Forgiveness

As a human being on this planet, I have ample opportunities to practice forgiveness. Every time I drive my car, I may encounter someone who cuts me off, fails to use their turn signal or drives slowly in the passing lane. Each time I dine out, there is the potential for slow service, a forgotten request or an error in the check. When I email, text or even talk to someone, my words might be taken in a different way than I intended. A stranger or a friend might snap at me because they are going through a rough time and their nerves are frayed.

I recently read the book, The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary R. Renard. The author advocates forgiveness as perhaps the most important thing we can do while we inhabit this place we call Earth. Renard states, “It’s just as important to forgive the little things as the apparently big things. Anything that disturbs your peace of mind is disturbing your peace of mind, and that’s not the peace of God. You have to be willing to forgive everything equally.”

Now when I drive and another driver irritates me, I say, “I forgive you.” I immediately feel better and soon completely forget the incident. It is a relief to let that sort of trivial event go quickly! I also realize that I too have cut people off, forgotten to indicate a turn, butted in line and driven slowly when someone wanted to pass me. I am not a perfect driver!

Today’s political scene is the most polarized climate I ever recall. Blame and anger are predominating the media and conversations on both sides. Many people are throwing their arms up in exasperation and confusion of what to do or think during these unsettling times. When the world seems crazy to me, I narrow it down to my own life and see what I can do differently. Renard states, “The people of the world will never live in peace until the people of the world have inner peace.” [Read more…]

Oneness

A person only needs to browse the newsfeed of Facebook on Election Day or Inauguration Day to see hatred flung at each other. In fairness, I also see some posts that are classy and positive on both sides of the political pendulum. But I see more mud slinging than I have ever seen before. It feels to me like our country is in civil war. Not north vs. south. All corners of our country seem to be dividing.

One of the reasons that I am an independent in terms of politics is the two sides repel me with negativism and intolerance. From the book Oneness, “The systems on which your society is based will, most likely, experience a fundamental breakdown as they are built on a foundation of diminished vibration that cannot sustain itself under conditions that continue to accelerate.”

So what do we do now? We have a new president. My answer is to look at myself first. How do I behave, think and feel? And how do I express my values to the world? How do I interact within my family, with my friends, in my community and with each and every interaction of my day?

Again an excerpt from Oneness, “For your world situation is no more than a magnified reflection of the energy of the collective consciousness. You are part of that group dynamic. And the only way to shift the worldview is to shift the thrust of what you project upon it. Each of you. One conflict at a time. [Read more…]

Is It Wise To Build A Wall?

Berlin Wall and view of "No-man's Land" 1985

Berlin Wall and view of “No-man’s Land” 1985

The Berlin Wall existed from 1961 to 1989. “During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that had marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period”- excerpts from Wikipedia.

I personally saw the Berlin Wall twice-in 1979 and 1985. Each time I viewed it, I felt its negative energy. It divided people and caused much suffering because many families and friends were separated from each other. I value connecting people instead of dividing them. I also sensed the fear that was created by the visible guard towers and the machine guns poking out of the openings-armed and ready to kill anyone who attempted to cross the barrier.

Donald Trump would like to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The proposed cost varies but it is in the billions. There is an initial cost of construction and then there are the costs of maintaining this divider. The erection of massive concrete barriers didn’t seem to serve Germany well and was eventually demolished. I wonder if that money could be used in a more positive way? Might we look deeper to solve the root of the issues that prompted Trump to make this suggestion?

Trump says that this will make us safer from illegal immigration and drugs. Will a wall really stop these issues? Might there be other ways for people and drugs to find their way into the United States? If the people within the US continue to want drugs, they will find a way to get them. Might it be prudent to look at the root of the drug problem for a more effective solution? If someone really wants to enter our country, they will find a way around the wall. There are many methods and points of entry. Can all the ways be controlled?

Berlin Wall Graffiti

Berlin Wall Graffiti

Trump claims his wall will be beautiful and that it will have his name on it. Does he really need his name on another structure? Is this desire more about fame than logic? Is a concrete barrier that divides people anything but ugly even if shiny gold letters spelling “Trump” adorn it? Did the Berlin wall graffiti help the Germans enjoy the wall? [Read more…]

Are You An Internet, Email and Facebook Addict?

I will admit, I am an addict. Yes, checking my email and Facebook is a part of my day, every day throughout the day. I have attempted to wean myself with occasional, moderate success. I have thinned out my email, unsubscribing to newsletters and other unwanted notices. I have reduced my inbox to under 50 and on a good day to under 20. I have created files of important emails to keep as reference and I periodically review and weed out obsolete items. I think all that just means I am an organized addict and that I am fooling myself to think that those measures make me less hooked!

Despite becoming efficient and proficient, I am obsessed with checking my email and checking in on Facebook. I log on in the morning and review my accounts over my cereal and coffee. I don’t feel I can move on to other things of greater importance like writing my next book or this article until I have cleaned out new emails and reviewed the newsfeed on Facebook. Real work or productivity comes second.

I have made strides in posting less on Facebook unless I am traveling (I love to post travel pictures). Now a few days can go by without a Facebook update from me but never a week! I love to feel connected to my friends and relatives, many of whom live far away from me and I might be out of touch with their lives without Facebook. I learn things, laugh and feel a part of a community when I browse the newsfeed. If I don’t look in, I feel a loss of not knowing what is going on in the world (I have stopped watching TV) and I begin to feel invisible.

I recently finished reading the book The Shallows, What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. He described having more difficulty keeping his attention focused on concentrated reading and deep contemplation. I have been noticing this trend myself, and it bothers me. [Read more…]

Who Are These People?

Shultz Family 1920

Shultz Family 1920

As I look at an old black and white photo taken about 1920, I see serious looking people who I know are my relatives, but they are all dead now. Only my dad who is almost 90 can identify them. He is mostly sure he got their names right, and I think to myself, does it matter?

Somehow I found myself the only one in the family willing to look through countless boxes of photos and old newspaper articles of someone’s wedding or death. I look at photos with stern faces that seem to reflect hardship beyond my comprehension. Their eyes are hard and it is hard to imagine them smiling or laughing. Did they have joy in their life or was it mostly survival?

Viola Cemetary, South Dakota

Bob Shultz at Viola Cemetary, South Dakota

I know where some of them are buried in a little country cemetery in rural South Dakota. I hope their souls have found rest and peace after burying children, surviving wars, depressions, dust bowls and untold hardships that today’s kids will never understand.

I return to the task of looking through the boxes and trying to figure out what to do with these relicts of the past. I write on the back of the photo the names: Grace, Viola, Milo, Ralph, Henry, Ellen, Mable, Minnie, Peter, Caroline and Lydia. Ralph was my grandfather and I never met him because he died before I was born.

Do I frame the picture of my ancestors? [Read more…]

10 Ways To Reduce Mail Clutter In Your Life

Are you tired of all the clutter that keeps coming in your mailbox or inbox? Are you zoning out and barely looking at most of it? Would you like less coming in so you can breathe more and read quality correspondence as well as feel more caught up?

Take the next week or month to trim paper and electronic clutter. Here are 10 ideas of how to do that! [Read more…]

Does Anyone Want A Bunny?

How in the world did I get so much stuff? Whatever space I have lived in, I fill every inch of it in stuff. I have been in a declutter mode for years now, and I have made good progress. However, I am still sorting and getting rid of stuff each month.

Stuff just crept up on me. Having kids really brought on the stuff. Buying a big house gave us lots of room to put it and soon it got out of control. I was encouraged by TV commercials and other media to buy, buy, buy stuff, and I accepted the offer and did. Bought a house that I couldn’t really afford and one that had more room than I really needed. We were all told it would help the economy to buy and buy. Did it?

When the weight of debt and too much stuff felt like 5 elephants on my back, I sold the big house with a 3-car garage and moved to a much smaller house with no garage. No more bikes and garage stuff. I kept a few garden tools and shovels but they had to fit in my small laundry room.

Kid stuff went bye-bye and so did over half of my wardrobe and knick-knacks because I had virtually no storage and my closets were small. I refused to pay for a storage unit but kept a few things in my mom’s basement. It was liberating. And still there was more.

BunniesI just got out my Easter decorations. Now that I live in a small space, the holiday decorations are more confined instead of spread out all over a large house. I counted over 20 bunnies that are now on all surfaces in my living, dining and main floor bathroom. Do I need that many bunnies? How did this happen? [Read more…]

The Better View at Midlife

I believe the age that one transitions to midlife varies, but for me it was at age 51. And there was no going back! The view is outstanding. Colors in a sunset or autumn leaves are more vibrant. Music and sounds of nature reach new depths of enjoyment in my soul. Smells of pumpkin bread baking or turkey in the oven brings me bliss. The taste of a well-made latte or fresh salmon from Alaska makes me swoon. And the feeling of holding hands with my new boyfriend makes me tingle! I enjoyed all these things before, but in midlife, I experience them at a deeper level.

Midlife nudges me to move forward with the now or never motto. “Letting go” is reaching profound levels, and sometimes it hurts just before the release. [Read more…]

Reincarnation Humor

If you are strongly opposed to the concept of reincarnation, then skip this article. If you are open to the possibility of reincarnation, then read on and hopefully laugh a little.

Reincarnation humor is an attempt to explain the unexplainable. Take a few personal examples from me. First, I don’t like to cook. Even the thought of cooking makes me feel heavy with dread and tired. I have never been able to figure out why this is the case and often buy new cookbooks in hopes I can inspire myself with the desire to cook. It never works and I have a ton of unused cookbooks.

So I turn to reincarnation to help me understand my dislike of cooking. Perhaps in a past life I had to cook all the time. It was my job every day all day all my life. If that was the case, I might have gotten burned out on cooking! I think I will stop buying cookbooks, give away the ones I have and find a man who likes to cook!

Another example is my love and talent for flower gardening. [Read more…]

Life Lessons

What lesson is your life presenting to you?

Have you ever wondered why an issue keeps plaguing you? Do you see a pattern that keeps cropping up over and over again? Do you experience frustration that you keep attracting situations, people or relationships that point to a challenge that keeps coming back to haunt you?

Are you ready to graduate, finally address and resolve that pesky problem that has been following you around year after year? Perhaps you can name it in an instant or maybe it seems close to grasping but just out of reach. If you can’t name it, you may want to contemplate or even ask a friend what they think your reoccurring lesson is for you. Sometimes your friends can see it before you!

Once you have this lesson named, doesn’t mean it can quickly disappear, but awareness is the first step to change. [Read more…]