Monday, September 24, 2012

Whose Life Have YOU Changed Today?

My 21 year old stepson just came home from a 350 person wedding, where the groom was one of his cousins on his mother's side. At the wedding, he met a second cousin, whom I'll call Jack, who lives in Atlanta.

Jack talked at length about my husband, whom he had met at just a few family parties 25 years ago, when Jack was about 10. He remembered my husband very clearly, both the fact that he was a vegetarian (not nearly as popular in the US back then as it is today) and the fact that he was a computer programmer. Jack says this made a deep and lasting impression: he is a vegetarian and works in IT, and says it is due to his meeting my husband.

These were by no means memorable encounters from my husband's point of view. He was just being who he was. So my husband, just by being who he was, deeply affected Jack's life.

Here's another example:

A couple of weeks ago (9/12/12), my guest on "Your Life, Your Relationships" was Fred Burks, a former translator for US Presidents,  whose work is now creating personal and planetary transformation. See this and this. When I asked him what opened his eyes and changed his life, it was the Disclosure Project video of Dr. Stephen Greer. (Btw, this video shifted my perspective on life and the world, as well.)

Dr. Greer's intention is to change the world -- and he is doing it through video, among other things. So maybe a video you make (or a radio show I do?) will change someone's life radically.

That's the point. You never know whom you'll affect, or when, or by doing what. My husband found out about this one person whose life he changed -- but what about all those people he's affected that he will never find out about? What about Fred? What about Dr. Greer? They surely will not know about all the change they've fostered, either.

What about all the people you have affected, whom you'll never know you affected? Whose life might you change today, by some simple action -- or non-action?

This is a great reminder to each of us to be our best self in any moment, in order to change people's lives for the better. Because you just never know...

Maybe being who you are gives someone permission to be who they are. Or sharing some bit of information turns out to be life changing.
Maybe giving someone directions helps her get to a job interview on time, so she gets a job that she keeps for years and opens up new possibilities in her life. Of course, you'll never know that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why Should YOU Be Transparent?

Mitt Romney's recent statements at a private fundraiser, caught on video, show that what he says publicly is different from what he says privately. And then there's the refusal to release more than 2 years of his tax returns. This is referred to as a lack of transparency (perhaps because people don't want to use the word "lying"?).

That got me to thinking -- why wouldn't you be transparent? Whether you're a candidate for President, or any human being going through life, you have a choice of whether or not to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth -- or not. As my Dad used to say, "Tell the truth -- there's less to remember." So really, why wouldn't you be transparent?

I can only come up with 2 reasons:
  1. You are deeply ashamed of the truth, or guilty about the truth, or 
  2. Telling the truth won't get you what you want. 
Let's take each of those in turn:

If you're feeling ashamed or guilty, you have a few options. First, look at what you're ashamed of, or guilty about, and ask yourself if it was your responsibility. For example, victims of sexual abuse often feel ashamed of that. But if you were not the abuser, you have nothing to be ashamed of.

On the other hand, if you were, in fact, responsible for whatever you're ashamed of or guilty about, then find a way to put it right. This is why Steps 8 & 9 of Alcoholics Anonymous' 12 Steps are
  • "Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."
  • "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
Nobody ever said this would be easy.

Now what if you didn't do anything illegal but telling the truth about it wouldn't get you what you want? 

Mitt Romney is the perfect example. Let's assume he's done nothing illegal (I'm assuming this because no one has ever asserted anything to the contrary). But telling the truth, which goes something like, "I made hundreds of millions of dollars by sending US jobs overseas and then not paying taxes on the money I made", is not likely to get him what he wants, which is to be President of the United States of America, as it is deeply at odds with American values. If you were Mitt, what would you do? Obfuscate, of course. Change the subject. Refuse to answer the question, and blame it on the questioner, or the audience, who just wouldn't understand ("We've given you people enough information.") That is, be opaque, not transparent. A refusal to be transparent suggests that you know what you have done is morally wrong, if still within the letter of the law.

And this is why people don't trust those who are clearly hiding something, who are not transparent. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's the Difference between Love and Attachment?

I'm out of town, taking care of some business as I write this, as I have been for the last week or so. My husband is at home, holding down the fort. But one of the members of our household, Beast, the cat, went missing last week for a couple of days. 

Beastie is 17, and has been with me since he was 3 or so (we don't know exactly, as I got him at a shelter, where someone took him when his first humans moved away). When I met him, on vacation, I'd had no intention of coming home with a second cat. But when I picked him up, he melted into me, and that was it. He was my cat; I was his human.

For some great Beastie stories, see this, this, and this. Suffice it to say that I love this cat with all my heart.

He is in somewhat ill health with the beginnings of kidney failure, which I manage with supplements I mix into his food each day, and by giving him subcutaneous hydration once or twice a week. (Yes, I give him injections of Ringer's solution with a HUGE needle. It takes 2 humans to do it, and is no fun for any of the three of us.) This Kidney disease is eventually fatal, so he is on his way out, if somewhat slowly. It has caused the 'always hungry' kitty to lose a lot of weight.

So when he went missing, Kosta, my husband, and I both sent telepathic messages to Beast to COME HOME NOW! Usually, Beastie will show up at our back door within a couple of hours of one of these messages from Kosta, but this time -- nothing.

I thought maybe he'd gone off to die in the woods behind our house. And I'm not home to even say goodbye. That was incredibly hard on me.

But that got me to thinking: what is the difference between love and attachment? Because if I only love him, then I want the best for him, and if that is going off in the woods to die (which is normal for a cat), then that should make me happy. But it didn't. It just made me sad.

I realize that the love is a feeling of warmth in my heart. What was making me sad was the (presumed) loss of the joy of connecting with a physical Beast -- petting his fur, hearing him purr and meow, watching him jump into someone's lap, feeling my heart energy returned by him. That's the attachment part. That's about me, not him.

Think about this in your own life: How much of what you call love for someone or something is actually just your own attachment, your concern for yourself in relationship to that person or thing?

PS - Beastie did show up eventually -- having gained weight! So he has conned some other family into feeding him. Which would be okay if he didn't need his meds. So in the short term I'm relieved, while concerned about the longer term. What if it's best for him to enjoy his food and leave the earth plane sooner rather than later?