Respect for the Rights of Others

Good morning, all! “Respect for the rights of others” was searched for four times, and I wish to address that today. To look at how to do this, it is necessary to look at what I believe another’s rights actually are. So let’s discuss them.

Cultivation of Differences

First, the biggest thing we can do to respect another is to tolerate one’s differences. In fact, we can celebrate the differences of each other, encouraging others, and ourselves, to greatness. The differences of others is what brings richness to our lives.

The second thing we can do to respect another is to treat them with kindness and consideration, just like we would want to be treated. When I say “consideration,” I am referring to consideration of one’s beliefs and one’s feelings.

It is the right of another to be treated as a worthy being, simply because they are living on this earth. We each are inherently worthy and we can respect that of another.

Acknowledging one’s individuality is another way to show respect for them. We spend lots of time trying to get others to be like us, to think like us, to act like us. Is that because we feel insecure about who we are ourselves?

If we respect someone’s individuality and cultivate their differences, think of the harmony that would be created among us. Similarly, if we respect OUR individuality and cultivate OUR differences, think how we would shine in the world.

So, armed with these things – tolerance, cultivation of differences, kindness, consideration, and encouragement of individuality – we will be showing respect for others’ rights.

What actions do you take which show respect for another? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

 

 

 

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Opening Your Heart in Sobriety

Good morning. One of the search terms, the one we’ll talk about today, is opening your heart and I added “in sobriety.” You will find, as your sobriety progresses, that your heart will open. But there are specific things you can do to help this to happen.

The photo to the right is one from my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. The verse that accompanies it is:

“We spend our lives behind the barriers of a closed gate, protected from the hurt and pain that may come to us. If we allow our hearts to open, we will see things in a different light. We will grow through the barriers of our heart and be able to fully experience the richness of life.”

So, how do you let down the barrier of your heart that you have erected to protect yourself?

First of all, if you approach yourself and others with gentleness, your heart will begin to open more. Next, kindness to others and yourself will help. Then, there is tolerance, which will add to your ability to open your heart in sobriety. Being tolerant of others’ differences, being tolerant of yourself and your foibles, will aid your journey to an open heart.

The most important thing, though, for allowing your heart to open is the practice of compassion – for yourself and for others. When you practice compassion, your heart softens. Sometimes, to get to compassion, it helps to do a self-appraisal, so you can discover the things you do that others do, to annoy you.

For example, you may get angry at others for something and when you do a self-appraisal, you may discover that you do the very same thing. Instead of continuing to blame the other, you can open your heart and see you both as wounded humans, and accept the foibles you are both demonstrating.

In sobriety, these steps will aid you to open your heart. And certainly, you do not have to be practicing sobriety to do these things.

How do you open your heart? Let us know what you have learned in sobriety that allows you to open your heart by leaving a comment.

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Curls of Kindness

Yesterday and Friday I had the distinct honor of being in a holiday craft show at the park where I live. I offered my book and some of my framed images of gates. Everything was well received… many said my work was lovely… and few bought. Still, I had some great conversations with people… a few were very spiritual in nature.

The interesting thing was, I had the opportunity to relay to many people the story of how the book was born. You see, I did not write the verses to go with the pictures. It happened the other way around. I was photographing these gates, and then was titling them so I could sell them to galleries.

Separate and independent of my photo-taking was my journaling – daily writings to try and deal with feelings associated with my sobriety, my recovery. I wrote much about my thoughts and feelings in an effort to work through my emotional difficulties.

One morning, I wrote in my journal a phrase, a verse, that described a gate I had just titled Webs of Fear. I was quite taken-aback, and was prompted to search my journals for other writings that matched or described my titled gate photos. I found around 25 or 30 writings that matched up with images!

Imagine, having written these things before I even photographed the gates! It was all pretty amazing to me and I think, as a result, that the book was divinely inspired, divinely guided. That was in late November of 2004 when I discovered the prose and it was at that point that I realized I had a book I had written and could continue to write. I started working on coordinating verses with photos.

By 2008, I had the book pretty much pulled together, wanted to publish it, and I was terrified for people to read it. I felt very exposed, very raw and vulnerable. I was afraid to expose my story. It took me two more years before I could get up the courage to actually put the book in the hands of a publisher. They, however, rejected it and so I decided to publish it myself.

Curls of Kindness

I felt its message was too important to wait until such time as a publisher accepted it, so I went through the process of publishing it. One of the images from my book is Curls of Kindness. I’d like to share it and its verse with you.

 “If now is not the time to be kinder and gentler to each other and to ourselves,

when will it be?”

This is just one of many verses that ponders the question of how we treat each other and ourselves. There are additional ones that invite us to act with more tolerance and respect, more compassion and gentleness. As a result of acting in such a manner, the book promises the experience of grace and hope, serenity and joy… and peace.

Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing is an accounting of my own journey into and through sobriety. It takes you along on the path from great angst, through self-awareness and into discovery of so many things which have allowed me to live with joy and peace in my life.

I invite you to check it out in more detail by clicking on the “About” button, and scrolling down to “The Book.” Order your copy today and I will send you a signed copy. Read it in its entirety as a pathway to peace or use it as a daily meditation book when each verse is read individually. May it bring you hope and peace.

 

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Kindness Will Further Your Sobriety

Once we have clarified our morals, truths, and integrities, it is time to look at our actions. Do we come across to others as kind? Are we kind to ourselves? 

Showing kindness is one of the most single, powerful things we can do to promote peace. It will also benefit our sobriety, as when we are kind to others and ourselves, we know a sense of serenity.

When we show kindness, we have a good feeling about ourselves. Being kind feeds our ability to be kind to more people. And, when we show ourselves kindness, we feed our soul, we celebrate ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but when I go out in public to, say, the grocery store, I sometimes listen to parents talk to their children in a very unkind way. That denigrates their being, squashes their spirit.

Sometimes, the words that come out of our mouth are unkind, but we can always apologize for that and make an amend by being kind in the future dealings with people.

How do you display kindness to others? Do you consciously try to be kind, or do you not think about it? You might try thinking about it, as showing kindness will further your sobriety and your emotional strength. It will lead the way to peace. 

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Practice Kindness As You Pursue Your Dream

Practicing kindness, being kind to others and ourselves, furthers our journey to living our dream. By showing kindness, we ignite the giving and receiving dance that occurs between two beings when they feel they are in a safe and loving space. That, in turn, fuels the courage to pursue our dream.

The curls of the gate on your right are difficult to see in this small photo, yet they are there and are why the terms curls and kindness are paired together.

You see, as each curl extends itself outward, touching another, it then curls back upon itself. Kindness is like that. When you extend it, it is returned to you in like fashion. 

As each curl joins another, it represents the power you receive from that other, allowing you the courage to pursue your dream. You thrive with the support and kindness from that person.

If you take on the practice of random acts of kindness, then you have arrived at a glorious state. It feels so good to offer kindness to another and to see their face light up with a smile in response to your words or actions. That is the reward you gain, the gift you receive – knowing you helped another fellow human being.

The thing about kindness is that most people are not expecting it, and so when they receive it, they are caught off-guard, displaying in their reaction more of their inner self. That is always so beautiful to witness.

Don’t forget to give yourself kindness. Convert your negative self-talk into kind words uttered for all of your actions taken and words spoken. Make it a habit to show yourself random acts of kindness, for you, too, can use that bolstering. We all can. It feeds our soul.

Today, fill your soul with happiness and courage to pursue your dream. Practice giving and receiving kindness in your life.

 

 

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Cultivate the Differences We Find In Others

Cultivation of Differences

One of the more exciting behaviors we can adopt to maintain our sobriety and bring us peace, is to cultivate the differences we find in others around us. It is exciting because we are always in a state of wonder about others when we decide to live this way. 

Just like we would with a garden, we tend to the differences we discover. We go out into the world looking for those differences, and we celebrate them when we find them. We honor others when we do this.

We start with the obvious differences… sex and color. We adopt the philosophy of “live and let live,” and we realize that “One is not more beautiful than another. Each has beauty in its own right, if we will only look… if we will only see.”

Once we discover and cultivate the differences we find in others, we can apply all the behaviors we have learned up to this point, like tolerance, respect, compassion, and kindness. We practice these principles freely.

When we do this, we will know a solidarity to our sobriety, and we will know peace

Today, look at the people around you and celebrate their differences. Know that their value does not detract from your own. Like the gates, “what thrives in one spot does not grow in another.” Remember that we want to cultivate the differences we find in others. Celebrate when you find these differences, as they add to the fabric of your life. 

 

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Kindness As a Way of Life

“If this is not the time to be kinder and gentler to each other and to ourselves, when will it be?” This is the verse that goes with this image, and they appear next in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. 

Once we have clarified our morals, truths, and integrities, it is time to look at our actions. Do we come across to others as kind? Are we kind to ourselves? 

Showing kindness is one of the most single, powerful things we can do to promote peace. It will also benefit our sobriety, as when we are kind to others and ourselves, we know a sense of serenity.

When we show kindness, we have a good feeling about ourselves. Being kind feeds our ability to be kind to more people. And, when we show ourselves kindness, we feed our soul, we celebrate ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but when I go out in public to, say, the grocery store, I sometimes listen to parents talk to their children in a very unkind way. That denigrates their being, squashes their spirit.

Sometimes, the words that come out of our mouth are unkind, but we can always apologize for that and make an amend by being kind in the future dealings with people.

How do you display kindness to others? Do you consciously try to be kind, or do you not think about it? You might try thinking about it, as showing kindness will further your sobriety and your emotional strength.

 

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Dialogue with Others

“If we as individuals cannot speak to each other, how, then, can we as nations achieve peace?”

This is the verse that accompanies the next image in the book. We are walking through my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, one topic at a time. Our goals are sobriety and peace.

I was struck with awe when I saw this gate, as the little men seemed to be not only talking to each other, but listening as well. They seemed to be engaged in dialogue.

We as humans need to get ourselves together on the inside, and when we do, we then need to be able to communicate and interact with others in a meaningful way. When I say “meaningful,” I am referring to talking in a kind and respectful manner.

I listen to those around me when I am in public places, like the grocery store, and I am struck with how many people speak to each other in a mean or sarcastic way. I cringe when I hear this, thinking to myself that there is no kindness shown… no respect. And my heart is sad, believing that there is another way to talk with each other that is less hurtful.

As we engage in talking with another, we can, as I said, show kindness and respect. We can also show tolerance. There is no need to be sarcastic or defensive. And, one of the biggest things we can do when engaged with another is to listen to what they are saying, to have an interest in them.

Don’t worry. We will each get our chance to talk about ourselves and, if we don’t, then it was not meant to be. The other had something to get off their chest and we were the sounding board.

Yet, in a perfect world of dialogue with others,  it is a give and take of conversation, an ebb and flow of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. This makes for a rich and satisfying exchange for both parties.

In your conversations, are you kind, respectful, and tolerant to the other? Do you listen to what they are really saying, taking the time to not worry what you will say when it’s your turn to talk? Do you dialogue with others, talk with them, or do you talk to them? Today, be conscious of your dialogue with others and see if that feels different for you.

 

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What Is Kindness and How Do We Practice It

What is kindness?” is perhaps a question we want to ask ourselves more frequently. I say this because I overhear people speaking to each other in an unkindly manner all-too-often.

What IS kindness? According to Webster, it is nothing more than being sympathetic, generous, friendly, gentle, loving, tenderhearted, and affectionate. Sometimes, we are better at these ways of being to strangers than we are to those we have been with for a long time. I wonder why that is…

Perhaps, it is because we have grown tired of the relationship and the other person. Or, maybe it’s because we are feeling grumpy at the point in time that we are unkind and we think it’s okay to take it out on the one we love the most. Is that fair? Probably not…

So how do we prevent that? We learn about ourselves more, about our tendencies to blow up at another when we’re irritable, or not getting what we want. We do our self-appraisal and we make amends, when appropriate. We begin to consciously practice all the ways that Webster defines kindness, as I’ve listed above.

Then there is the issue of how we treat ourselves, which is often harsher than how we treat others. We call ourselves stupid, for example, when we make a mistake.

How do we practice kindness, you ask? The answer to that is that, perhaps, we don’t. But we can, simply by choosing to look at another with respect, tolerance, and love, so that kindness just naturally flows from that point. It may not be a simple matter for us to do that, in which case, we can work on that. It’s practice, not perfection.

What is kindness to ourselves and how do we practice that? First, we can begin to note our negative self-talk. Then, we fetch ourselves up shortly when we are talking to ourselves in an unkind manner. We remind ourselves that we want to treat ourselves differently – with more kindness. So, we replace the negative criticism with some compassion, perhaps, or we pay ourselves a compliment for what we DID do right or well. With practice, we can change our interior thought-world.

When we learn to be kinder to others and ourselves, we will have just that much more chance of getting and staying sober, and we will begin to feel more peace.

I just have one question and it happens to be the verse from my book which goes with the photo above. “If this is not the time to be kinder and gentler to each other and to ourselves, when will it be?” 

 

 

 

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Have You Found Inner Peace?

Promise of Peace brings us to the conclusion of the book. And I quietly wonder if you have found inner peace, any at all, by going through the book with me this last 42 or so days. I really hope you have…

Promise of Peace

Promise of Peace

Peace. How do you know peace when it finds you? For me, it is the all-inclusion of everything we have been talking about into my senses, seeing with the eyes of my heart, and feeling a great deal of love for all beings on this Earth.

It is promised to us, if we go through the process that is defined in my book, because in doing so, we learn to love deeply. There is no desire to be in conflict with others.  When really in-tune, that includes inner conflict as well.

Does that mean we go through life in this glow? Hardly. That doesn’t happen because we’re human beings and, as such, are a caring and feeling species. Given the ever-constant changes in our lives from day-to-day, and the fact that we react with feelings and emotions, we slip temporarily from that space of centeredness and peace. 

So, what is there to do when this happens? Lament the loss of our peaceful existence. even if it was only for five minutes? No, we merely start in by looking at the situation, feeling our feelings, examining our response to situations that have arisen.

Case in point, I am in the middle of something which has the potential to affect how I conduct my life in the future, and I was stunned to realize I was playing the victim role! Wow! I thought I was past that, but it showed up very subtly. So, I am in the process of doing more self-appraising to see what is going on with me that puts me in that mindset.

At the same time, I am feeding myself positive affirmations. These tasks equate to ” taking action,” as we discussed in previous posts. Slowly, I am becoming able to see glimpses of my terror over how this new information could affect my future. How much will I get out from behind that terror to affect my own future? That is the key.

We can affect our own future by the actions we take today, in this moment. What do we do with the fear? We can recognize and feel it, acknowledge that it exists,  then walk away from it and take action, and, as needed, allow a glimpse of it again later.

We repeat this again and again until our fear subsides. I believe these issues get raised for us, so that we can take a look at core beliefs, and to heal from the destructive ones. While we do this, we remember to be gentle, kind, and tolerant with ourselves and the others around us.  And the result is, we find our center again. We find that peace again.

We even can go to it among the turmoil by distracting ourselves with a favored and cherished activity, one in which you get lost. Your peace will return as a reprieve for what you will again visit to sort out. That’s how it works for me. Maybe it will work for you, too.

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