about us always.” Willa Cather

It is so difficult to pass judgment when perception is involved, yet life should be about doing no harm and doing no harm means not finding humor in another’s pain. When someone asks you to stop whether you do or do not see the issue, stopping is the only alternative. We have to learn our perception is not the sole perception in this reality. I have seen to many tears these past weeks walking down the halls of the school. I have seen too many clenched fists.

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.” Hans Margolius

So often emotion tints the glass of our vision and anger allows us to see color only in gray or see grays in vivid color.

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” George Bernard Shaw

If only we could provide free Windex to all what a world we would have. It might take a little Windex to clean the perceptions of the world, and to help clear the grime off so many windows and let in the light. Thinking to a recent commercial where a husband is sleeping in a recliner by a large window and his wife comes by cleaning with Windex and the sunlight wakes him up and he stumbles into the newly cleaned window. I really do not want everybody seeing the world alike that would be boring but somehow leveling the playing field. Maybe just providing corrective lenses to others so they can see my way and I am color blind. Always there is the big if only? Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart.
namaste
bird

It is not about asking for but giving thanks

Bird Droppings August 17, 2011
It is not asking for but giving thanks

As I do so often searching the book shelves at my local Barnes and Nobles or Borders, soon to be no more. I found a few books over the past weekend. Two of the books are by J. T. And William Garrett and focus on Cherokee medicine and spirituality and the other is a book I have found most interesting and will be borrowing from in the classroom and in my writing over the next days. The book’s title is, Activating the Desire to learn by Bob Sutto who uses Dr. William Glasser’s Choice Theory, to open up students to learning. Choice Theory is a totally different approach in our world of antecedent, behavior and consequence as depicted in behaviorist understanding. Perhaps a good lead in to my thinking on this book and idea is one of saying thank you.

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving is a way of life for traditionalists in Indian thought. Prayer to an Indian is about giving thanks for what is received or to be taken for use. Prayer is never asking for something as we materialistic folks seemed to do on a minute by minute basis. It was only a few weeks back that as I was waking up considerably later, still while most folks were still asleep, and I was thinking about gratitude. So often we are not thankful for all that befalls us. When I saw Eckhart’s quote about a month ago my first thought was to use it on Thanksgiving Day. But I really think it goes beyond a single day of giving thanks.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

“Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.” Northrup Christine

Being grateful opens doors and let’s people in. We live in such a protectionist society and reality. We are always trying to protect our own area of influence and self. Many times this is human natures preponderance to greed coming into effect. However gratefulness can lift you up and take you beyond where you are now to another level.

“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” French Proverb

“It is another’s fault if he is ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so.” Seneca

Gratitude requires giving and in giving we are also offering of ourselves as well as building up within ourselves.

“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.” Ethel Percy Andrus

“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.” Richard Braustein

Life is about giving, sometimes what you offer to others is simply, the how, and why and where you are placed in life and many times that provides the vehicle for your journey through life and direction or a map for others.

“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” Flora Edwards

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran

So often we think of giving as money or food, but in reality giving of yourself is the hardest and the still the most rewarding. Caring about people and sharing is much harder than simply providing a dollar or a can, the gratitude comes back within and through our hearts.

“He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.” Lao Tzu

“A handful of pine-seed will cover mountains with the green majesty of forests. I too will set my face to the wind and throw my handful of seed on high.” Fiona Macleod

When forester’s timbers a given area, often they will leave several healthy older trees to seed the remaining land. I have been in areas where clear cutting save for a few tree, has occurred and several years later a new forest has begun. But it is so important to plant seeds and to scatter them as to be a friend and to let friendships grow.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa

“The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.” Brian Tracy

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Edith Wharton

I remember a candlelight service so many years ago, one person carefully started with a lit candle and handed their light to another’s candle and each in turn went through the room lighting another’s and soon the room was filled with light. We are much like a candle light service if we share our light and love, and pass it on to the person next to you. It is to say thank you when you receive from another and offer always to another. So often life hands us unexpected surprises, gratitude extends and magnifies those times. Please as we get into this coming week ahead keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird