Archives for the month of: November, 2013

hopeI first heard of Anne Lamott from my good friend, S, and she gave me her latest book, Help. Thanks. Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. In it, Anne wrote that asking for help, giving thanks for what we have, and being amazed at all the beauty that surrounds us are the three ways that spiritually connects us with the Higher Power and give us hope during trying times.

My cable company had four past episodes of Super Soul Sunday available, and two of those were with Anne Lamott, so I watched the first part today.

Near the end of part one, Anne Lamott spoke about hope after she recalled a conversation she had with a priest about her friend, Pammy, who was dying 20 years ago.  She asked the priest if God would help Pammy when she crossed over, if Pammy’s young daughter would be okay, and if she would see Pammy again one day.

“He said, ‘I hope so.’ And I never forgot that, because we live in the hope — in the hope of truth, in the hope of light, in the hope of spiritual healing. Because first of all, to hope makes you so vulnerable. If your heart is open, it’s going to get bruised and knocked around the world, and life is going to knock you around. But to hope, it is to be a child again,” Ms. Lamott shared.

What Anne Lamott said reminded me of Dr. Brené Brown’s take on vulnerability. “To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.” 

Having an open heart is opening yourself up to anything and everything, good and bad, and hoping is believing that no matter what, all will be well.

I am grateful for hope.

Links:

Super Soul Sunday with Anne Lamott

Related posts:

Day 17/365: On Vulnerability

Day 23/365: Go With The Flow

forgiveThere were many things I was grateful for today.  For example, I called into a virtual weekly meeting (where they take attendance) about 2 minutes late, and I swear, a second after I called in, my name was called. No one knew I called in late.  I thought that was super sleek and cool! I couldn’t stop smiling.   😉

Yet, while mulling which of the things I wanted to record in my blog tonight, I realized that in the space of 24 hours, I spoke about forgiveness and love to three different people dealing with three different situations and conflicts.

On the road to self-love, one of the things I worked on, and continue to work on, is forgiveness. I asked for forgiveness from others (even for very small infractions). I did my best to personally asked for forgiveness.  For those, I couldn’t reach for any reason, I asked for forgiveness in my heart. I try to daily forgive myself and a list of people I need to forgive.  I say this either inwardly or out loud in private.  Eventually, any pain from those I need to forgive goes away and the list gets shorter.

I think I was just surprised that I had shared this method of forgiveness without even thinking about it.  I suppose forgiveness was something three different people may have needed to hear.  But I did write earlier that I also spoke about love.

Last week, I spoke to a friend, JB, about how hard it was for me to be in the company of someone who was constantly negative.  I had happened to be getting a ride from someone, M, and as soon as I climbed into the car, she just started to talk about things in a negative way.  Pretty soon, I started to feel stressed.  JB advised that I should visualize giving M love and healing from my heart to help ease the pain she was feeling that is keeping her thinking negative.

The three situations were the following:

Situation 1:  P has a very difficult relationship with her mother.  She has dealt with decades of verbal attacks from childhood to adulthood. She would excuse herself when she would take calls from her mother because she doesn’t want any of her friends to feel her stress and the negativity from those calls.

Situation 2:  A is still dealing with a very difficult divorce and her ex-husband, instead of focusing on the kids and their well-being, finds every moment to blame A for anything and everything and continue to be verbally abusive towards her.

Situation 3:  PS has had increasing difficulty with her Mother-in-law, who had recently just said some bad things about her parents.

What I had advised:

For all three, I asked them to consider forgiving themselves and the person that is hurting them.  I asked them to do this for at least three weeks (I can’t remember where I read the timing from, but it could be from a book by Louise L. Hay).  I also asked them to visualize themselves giving love from their heart to this person.

Why?

1. You will have a change of perspective within a few days or by the 21st day.  You will see this person in a more positive light.

2.  The other person will change their perspective towards you, through your effort of forgiveness and love.

3.  A miracle will happen… Both #1 and #2 occur.

I asked all three to try the exercises of forgiveness and love, and to let me know what happens.  I know from personal experience that something wondrous will occur.

Today, I am grateful for forgiveness. As Don Miguel Ruiz said, “forgiveness is an act of self-love.”  By forgiving others, you ease out of your anger and suffering, and you allow yourself to heal.

I am grateful for a fun day so far. It started with a gift of a mint mojito iced coffee to ward of sleepiness. Then off to The City by the Bay.

We happened to have gone in to Tiffany’s and interestingly enough, surrounded by all the bling, the only thing I found of interest was a decorative holiday display of tiny blue boxes on a sleigh. It brings to mind those situations when you give a small child a wrapped gift and what they end up happily playing with is the gift wrap paper.

I am also grateful for these additional gifts I received today from friends!

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There were a lot of people who came to support the Birdland Jazzista Social Club in Berkeley, CA, last night, and contributed to the in-kind donation drive for the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. There were three large cargo boxes nearly filled when we got there, and by the end of the show, it would fill so many more.

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All the guests were treated to the organizers’ charms, live music from local bands, and bbq. Yup, bbq! Last night, they served barbecued chicken drumsticks with Acme bread.

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I am grateful to have contributed to the donation drive last night, and to have finally visited one of the places my friend performs at. I even got to meet cutie-pup, Hershel, who did a fine job of guarding the donations bbq . 😉

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Links:
Birdland Jazzista Social Club

For information on how you can drop off donations for the victims of Haiyan/Yolanda, please visit: LBC Foundation
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intheend

If you died today, would you be happy with the life you have lived?  Well, since you are not dying today, not that I know of anyway ;-), you have a chance to make some changes, right?  Why not write your obituary so that you can be sure that you are living your life the way you want it to be lived.

Please don’t think about it as an exercise of mortality or morbidity.  Let it be an exercise of “no regrets.”  This way, it can be a sort of rules to live by for a life fully (and well) lived.

Here is my working copy of the fun stuff:

Mercedita lived her life fiesty ’til her last breath (which sounded more like a laugh), and with a peaceful smile (smirk?) on her face.  She was surrounded by her family and friends until her last moments, reminiscing about the wonderful times they all shared with her.

She was a prolific writer, healer, world traveler, and foodie until the very end.  Her last meal was a sashimi plate of hamachi (yellow tail), toro (fatty tuna), sake (salmon), and shiro maguro (white tuna) with a nigiri plate of uni (sea urchin roe) and ikura (salmon roe) with a quail egg yolk on top.  This nearly centenarian’s last thrilling adventure (just the other day) was paragliding.

Mercedita was a philanthropist, donating her time and money to countless charitable organizations to fight hunger, support education, and mentorship to children in underserved communities.

She saved the lives of three children while living and hopes as a donor to save more lives.

To add one day: 😉

She follows her Imzadi to heaven, and leaves behind two beautiful children and their equally beautiful families.

How’s that?  That wasn’t macabre, right?  Make it fun (and funny)!

I am grateful to have the chance to review my life, so that I can make necessary changes to be able to live my life without regrets later.  Now the hard part… to be brave!

20131114-172259.jpgWhen I wrote my post, “To Have A Clear Heart,” I really didn’t feel good about it.  I think I was still trying to understand the concept of what I read about having a clear heart.  I even asked my cousin to read it and see if it was okay, because I just felt it was cold and impersonal to me. Little did I know that I was going to learn about it in a big way.

(Please note: In order to understand what I learned yesterday, I will be placing an asterisk (*) with a number throughout my post, but I will explain each later.)

After I pulled into the Food Bank’s parking lot, I collected the things I would bring with me like my car keys and phone.  Somehow, I decided to take my driver’s license (*1) with me; which in past volunteer work, I never did.  I locked up the car and put my driver’s license in my pants’ zippered pocket along with my car keys.

When we finished, on the way out, I pumped some alcohol gel into my left hand and then wiped away, finishing outside of the building.  Sometime after I exited the building and when I got to my car, I took my car keys from my pocket.  When I got to my car, I reached into my pocket to put my driver’s license into my wallet and that was when I realized I no longer had it.

I got out of the car and started to backtrack.  The captain of our volunteer team and another team member were chatting off to one side, and I almost reached out to them if they may have seen my license on the ground (*2), but I decided to keep searching on my own (*3).  When I reached the door to the office and pulled, it was locked.  I looked in and all the lights were off.  I realized they had already closed down the office.  Luckily, someone heard me try to open the door and let me in to search for my license inside.  I did not see it.  By this time, I started to pray because I started to worry.+

I remember having a subtle feeling to calm down, take a few deep breaths, be quiet, and be still(*4), but I started to think about the mess I was in.  I continued to worry.  I became distracted by all the truck drivers trying to fill their trucks with bins of produce for deliveries and wondered if I should ask them if they have seen my license.  The captain and the other team member had finished their talk, so I decided to ask the captain, V, if he had seen my license.  He did not, but he decided to help me.

We went back to the office, but this time, no one came to the door.  I started to talk about my fears.  V was very calm, helpful, and positive the entire time.  On the way to the front of the building where we could come in through another set of doors, V saw a plastic card on the ground and reached down to get it.  It was my driver’s license!  It was close to the area where he and the other team member were chatting a few minutes ago.

I thanked him and was extremely grateful.  Then I started to laugh and told V about a post I had written about having a clear heart the night before.  That if you act while in the midst of strong emotions, you won’t be able to act clearly (*5).  I finally understood it… I was given the opportunity to learn it first hand.

So here are my lessons learned (and hope not to forget!):

*1: Driver’s License: I didn’t need it, yet I still took it with me.  That should have made me think something was up. HaHa!

*2: I did not stop to ask my two team mates if maybe they saw something on the ground.  (I might have seen my driver’s license then.)

*3: I decided not to ask anyone for possible help, and continued to take care of things on my own.  I need to learn to ask for help.

*4: I felt the need to calm myself down, but I ignored it. Follow your intuition, woman! (Sigh)

*5: Strong emotions will cloud your thinking.  Calm down and let the waves of emotions come and go first, before doing anything.

I am grateful for the lessons I learned yesterday.

Footnote:

+ When I traveled around Japan, Hong Kong, Philippines, and South Korea (I did not know the language at all and my survival Korean phrase book did not help) by myself a few years back, whenever I felt that I had exhausted everything I could do on my own, as soon as I prayed for help, I received it.  That was when I realized (1) all my prayers are heard, (2) I am never alone, and (3) I will always be alright, no matter what.  The hard thing is not forgetting when strong emotions are in the way!  HaHa!

Links:

My reference post, To Have A Clear Heart.

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I am grateful for being able to volunteer at a food bank today.

It has been over a year since I have had a chance to do community support due to my health and the healing time. It is always so much more meaningful to me to give my time to organizations that support the causes that are dear to my heart, like fighting hunger, supporting education, and mentorships for children in underserved communities.

I am truly grateful for being healthy now that I can give back to my community.

********Reblogging to reach out to more people for prayers and assistance for those ravaged by Haiyan/Yolanda.*******

A Dose A Day

Calling all bloggers. Please repost this to reach more people.

I was watching this morning’s newscast and there are still hungry typhoon victims not reached by help.

Typhoon Yolanda left millions of people homeless, starving and worst, without a family. Please do something to help.

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PLEASE REBLOG.

You never know how much generous people can reach this.

(credits to the pics owners)

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clearheartOnce in a while, when I have a question, I would pick up a book, open it randomly, and read what I get.  The book that I chose this afternoon was Sonia Choquette’s The Answer Is Simple…  Love Yourself, Live your Spirit!  I haven’t quite read it yet, but I really like the title.

It opened up to page 82 of the chapter, “The Heart of the Matter,” and at the top of the page, it said, “I felt sad for her. Her closed heart had driven away an opportunity to experience love.”  I couldn’t help thinking then that this would have been a great quote for two of my previous posts. ;D

What really caught my eye was a new section at the bottom of the page called “Have a Clear Heart.”  Sonia Choquette wrote that “love is broken down into four basic expressions of true Spirit, corresponding to the four chambers of the heart: the open heart, the clear heart, the wise heart, and the courageous heart.”

According to Sonia, the open heart corresponds to your Divine inner child; whereas, the clear heart corresponds to your Divine inner adult.  If we have a clear heart, we could easily walk past drama and self-pity.  We could be objective, reasonable, and look at life without bias and not take it too personally.

For example, if you are unhappy about a situation, instead of asking Why is this happening to me?, you should ask Why is this happening? What can I learn from this?

I like the concept, because sometimes we do fall into situations where we are swimming in emotions and can’t see past through the drama to figure out what truly caused it… not until we allow the waves of emotions to pass and we can sit down and think about what had just happened.

Another example Sonia gave was what happens when our heart is clouded with strong emotions and we act on them.  This is when we hurt our relationships with others.  She advised that “whenever you find yourself caught in the turbulence of a strong emotion, let it flow and know that it will eventually calm down.  You’re best able to make sound, self-loving choices when your emotions are quiet.”

I think we all have acted on strong emotions at one point in our lives, maybe more.  I feel grateful to have come upon the section on how to have a clear heart. As I move towards life with an open heart, I feel I am now armed with extra knowledge on how to traverse any obstacles (especially emotionally driven ones) by keeping my heart clear.

11/14/13 note: Please follow this link to read about the lesson I learned about having a clear heart.

Disclaimer:

Image courtesy of http://www.crystalsrocksandgems.com

All across the USA, we are celebrating Veteran’s Day. I am grateful to all the U. S. Military Veterans who give/gave of themselves to keep us safe. It takes extraordinary people to serve in this capacity, and I am thankful for all you do/have done for us.

Recently, I found out that today is Spiritual Awareness Day also! From 11:00 a.m. – 11:11 a.m. local time, there is movement to send Love, Gratitude, and Joy into the Universe. I am grateful for this as well.

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