Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 12:59 pm: |
WOW! There was a piece on NPR a little bit ago of LGBT folks weighing in about their perceptions of the Justices from yesterday and one of the Justices speaking.
The Justice was making a point about those of same-sex partnering in the military being entitled to have their partners be able to participate fully in their lives. He used the extreme example of being wounded and in the hosp.
There were several LGBT voices in this piece who said that they were "happy to hear respect for their RELATIONSHIPs being legitimate, that they felt hopeful about their relationships being perceived as the focus going forward."
How in line with ACIM's teachings for seeing with our physical eyes and searching our minds with our eyes closed for the thoughts we WILL focus on in any discussion. AND to have a willingness to shift one's perception for HAPPY relating.
I just loved hearing these folks who would seem to be the center of attention say outloud....this is about having respect for MY RELATIONSHIP being legitimate, this is about MY FAMILY being treated exactl like ALL Families.......
There WILL always be two ways of seeing, two voices to listen to and choose to hear in any DISCUSSION of spirit's having human experiences.
I really feel so elated hearing the target population state freely they WANT to be respected and related to as people who HAVE relationships. That all RELATIONSHIPS are legitimate...
What I heard on the flip side is do not see me with the labels or characterizations about my gender or sexual preferences, this is not about my lifestyle or YOURS....
The HS is saying to me........ What a demonstration of THE HAPPY Special Relationship! These and ALL brothers and sisters WANT to have their relationships be respected and legitimate because they are having A Special HAPPY and LOVING Relationship!
I say amen to all......Special HAPPY LOVING Relationships as the legitimate and respected guidance of THE VOICE for God FOR me/ME. This is a happy image of marriage equality and what is being called for I believe.
When I heard these folks speaking so clearly about what they are asking for I remembered 2 times in my life when I assisted lesbian friends of mine through their pregnancy, labors and deliveries and hearing them say " wouldn't it be great if one day we would be A REAL family?"
OF COURSE...everyone in attendance would correct their misperceptions and repeated...YOU ARE A REAL FAMILY!!!!!! Funny how experiences of such a Holy Instant brought this beautiful memory of the past into to mind to heal the unhealed past of negative associations or relationships of UNhappy relating. Thanks Bro J for sticking in there as I keep making this capricious and unconscious mistakes along the path.....This instant I feel different and am grateful to have the capacity to call up that past memory of LOVE!!!
All from hearing the voices of my LGBT and Chief Justices self-perceptions about RELATIONSHIP!!!! Nothing happens by chance eh?
Tony any chance you might for a moment have a shift of your perception about "life style and sexual morality" as a point for discussing RELATIONSHIP? I do thank you for the counterpoint and my own healing. You are the light of the world and I see the wonderful use of your point to heal me with healing my own need for counterpoint! Thanks
Maria Rodriguez (Maria)
|Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 05:58 pm: |
Rev. Tony, and Christine,
Thank you for offering me an opportunity to shift my perception...One could not have done it without the other...I love how things work, and how they work together for good. You are a blessing in my experience...Keep your light shining, you are being very helpful to me at this time.
Love and Light,Maria
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 05:27 pm: |
Thanks for weighing in Tony.
You wrote: "When will my lifestyle get a little institutional blessing! The government, and most formal religions, have been trying to legislate sexual morality since the dawn of civilization."
Personally I do NOT think, nor do I buy into such idea's that, any of this is really about blessing lifestyle nor is it about sexual morality."
Those idea's WHAT lifeSTYLE I choose and HOW I behave sexually have nothing to do with "The government, and most formal religions, have been trying to legislate sexual morality since the dawn of civilization" pertaining to marriage, family, parenting and government tax benefits.
It would,could,should...is easy, to hold a firm and personal perception.... to feel, think or experience such as you express.... "When will my lifestyle get a little institutional blessing! The government, and most formal religions, have been trying to legislate sexual morality since the dawn of civilization." if all of this was really attacking "your lifesyle or your own personal sexual morality.
And you have often spoken of having this personally held perception about this worldly idea's about "your lifestyle and personally stated lifestyle." I would not, could not and will not consider any of this is about me since it would mean that I am choosing a lower-order reality perception and likely feel, hear and experience attack......then I will think I am entitled to some kind of "institutional blessing" or for the government to give me a tax break.
What I hear, see, feel and experience in all of this is.... WHEN will we all stop thinking that our personal lifestyle or our own chosen personal sexual morality matters to anyone except our own self? WHY do we think that keeping the ego focused upon "my lifestyle or my personal sexual morality" deserves any attention beyond my own mind? And most important to me would be HOW can I shift my own perception from wanting other's to "bless" my choices of lifestyle or sexual morality when it is all nothing more than the ego-centered mind that thinks and speaks about personally held beliefs/perceptions about their own lifestyle and sexual morality?
WHO you are is what I want to see, WHAT you want as your lifestyle or sexual morality has nothing to do with my accepting you as WHAT you are. Blessings for your lifestyle and sexual morality is a request that I don't quite get as it seems to engender and endorse separation and difference. It seems to keep the debate going without any hope of joining minds as one.
I would like to hope that we could, would, should and WILL all stop wanting "blessings" for silly capricious self-beliefs and ego-projection notions of "lifestyle and sexual morality blessing" as an entitlement of some sort....
And REALLY focus on the big picture together.......as you stated..."As a happy, single, unmarried person - all the marriage is the "blessed" lifestyle talk always leaves me feeling a little bit -- annoyed! The organized church blesses it. The government blesses it. And we single people are for some reason -- not blessed?
I have a wonderful, extended family and we all care for each other in many ways."
This national debate to me is about seeing each other as "FAMILY", extended not-extended FAMILY and stop asking for "blessings for our the personal choices we MAKE about lifestyles or the form of sexual morality desired.
If all of us that understand, accept and practice what ACIM teaches about MAKE and CREATE it would seem to be really easy to see the foolishness of "making" blessings for lifestyles and sexual morality. AND....listen to the HS who always is heard as the voice of LOVE and CREATE image's of "FAMILY!"
Let the FAMILY members be the one's to bless one another and keep the rest of our personal lifestyle and sexual morality to ourself...train the mind that is not healed to see with vision! AND ask for that as THE BLESSING of life!!!!!!
Thanks Brother for the moment of inspiration....I do offer to you my blessing as one who is exactly like me as family. WHAT you do as your choice about lifestyle and sexual morality has nothing to do with my giving you blessings.........I do prefer not to think of you as needing a blessing for your lifestyle and sexual morality!
Just me.........sorry if that disappoints or "leaves you feeling a little bit -- annoyed!"
THAT annoyed feeling is just A CALL FOR LOVE.......shift the perception of the feeling and love and bless yourself for being able to feel! ACIM is a GOD-blessed way to walk in the world of family....some of which are those we share lifestyles and sexual morality with!
ACIM say's to me, and I hope other's, THIS is all about not separating lower-order reality from higher-order reality lest we be looking for blessings for what needs none!!!! AND the good news is all we need to do is just keep exercising our minds, joining with our lesson partners to mirror back to us our thought distortion and either choose again or NOT!
Rev. Tony Ponticello (Admin)
|Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 04:08 pm: |
CHRISTINE: "Kudos" for your post. As a happy, single, unmarried person - all the marriage is the "blessed" lifestyle talk always leaves me feeling a little bit -- annoyed! The organized church blesses it. The government blesses it. And we single people are for some reason -- not blessed?
I have a wonderful, extended family and we all care for each other in many ways. When will my lifestyle get a little institutional blessing! The government, and most formal religions, have been trying to legislate sexual morality since the dawn of civilization.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 03:18 pm: |
I just heard on NPR a male voice who was asking for there to be consideration given to the "children" of same-sex partners in this debate about marriage related and joined with the idea of "family."
Then a woman's voice came on and said "we need to protect marriage between a man and a woman because that is where families begin."
Anybody else "think" that those are contradictory and confusing personal perceptions about the same topic?
I laughed and said outloud...."How ludicrous. When did family become about "marriage?" Where does the constitution give laws and guidelines about WHO can hold themself out as a parent CREATING family?
WHY IN THE HELL...is one's personal right to have relationships, that are by all accounts actually, related to the notion of family being considered as needing to be "governed or legislated" as an issue of WHO deserves to receive the tax benefits of A FAMILY???????
All pretty crazy. We should be spending our precious little time here with other's legislating who can have access to gun's, teaching those who are courageous enough to WANT to have a family to do so with love and support as Teachers of God..........WHEN will all this lower-order reality ego crap be seen for what it REALLY IS????
marriage is the beginning of family.......oh REALLY????
May the government bring some sanity to the minds of all those who are separated and WANT to be separated, living only in their twisted little lower-order ego minds...using their ego-centric and egotistical bodies to tell other's how to BE A FAMILY!!!!!!!
If that ain't a ludcrious thought I sure as hell couldn't tell a better one!
This is my perception and I fully own it....God say's USE the body I made you for better purposes!
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 04:49 pm: |
OMG.....Today Lesson 75 "The Light HAS come....
IS a message of Happy OPTIMISM...right here, right now and FOR ALWAYS NOW!!!!!
It SAYS in no uncertain and absolutely UNAMBIGUOUS terms....."YOU ARE HEALED and can heal. YOU ARE saved, and you can save. YOUR ARE AT PEACE, and YOU BRING peace WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO.........
DARKNESS AND DEATH HAVE DISAPPEARED.....The light HAS COME ....NOW TODAY THIS INSTANT!! No joke, not fooling with your minds this is TODAY's TRUTH!
CELEBRAT THE HAPPY ENDING to your long dream of disaster...THE LIGHT HAS COME. The TIME OF LIGHT BEGINS for everyone today, now...
It is A NEW ERA IN WHICH A ....NEW WORLD.....IS BORN.....WE SEE a DIFFERENT world BECAUSE .....THE LIGHT HAS COME.
EXERCISES today WILL BE HAPPY ones...we OFFER THANKS for passing of the old and the beginning of the new. NO shadows from the past remain to darken our sight and hide THE WORLD FORGIVENESS OFFERS.....
ACCEPT THE NEW WORLD....as WHAT WE WANT ...to see/experience......
We WILL be given what we desire. We WILL TO SEE THE LIGHT....THE LIGHT HAS COME.
Longer practice periods WILL BE DEVOTED TO.....LOOKING AT THE world which FORGIVENESS ....SHOWS. This IS what WE WANT to see, and only this.....Our SINGLE PURPOSE [seeing with sight/vision] MAKES our GOAL INEVITABLE [a sure thing no ambivalence or ambiguity about THAT FACT].
Today the REAL WORLD rises before us in gladness, to be SEEN AT LAST.....SIGHT IS GIVEN US!!!!!! NOW..........THE LIGHT HAS COME.
We do NOT SEE THE ego's SHADOW on the world today. WE see the light, and in it we SEE HEAVEN's REFLECTION lie across [embrace, envelop, hug, touch ] the world [we see with the ego's shadow].
THE LIGHT HAS COME. I HAVE FORGIVEN THE WORLD.....
Dwell not on the past today...keep A COMPLETELY OPEN MIND.....YOU HAVE FORGIVEN the world TODAY. You CAN LOOK upon it now as if you never saw it before. YOU DO NOT KNOW ...YET.....WHAT it looks like. You merely WAIT TO HAVE IT SHOWN TO YOU......
WHILE YOU WAIT, repeat several times ....SLOWLY ....and IN COMPLETE PATIENCE [new happy and optimistic word]:
THE LIGHT HAS COME. I HAVE FORGIVEN THE WORLD.
REALIZE......YOUR, own FORGIVENESS of yourself... ENTITLES VISION!!!! It is your RIGHT, you are entitled to and HAVE today to EXERCISE your RIGHT of VISION....choosing to NOT SEE THE ego's SHADOW upon the world seen with physical eyes.....another moment, another minute, another hour another day!!!!!
Understand that the HS- God's Voice which is available as your voice....NEVER FAILS TO GIVE THE GIFT OF SIGHT TO THE FORGIVING.........
REMIND yourself that today IS A TIME FOR SPECIAL....CELEBRATION...REJOICE in your power of forgiveness to heal YOUR SIGHT completely.....WITHOUT DARKNESS of the past UPON YOUR EYES.....you canNOT FAIL TO SEE ......TODAY....
ONCE you DO SEE...today or tomorrow or whenever....YOU WILL ALWAYS SEE exactly the same from that moment on...REJOICE IN THE SPECIAL CELEBRATION of SEEING with VISION....."THE LIGHT HAS COME."
WHAT YOU SEE TODAY....will be so welcome that you will GLADLY EXTEND TODAY FOREVER......
"THE LIGHT HAS COME. I HAVE FORGIVEN THE WORLD."
SHOULD YOU BE TEMPTED.....say to anyONE WHO SEEMS TO PULL YOU BACK TO DARKNESS....
" The light has come. I HAVE FORGIVEN YOU."
We DEDICATE THIS DAY....to the serenity in which God would have you be. KEEP IT IN AWARENESS of yourself and see it everywhere today, as we CELEBRATE THE BEGINNING OF YOUR VISION.....and THE SIGHT OF THE REAL WORLD....WHICH HAS COME TO REPLACE the UNFORGIVEN world YOU THOUGHT WAS REAL........Lesson 75"
There could, in my opinion-my RIGHT/ENTITLEMENT of judgement, BE any happier optimism than this lesson saying....."YOU HAVE SIGHT right here, right now. IT IS not something to look for anymore.....stop delaying JUST USE IT right along with SEEING with your physical eyes!
Give up all that foolishness of thinking that being in the darkness is the body's fate here on earth......NO SIR you HAVE SIGHT!!!! NO MORE WAITING for the moment of experiencing ENLIGHTENMENT....
RIGHT here on day 75......NOW the real TEACHER's of GOD will stop projecting idea's that endorse separation of mind, body, intellect, spirit or ego.... and start forgiving them self for such personal beliefs of self....stop spreading their ego's SHADOW around the world.
TODAY we are all forgiven for such foolish thinking and NOT KNOWING.......and TODAY it is NO LONGER acceptable to think that telling someone......" asked for guidance from the HS...and I consciously heard the HS tell me to behave in forms on this level that I KNOW will hurt" WILL be perceived as and allowed to be passed off with "I just made a mistake. I do not have to be guilty for mistakes I choose that will hurt as long as I ask for guidance."
TODAY we are all held to a higher standard of "behaving" !!!!!!
Yeah for HAPPY OPTIMISM.....knowing that we will all keep making mistakes. But NOW ...TODAY.....WE MUST ACCEPT that when we make behavior mistakes that are clearly and obviously consciously chosen WE are choosing "the EGO's shadow VOICE!!!!!
Or else we must own and take responsibility for WANTING TO CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE BEHAVIORS WHICH HURT.... TO HURT OURSELF...when consciously behaving with knowledge that it will hurt or be hurtful. Another word for that is sadistic, anti-social, delusional and just plain INSANE ! Not happy or optimistic since it must include some form of guilt, shame, fear, anger and death!
THE LIGHT HAS COME. I HAVE FORGIVEN THE WORLD.
THE LIGHT HAS COME. I HAVE FORGIVEN YOU.......
and me and all..... who show THE ego's SHADOW's to the world..Today I CELEBRATE THE HAPPY ENDING TO THE LONG DREAM OF DISASTER....TODAY we SEE, WITH A COMPLETELY OPEN MIND...... A DIFFERENT WORLD....the light has come to REPLACED by devotion to looking at the world and WHAT WE SEE IS HEAVEN'S REFLECTION IN IT!
Happy OPTIMISM and the GLOW of God be on all SEEING TODAY and everyday of living and BEHAVING as A Body....."God MADE for you A BODY...accept this and be glad...do not let yourself be deprived of what the body offers...[OE. WB pg 101}.
BUT do KNOW that WHAT YOU DO WITH A BODY GOD MADE .....is HOW you TELL the world WHAT YOU ARE!
"I AM THE LIGHT OF the world
FORGIVENESS IS MY FUNCTION ...AS THE LIGHT of the world
THE LIGHT OF the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.
Let me NOT FORGET MY FUNCTION.
MY ONLY FUNCTION IS THE ONE God GAVE me
MY happiness and function are one.
LOVE CREATED ME like Itself.
Love holds no grievances.
MY grievances hide the light of the world in me.
My salvation comes from me.
Only God's PLAN for salvation WILL WORK.
Holding grievances is an attack on God's plan for salvation.
I WILL THERE BE LIGHT.
There is no will but God's.
THE LIGHT HAS COME...TODAY [lessons 61-75]."
YOU, me and everyone HAS COME TODAY...we -the light of the world-rising to the challenge to fulfill our only function with purpose and gladness TO BEEN SEEN AT LAST.....
SIGHT IS GIVEN US, NOW ....THE LIGHT HAS COME.
Please oh please God help us all not to say to one another ever again...."I asked for guidance from HS"-GOD's VOICE for hearing guidance- I chose to behave in forms on this level that I knew would hurt or be hurtful but I did it anyway because I do not have to feel guilt for my mistakes.....All I have to do is ASK FOR forgiveness and I will be forgiven because they have to forgive me."........
TODAY we CELEBRATE THE HAPPY ENDING TO YOUR LONG DREAM OF DISASTER....today we have sight to replace the Ego's dark shadow of choosing to behave in hurtful forms because all that was available as seeing was the ego's shadow.........CAN"T use that excuse anymore.....BECAUSE FORGIVENESS has nothing to do with any person, place or thing except the self that thought the thoughts and DID the hurtful behavior no matter what!!!! Behaviors consciously chosen from SIGHT and God's Voice won't ever me a behavior mistake and the whole issue would be resolved and the world WILL be happy and optimistic!!!!
Thank-you Brother J......for all the suffering you endured and your kindness to tell us your story which is exactly like our own to maybe choose our behaviors more consciously knowing that being hurtful is NOT .......being THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD......yet.
We have the happy optimism exercise of ACIM for that mistake in the simple form.....TRY AGAIN. Don't punish yourself for making mistakes BUT DO TRY AGAIN NOT TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE over and over and over and over asking for forgiveness for actively choosing to keep making it!
THE LIGHT HAS COME WITH SIGHT GIVEN US TO REPLACE seeing what is shadowed by darkness.....
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 10:22 am: |
A Course in Miracles, Miracle Workers listen, learn and do. In this world there are also many who show us HOW to do in other ways and forms. I see our lesson partners in these specific shares of learning Emotional Literacy, ie: awareness of the intense emotional arousal that causes thinking perceptions, conform well to ACIM's "idea for today" which"explains WHY YOU CAN SEE ALL PURPOSE IN ANYTHING. It explains WHY NOTHING IS SEPARATE, by itself or in itself. And it explains WHY nothing you see means anything.
In FACT it explains every idea we have thus far and all subsequent ones as well.
Today is the whole basis for vision....God is in everything I see. [Lesson 29. OE WB pg 36]."
Emotional literacy is a key element in THE WHOLE BASIS FOR VISION......"WHAT SHARES THE PURPOSE OF THE UNIVERSE SHARE THE PURPOSE OF ITS CREATOR. [OE.WB pg 36]
Enjoy HOW some of our Brothers and Sister's are sharing their understanding of todays lesson for us all as ONE....Happy dreams as we are provoked and prodded further into awareness of the limitations of seeing with the physical eye and the belief that it is "sight. What we see with the physical eyes has a very limited range. AND...with willingness and curiosity......asking, of ourself and of others such, questions such as If God is in everything , how come I don't see Him which will evoke within the mind a desire for a new kind of VISION that sees beyond this limited range and SEES THE PURPOSE OF THE UNIVERSE IN EVERYTHING [with eyes wide open, this is required practice exercises, for accepting the atonement for ones self!!!!
There are many ways of learning but one way to listen and do FIND VISION........today it LOOKS like we are heading full on into the Great Crusade seeking through the sight of the eyes WITH VISION!!!!!! A whole and wholly holy form of the body as a communication device of the mind!!!!!
Can You Love The One Who...
by Leah Pearlman
[Listen to Audio!]
There’s one in you who’s sweet.
There’s one in you who’s mean.
Can you love them both?
Can you let them both be seen?
Can you love the one who tries?
And love her when she fails?
Can you love the one who lies?
And love the one who wails?
Can you love your tears?
Can you love your worry?
Can you love your darkest fears?
Can you love your fury?
Can you love indifference?
Love the one who clings?
Can you love the vibrant one?
Love the one who sings?
Can you love your addict?
Can you love your thief?
Can you love your vanity?
Can you love your grief?
Can you love your inner child?
And your body as you age?
Can you love your wild side?
Release her from her cage?
Can you love the one fulfilled?
And the one who’s not?
Can you love the one who’s chilled?
And whose temper’s hot?
Can you love the weakling?
The one who’s sometimes sick?
Can you love the warrior?
Who fights through thin and thick?
Can you love your crazy?
Can you love your sane?
Can you love your foolish heart?
Love your scattered brain?
There’s one in you who’s bored.
And one who’s often stressed
Can you love them both at once?
And she who tries her best?
If the answer’s “no.”
To some of the above
Then can you love the one in you
Who’s learning how to love?
All the flowers of tomorrow are the seeds of today. --Anonymous
The Wisdom of Babies
--by Mary Gordon, Greater Good, Jan 26, 2013
For years I worked with families who were very abusive to their children. Over time, I came to realize that all of the suffering that the children collected—whether it was domestic violence or child abuse or neglect—was a result of the absence of empathy in the parent.
There wasn’t one of those parents who woke up and decided, “Today is the day I’m going to hurt my child.” These were not monsters; these were people who I loved, actually.
I remember working with a group of teenage mothers who had all lived through sexual or physical abuse as children and were now struggling with addiction. They had great difficulty empathizing with their children. When the children would fall down, the mothers would say, “No pain, no gain.” And this could be a little toddler learning how to walk.
I saw that if you haven’t experienced love, it’s very difficult to know how to love.
So what can we do to break this cycle of abuse and neglect?
My idea was to focus on the attachment relationship between parent and child. I believe that we inherit the capacity for empathy—that we are all intuitively empathic—but this capacity can wither on the vine if a child never experiences empathy in the attachment relationship with his or her parents. So why not learn from the attachment relationship?
That idea motivated me to launch Roots of Empathy in 1996. Roots of Empathy is a classroom-based program for children in kindergarten through grade eight. Our mission is to build more caring, peaceful, and civil societies by raising levels of empathy in children.
Really the heart of the program is bringing the attachment relationship into the classroom: Every month for nine months, we bring an infant into the classroom with its parents, accompanied by a Roots of Empathy instructor. Children watch love grow over a whole school year; they watch confidence and security and emotional attunement between parent and child grow as well.
In addition to the family visits, the Roots of Empathy instructor visits the classroom days before the family visit, to help the children prepare for it, and days after the family visit, to help the children reflect on it, for a total of 27 Roots of Empathy visits over the year.
Through these visits we teach emotional literacy. Every time the baby demonstrates some emotion, the children talk about the baby’s intention and what the baby must be feeling. They are learning the language for their feelings.
I remember once when we had children in a fourth grade class talking about a time when they felt sad; we were helping them understand that we all feel sad and lonely at times, but we can help one another. And this little girl, out of the blue, said, “I felt sad when my mommy gave me away because we didn’t afford good food.”
Nobody said anything at the time. But the next day, most of the children in the class came with food. The majority of the children quietly in the cloakroom gave the food to the little girl. But what was so poignant was how some of the children said, “This is for your mommy, so your mommy can get you back.”
Clearly we’ve not begun to plumb the depths of the human heart, and I think it beats most deeply in our children. Very often little children are more emotionally literate than we are.
I think we in North America are emotionally illiterate. We worry about our traditional literacy rates, but we should be more worried, I think, about our emotional literacy, our ability to connect to ourselves and one another. In schools, we teach children to read, but if we don’t teach them to relate to others, they will be lost in life—lost in their relationships, they will not have success in their jobs, and we will not have peace in the world. It’s our mountains and our continents and our oceans that divide us. But it is our similarities through our emotions that connect us.
In Roots of Empathy, children can see their similarities to others through the baby. When children observe every dimension of “their” baby—every hiccup, every smile, every anxious glance—they learn about the baby’s temperament traits.
For example, is the baby high intensity or low intensity, and what does that mean? The baby cries frequently, loudly, and long—that’s an intense baby. This helps the children to understand themselves and gives them permission to love themselves if they are intense, because we all agree we love the baby, whether the baby is high intensity or low intensity.
“Oh I think you’re very intense, Billy,” one child said to another after a visit from their baby.
“Why do you think I’m very intense?” asked Billy.
“Because you have meltdowns all the time.”
“Yes,” said Billy, “so I’m like our baby! Pretty cool!”
Another thing we do in Roots of Empathy is keep an emotion barometer, where the children say whether they’re feeling great, not so great, or in the middle. Then we look at the whole list and ask the children what they observe. Nobody particularly notices who said what, but they’re astounded if they are one of the children who isn’t feeling too happy that day and they see there are other people who aren’t happy. There’s such isolation in our negative feelings: It’s easy to be happy together, but it’s hard for a child to talk about being lonely and scared.
And the lovely thing that happens when children have insights into how another person feels—empathy—is that it provides a break against aggression.
Sure enough, we know from independent research on Roots of Empathy that its greatest effect is in decreasing aggression among children—a hugely important result, because aggression is the gateway to all other kinds of bad outcomes for children. Many people have applauded the program for combating bullying. I had never intended for it to be an anti-bullying program; it was a happy accident that it did reduce all kinds of bullying.
The research also suggests we are improving children’s emotional literacy. When compared with other students, Roots of Empathy students demonstrate significantly better understanding of their own and others’ emotions.
What’s more, the research shows that Roots of Empathy creates more caring and supportive children—they’re kinder, more likely to share and help their classmates. They also feel more supported by their classmate and teacher, and they feel a greater sense of autonomy than other children do.
Amazingly, students at every grade level continue to show these improvements in their behavior three years after completing Roots of Empathy.
Children in Roots of Empathy also have much more knowledge than other children about parenting and the needs of babies. So many parents with whom I used to work shook their babies to paralysis, deafness, blindness, or death simply because they didn’t understand that babies cry because of their emotional needs, not just their physical needs—they could be crying just because they wanted to be held. If children really can understand the emotional life of a baby, they can parent beautifully as adults.
After starting as a pilot program with 150 children in Toronto 15 years ago, Roots of Empathy has now spread across Canada and across the world. This past school year, more than 47,000 children participated in Canada, in about 1,900 classrooms and 1,300 schools. In the fall of 2011, every Canadian province will be taking part in the program. It is delivered in English and French and reaches rural, urban, and remote communities, including Aboriginal communities in Canada. To date, Roots of Empathy has reached more than 363,000 children across the country. We have also launched a “sister” program, Seeds of Empathy, for younger children, three to five years of age, in childcare centers.
We also have programs in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, and Germany. The program is just now taking off in the United States, with a program in Seattle and new ones launching in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area this fall. We are planning to reach other countries soon.
When we pair some of these Roots of Empathy classrooms—when Aboriginal children in northern Ontario communicate with Maori children in New Zealand, for instance—they see how very alike they are. They say exactly the same kinds of things about their babies. They say exactly the same kinds of things about their families. They say exactly the same kinds of things about their friends.
And at the end of the year, when they make wishes for their babies, as all Roots of Empathy classes do at the end of the year, they wish for the same things. And what they wish should be on the policy tables of every country on the planet. They wish that the baby will be happy. They wish that the baby will be healthy. They wish that the baby will always have a good friend. They wish that the baby won’t have asthma—that’s clearly the little children with asthma. They wish that the baby will never be bullied—that’s some child who has suffered. They wish that the baby will have a daddy, and they wish that the mommy won’t have to go to work.
Every classroom has an armada of broken hearts, and poor teachers have such an incredible job. I had one teacher call me up last year. “I didn’t want to have Roots of Empathy,” he said. “I don’t know anything about babies—what did I want a baby in my classroom for? But my principal made me have it.”
“Really, I don’t know what to say to you,” he continued. “But I had intended to retire in June, and now because of Roots of Empathy I’m teaching for two more years to catch up on all those children I didn’t see.”
There’s no child that we should ever give up on. What Roots of Empathy offers is a pedagogy of hope, helping children find their voice—often through art—to share what’s in their heart.
Childhood is a very short season, and we know so much can be done to allow children to lead happy and productive lives. In the folds of a child’s brain, we have the potential for compassion, we have the makings of dreams, and we have without question the hope of tomorrow. Because it’s really on the breath of little children that the moral future of the universe rests.
This article is printed here with permission from the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). Based at UC Berkeley, the GGSC studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. Mary Gordon is the founder of Roots of Empathy, a world-renowned program that brings babies into classrooms to help teach emotional literacy.
Rev. Tony Ponticello (Admin)
|Posted on Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 08:15 pm: |
CHRISTINE: Loved the post from 9.14.12 that told of how Denmark's preschools giving parents a two hour window to stay home and mate! Now, that's a pro-sex government program. Too funny. I can't imagine the U.S. ever doing something like that.
Contemplating a "low birth rate problem" is an interesting mind shift. I have heard that some European countries have this "problem." Hmmmmmm -- I need to think about this one.
Maz Weber-Caspers (Maz)
|Posted on Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 12:12 pm: |
From the 2nd Cardinal (ur-typescript)
75. Having been restored to your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. You know share MY inability to tolerate the lack of love in yourself & in everyone else, and MUST join the Great Crusade to correct it. The slogan for this Crusade is "Listen, Learn, and Do."
76. This means Listen to My Voice, Learn to undo the error, and DO something to correct it.
77. The first two are not enough. The real members of MY party are active workers.
maz: Would anyone agree that if you drop "behavior" (occurs 67 times), "doing", "working" and "activity" become redundant?
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Friday, September 14, 2012 - 01:51 pm: |
I hear expressed A Perception of ACIM NOT being about behaviors. It is not a perception that seems to KNOW about ACIM as TRUTH to me....
Perception is sensing-behavior. Sensing is NOT Knowledge nor Truth-NOT behavior. It is truth ACIM says...The body is a communication device of the mind. ie: COMMUNICATION-Behavior. The MIND-NOT Behavior.
THEY must be ONE, joining ALL behaviors created from thoughts of the mind expressed with the communication device of THE body, or there is separation....leading to FEAR. Perception of ACIM NOT behavioral is a demonstration of believing in/PERCEIVING SEPARATION.
OH THANK YOU Jesus for another practice opportunity to have discussions about the relationship of PERCEPTION's for creating APPRECIATION for knowing perceptions may differ and be distinct. BUT with acceptance and understanding that WE have the gift of THE body as a communication device KNOWING the REAL TRUTH of the mind THERE IS NO NEED FOR BEHAVIORS OF SEPARATION OF MINDS. This is truly comforting.
So I ponder and wonder and cogitate....
What is the Purpose and Goal of THE body as a communication device of the mind? HOW could ACIM not be A BEHAVIORAL discipline?
This human use of behavior certainly has the IDEA of the body as a communication device of the mind IMPLIED...
Made me smile....and giggle inside!
"Preschools offer free childcare to give parents time to make new kids
4 hrs ago A group of preschools in central Denmark are doing their bit to tackle the country's low birth rate by offering parents two hours of free childcare so they can take time out to procreate. Grasshoppers is one of the preschools in North Fyn that entertained kids for two hours on Thursday night, hoping their parents took the time to get busy and add to their brood. "If there aren't enough children, there are not enough jobs for our workers," said Grasshoppers worker Dorte Nyman. He said that if children asked why they were at a "party" at the preschool and their parents weren't, the kids would be told that "it's to give the parents a chance to speak at home." The sexy kind of speaking, that is." msn.com
ACIM.....teaching tool for behaviors???? ACIM.......Perception or Knowledge?????
All we KNOW for sure is CHOICE IS the PRACTICE option for sorting out about "behavior." I know that if I choose a perception that ACIM is NOT about behavior I am likely to make a whole bunch of behavior mistakes all of which lead to wasting time and separating myself from myself and my lesson partners.
NOT A HAPPY, or loving, BEHAVIOR!
Antoinette Atanasoff (Antoinette)
|Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 01:11 pm: |
Thank you for writing about Positive Perception. I tried it this morning walking up an incline sneezing in the allergy filled air - but then I imagined the air was crystal clear the road was flat, the sound of ocean waves all around. A beautiful experience. As the Course always suggests, just try the principles, the lessons they do work. Besides happiness is a journey not a destination.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 12:08 pm: |
While in my little world driving my illusory automobile and listening to the illusion of a radio with A VOICE coming from the an illusion...whew! that was work just writing it...I heard a story about POSITIVE PERCEPTION!
RIGHT in line with ACIM I KNEW! Then I remembered todays lesson about GIVING IS RECEIVING and had a blissful moment of AHA....POSITIVE PERCEPTION! THEN the story was told...once again AHA...SCIENCE validating POSITIVE PERCEPTION RELATED to little world illusions using the GAME of golf as the focus of the research. Wonderful demonstration of the EFFECT POSITIVE PERCEPTION CAUSES for ALL Spirits having human experiences!
You can listen to the interview at NPR otherwis Enjoy it in this illusion of words!
April 18, 2012 Psychologists at Purdue University have come up with an interesting twist on the old notion of the power of positive thinking. Call it the power of positive perception: They've shown that you may be able to improve your golf game by believing the hole you're aiming for is larger than it really is.
Jessica Witt, who studies how perception and performance are related, decided to look at golf — specifically, how the appearance of the hole changes depending on whether you're playing well or poorly.
So she took a large poster board to a golf course with circles of different sizes drawn on it. Some circles matched the size of the golf hole, some were larger and some were smaller. As golfers finished their rounds, she showed them her poster board and asked them to select the circle that matched the size of the hole.
After she got the golfers' scores, she did some math: "The golfers who did better and had a lower score selected larger circles as matching the size of the hole," Witt says. The good golfers overestimated the size of the hole by 10 to 20 percent.
But then Witt wondered whether this difference in perception could be put to use to improve a golfer's game. So she tried an experiment. In her lab, she made an artificial putting green and used an optical illusion to make the golf hole appear larger or smaller than it really was.
Which Orange Circle Is Larger? In this optical trick, known as the Ebbinghaus illusion, both orange circles are the same size. (Go ahead, measure!) When small circles were projected around a golf hole, golfers perceived the hole to be larger and subsequently made more putts.
The trick involved projecting small circles of light around the hole to make it look larger, or projecting large circles of light around the hole to make it look smaller. It's an optical trick called the Ebbinghaus illusion, which you can see here on the left.
"The illusion wouldn't interfere with the putting; it would only change what people perceived," Witt says. The hole itself never changed sizes.
As she writes in the journal Psychological Science, the result was clear: "When people perceived the hole to be bigger, they also made their putts more successfully." Witt thinks the change in perception to make a task seem easier will apply in a lot of different circumstances.
Perception And Confidence In Other Activities
"These effects aren't specific to athletes," she says. "We find them in everybody, in all kinds of tasks. So if you have to walk up a hill to get to work, if you're tired or low energy or wearing a heavy backpack, that hill looks steeper or a distance looks farther. So it's apparent in everybody, not just in athletes."
Related NPR Stories
Bigger, Taller, Stronger: Guns Change What You See
April 16, 2012
The Man Working To Reverse-Engineer Your Brain
Feb. 29, 2012
'Incognito': What's Hiding In The Unconscious Mind
May 31, 2011
Witt says along with a positive perception comes confidence — if the hill doesn't seem too steep, or the golf hole appears bigger than it really is, that altered perception gives you confidence in your abilities.
But Tim Woodman, who heads the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science at Bangor University in Wales, says for athletes at least, just having more confidence doesn't guarantee top performance.
"It's not quite as simple as the more confident you are, the better," he says. "It's the more confident you are, the better — up to a certain point." He says that confidence is important, but self-doubt can help, too.
"If you're good at something but you doubt yourself a little bit, you're more likely to try that bit harder," he says. "Whereas if you are confident and you know you're very good at something, you might just slack off a little bit and move into some sort of cruise control, and then actually not perform very well."
Woodman says top athletes find the right balance between confidence and uncertainty to perform at their peak.
Christine....I used it to see the hill I must walk up to work as flatter this day! Worked! I was not breathing as hard at the top and found I had a spontaneous smile on my little face!
YEAH for POSITIVE PERCEPTION...we who study ACIM could relate it to LOVE and FORGIVENESS eh?
Rev. Tony Ponticello (Admin)
|Posted on Monday, November 21, 2011 - 12:47 pm: |
CHRISTINE: Thank you for sharing A Warm Fuzzy Tale. I still have my original book! Every few years I go through all my books and get rid of many but my Warm Fuzzy book is still with me.
My old book is named The Original Warm Fuzzy Tale. I believe it was an exact reprint of the original book. I know it was one of the very few books I moved to San Francisco with in 1979. It has wonderful pictures on every page. It's a beautifully illustrated "children's" book. In the pictures the characters (including a very funny cat belonging to the Witch) are talking and there are other text statements in signs that make the book have more words than just the words you quoted in the OLDG. Plus the pictures are just fantastic -- and pictures speak 1000 words.
One should remember that this was written at the end of the 60s. The "Hip Woman" was an obvious reference to "Hippies" and the book has reflections of the "free love" ideal of the Hippies. The "licenses" issued to two people to exchange Warm Fuzzies exclusively seems to be a reflection of marriage licenses. Then the idea that people who couldn't find the legally, committed "Warm Fuzzy" exchange partner might work hard, earn money than then buy Warm Fuzzies seems to me to be a reference to .... well .... you fill in the blank.
The Tale ends with a counter movement of young people following the "Hip Woman" and freely exchanging Warm Fuzzies without licenses and then a call to everyone to join the movement.
I love it. I just love it.
Thanks for sharing this. It's always been a favorite of mine.
Maria Rodriguez (Maria)
|Posted on Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 04:29 pm: |
Thank you so much for your lovely story...I am a Warm and Fuzzy giver...I love receiving them too...I have exchanged a few Warm and Fuzzies today...I love them...I experience a healing feeling when giving and receiving "Warm and Fuzzies"...
Cold and Prickly does not work for me...
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 03:13 pm: |
"Happiness is a state of well-being you wish would last forever....Diderot."
It is a rather dreary, dark, drizzly day out my window here in San Francisco....ACIM teaches me that is merely a perception of my human eyes. I have a person in my life who is very dear to me who oftens offers to me projections which appear as juxtaposing words... "warm and fuzzy...cold and prickly."
This, the original A Warm Fuzzy Tale is one of Happy Optimism.
A Warm Fuzzy Tale
by Claude M. Steiner
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived two happy people called Tim and Maggie with their two children, John and Lucy. To understand how happy they were you have to understand how things were in those days.
You see in those happy days everyone was given a small, soft Fuzzy Bag when born. Any time a person reached into this bag they were able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy. Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever someone was given a Warm Fuzzy it made them feel warm and fuzzy all over.
In those days it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up to you and say, "I'd like to have a Warm Fuzzy." You would then reach into your bag and pull out a Fuzzy the size of a child’s hand. As soon as the Fuzzy saw the light of day it would smile and blossom into a large, shaggy, Warm Fuzzy. When you laid the Warm Fuzzy on the person's head, shoulder or lap it would snuggle up and melt right against their skin and make them feel good all over.
People were always asking each other for Warm Fuzzies, and since they were always given freely, getting enough of them was never a problem. There were always plenty to go around, and so everyone was happy and felt warm and fuzzy most of the time.
One day a bad witch who made salves and potions for sick people became angry because everyone was so happy and feeling good and no one was buying potions and salves. The witch was very clever and devised a very wicked plan. One beautiful morning while Maggie was playing with her daughter the witch crept up to Tim and whispered in his ear,
"See here, Tim, look at all the Fuzzies that Maggie is giving to Lucy. You know, if she keeps it up she is going to run out and then there won't be any left for you!"
Tim was astonished. He turned to the witch and asked, "Do you mean to tell me that there isn't a Warm Fuzzy in our bag every time we reach into it?".
And the witch answered, "No, absolutely not, and once you run out, that's it. You don't have any more." With this the witch flew away on a broom, laughing and cackling all the way.
Tim took this to heart and began to notice every time Maggie gave away a Warm Fuzzy. He got very worried because he liked Maggie's Warm Fuzzies very much and did not want to give them up. He certainly did not think it was right for Maggie to be spending all her Warm Fuzzies on the children and other people.
Tim began to complain or sulk when he saw Maggie giving Warm Fuzzies to somebody else, and because Maggie loved him very much, she stopped giving Warm Fuzzies to other people as often, and reserved most of them for him.
The children watched this and soon began to get the idea that it was wrong to give Warm Fuzzies any time you were asked or felt like it. They too became very careful. They would watch their parents closely and whenever they felt that one of their parents was giving too many Fuzzies to others, they felt jealous and complained and sometimes even had a tantrum. And even though they found a Warm Fuzzy every time they reached into their bag they began to feel guilty whenever they gave them away so they reached in less and less and became more and more stingy with them.
Before the witch, people used to gather in groups of three, four or five, never caring too much who was giving Warm Fuzzies to whom. After the coming of the witch, people began to pair off and to reserve all their Warm Fuzzies for each other, exclusively. When people forgot to be careful and gave a Warm Fuzzy to just anybody they worried because they knew that somebody would probably resent sharing their Warm Fuzzies.
People began to give less and less Warm Fuzzies, and felt less warm and less fuzzy. They began to shrivel up and, occasionally, people would even die from lack of Warm Fuzzies. People felt worse and worse and, more and more, people went to the witch to buy potions and salves even though they didn't really seem to work.
Well, the situation was getting very serious indeed. The bad witch who had been watching all of this didn't really want the people to die (since dead people couldn't buy his salves and potions), so a new plan was devised.
Everyone was given, free of charge, a bag that was very similar to the Fuzzy Bag except that this one was cold while the Fuzzy Bag was warm. Inside of the witch's bag were Cold Pricklies. These Cold Pricklies did not make people feel warm and fuzzy; in fact they made them feel cold and prickly instead. But the Cold Pricklies were better than nothing and they did prevent peoples' backs from shriveling up.
So, from then on, when somebody asked for a Warm Fuzzy, people who were worried about depleting their supply would say, "I can't give you a Warm Fuzzy, but would you like a Cold Prickly instead?"
Sometimes, two people would walk up to each other, thinking they maybe they could get a Warm Fuzzy this time, but one of them would change his mind and they would wind up giving each other Cold Pricklies instead. So, the end result was that people were not dying anymore but a lot of people were very unhappy and feeling very cold and prickly indeed.
The situation got very complicated since the coming of the witch because there were fewer and fewer Warm Fuzzies around and Warm Fuzzies which used to be free as air, became extremely valuable.
This caused people to do all sorts of things in order to get Warm Fuzzies. People who could not find a generous partner had to buy their Warm Fuzzies and had to work long hours to earn the money.
Some people became "popular" and got a lot of Warm Fuzzies without having to give any back. These people would then sell their Warm Fuzzies to people who were "unpopular" and needed them to feel that life was worth living.
Another thing which happened was that some people would take Cold Pricklies--which were everywhere and freely available-and coated them white and fluffy so that they almost looked like Warm Fuzzies. These fake Warm Fuzzies were really Plastic Fuzzies, and they caused additional problems.
For instance, two or more people would get together and freely give each other Plastic Fuzzies. They expected to feel good, but they came away feeling bad instead. People got very confused never realizing that their cold, prickly feelings were because they had been given a lot of Plastic Fuzzies.
So the situation was very, very dismal and it all started because of the coming of the witch who made people believe that some day, when least expected, they might reach into their Warm Fuzzy Bag and find no more.
Not long ago, a young woman with big hips came to this unhappy land. She seemed not to have heard about the bad witch and was not worried about running out of Warm Fuzzies. She gave them out freely, even when not asked. They called her the Hip Woman and disapproved of her because she was giving the children the idea that they should not worry about running out of Warm Fuzzies. The children liked her very much because they felt good around her and they began to follow her example giving out Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it.
This made the grownups very worried. To protect the children from depleting their supplies of Warm Fuzzies they passed a law. The law made it a criminal offense to give out Warm Fuzzies in a reckless manner or without a license. Many children, however, seemed not to care; and in spite of the law they continued to give each other Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it and always when asked. Because they were many, many children, almost as many as grown ups, it began to look as if maybe they would have their way.
As of now its hard to say what will happen. Will the grownups laws stop the recklessness of the children?
Are the grownups going to join with the Hip Woman and the children in taking a chance that there will always be as many Warm Fuzzies as needed?
Will they remember the days their children are trying to bring back when Warm Fuzzies were abundant because people gave them away freely ?
The struggle spread all over the land and is probably going on right were you live. If you want to, and I hope you do, you can join by freely giving and asking for Warm Fuzzies and being as loving and healthy as you can.
© 1969 Copywrite by Claude Steiner
Robert Lester (Robert_l)
|Posted on Thursday, November 03, 2011 - 12:51 pm: |
Greetings To All:
Here is the corrected link to the Global Health Article. The original link was broken.
With Peace Profound.
Robert Lester (Robert_l)
|Posted on Thursday, November 03, 2011 - 12:27 pm: |
Greetings To All:
BETTER HEALTH GLOBALLY BECAUSE LOVE IS SPREADING BY CHOICE:
Another article that shows that globally, the concern for "others" is spreading. A quest that will eventually show that WE ARE ONE. This article is from the Huffington Post and was authored by Melinda Gates.
"You are loved. You are wholly loving and wholly loveable forever." - Lesson 7 from The Way of Mastery.
Scaling Impact to Save Lives
Posted: 11/2/11 11:26 AM ET
As the world's population hit 7 billion yesterday, there's been a lot of talk about the incredible advances the global community has made improving the health of the world's poorest people and saving lives, especially when it comes to children. In 1960, about 20 million children died before they turned five years old. By 2010, that number was reduced to less than 8 million. This is undeniable progress.
But the fact that almost 8 million children still die each year highlights the tremendous amount of work that still lies ahead. How will we continue to bring this number down?
First, we need to continue scaling up new and existing vaccines. These miracle technologies were critical, cost effective tools in bringing down deaths so far and they will continue to do so.
Second, we have to target the deaths that vaccines will not address. We know that over 40 percent of these nearly 8 million children die during the first 28 days of life and that percentage is growing over time. Bringing down these deaths will mean finding ways to get best practice family health innovations into the hands of the people who need them the most.
Fortunately, we have made significant advances in developing the interventions that will save newborn lives. Most of these are not technological, but instead require changing behaviors, such as getting mothers to adopt kangaroo care and clean cord care.
The challenging step is to get more people to embrace these health innovations and adopt them as standard practice.
Or, in other words, how do we scale impact?
We need to understand how new ideas become accepted and how certain behaviors become widely adopted within a culture.
We can say to a new mother: "Make sure the umbilical cord is clean and dry to prevent infection." But there is so much we don't understand about spreading this specific message. What prevents a mother in Uttar Pradesh from letting the cord dry? What is the best way to help her understand why she should? Can you use the same message with a mother in Malawi?
To help us answer some of these questions, I am thrilled to welcome some of the world's top family health and behavioral change experts to Seattle today for our first convening on driving social behavior change and effective knowledge-sharing: "Achieving Lasting Impact at Scale: Social and Behavioral Change and the Spread of Family Health Innovations in Low-Income Countries." This diverse set of practitioners, policy makers, researchers, foundation grantees, partners and staff will spend two days analyzing how ideas spread.
Our group will explore how ideas and solutions are passed from village to village, neighbor to neighbor, mother to child. We will anchor our discussions around the most effective ways of spreading (Loving) ideas.
With Peace Profound.
Judy Junghans (Judy)
|Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 11:42 am: |
Here's a little diddy to bring a smile to your face:
Have a great day!
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 11:32 am: |
Only an INSTANT does THIS world endure....Lesson 299.
I had a very rich and lively discussion with my lesson partner about communication triggers, time, value for time taken to relate as lesson partners learning of and about life lessons. In this conversation there was relating about "triggers" in communication and the possibility that attuning to the "triggers" which are continually repeating within the self may also be the block or veil that prevents taking time to really welcome our lesson partners into our personal and pragmatic worlds of "triggers" first in order to tolerate the discomfort of remaining engaged. Often it seems the focus becomes that of the content or as I have experienced negating the value of the content as "the repetitive trigger" thinking that ignoring the content will eliminate the triggers of communication.
I am grateful for my lesson partners who have and willing to take the time to relate with me learning together of our own life lessons. And the highly significant value of needing each other sometimes to actually get there even is a life lesson that WILL benefit from taking the time. I know I must understand my triggers before I can ask another to give me their time to relate seeking Holy Relationships in which there is mutual understanding and acceptance of the triggers as a communication foundation.
Thank you life lesson partners.
Each time I have such moments of awareness, relating in what appears to be difficult I take a moment of time and choose to SEE the beauty of my life and smell the flowers. I only experience Happy triggers when I see such as this.
SOUL food for me in this world of so many triggers.
I am blessed this day.....ONLY an INSTANT does THIS world endure. In this instant I want the relationships of others to correct the communication errors that are created from triggers. THE triggers are cues for me that there is the potential for healing with my partners my life lessons. And the challenge sometimes is believing we need to remain in the same classroom no matter how much time it takes. Holy Spirit teaches....take all the time you need, no rush, your salvation is guaranteed. AND you need your lesson partners AS triggers for learning how to correct, how to relate in forgiveness, love, compassion, happiness.
My personal and practical experience of this lesson right now is...thank you my lesson partner for taking time for your engagement with me, for me, to accept and choose, for myself, unveiling of how certain forms of communication are triggers for me creating feelings which lead to thoughts such as... "I just had the door slammed in my face again. I am not valued enough by this lesson partner to take the time needed to mutually agree to understand THIS life lesson. To want to understand it takes time to choose the discomfort of hearing another say your communication triggers/impacts me in ways I want you to know. AND I also WANT to know the same from you. I WANT to relate without the triggers creating separation and distancing." I thank you ALL.
Robert Lester (Robert_l)
|Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 12:33 pm: |
Greetings To All:
IS VIOLENCE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD DECREASING?
Came across this article and thought it would enlighten many who may have been thinking that the world was becoming a more violent place. Certainly if you look at certain media forms, the world is close to being destroyed. This article offers a different view of what has been going on over a period of time. Could it be that many in the world are looking at things differently and then seeing what they believe.
Stats show a peaceful world
You will have to go to the discussion board for the active clickable link or you can paste this url in your browser; http://www.charter.net/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CD9QHCI801%40news.ap.org%3E&ps=969
With Peace Profound.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 11:41 pm: |
I heard an interview about this today and had thoughts of how it is this sort of activity that is as problematic for the financial condition of this country as any other. There was opinions given that "it is about time that there be real consequences for such belief in defrauding others of their financial security.
I perceive this as Optimism for radical change for healing of the world.
Galleon Group LLC’s Raj Rajaratnam will be sentenced today for masterminding the biggest hedge-fund insider trading scheme in U.S. history, facing a federal judge who has broad discretion in setting his punishment.
U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell in Manhattan presided over the jury trial in which Rajaratnam was convicted of 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy. He will consult federal sentencing guidelines and his own “gut feeling,” one legal expert said. Depending on the result, Rajaratnam, 54, may spend much of the rest of his life in prison.
Holwell will consider additional factors including the sentences given to other defendants in the ring and the utility of “sending a message” to those who might be tempted to trade on illegal inside tips, according to Anthony Sabino, who teaches law at St. John’s University in New York.
“He is supposed to look at everything,” said Sabino, who predicted Rajaratnam will get almost 15 years. “It’s always a matter of discretion or gut feeling.”
Prosecutors called Rajaratnam a “serial insider trader” who illegally made $72 million by corrupting friends and business associates. The government is asking Holwell to sentence Rajaratnam to 19 1/2 years to 24 1/2 years, which, prosecutors said, is the term suggested by the federal guidelines.
Rajaratnam’s lawyers said the government overstated the amount of money their client gained in the fraud and miscalculated other sentencing factors, resulting in a “grotesquely severe” recommendation. Rajaratnam is seeking a sentence “substantially below” the guideline range.
Rajaratnam made only $7.4 million, they said. They argued for a guideline calculation that would call for a sentence of 6 1/2 to 8 years, according to a person familiar with the defense case who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The sentencing guidelines were binding until 2005, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that judges may give sentences outside the prescribed range. There is no parole under the federal prison system.
Rajaratnam has also asked for leniency based on medical conditions he said would be life-threatening if he’s sent to prison. He hasn’t publicly disclosed the nature of his ailment, and Holwell has kept court papers discussing it secret.
Rajaratnam was convicted in May. A juror interviewed after the verdict said the 12-member panel never argued that Rajaratnam was innocent, finding him guilty of all 14 counts.
Prosecutors said Rajaratnam was at the center of a seven- year conspiracy to trade on inside information from corporate executives, bankers, consultants, traders and directors of public companies. He used the information to trade in the shares of more than a dozen companies, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Intel Corp. (INTC), Google Inc. (GOOG), ATI Technologies Inc. and Clearwire Corp. (CLWR)
Sabino said he would be surprised if Holwell gives Rajaratnam the sentence the government is seeking.
“This is a nonviolent crime,” said Sabino. “He’s not a drug kingpin, he’s not a terrorist, he didn’t murder anybody. And most of all, this is his first offense.”
Holwell is also unlikely to sentence Rajaratnam to eight years or less, according to Sabino. The judge will probably use the sentence to try to deter would-be Wall Street inside traders, Sabino said.
“A message needs to be sent to the Street,” Sabino said. “This was a very serious crime by Rajaratnam. It must be punished and it must be punished severely.”
In court papers, the government urged Holwell to make an example of Rajaratnam, saying he “represents the worst of illegal insider trading.” Prosecutors compared him to Enron Corp.’s Jeffrey Skilling and WorldCom Inc.’s Bernard Ebbers, convicted in what prosecutors called “the worst of accounting frauds,” and Bernard Madoff, the man behind history’s biggest Ponzi scheme. Skilling was sentenced to 24 years in prison, Ebbers to 25 years and Madoff to 150 years.
Judges have sentenced defendants convicted in connection with the Galleon investigation to an average of about three years. Last month, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan gave Zvi Goffer 10 years for leading a Galleon-linked ring that bribed lawyers for inside tips about transactions involving their law firm’s clients. Yesterday, Sullivan sentenced Michael Kimelman, convicted after a trial that included Goffer and his brother Emanuel Goffer, to 2 1/2 years.
Craig Drimal, another ex-Galleon trader, was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison. Danielle Chiesi, a former analyst at New Castle Funds LLC, got 2 1/2 years for passing tips to Rajaratnam and others. Drimal and Chiesi both pleaded guilty.
As of February, almost half of the 43 defendants sentenced for insider trading in the New York court from 2003 to 2010 avoided jail altogether, according to a Bloomberg analysis of court records. Many of those defendants cooperated with the government or pleaded guilty, which often results in a lesser sentence.
The longest insider-trading sentence before Galleon was 10 years, given to former Credit Suisse Group AG banker Hafiz Muhammad Zubair Naseem, who was convicted in 2008 of leading a $7.8 million scheme.
Yesterday, prosecutors told Holwell that Rajaratnam shouldn’t be granted bail pending his appeal because he’s a flight risk. Rajaratnam, a naturalized U.S. citizen, has ties to Sri Lanka, where he was born, they said in court papers.
The case is U.S. v. Rajaratnam, 09-01184, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
To contact the reporters on this story: Bob Van Voris in Manhattan federal court at email@example.com; Patricia Hurtado in Manhattan federal court at firstname.lastname@example.org; David Glovin in New York at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-13/rajaratnam-faces-sentencing-for-directi ng-hedge-fund-insider-trading-ring.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&u tm_campaign=cheatsheet_afternoon&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_afternoon&u tm_term=Cheat%20Sheet
Robert Lester (Robert_l)
|Posted on Friday, September 23, 2011 - 10:06 am: |
Greetings To All:
Christine what an informative and loving post of Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 11:29 am: The SOUND's of GOD.... Atonement, Awe and Happy Optimism.
I have a question. When I first became involved with CMC, I read your post's and noticed you would not spell out the name of God but instead used G-d. You explained why you did this. Now I notice that you are spelling out the name of God. What is the reason for the change, if indeed it is a change?
With Peace Profound.
Maria Rodriguez (Maria)
|Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 01:58 pm: |
You wrote:"The SOUND's of GOD.... Atonement, Awe and Happy Optimism....
I experience peace in my Jewish persona...It IS NOW the season of Elul, Selichot, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Todays lesson..."CREATION's GENTLENESS is ALL I SEE" related directly to my listening, this morning, to the Sounds ofGod...the Shofar which is a highly significant part of the these life cycle celerations, I was particularly struck by relatedness I am feeling of my ACIM persona. I experience the sound of the Shofar in my body, as if my mind has truly suspended thinking. I ALWAYS feel the gentleness of creation when my ears are blessed by the sound. During this time there are customs which also include walking to the sea for a healing and forgiveness ritual.
I opened one of my favorite links that connects with my Jewish persona and found this "editorial" which was the inspirational guidance to share the power of these links for me as a SPIRIT having a human experience..."
Your way of shifting perception is a guide to me at this time. I am grateful to read your post this afternoon. I sometimes need reinforcement, a reminder that LOVE is ALL there IS. I LOVE sounds, I got chills down my spine listening to the SOUND's of GOD.
I am learning/expanding by reading ALL the posts on ALL topics being shared on the discussion forum, my BROTHER is my savior. I am grateful for every one of them.
Your post to me is like a breath of fresh air, a ray of sunshine...A reminder that God is NOT out in space somewhere, HE is here NOW, within myself.
I am certain your will shine forever more. You are being truly helpful by sharing your LIGHT with me. The Love and Peace of God is a feeling, WE all experience, sometimes keeping the feeling strong in a world that appears to be decaying could become a task for me, and I wander a bit.
Brothers/Sisters like you are showing me the areas that need healing within myself. I am at awe, God is guiding US ALL to PEACE...
With Love and Gratitude,
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 11:29 am: |
The SOUND's of GOD.... Atonement, Awe and Happy Optimism....
I experience peace in my Jewish persona...It IS NOW the season of Elul, Selichot, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Todays lesson..."CREATION's GENTLENESS is ALL I SEE" related directly to my listening, this morning, to the Sounds of God...the Shofar which is a highly significant part of the these life cycle celerations, I was particularly struck by relatedness I am feeling of my ACIM persona. I experience the sound of the Shofar in my body, as if my mind has truly suspended thinking. I ALWAYS feel the gentleness of creation when my ears are blessed by the sound. During this time there are customs which also include walking to the sea for a healing and forgiveness ritual.
I opened one of my favorite links that connects with my Jewish persona and found this "editorial" which was the inspirational guidance to share the power of these links for me as a SPIRIT having a human experience...
The Optimism Of Elul
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
With the shofar already blowing every morning, with the Days of Awe just days away, with the headlines more ominous than not, it is only natural for us to be feeling vulnerable, as individuals and as a community. Indeed, a major theme of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, let alone the slichot at Elul’s end, is nothing if not our vulnerability.
Nevertheless. If this liturgical season — and the United Nations’ season, and our country’s economic season — can be intimidating, the sense of eternity within Elul can be comforting. There’s a chasidic idea that in Elul, in the final weeks of the Jewish year, God is not in some distant place but rather “the King is in the field,” closer and more accessible than ever.
Recent events can seem isolating and intimidating — isolation and intimidation was the express purpose of the mobs that persistently waved swastikas outside Israel’s embassy in Cairo before that embassy was stormed, and the purpose of the Palestinian attempts to muscle their way to a UN-backed unilateral settlement that presents a dictating of terms for Israel to accept at the risk of international isolation.
However, the Days of Awe asks us to stretch our perspective and sense of time, not only through our personal Yizkors but all the way back to the creation of the world, leading to the conclusion that, based on where we’ve been, we ought to be more confident than not. Our enemies have already hit us with their best shots, in every century, particularly the last. On the eve of Rosh HaShanah, 1943, it couldn’t have been imagined except by the most wildly optimistic that a Jewish state would be founded in 1948, let alone that the Jewish world of 2011 would be as vibrant and strong as it is.
We were far more isolated and challenged by both London and Turkey (the Ottomans) prior to World War I, and far more abandoned by both the UN and Washington in May 1967. Yet, our enemies and our fears can be as quickly reversed as on Purim — exactly as Israel’s fate was sealed for a scare but for victory on the Rosh HaShanah that preceded the Six-Day War.
We’d all like to see Jewish history unfold in a more genial manner, but clearly that’s not the way it ever happens. And yet, with pride, confidence, perseverance and a proper sense of purpose, let alone a helpful inscription in Heaven, the Jewish story has a way of working itself out just fine.
I particularly LOVE the clear, direct un-ambivalent "rules of engagement" for participating in discussion with others on this site....
Be clear and stay on topic
Avoid objectionable language
Be short; comments longer than 300 words will be rejected
Be civil; name calling in any form will not be tolerated, and comments that denigrate any religion or Jewish religious stream will always be rejected.
Comments meant primarily to advertise a business or organization will be rejected"
Should you not be knowing of these customs of the Jewish life cycle, perhaps you will find this of interest.
There is much PEACE to be experienced from the several "parts" of this YouTube presentation....to me, personally, this translates and relates, joins and connects the teachings of ACIM directly to Judaism.
This is TRULY MIND-BLOWING....a blessed SPIRIT and gifted human appearing as God CREATED in gentleness and in demonstration of the powerful SOUND GOD wants for us all as ONE to HEAR.
The Month of Elul and Selichot
Significance: Time of reflection leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
Customs: Blowing the shofar (ram's horn); asking people for forgiveness; reciting penitential prayers
The month of Elul is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Tradition teaches that the month of Elul is a particularly propitious time for repentance. This mood of repentance builds through the month of Elul to the period of Selichot, to Rosh Hashanah, and finally to Yom Kippur.
The name of the month (spelled Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed) is said to be an acronym of "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li," "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine," a quote from Song of Songs 6:3, where the Beloved is G-d and the "I" is the Jewish people. In Aramaic (the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word "Elul" means "search," which is appropriate, because this is a time of year when we search our hearts.
According to tradition, the month of Elul is the time that Moses spent on Mount Sinai preparing the second set of tablets after the incident of the golden calf (Ex. 32; 34:27-28). He ascended on Rosh Chodesh Elul and descended on the 10th of Tishri, at the end of Yom Kippur, when repentance was complete. Other sources say that Elul is the beginning of a period of 40 days that Moses prayed for G-d to forgive the people after the Golden Calf incident, after which the commandment to prepare the second set of tablets was given.
Customs of Elul
During the month of Elul, from the second day of Elul to the 28th day, the shofar (a hollowed out ram's horn) is blown after morning services every weekday. See Rosh Hashanah for more information about the shofar and its characteristic blasts. The shofar is not blown on Shabbat. It is also not blown on the day before Rosh Hashanah to make a clear distinction between the rabbinical rule of blowing the shofar in Elul and the biblical mitzvah to blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. Four blasts are blown: tekiah, shevarim-teruah, tekiah. The MIDI file on the Rosh Hashanah page emulates this combination of blasts. Rambam explained the custom of blowing shofar as a wake-up call to sleepers, designed to rouse us from our complacency. It is a call to repentance. The blast of the shofar is a very piercing sound when done properly.
Elul is also a time to begin the process of asking forgiveness for wrongs done to other people. According to Jewish tradition, G-d cannot forgive us for sins committed against another person until we have first obtained forgiveness from the person we have wronged. This is not as easy a task as you might think, if you have never done it. This process of seeking forgiveness continues through the Days of Awe.
Many people visit cemeteries at this time, because the awe-inspiring nature of this time makes us think about life and death and our own mortality. In addition, many people use this time to check their mezuzot and tefillin for defects that might render them invalid.
As the month of Elul draws to a close, the mood of repentance becomes more urgent. Prayers for forgiveness called selichot (properly pronounced "s'lee-KHOHT," but often pronounced "SLI-khus") are added to the daily cycle of religious services. Selichot are recited in the early morning, before normal daily shacharit service. They add about 45 minutes to the regular daily service.
Selichot are recited from the Sunday before Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur. If Rosh Hashanah begins on a Monday or Tuesday, selichot begins on the Sunday of the week before Rosh Hashanah, to make sure that there are at least 3 days of Selichot. The first selichot service of the holiday season is usually a large community service, held around midnight on Motzaei Shabbat (the night after the sabbath ends; that is, after nightfall on Saturday) . The entire community, including men, women and older children, attend the service, and the rabbi gives a sermon. The remaining selichot services are normally only attended by those who ordinarily attend daily shacharit services in synagogue.
A fundamental part of the selichot service is the repeated recitation of the "Thirteen Attributes," a list of G-d's thirteen attributes of mercy that were revealed to Moses after the sin of the golden calf (Ex 34:6-7): Ha-shem , Ha-shem , G-d , merciful , and gracious , long-suffering , abundant in goodness  and truth , keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation , forgiving iniquity  and transgression  and sin , who cleanses . Why is "Ha-shem" listed twice as an attribute? And why are three of these "attributes" Names of G-d? Different names of G-d connote different characteristics of G-d. The four-letter Name of G-d (rendered here as "Ha-shem") is the Name used when G-d is exhibiting characteristics of mercy, and the Talmud explains that this dual usage indicates that G-d is merciful before a person sins, but is also merciful after a person sins. The third attribute is a different Name of G-d that is used when G-d acts in His capacity as the almighty ruler of nature and the universe.
List of Dates
The month of Elul will begin on the following days of the secular calendar:
Jewish Year 5771: sunset August 30, 2011 - nightfall August 31, 2011
Jewish Year 5772: sunset August 18, 2012 - nightfall August 19, 2012
Jewish Year 5773: sunset August 6, 2013 - nightfall August 7, 2013
Jewish Year 5774: sunset August 26, 2014 - nightfall August 27, 2014
Jewish Year 5775: sunset August 15, 2015 - nightfall August 16, 2015
The first Selichot service will be held around midnight on the following days of the secular calendar:
Jewish Year 5771: midnight September 24/25, 2011
Jewish Year 5772: midnight September 8/9, 2012
Jewish Year 5773: midnight August 31/1, 2013
Jewish Year 5774: midnight September 20/21, 2014
Jewish Year 5775: midnight September 5/6, 2015
Significance: New Year
Observances: Sounding the shofar (ram's horn trumpet)
Length: 2 Days (Some: 1 Day)
Customs: Dipping apples in honey; Casting off "sins" into a river
Greeting: L'shanah tovah! (For a good year!)
...In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. -Leviticus 16:24
Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game.
There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making "resolutions." Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. More on this concept at Days of Awe.
The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.
The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue. A total of 100 notes are sounded each day. There are four different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a 3 second sustained note; shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone, teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds; and tekiah gedolah (literally, "big tekiah"), the final blast in a set, which lasts (I think) 10 seconds minimum. Click the shofar above to hear an approximation of the sound of Tekiah Shevarim-Teruah Tekiah. The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar's sound is a call to repentance. The shofar is not blown if the holiday falls on Shabbat.
No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded. In fact, there is a special prayerbook called the machzor used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because of the extensive liturgical changes for these holidays.
Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year. This was the second Jewish religious practice I was ever exposed to (the first one: lighting Chanukkah candles), and I highly recommend it. It's yummy. We also dip bread in honey (instead of the usual practice of sprinkling salt on it) at this time of year for the same reason.
Another popular practice of the holiday is Tashlikh ("casting off"). We walk to flowing water, such as a creek or river, on the afternoon of the first day and empty our pockets into the river, symbolically casting off our sins. Small pieces of bread are commonly put in the pocket to cast off. This practice is not discussed in the Bible, but is a long-standing custom. Tashlikh is normally observed on the afternoon of the first day, before afternoon services. When the first day occurs on Shabbat, many synagogues observe Tashlikh on Sunday afternoon, to avoid carrying (the bread) on Shabbat.
Religious services for the holiday focus on the concept of G-d's sovereignty.
The common greeting at this time is L'shanah tovah ("for a good year"). This is a shortening of "L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" (or to women, "L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi"), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year." More on that concept at Days of Awe.
You may notice that the Bible speaks of Rosh Hashanah as occurring on the first day of the seventh month. The first month of the Jewish calendar is Nissan, occurring in March and April. Why, then, does the Jewish "new year" occur in Tishri, the seventh month?
Judaism has several different "new years," a concept which may seem strange at first, but think of it this way: the American "new year" starts in January, but the new "school year" starts in September, and many businesses have "fiscal years" that start at various times of the year. In Judaism, Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and months on the calendar, Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (in February) is the new year for trees (determining when first fruits can be eaten, etc.), and Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years (when we increase the year number. Sabbatical and Jubilee years begin at this time).
See Extra Day of Jewish Holidays for an explanation of why this holiday is celebrated for two days instead of the one specified in the Bible.
List of Dates
Rosh Hashanah will occur on the following days of the secular calendar:
Jewish Year 5771: sunset September 8, 2010 - nightfall September 10, 2010
Jewish Year 5772: sunset September 28, 2011 - nightfall September 30, 2011
Jewish Year 5773: sunset September 16, 2012 - nightfall September 18, 2012
Jewish Year 5774: sunset September 4, 2013 - nightfall September 6, 2013
Jewish Year 5775: sunset September 24, 2014 - nightfall September 26, 2014
Significance: Day of Atonement
Observances: Fasting, Prayer and Repentance
Length: 25 Hours
Greeting: Have an easy fast
Liturgy additions: Annulment of vows; lengthy confession of sins
...In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work ... For on that day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the L-RD. -Leviticus 16:29-30
Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. The holiday is instituted at Leviticus 23:26 et seq.
The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the "books" in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.
As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed on that day. It is well-known that you are supposed to refrain from eating and drinking (even water) on Yom Kippur. It is a complete, 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur. The Talmud also specifies additional restrictions that are less well-known: washing and bathing, anointing one's body (with cosmetics, deodorants, etc.), wearing leather shoes (Orthodox Jews routinely wear canvas sneakers under their dress clothes on Yom Kippur), and engaging in sexual relations are all prohibited on Yom Kippur.
As always, any of these restrictions can be lifted where a threat to life or health is involved. In fact, children under the age of nine and women in childbirth (from the time labor begins until three days after birth) are not permitted to fast, even if they want to. Older children and women from the third to the seventh day after childbirth are permitted to fast, but are permitted to break the fast if they feel the need to do so. People with other illnesses should consult a physician and a rabbi for advice.
Most of the holiday is spent in the synagogue, in prayer. In Orthodox synagogues, services begin early in the morning (8 or 9 AM) and continue until about 3 PM. People then usually go home for an afternoon nap and return around 5 or 6 PM for the afternoon and evening services, which continue until nightfall. The services end at nightfall, with the blowing of the tekiah gedolah, a long blast on the shofar. See Rosh Hashanah for more about the shofar and its characteristic blasts.
It is customary to wear white on the holiday, which symbolizes purity and calls to mind the promise that our sins shall be made as white as snow (Is. 1:18). Some people wear a kittel, the white robe in which the dead are buried.
Yom Kippur Liturgy
See also Jewish Liturgy generally.
The liturgy for Yom Kippur is much more extensive than for any other day of the year. Liturgical changes are so far-reaching that a separate, special prayer book for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. This prayer book is called the machzor.
The evening service that begins Yom Kippur is commonly known as Kol Nidre, named for the prayer that begins the service. "Kol nidre" means "all vows," and in this prayer, we ask G-d to annul all personal vows we may make in the next year. It refers only to vows between the person making them and G-d, such as "If I pass this test, I'll pray every day for the next 6 months!" Click the musical notes to hear a portion of the traditional tune for this prayer.
This prayer has often been held up by anti-Semites as proof that Jews are untrustworthy (we do not keep our vows), and for this reason the Reform movement removed it from the liturgy for a while. In fact, the reverse is true: we make this prayer because we take vows so seriously that we consider ourselves bound even if we make the vows under duress or in times of stress when we are not thinking straight. This prayer gave comfort to those who were converted to Christianity by torture in various inquisitions, yet felt unable to break their vow to follow Christianity. In recognition of this history, the Reform movement restored this prayer to its liturgy.
There are many additions to the regular liturgy (there would have to be, to get such a long service <grin>). Perhaps the most important addition is the confession of the sins of the community, which is inserted into the Shemoneh Esrei (Amidah) prayer. Note that all sins are confessed in the plural (we have done this, we have done that), emphasizing communal responsibility for sins.
There are two basic parts of this confession: Ashamnu, a shorter, more general list (we have been treasonable, we have been aggressive, we have been slanderous...), and Al Cheit, a longer and more specific list (for the sin we sinned before you forcibly or willingly, and for the sin we sinned before you by acting callously...) Frequent petitions for forgiveness are interspersed in these prayers. There's also a catch-all confession: "Forgive us the breach of positive commands and negative commands, whether or not they involve an act, whether or not they are known to us."
It is interesting to note that these confessions do not specifically address the kinds of ritual sins that some people think are the be-all-and-end-all of Judaism. There is no "for the sin we have sinned before you by eating pork, and for the sin we have sinned against you by driving on Shabbat" (though obviously these are implicitly included in the catch-all). The vast majority of the sins enumerated involve mistreatment of other people, most of them by speech (offensive speech, scoffing, slander, talebearing, and swearing falsely, to name a few). These all come into the category of sin known as "lashon ha-ra" (lit: the evil tongue), which is considered a very serious sin in Judaism.
The concluding service of Yom Kippur, known as Ne'ilah, is one unique to the day. It usually runs about 1 hour long. The ark (a cabinet where the scrolls of the Torah are kept) is kept open throughout this service, thus you must stand throughout the service. There is a tone of desperation in the prayers of this service. The service is sometimes referred to as the closing of the gates; think of it as the "last chance" to get in a good word before the holiday ends. The service ends with a very long blast of the shofar. See Rosh Hashanah for more about the shofar and its characteristic blasts.
After Yom Kippur, one should begin preparing for the next holiday, Sukkot, which begins five days later.
List of Dates
Yom Kippur will occur on the following days of the secular calendar:
Jewish Year 5771: sunset September 17, 2010 - nightfall September 18, 2010
Jewish Year 5772: sunset October 7, 2011 - nightfall October 8, 2011
Jewish Year 5773: sunset September 25, 2012 - nightfall September 26, 2012
Jewish Year 5774: sunset September 13, 2013 - nightfall September 14, 2013
Jewish Year 5775: sunset October 3, 2014 - nightfall October 4, 2014
CREATION's GENTLENESS IS all I see!
As a gentle ONE then so will there be only gentle heard and seen.
A. Watson in the Commentary for Lesson 265 seemingly offers a connection of ACIM with it's Judaic roots and the people of Jesus, simply yet eloquently to me....
"This lesson so clearly states how the "world" comes to be, apparently, attacking us:
I have indeed misunderstood the world, because I laid my sins on it and saw them looking back at me. How fierce they seemed! And how deceived I was to think that what I feared was IN the world, INSTEAD of in my MIND ALONE. (1:1-3)
I feel guilt over some aspect of myself. I PROJECT that guilt OUTWARD; I LAY my sins on the world and THEN SEE them LOOKING BACK at me. PROJECTION MAKES PERCEPTION (T-21.In.1:1). There is more than one place where the Course says quite clearly that we NEVER see anyone's sins but our OWN (for instance, T-31.III.1:5). THE WORLD I SEE IS THE OUTWARD REFLECTION OF AN INWARD CONDITION (see T-21.In.1:5).
The Song of Prayer says...
It is impossible to forgive ANOTHER, for it is only your OWN sins you see in him. You want to see them there, and not in you. That is why the forgiveness of another is an illusion...Only in someone else can you forgive yourself, for you have called him guilty of your sins, and in him must your innocence now be found. Who but the sinful need to be forgiven? And do not EVER think YOU can SEE sin in anyone except yourself."
During this holy time of Elul, Selichot, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur I will listen to the Sound of God brought to this world in the form of the Shofar, I will look within to see and project LOVE, GENTLENESS and choose the perception that there is no need to perceive the world as attacking any of us. This is a truly helpful perception for me personally.
Namaste.....May choose to hear this sound of God for yourself.
Maz Weber-Caspers (Maz)
|Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 02:53 am: |
likw, i would look at it from all angles. use the Course, tarot, i-ging, your inner Authority in whatever form it is presenting it. there are levels to be discerned.
first of all, mankind, or Sonship is in the restoration process, so from this end of the time line, restored sonship looks like a birthed existence, an experience of Receptivity collaborating with Creativity.
Then there is unfinished business versus karma, cause and effect versus indifference, creativity versus stagnation, and so on.
I could go on and on, but words won't do it. i offer you a reading on that one, call skype sonshipradio one day if you are guided so. Sounds like fun to explore.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 12:18 am: |
Like attracts Like is a SPIRITUAL statement about MINDS. It also says...."the QUALITIES that we see in the PEOPLE around us are directly RELATED to the TRAITS that EXIST in us."
You wrote..."I am puzzled here, because, today I had an encounter with a sister, who instructed me to tell another sister that is pregnant to have an ABORTION!!! "
I would also be PUZZLED by someone INSTRUCTING me. INSTRUCTING to me is making a decision for me without my permission.
Qualities and Traits are not NECESSARILY RELATED to Like Attracts Like! In this example perhaps the way that Like Attracts Like is you remembering your qualities and traits may not be LIKE her qualities and traits RELATED to thoughts/experiences of abortion! I sort of imagine this form of INSTRUCTION could be the ego's projection of fear.
Hope this helps a bit...
Maria Rodriguez (Maria)
|Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 10:41 pm: |
Thank you for your loving presence, I am remembering so much by reading everyone's posts as well. In Happy Optimism you wrote:
"When we look at other people, we see many of their qualities in innumerable and seemingly random combinations. However,the qualities that we see in the people around us are directly related to the traits that exist in us.â€śLike attracts likeâ€ť is one of the spiritual laws of the universe"
I am puzzled here, because, today I had an encounter with a sister, who instructed me to tell another sister that is pregnant to have an ABORTION!!!
My mind does NOT hold that thought. I am fully aware that if a pregnant woman wants to have an abortion that is her choice, NOT mine. Much less tell someone to have one. It is something that I would NOT do.
How could this be related to the traits that exist in me? My sister's request does not resonate with me at all. Then, how does "Like attracts like" in this particular case?
As a spirit/having a human experience telling my pregnant sister to have an abortion is NOT what I was visualizing. I am happy visualizing myself around another baby, to love, to hold, to feed, to change diapers again...I am actually excited about it. I will be helpful is mother requests my help.
I do not judge women who make this choice...we all have a reason for our actions. Only that this is NOT for me. So, then, how would this apply to me today, as mentioned in your post?
In Love and Gratitude,
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 09:39 am: |
Goodmorning this is an example of Happy Optimism for me. Nothing happens by chance, I have been having many ACIM guided experiences which are leading me to a deeper level understanding of choice as Happy Optimism.
I experience Happiness when "People I AM drawn to reflect my inner self" WE ARE ALL MIRRORS of INNER self. AND I am ALWAYS Optimistic that the people I am drawn to are willing to KNOW the contradiction/misperception that Projection is NOT Mirroring.
June 29, 2011
Reflections of Self
We Are All Mirrors for Each Other
People you feel drawn to reflect your inner self back at you, and you act as a mirror for them as well.
When we look at other people, we see many of their qualities in innumerable and seemingly random combinations. However, the qualities that we see in the people around us are directly related to the traits that exist in us. “Like attracts like” is one of the spiritual laws of the universe. We attract individuals into our lives that mirror who we are. Those you feel drawn to reflect your inner self back at you, and you act as a mirror for them. Simply put, when you look at others, you will likely see what exists in you. When you see beauty, divinity, sweetness, or light in the soul of another, you are seeing the goodness that resides in your soul. When you see traits in others that evoke feelings of anger, annoyance, or hatred, you may be seeing reflected back at you those parts of yourself that you have disowned or do not like.
Because we are all mirrors for each other, looking at the people in your life can tell you a lot about yourself. Who you are can be laid bare to you through what you see in others. It is easy to see the traits you do not like in others. It is much more difficult to realize that you possess those same traits. Often, the habits, attitudes, and behaviors of others are closely linked to our unconscious and unresolved issues.
When you come into contact with someone you admire, search your soul for similarly admirable traits. Likewise, when you meet someone exhibiting traits that you dislike, accept that you are looking at your reflection. Looking at yourself through your perception of others can be a humbling and eye-opening experience. You can also cultivate in you the traits and behaviors that you do like. Be loving and respectful to all people, and you will attract individuals that will love and respect you back. Nurture compassion and empathy and let the goodness you see in others be your mirror.
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DailyOM: Reflections of SelfWednesday, June 29, 2011 6:40 AM
From: "DailyOM" <email@example.com> )
ACIM is NOT the only way to get there! BE Happy...exude Optimism...PEOPLE I AM DRAWN TO WILL REFLECT MY INNER SELF. I will look into the mirror of LOVE.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 - 08:47 am: |
HMMMMM.......I suppose for the Christian's there IS an ORDER of difficulty for Miracles....Can' help but wonder what this means for HEALING of physical bodies and spiritual minds.
Miracle under scrutiny in John Paul beatification
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 8 mins ago
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican this week marks the fifth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death amid some doubts that the miracle needed for his saint-making cause will stand up to scrutiny and questions about his record combatting pedophile priests.
The inexplicable cure of a young French nun from Parkinson's disease had initially seemed like the perfect case for a miracle as the Vatican fast-tracked John Paul's beatification. The nun, who suffered from the same disease that ravaged John Paul for years, had prayed to him for relief and one morning two months after John Paul died, woke up completely, inexplicably cured.
But from the beginning, Simon-Pierre's mysterious cure seemed difficult for the Vatican to certify as a miracle. According to the Vatican's own rules, the medically inexplicable cure must be instantaneous, complete, and lasting.
While the nun's cure was by all indications instantaneous and complete, some would argue the world will have to wait her entire lifetime to determine whether it was lasting, in case the symptoms return.
New questions were raised in recent weeks, after a Polish newspaper reported that doubts had been cast about whether Simon-Pierre had Parkinson's to begin with. The Rzeczpospolita daily, one of Poland's most respected and widely read newspapers, suggested that Simon-Pierre instead may have suffered from another neurological disease which has smilier symptoms as Parkinson's but which can be cured.
Without citing sources, it said the Vatican had called in new experts to examine the case.
Responding to the report, the emeritus head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, suggested that what may have happened was that a doctor, who is asked in a preliminary phase by the Congregation to advise whether it's worth sending the case onto the fuller Vatican-appointed medical board, may have expressed some doubts.
"It could be that one of the two medical consultants perhaps had some doubts," he told reporters last week. "And this, unfortunately, leaked out. But we cannot confuse one thing with another."
"So it's wrong to say the doctors haven't approved the miracle," he said. "It's absurd because the doctors of the medical consultation board haven't pronounced themselves."
That said, he acknowledged that the doubts would require further investigation. In such cases, he said, the Congregation would ask more doctors to come in and offer an opinion.
The postulator who is spearheading John Paul's cause, Monsignor Slawomir Oder, has declined to comment on the reports, citing the Vatican rule for secrecy in the handling of the case.
Beatification is the first step toward possible sainthood. The Vatican must confirm one miracle has occurred due to the intercession of John Paul before he can be beatified. A second miracle is needed for him to be declared a saint.
Saraiva Martins was also asked how the Vatican could be certain that the cure is lasting, when a disease like Parkinson's is something that most commonly occurs late in life. For a woman who suffered from it in her 40s, how could the Vatican be certain she won't get it again?
The cardinal acknowledged the difficulty of the case, and hinted that waiting might be necessary. "It depends on the nature of the illness," he said. "For some illnesses, it's clear: it's totally cured. Some others return. That's why we need to wait."
Saraiva Martins stressed that he was speaking only in his capacity as someone knowledgeable with the Congregations' procedures and not as someone currently involved in the case.
Benedict put John Paul on the fast-track for possible sainthood just weeks after his April 2, 2005, death, heeding the calls of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood Immediately!" that erupted in St. Peter's Square during the funeral of the much-loved pontiff.
Benedict waived the customary five-year waiting period and allowed the investigation into John Paul's life and virtues to begin immediately. In December 2009, Benedict signed a decree attesting to his "heroic virtues."
And on Monday, Benedict will celebrate Mass at the Vatican marking the fifth anniversary of John Paul's death. The Vatican moved the service to Monday so the Mass wouldn't conflict with Good Friday.
But recently, new questions have been raised about John Paul's record in combatting pedophile priests. John Paul presided over the church when the sex abuse scandal exploded in the United States in 2002 and the Vatican was swamped with complaints and lawsuits under his leadership. Yet during most of his 26-year papacy, individual dioceses and not the Vatican took sole responsibility for investigating misbehavior.
But John Paul himself had long championed the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, the conservative order that fell into scandal after it revealed that its founder had fathered a child and had molested seminarians.
The Vatican began investigating allegations against the Rev. Marcial Maciel of Mexico in the 1950s, but it wasn't until 2006, a year into Benedict's pontificate, that the Vatican instructed Maciel to lead a "reserved life of prayer and penance" in response to the abuse allegations — effectively removing him from power.
Subsequently, Benedict ordered a full-on investigation of the order since its entire existence was so closely intertwined with that of its discredited founder.
Saraiva Martins said historians who studied the pope's life as part of the sainthood process didn't find anything problematic in John Paul's handling of abuse scandals.
"According to them there was nothing that was a true obstacle to his cause of beatification," he said.
The OK from historians led to Benedict's decree last December that John Paul had led a virtuous life. As a result, all that's needed for him to be beatified is for the miracle to be confirmed.
But with such a high-profile case as John Paul's, the miracle is going to be heavily scrutinized — as will Simon-Pierre for the rest of her life. Amid reports earlier this month that the nun had again fallen ill, the Aix-en-Provence archdiocese issued a statement March 10 attesting to her health.
"I categorically deny this rumor," Rev. Luc Marie Lalanne, archdiocese chancellor said. "Little Sister Marie Simon-Pierre remains to this day in perfect health."
Saraiva Martins said the case of Simon-Pierre is still very much in play. But he added that there are many other reports of inexplicable cures, or "graces" as he termed them, that have reached the Vatican in the five years since the pope died and any one of them could be used if need be.
Associated Press reporters Vanessa Gera and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, and Elaine Ganley in Paris, contributed to this report.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Friday, October 09, 2009 - 09:57 am: |
This appears to BE validation not only for the Optimism of ACIM but IS a demonstration of the Happy Dream for all the World to SEE!!
namaste to ALL
In a surprise, Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize
AP – 2009 Nobel Peace Prize goes to President Obama
AP – File - U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly, …
By KARL RITTER and MATT MOORE, Associated Press Writers – 1 hr 25 mins ago
OSLO – President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.
Nobel observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. EDT. The White House had no immediate comment on the announcement, which took the administration by surprise.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided not to inform Obama before the announcement because it didn't want to wake him up, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.
"Waking up a president in the middle of the night, this isn't really something you do," Jagland said.
The Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," Jagland said.
Obama's election and foreign policy moves caused a dramatic improvement in the image of the U.S. around the world. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.
Still, the U.S. remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress has yet to pass a law reducing carbon emissions and there has been little significant reduction in global nuclear stockpiles since Obama took office.
"So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act," said former Polish President Lech Walesa, a 1983 Nobel Peace laureate.
"This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let's see if he perseveres. Let's give him time to act," Walesa said.
The award appeared to be a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The Nobel committee praised Obama's creation of "a new climate in international politics" and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.
"You have to remember that the world has been in a pretty dangerous phase," Jagland said. "And anybody who can contribute to getting the world out of this situation deserves a Nobel Peace Prize."
Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, the peace prize is given out by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Like the Parliament, the committee has a leftist slant, with three members elected by left-of-center parties. Jagland said the decision to honor Obama was unanimous.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said Obama's award shows great things are expected from him in coming years.
"It's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all," Tutu said. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."
Until seconds before the award, speculation had focused on a wide variety of candidates besides Obama: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator, a Chinese dissident and an Afghan woman's rights activist, among others. The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year's prize, though it was not immediately apparent who nominated Obama.
"The exciting and important thing about this prize is that it's given to someone ... who has the power to contribute to peace," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.
Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award: President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.
Wilson received the prize for his role in founding the League of Nations, the hopeful but ultimately failed precursor to the contemporary United Nations.
The Nobel committee chairman said after awarding the 2002 prize to former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, for his mediation in international conflicts, that it should be seen as a "kick in the leg" to the Bush administration's hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.
Five years later, the committee honored Bush's adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.
Obama was to meet with his top advisers on the Afghan war on Friday to consider a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to send as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the U.S war there enters its ninth year.
Obama ordered 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan earlier this year and has continued the use of unmanned drones for attacks on militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a strategy devised by the Bush administration. The attacks often kill or injure civilians living in the area.
In July talks in Moscow, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed that their negotiators would work out a new limit on delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads of between 500 and 1,100. They also agreed that warhead limits would be reduced from the current range of 1,700-2,200 to as low as 1,500. The United States now as about 2,200 such warheads, compared to about 2,800 for the Russians.
But there has been no word on whether either side has started to act on the reductions.
Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.
"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," ElBaradei said. "He has shown an unshakeable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts."
Obama also has attempted to restart stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but just a day after Obama hosted the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, Israeli officials boasted that they had fended off U.S. pressure to halt settlement construction. Moderate Palestinians said they felt undermined by Obama's failure to back up his demand for a freeze.
Nominators for the prize include former laureates; current and former members of the committee and their staff; members of national governments and legislatures; university professors of law, theology, social sciences, history and philosophy; leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes; and members of international courts of law.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation welcomed the award on behalf of its founder Nelson Mandela, who shared the 1993 Peace Prize with then-South African President F.W. DeKlerk for their efforts at ending years of apartheid and laying the groundwork for a democratic country.
"We trust that this award will strengthen his commitment, as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, to continue promoting peace and the eradication of poverty," the foundation said.
In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."
The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel's guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Monday, December 29, 2008 - 12:58 pm: |
December 29, 2008
A Self-Created State
We have all had the experience of worrying about something at some point in our lives. Some of us have a habitual tendency to worry, and all of us have known someone who is a chronic worrier. Worry is an extension of fear and can be a very draining experience. In order for worry to exist, we have to imagine that something bad might happen. What we are worrying about has not happened yet, however, so this bad thing is by definition a fantasy. Understood this way, worry is a self-created state of needless fear. Still, most of us worry.
One reason we worry is because we feel like we’re not in control. For example, you might worry about your loved ones driving home in bad weather. There is nothing you can do to guarantee their safe passage, but you worry until you find out they have reached their destination unharmed. In this instance, worry is an attempt to feel useful and in control. However, worrying does nothing to ensure a positive outcome and it has an unpleasant effect on your body, mind, and spirit. The good news is that there are ways to transform this kind of worry so that it has a healing effect. Just as worry uses the imagination, so does the antidote to worry. Next time you find that you are worrying, imagine the best result instead of anticipating the worst outcome. Visualize your loved ones’ path bathed in white light and clearly see in your mind’s eye their safe arrival. Imagine angels or guides watching over them as they make their way home. Generate peace and well-being instead of nervousn! ess and unease within yourself.
Another reason we worry is that something that we know is pending but are avoiding is nagging us—an unpaid parking ticket, an upcoming test, an issue with a friend. In these cases, acknowledging that we are worried and taking action is the best solution. If you can confront the situation and own your power to change it, you’ll have no reason to worry.
Don't worry BE happy!
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 11:33 am: |
Spotlight Good News NOW
Watch and SMILE
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 11:15 am: |
Ill. family thanks employees with surprise bonuses
By CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer – Sat Nov 29, 9:36 am ET
CHICAGO – Even though employees at the Peer Bearing Co. no longer work for the Spungen family that recently sold the Waukegan-based ball bearings maker, they still received a turkey each this Thanksgiving in keeping with tradition.
But even better was the gift that came in mid-September, when the Spungens threw a party to celebrate the company's acquisition by a Swedish company.
They gave away $6.6 million in year-end bonuses to Peer's 230 employees, decided by a formula based on each worker's years of service.
"My grandfather was always charitable," said Danny Spungen, grandson of Peer founder Nathan Spungen. He said Laurence and Florence Spungen and their four children decided on a bonus formula a year before the acquisition closed.
He said the decision was "a gamble that we would come out OK as well."
Family members signed two thank-you cards to each employee, one in Spanish and one in English, expressing gratitude for "the loyalty and hard work of our employees over the years."
"They treated us like extended family," said Maria Dima, who works at the company along with her husband, Valentin. "We won the lottery."
On the day the checks were distributed, Valentin Dima watched as co-workers broke down in tears over their bonus checks. He drove home first, then opened his envelope: $33,000. His wife received a check for a smaller amount, and the two Romanian immigrants have since taken a Caribbean cruise to celebrate.
"This company gave us stability, so we dare to spend some money on such a thing," Valentin Dima said.
While neighbors and friends faced new financial strains, the bonuses have helped Peer employees breathe easier.
"I know people who work for corporate America are not going to get treated like that. And most of the family-owned businesses are not going to treat you like that," said Dave Tiderman, who received $35,000. "This is something that just really doesn't happen."
Tiderman, who started at Peer in 1985 and worked his way up from the warehouse to assistant product manager, said most of his bonus will stay in the bank because of the uncertain economy.
"I do have to put some tires on my truck," he added.
Jose Rojas, who works in Peer's customer service department, said he plans to save his $10,000 check for his son's college education.
Peer made $100 million in sales last year and was acquired for an undisclosed amount. The new owners intend to operate the company based 40 miles north of Chicago as a wholly owned subsidiary. Workers have been told that most will keep their jobs.
YEAH! The news media CAN be Miracle Workers.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Saturday, September 20, 2008 - 01:49 pm: |
Antoinette, thank you for your kind words.
I am grateful for your real life example and personal share...
"A student in our Miracles class asked,"what is really real, what is reality, explain it to me"? She wanted proof? There were many discussions and attempted answers but I think there is only one I read somewhere that says it well: we cannot have reality confirmed in an illusion."
I read your group WAS creating Miracles in the "many discussions and attempted answers" with your classmates seeking for "proof" in an "illusion."
This ABC video spot was the first thing I saw when I opened 'My Yahoo.' Do You Believe in Angels ABC video
I could have posted this to Synchronistic Inspirations however, for me, it really appears to be one of Happy Optimism correlating with your personal share, which to me is a miraculously poignant demonstration, of the core principles of ACIM.
Sounds to me like there was focus upon both Reality and the Dream in your group. Like a Holy Relationship was manifested as the 'group' welcomed the ego's need for 'proof' and accepted the guidance of HS to steer the "ship" so to speak peacefully to higher states of consciousness. I believe, this is exactly how ACIM acts like a 'rudder' to heal ourselves and the world. Our choice to paddle with our brothers and sisters seems to be necessary to float the boat so to speak.
This has just reminded me of an article written by Rev. Tony Ponticello, published in Miracles Monthly Sept. 2003 entitled....Our Relations Ship, from a lecture Rev. Tony delivered at "The Ark of Peace" conference organized by Miracle Distribution Center.
The quote from the Course for the theme of the conference is...
"The ark of peace is entered two by two, yet the beginning of another world goes with them. Each holy relationship must enter here." (T-20.IV.6.5-6).
As I often do, I had resonance and related to Rev. Tony's process, thinking, and presentation as he linked ACIM with the word symbols of relationship......Our Relations Ship. Happy Optimism is what seems to be my inspiration for relating this morning. Rev. Tony wrote the fiollowing...
..."Then I thought about the meaning of this conference, "The Ark of Peace"-relation-ships. "Ships:-it;s got "ships" on the end! Ark of Peace- ark-boat-ship-I started playing with those ideas and then I remembered "ship." You know-it's about transportation. Our relations transport us. Our relations ship us to higher states of consciousness. Our relations ship us to higher plains of being. Our relations transport us to the real world. That's what they do, and that's what they should be in our mind. We should understand that they're the vehicle that moves us along. They're very, very important. They literally are transporting us to higher levels of consciousness and that's very important in A Course in Miracles because A Course in Miracles, more than anything, is salvation through relationships. That is what it is." (Rev. Tony Ponticello, Miracles Monthy Sept 2003).
Here is one report of the research...
[Half of Americans Believe in Angels
Julia Duin (Contact)
Friday, September 19, 2008
Half of all Americans believe they are protected by guardian angels, one-fifth say they've heard God speak to them, one-quarter say they have witnessed miraculous healings, 16 percent say they've received one and 8 percent say they pray in tongues, according to a survey released Thursday by Baylor University.
The wide-ranging survey of 1,648 adults, who were asked 350 questions on their religious practices last fall, reveals a significant majority who are comfortable with the supernatural.
“Mystical experiences are widespread,” said Rodney Stark, co-director of Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.
“I'd have guessed 15 percent instead of 55,” he added, referring to the 55 percent who claimed angelic protection. “This is the taboo subject in American religion. No one studies it, but there is a lot of it out there.”
The survey, which has a margin of error of four percentage points, also revealed that theological liberals are more apt to believe in the paranormal and the occult - haunted houses, UFOs, communicating with the dead and astrology - than do conservatives. Women (35 percent), blacks (41 percent), those younger than 30 (40 percent), Democrats (40 percent) and singles who are cohabitating (49 percent) were more likely to believe, the survey said.
Baylor researchers also criticized a much-ballyhooed “new atheism” as a barely discernable trend, saying the number of Americans who are atheists has stayed at 4 percent since 1944.
Why? Atheism is a “godless revolution that never happened,” the survey said, adding that irreligion often is not effectively transmitted to children who, when they reach adulthood, often join conservative religious denominations.
Moreover, atheism is hardly taking over the world. Europe does have more atheists than the U.S., the survey said, but no country has more than 7 percent except France, which is at 14 percent of the populace. Farther to the east, Japan is at 12 percent and China is at 14 percent.
Mr. Stark dismissed the popularity of several recent books on atheism, saying they are mostly the products of “angry” people who are largely ignored by theists.
“The religious people don't care about the irreligious people,” Mr. Stark said, “but the irreligious are prickly. I think they're just angry.”
The survey also ranked church attendance at 36 percent of the populace, about eight percentage points lower than similar surveys by pollster George Gallup but more than the low 20th percentile suggested by other polls.
“There was only one decline in church attendance and that was in the late 1960s,” Mr. Stark said, “when the Vatican said it was not a sin to miss Mass. They said Catholics could act like Protestants, and so they did.”
When asked at a press conference whether he was certain that one-third of the American populace is in church every week, he allowed that some of the respondents in the poll might have exaggerated their attendance.
“I'd say 30 percent,” he said, “but it's very high.”
The survey spoke highly of the American megachurch, congregations of more than 1,000 that are often criticized for their impersonal nature. People who attend megachurches are far more conservative in their theology than are attendees of smaller churches, it said.
Their members are also younger, they share their faith more with strangers, and they perform more volunteer work than do members of small churches.
“There are many critics who think the megachurches thrive on people who enjoy dramatic Sunday services with fine music but don't wish to become very 'religious' on a day-to-day basis - that the megachurch appeal is a mile wide and an inch deep,” said “What Americans Really Believe,” a companion book to the survey.
“But it is not true. Those who belong to megachurches display as high a level of personal commitment as do those who attend small congregations.”
Mr. Stark added, “Apparently they are preaching Jesus and that's why they get so big.”
Is it synchronistic that I have been inspired by Angel research, a video, Rev. Tony's writing from SEPT. 2003, tomorrow being The International Day of Peace and your personal share?
Could be but I am choosing the perception it is Happy Optimism manifested as guidance from HS for me to relate about relationships. As I have been writing it occurs to me that, at first seeing, the video and the research appeared to be a simple metaphysical focus upon and ACIM's link to Heaven's creations. Now, as these personal thoughts/inspirations are 'appearing' on this screen I have been 'transported' from what simply seemed 'of the world' to 'being in the world' and back again. I get that HS guided this creation for me to relate with and to 'higher consciousness' as I too seek 'proof.'
For me, personally, and the world the MONTH of September has many RELATIONSHIP connections, anniversaries, queries relating to..... "BEING OF AND IN THE WORLD." This post started from what I perceived to be a global perspective. Created in Heaven for those who query for "proof." Manifested in the vehicle of research and video's about the metaphysical construct of angels.
I immediately imagined spiritual research by a world reknown academic institution such as Baylor University and a video such as this showing on mainstream national TV could only be a heavenly creation. A representation of Happy Optimism (spiritual positivism) for the Miracle Worker and ALL of our Dreaming brothers and sisters .
Maybe your classmate would find some comfort and correlations with ACIM in joining these thoughts with their study and relationships in your group. This could be perceive to be a gentler and perhaps kinder invite/manifestation creating deeper seeking/higher conscious thoughts about this ACIM concept...
"And now the ego is afraid. Yet what it hears in terror, the other part (the voice of HS) hears as the sweetest music-the song it long to hear since first the ego came into your minds. The ego's weakness is its strength. The song of freedom, which sings the praises of another world, brings to it hope of peace. For it remembers Heaven, and now sees that Heaven has come because it found a home in your relationship on earth. And earth can hold no longer what has been given Heaven as its own." ......I sure do.
Miracles are the creation, in the illusion, which joins ALL as ONE in the Peace of Happy Optimism with our Holy Brothers and Sisters who Believe Angels are Heavens creation in the Ark of Peace.
I do indeed feel Happy and Optimistic at this moment.......maybe a wee bit like a 'bliss ninny." LOL, God help me to return to earth I have chores to do.
May your own personal remembrances, reflections and relationship with the month of SEPTEMBER be those of Happy Optimism. I DO believe you are all Angels relating with me in the illusion. Along with those that expose themselves, to me, from God in MY happy DREAM.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Friday, September 19, 2008 - 02:36 pm: |
The International Day of Peace is September 21.
The International Day of Peace was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. In 2002, September 21 was designated as the permanent date for this observance. It has become a worldwide movement to create a global ceasefire and a day of peace and nonviolence.
In establishing the International Day of Peace, the United Nations General Assembly decided that it would be appropriate "to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as of the whole of humankind, to promoting the ideals of peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways . . . [The International Day of Peace] should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples."
The Assembly's resolution declared that the International Day of Peace "will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our Organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the Organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace. May this Peace Day indeed be a day of peace."
When you observe this very special day, you are joining with people who have organized some thousands of events in nearly 200 countries. Make this a day when peace-lovers become peacemakers.
How to Observe This Day:
• Find an event in your area at www.InternationalDayofPeace.org.
• Participate in the International Day of Peace Vigil.
• Light a candle for peace at Gratefulness.org.
Peace Is the Way
A Collection of Inspirational Quotations for Peacemakers
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
A Note from Frederic and Mary Ann: We put together this collection of inspiration quotations about peace on October 8, 2001, just 27 days after we wrote "Rest in Peace," a prayer in the form of a poem to express our empathy with all those affected by the terrorist attacks in our city and to emphasize the unity of all in our world community.
One of the early Christian desert fathers said: "I have spent twenty years fighting to see all human beings as one." We are indebted to him for reminding us just how difficult this spiritual practice can be. Mahatma Gandhi reminds us as well: "I believe in the essential unity of humanity and for that matter, of all lives. Therefore, I believe that if one person gains spiritually, the whole world gains with that person, and if one person falls, the whole world falls to that extent."
The day before we made this collection, we learned that the United States had started bombing Afghanistan while we were attending an Interfaith Service at Union Square Park in New York. Protestant and Catholic Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus united their voices and spirits in a call for peace. We came together as New Yorkers to assert that "Our Grief Is Not a Cry for War." At the end of the service, candles were lit and passed around as symbols of our resolve to keep this feeling of unity aglow in our hearts and to bring it to others.
We now offer you these light-filled quotations on peace. May your own little light shine.
• When people talk about war I vow with all beings to raise my voice in the chorus and speak of original peace.
— Robert Aitken
• Be peace, don't just talk about it.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
• The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.
— Thomas Merton
• The earth is too small a star and we too brief a visitor upon it for anything to matter more than the struggle for peace.
— Colman McCarthy
• No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in the present instant. Take peace. The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within reach, is joy. Take joy.
— Fra Giovanni
• War will stop when we no longer praise it, or give it any attention at all. Peace will come wherever it is sincerely invited.
— Alice Walker
• If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed — but hate these things in yourself, not in another.
— Mahatma Gandhi
• I pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of all the world and to the community for which it stands: one people loved into existence by God, breathing an indivisible air, warmed by a sun that shines on good and bad alike, kept alive by rain that falls on the just and unjust. I commit myself to spend my life for this world for liberty and justice for all. Amen.
— Mary Evelyn Jegen
• May we look upon our treasure, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try to discover whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions.
— John Woolman (1774)
• Anyone can love peace, but Jesus didn't say, "Blessed are the peace-lovers." He says “peacemakers.” He is referring to a life vocation, not a hobby on the sidelines of life.
— Jim Wallis
• While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.
— St. Francis of Assisi
• I tell you one thing — if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather learn to see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own.
— Sri Sarada Devi
• My personal vocation is to be a pilgrim of peace . . . We, as Christians, are on the side of nonviolence and this is in no way an option for weakness and passivity. Opting for nonviolence means to believe more strongly in the power of truth, justice, and love than in the power of wars, weapons, and hatred.
— Dom Helder Camera
• We can never obtain peace in the world if we neglect the inner world and don't make peace with ourselves. World Peace must develop out of inner peace.
— The Dalai Lama
• There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.
— A. J. Muste
• I'm a nonviolent soldier. In place of weapons of violence, you have to use your mind, your heart, your sense of humor, every faculty available to you because no one has the right to take the life of another human being.
— Joan Baez
• Returning violence for violence only multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
• If we want to reap the harvest of peace and justice in the future, we will have to sow the seeds of nonviolence, here and now, in the present.
— Mairead Corrigan Maguire
• The job of the peacemaker is to stop war, to purify the world, to get it saved from poverty and riches, to heal the sick, to comfort the sad, to wake up those who have not yet found God, to create joy and beauty wherever you go, and to find God in everything and in everyone.
— Muriel Lester
• Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
— Albert Einstein
We know that peace is only possible when it is the fruit of justice. True peace is the result of the profound transformation affected by nonviolence which is, indeed, the power of love.
— Perez Esquivel
• Violence obliterates anybody who feels its touch.
— Simone Weil
• As peacemakers we must resist resolutely all the powers of war and destruction and proclaim that peace is the divine gift offered to all who affirm life.
— Henri J. M. Nouwen
• The life of "peace" is both an inner journey toward a disarmed heart and a public journey toward a disarmed world. This difficult but beautiful journey gives infinite meaning and fulfillment to life itself because our lives become a gift for the whole human race. With peace as the beginning, middle, and end of life, life makes sense.
— John Dear
Peace to ALL.....Christine
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2008 - 04:57 pm: |
Rhyme Of Life Lyrics
If every thought that came to mind came true,
What kind of world would it be?
If every promise sworn by man was kept,
What would divine words mean to me?
If every chance to succeed had gone my way,
What personality would I have today?
If my first romance had granted me life’s every passion,
Would I have ever crossed your way?
Looking through the book of my life,
Turning pages of passing years,
I see a perfect rhyme throughout my life line.
Through the good times I hold dear,
And through my heartaches, through my tears,
My life has moved in time to the Creator of the design.
If every kiss had promised something more,
Would I have ever felt let down?
If my every desire had ended in satisfaction,
Would I still be satisfied now?
If my every dream had become reality,
What would I be dreaming of today?
If every wish I’d wished had come to be,
Would I be happier today?
I take from life all it has to give, given by the One for whom I live.
All occurs for a reason,
And for this reason I live a life that was given to me to give.
Through the good times I hold dear,
And through my heartaches, through my tears,
My life has moved in time to the Creator of the design.
Music & lyrics: Andrew V., Katrina L.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2008 - 03:15 pm: |
by Owen Waters
The concept of God as a Father-Mother principle, not just a
Father God, is hardly new. For example, the Christian Science
movement, founded in 1879, is one which holds the Father-Mother God principle as central to its teachings.
They regard the masculine qualities of God, such as strength,
constancy and protection to be related to the Father aspect of
God, while the feminine qualities, such as gentleness,
compassion and nurturing to be related to the Mother aspect of
God. They do not see God as two 'people' - a male entity and a
female entity - but rather as an integrated, all-pervasive
presence possessing both aspects of consciousness in equal
If we look at the nature of the original consciousness which
is behind all things, we can better understand the concept of
an integrated Father-Mother God. God is not a person. God is an
everywhere-present, all-knowing intelligence which created and
maintains the universe. Behind even this creative presence, is
the ultimate, original, unchanging state of consciousness, that
of Infinite Being.
Infinite Being is a state of perfect beingness which contains
all potential. As such, it fundamentally does not "do," it just
is. It is perfection, and therefore unchanging. However, at
some point, Infinite Being decided to 'become,' rather than
just 'be.' It decided to manifest its potential, and then to
act out every part of that potential.
The reason why Infinite Being would do this has been the
greatest mystery of all time. The question was always why, when
Infinite Being was perfection in the first place, did it create
the universe so that living beings could work their way back to
a perfection which already existed? The question goes beyond
"How did life begin?" and, instead, asks, "WHY did life begin?"
Once Infinite Being had made the decision to create the
universe, it achieved the Creation through its only available
tool - that of consciousness. Infinite Being divided its
consciousness into two complementary aspects. In one direction,
it focused intent. In another direction, it focused feeling.
Then, it applied motion so that the two facets of itself -
intent and feeling - could interact with each other as
intertwined waves of consciousness in motion. In this way,
Infinite Being extended itself from just being, into a state of
action and creation.
The dividing of the 'waters' of original consciousness into
two, complementary aspects created the aspect of intent and the
aspect of feeling. These two principles of consciousness
interact together in perfect, equal balance. Were they not
perfectly balanced, the universe would cease to exist!
People traditionally find comfort in thinking of God as a
parent-like presence. The two aspects of consciousness are not,
literally, terms relating to gender. However, you could choose
to think of the intent aspect as the Creator part and the one
which seems more father-like. You could also choose to think of
the feeling aspect as the Preserver of all of creation and as
the one which seems more mother-like. However, these are just
images to help us identify, from a human perspective, with the
vastness of the consciousness of God.
God maintains the universe through a perfect balance of the
complementary aspects of its consciousness. In the light of
this, if people choose to think of God in parental terms, then
the word God today has to mean 'Father-Mother God' and not just 'God the Father.' Remember that without God the Father's other half, the universe would cease to exist!
Today, the concept of Father-Mother God has become a very
timely one. As we progress through The Shift to heart-centered
consciousness, the concept of patriarchy is steadily fading
away into history. Father God, as a male persona, is part of
the Old Reality thinking. The expanded concept of Father-Mother God is inbuilt into the new awareness.
We are entering a New Reality where all people are honored
equally, regardless of race, creed, color, personal preferences
and, especially, gender. Heart-centered consciousness means
unconditional love and acceptance of all people in their
infinite diversity. We exist on this earth as the eyes and ears
of Infinite Being as it seeks to experience itself through the
variety of every possible viewpoint. Such diversity is integral
to our purpose in existence.
Your purpose in life includes the development of your own
potential so that you can become the most unique 'you'
possible. Today's emerging heart-centered consciousness means that people will support, rather than compete against, the efforts of other people.
As New Reality consciousness expands, human potential will
flower in creative ways never before imagined possible. You can
think of God as a balance of Father-Mother God consciousness or simply go beyond that to think of Infinite Being as the
ultimate state of unchanging perfection. Either way, remember
that the conscious awareness of the presence of God is a mere
It is your concept of the God presence within which will feed
the flame of your creativity and help bring your unique
potential into full and joyful manifestation.
The greatest mystery of all time in spiritual philosophy has
been, why life began. Why, when God had been perfection in the
first place, did God create the universe so that living beings
could work their way back to a perfection which already
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2008 - 04:27 pm: |
What a HOOT...have you lived long enough to experience the humor and irony of this?
THE PROOF IS IN
So you think the old Protestant work ethic is not what it used to be?
The reason may be sitting right there on your kitchen counter
by Bud Herron
It is hard to figure out exactly when Americans began losing what has been called "the Protestant work ethic" and began sculpting a belief system based on entitlement.
In my own life experience, I trace it back to the invention of instant pudding. That was roughly 1953.
Before that, my mother had made pudding the conventional, time‑consuming way‑the way her mother had made it: milk, heavy cream, sugar, corn starch, egg yolks, vanilla extract. This was all carefully cooked in a saucepan over low heat with constant stirring.
The cooking process took about 30 minutes, if Mom happened to have all the ingredients, which she usually didn't. Half the time she would get the heat too high or fail to stir adequately, causing the would‑be pudding to stick to the pan and brown lumps to rise to the surface.
When that happened, the pudding went into the trash instead of the refrigerator and we all ate a can of fruit cocktail (a nasty concoction that tasted like cardboard soaked in syrup).
Once, Mom got angry enough at a pudding failure that she threw the whole mess‑pan and all‑over the back fence into a cornfield. Usually, however, she was philosophical about it all; God did not intend for humanity always to have perfect pudding.
Occasional bad pudding built good character. Waiting for a long time to taste a creamy delight promoted patience. Then seeing a batch of this manna from heaven thrown over the fence taught us to cope with grief.
Eating the fruit cocktail helped us gain appreciation for the times when the pudding survived the cooking.
Had Mom not returned from the grocery with a box of Jello Instant Pudding one fateful day, I suspect the world would not be in the mess it is in today.
She opened the little box, poured the contents into a bowl of milk, stirred it a couple of times, and poured a perfect pudding into serving dishes. In five minutes it was ready to eat.
My two sisters and I looked at each other with the sort of wonder Neil Armstong would someday feel as his boot stepped off the lunar module ladder and touched the moon.
We all ate dessert in silence, spoons clicking against our bowls until the faded rose pattern below the pudding came into view.
The new instant pudding didn't taste quite as good as the old 30minute variety, but it was more predictable. Dessert would never again be a gamble at our house. Mediocrity had become the price of guaranteed, instant availability.
I also noticed, as time went on and instant pudding became the norm, that I didn't care as much for pudding as I once had. It was hard to build up much of a pudding lust in five minutes. And knowing the pudding would always be available without fail just sort of lowered its value.
Mostly I missed the drama of it all; the thrill of wondering whether we would cat it or toss it into the cornfield. And instant pudding offered no lessons to build character.
The idea of it was seductive: instant gratification‑like the allure of loading up your MasterCard on a Caribbean cruise. The reality of it was harsh‑like ten years of payments at 24 percent interest.
"Something that isn't worth working for isn't worth having," Mom always told us in the pre‑instant pudding days.
If she had been able to see what instant pudding would one day do to our world, she would have put up with the scorched pans and the fruit cocktail.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 09:01 pm: |
Wait in peace
posted by SUSAN CORSO on 6/ 9/2008
I like to know something about the sources of quotes I read so Wikipedia has become my best Internet friend. This quote came to me this week, apropos I think, for my one-year Ode blogging anniversary.
When we have done our best, we should wait the result in peace. J. Lubbock
Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913) was an English baron, banker, politician, archaeologist, and naturalist. As an American, my mind had instead gone right to Lubbock, as in Texas. So much for association. Sir John was also something of an amateur biologist and wrote on the subject of bees.
I think of bees and peace as being related. Bees, goes the conventional wisdom, “shouldn’t” be able to fly, according to the laws of aerodynamics. No one, it seems, has told the bees this sorry fact so they fly in defiance of the law anyway. Mary Kay Ash, founder of that Pink Cadillacked brigade of cosmetics consultants, gives fancy bee pins to her molto achievers to celebrate what they weren’t supposed to be able to do and what they went ahead and did anyway.
Bees. Peace. I wonder if you see the parallel. Some of you will already know that the bees on earth are dying in droves. No one, despite myriad theories, knows why. Only some scientists have even ventured a how. There are, however, a few sturdy strains of bees who are adapting, mutating and thriving.
Peace. We get to do our best every day, according to Sir John, and await the result in peace. I know he means our best at everything, but I read his words a little differently.
Oh, dear one, the days I fall off the peace wagon are more plentiful than the days I stay on it! I have a temper that likes to be righteous (and right!), an ego that needs its requisite stroking on time, and an ideal for our world against which I and all others consistently fall short.
So, this. Bees don’t know they can’t fly, so they do. I don’t know whether the one day I stay on the peace wagon, peace won’t establish itself all over this green marble called Earth. The bees don’t stop. Neither do I.
Namaste....what a sweet sentiment
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Saturday, May 24, 2008 - 03:22 pm: |
I defeat my enemy when I make him my friend
Three stories about people who have confronted tragedy yet managed to see a way to get beyond rage and revenge and move toward reconciliation.
Elik Elhanan | May 2008 issue
Learning to speak
How one Israeli man lost his sister in a terrorist bombing and found his voice to fight for peace. By Elik Elhanan.
I was born and raised in Jerusalem. I had a normal, happy childhood. I came from a liberal, left-wing family, which means I knew something of the situation. I was for peace, but I never saw myself as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. My life and dreams were very far away from all that. The reality of Israeli life helped a lot. Even though I grew up in Jerusalem, the biggest Israeli-Palestinian city, I never met with Palestinians and never talked to them. As far as I was concerned, we lived in different worlds.
When I was 18, I joined the army. It was mandatory, but I went gladly. I believed it was my civic duty. I believed one should contribute oneself to one’s community. I believed I was going to protect the borders of my country and defend its citizens. But even there I couldn’t see myself as part of it all. Again, my dreams lay very far away, and I knew this soldier thing would end one day. But a piece of reality burst my bubble.
I got the news that there had been a bombing while I was training for something or other far from home. My sister Smadar was missing. I remember the long ride home, hoping for the best. But the second I saw my parents, I knew. They had just come back from the morgue where they’d identified the body of my sister.
Smadar died on September 4, 1997. On that day, two Palestinians blew themselves up in the centre of Jerusalem, killing eight and wounding another 50. Smadar was 14 years old. She had gone downtown with some friends to buy things for school. My sister and her friends had the misfortune of being close to one of the bombers. She died instantly, as did her best friend. The third friend was critically injured.
When we’re confronted with such a situation, the first question is, of course, How do I go on? How do I deal with the pain? Society offers several solutions to this problem. One is to be sad. Another is to be angry. I refused to take either path.
Life is too precious to be wasted in sombre reminiscence. I thought my sister, who was full of life and love, deserved better than to be remembered in such a sad fashion. I understood that the first victim of my anger would be me. It’s easy to succumb to anger, hate and fear, especially when we’re hurt by a faceless menace such as terrorism. You can’t hate someone so you hate something—not a Palestinian, but the Palestinians, all of them.
But this prospect of living my life as someone who fears everything and hates everyone was unacceptable. The possibility of revenge didn’t give me any peace either. Who would be the object of my revenge? Would it make me feel any better? The man who killed my sister was dead.
What was missing from my life was Smadar, my sister, not honour or satisfaction. It didn’t matter how many Palestinians would die; she’d never come back. Because of my pain, should more lives be ruined? I decided I couldn’t allow it.
What had happened to me was beyond repair. In trying to “fix” it, I’d only destroy myself. My sister didn’t die so Israel would be safe; she didn’t die because Arabs are naturally bad or because Islam is an evil religion. She died because of a political situation, man-made and solvable.
The events of our time show us there’s no violent solution to violence. If you want people to stop trying to kill you and themselves, give them a reason to live. I became aware of the contaminating nature of violence, of its incapacity to generate anything but more violence.
If we really want to stop the violence, to make sure no more innocent lives are lost, we must struggle for a peace agreement. I work for peace in many ways, but the most significant one in my eyes is through the Israeli-Palestinian Families’ Forum, a group of 500 families—250 from Israel and 250 from Palestine—that have lost a family member in this conflict. Through this group that I co-founded I’ve met Palestinians, real ones, not stereotypes or caricatures, but real people like Ali Abu Awwad, who spent four years in Israeli jails. He was shot by a settler, his brother murdered by a soldier. Nevertheless, Ali still wants peace. There are many others like him.
If I can talk to these people, many of them former members of Palestinian resistance movements like the one that killed my sister, and if they can talk to me after losing their family members, no one has a reason not to communicate.
We want to show people in pain that there’s another way to deal with it, through hope rather than hate. In our group, we know peace will only be achieved with dialogue. We know it’s imperative that each side knows the story, the suffering and the hopes of the other side. If we can speak to each other, anyone can!
Elik Elhanan is co-founder of the Israeli-Palestinian Families’ Forum, known as Bereaved Parents for Peace. This is excerpted from a speech published in Occupation Magazine (kibush.co.il).
Simon Atem escaped a civil war in his native Sudan. Now he wants to go back, to build a school where kids can learn the difference between right and wrong. By Stacey Kalish.
Simon Atem was 7 when he watched soldiers shoot and kill his uncle while he held Simon’s hand. He was visiting his relatives, a day’s walk from his home village of Aweng in southern Sudan, when militia suddenly stormed the area and opened fire on civilians. The last word Simon heard from his uncle was “Run!”
It was 1995, and the Second Sudanese Civil War was ravaging the country. The southern non-Arab populations, led by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, were fighting for independence from the northern Arab-dominated government. Islamic military forces were attacking villages in an attempt to purge the Christians. The soldiers killed adults and enslaved girls while the boys, many of whom had been tending the herds, escaped into the jungle.
After his uncle’s murder, Simon walked and ran through bush so dense it was black as night during daylight hours. He spent the first three days alone, sleeping in trees and surrounded by wild animals, with nothing to shield him from the thorny foliage that tore at his skinny frame and left him with scars. On the fourth day, he found other groups of wandering boys. This cohort, ultimately amounting to 27,000 displaced or orphaned males, later became known as the “lost boys” of Sudan. Together, they trekked approximately 100 miles a day with no shoes, clothes, water or food. They ate wild fruit and dead animals to stay alive and drank their own urine. It took two months for Simon’s group to reach a UN refugee camp in Dimma, Ethiopia.
Simon barely survived the next eight years. In 1997, after a year of difficult living conditions in the refugee camp, the Ethiopian government was overthrown and the rebels wanted the boys to return to Sudan. When they didn’t move quickly enough, the rebels began shooting at them. Simon, in his soft voice, thick with an African accent, recalls, “Running back was hard. Many were shot or eaten by crocodiles in the river. Coming to Ethiopia had been hard. Going back to Sudan was harder.”
Thousands died along the way. When the remaining boys eventually reached the Sudanese border, armed vehicles met them and forced them to turn around. They trekked through the desert for another month before reaching the refugee camp. Simon spent the next few years moving among refugee camps in Sudan and Kenya until finally, in 2003, the Canadian government approved his visa. UN representatives lied, saying Simon was 21 to aid his application. He was 15 at the time.
Now a towering 19-year-old with sunken cheeks and jutting bones, Simon remembers his first airline flight four years ago. Along with 50 other boys, he boarded a plane heading to Canada. He didn’t sleep the whole way: part excitement and part vigilance. He insisted on keeping a close watch on the flight path on his TV so he could “see where this one goes.” When the inflight meal arrived, Simon ate the chicken and rice and pushed aside the “strange” foods like salad and dessert, not realizing they were edible.
When Simon arrived in Winnipeg, immigration officials greeted him with jackets and boots for the snow he was about to experience. The learning curve was steep, but Simon was a quick study. After a few trials and errors, he soon understood that, unlike in Africa, you couldn’t stand anywhere in the street and expect the bus to pick you up. Simon has since moved to Calgary and is in his final year of high school. He lives in the basement of a house owned by another Sudanese family.
He hasn’t seen his own family since the day his uncle was killed. He couldn’t run back to his village after the attack because it was too dangerous. For many years, he had no idea whether or not his family had survived. Then after a decade, Simon heard through friends that everyone in his family was alive. He spent a year trying to make contact, and finally, in December of 2006, he was able to arrange for his mother to make the four-day drive to a phone in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. Now he’s able to speak to family members once every three months. That first call lasted three hours. “We were just crying for an hour,” Simon remembers. “They thought I was dead. They had two burial ceremonies for me. But no, Simon is alive!”
As he eats chicken fingers and onion rings, Simon comments, “I don’t blame the soldiers who did this.” He’s wearing a striped, collared shirt and trendy, faded jeans with a thick parka. “I blame the government that caused them to do that.”
Simon refuses to succumb to feelings of rage against his attackers. “I could be angry at the Muslim soldiers because of what they did to my people and me,” he says. “I could hate them, but if I did, then I would be just like them.” Instead, Simon chooses to focus on his story of survival, which he feels a pressing need to share. “I don’t have a business card to give, so I give my story to people,” he says. “The more I talk about it, the more people will learn about what others go through.”
Simon found integration easy. He is outgoing and has no problem meeting people. But his past is always with him, and not just when he shares his story. He still has nightmares about his “lost boy” days. Luckily, he has other dreams as well. “One day, I was sleeping in my room and something came as a human,” Simon explains in a matter-of-fact tone. “And he was just sitting in front of me and talking to me, saying, ‘Simon, there is something you have to do. You have to build a school. You have to build a shelter for young people. You have to teach people how you have gone through difficulty in life.’”
When Simon was 6, he had one such dream, which became the inspiration for his current project—building a school in his home village, Aweng. In Sudan, children learn under a tree and often write in the sand because there are no books or materials. They have no curricula and the teachers are mothers and fathers, with little or no schooling themselves, who volunteer for the day. Simon wants children to be able to use their minds and be taught to distinguish between right and wrong. “If you are not educated, people will come to you and tell you to take a gun and go fight. You don’t know what is going on. So I need young people to get an education so they will be leaders for today, not tomorrow.”
Within his first week at Father Lacombe High School in Calgary, Simon set about garnering support for his fundraising ideas. He convinced the fast-food chain Tim Hortons to donate coffee and doughnuts for monthly “coffeehouses” at his school, with all the proceeds going to his Southern Sudan Canadian Education Fund, and he’s constantly working with the school on other fundraising ideas like dinners, cookbook sales and a Mother’s Day Run for Peace. He travels around Canada speaking to fellow students and works with the organization YOUCAN—a student-run organization that encourages youth to create peace in their communities and their hearts—and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Michéal Montgomery, a children’s-rights advocate who met Simon at a CIDA conference, says, “Simon’s gift is pulling action from other people. Once he has decided that you are someone important to him, he is amazingly consistent and persistent. He is not using us, just working us. We are part of Simon’s project. And that is quite incredible of someone of his age.” He laughs as he adds, “He must have an amazing phone bill.”
Simon received a welcome surprise recently—a check for $3,000 from an American businessperson, whom Simon had met for less than 30 minutes. This brought the charity’s tally to about $11,000. Simon’s goal is to reach $60,000 this summer and return to Sudan to start building the school. Then Simon will be reunited with his family for the first time since their separation—and one lost boy will finally have returned home.
He flashes his infectious smile when asked if he ever lost hope in the midst of his journey. “Even though I go through difficult things, God is still there,” he says. “God is trying to see how strong am I.”
Stacey Kalish is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York.
Reconciliation doesn't always take forgiveness, but asks us to treat former opponents with dignity. By Donna Hicks.
At a round table, two men in their late fifties sit across from one another, shifting in their seats, looking everywhere but at each other. The room is dim except for the penetrating lights carefully placed by the television crew. The two men are mirror images of one another—expressionless yet alert, as if each stands ready for the first strike. Ronnie, a former member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), served 21 years in prison for nearly killing the man opposite him: Malcolm, a British police officer from Southampton, England.
This meeting took place two years ago at Ballywalter Park, a private home about 40 miles outside of Belfast. It was organized by the BBC as part of the television series Facing the Truth, which brought together victims and perpetrators of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
As a conflict-resolution specialist with Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, I was invited to facilitate the encounters, along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Lesley Belinda, a program development manager for the Tutu Foundation UK. In spite of the political progress made in Northern Ireland, the human suffering created by years of violence and hatred between the communities had never been addressed. If there was any chance for reconciliation, someone had to open the door to truth and healing—and the BBC took that bold first step.
The reconciliation that came about between Ronnie and Malcolm that afternoon continues to have a profound impact on me. Their experiences can contribute to our understanding of what it takes to put the past to rest when we’ve suffered in our relationships. What happened to them isn’t unique to war. All of us have been on this battleground. Relationships, no matter what kind, present us with opportunities to showcase our humanity or inhumanity. What happened between these two former enemies demonstrates the triumph of humanity. Their story needs to be told not just to honour the sacredness of their experience, but to give us reason to believe that our hope for healing and reconciliation has a life beyond our yearning.
Ronnie shot Malcolm in December of 1974 at the height of the conflict between the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland. The IRA had just taken its bombing campaign to England. For days, Ronnie and another IRA man had been holed up in an apartment in Southampton, waiting for orders to carry out a bombing, when they were discovered by the British police.
Malcolm, one of the officers called to the scene, pursued the men as they fled the apartment. During the chase, Ronnie turned and shot Malcolm. Ronnie watched Malcolm fall to the ground, then continued to run for his life. Ronnie eventually made it back to Northern Ireland only to be caught by the police a few months later. Instead of getting married as planned, he was arrested and sentenced to spend a good part of his life behind bars.
About a foot away from where the men are sitting, Archbishop Tutu, Lesley Belinda and I are arranged around a crescent-shaped table. These encounters are nothing out of the ordinary for the archbishop. He has facilitated countless discussions between victims and perpetrators of crimes of apartheid in his homeland of South Africa. Because of this, everyone in the room is scanning his face, searching for a signal that will quiet our anxiety.
The archbishop sits up straight in his chair, leans forward, and with a big smile on his face, welcomes both men. He tells them how courageous they’ve been to agree to take part in the program and that he hopes they won’t only begin their own healing process today, but will be able to help others by their example. He tells them they’ll be asked to describe what happened the night of the shooting, and explains they can take as much time as they want. The archbishop then turns to Malcolm and asks him to begin.
With surprising calmness, Malcolm relates his version of what happened the night Ronnie shot him. In slow and measured words, he tells us, in dramatic detail, the events leading up to the chase, from the time he was called on the radio to assist his fellow officers at the apartment to the moment he was shot.
When he describes being hit, then falling to the ground, his voice breaks and he stops. Head lowered, he weeps. It’s the first time in 30 years he has talked about it. His children had never heard his story. He had kept his grief locked up.
When it’s Ronnie’s turn to speak, he begins by painting a picture of the political environment in Northern Ireland that gave rise to his involvement in the IRA. He says Catholics were discriminated against by the government. He says there was hatred for the way Catholics were treated and he felt there was no avenue into the political system enabling him or others to work toward changing the situation.
He became an IRA volunteer when he was 16. He describes a life-changing incident: He’d been walking down the street one day with another IRA volunteer when she was shot dead by the British army. The experience intensified his commitment to engage in an armed struggle against the regime. He makes it clear he has no regrets about his involvement in the IRA; in fact, he says he’s proud of it.
While he tells his story, he seems determined not to falter under pressure or admit remorse for what he’d done. His body language sends the message, “Don’t take me where I will not go.” His face is stern and unyielding—jaw tight and eyes wide with conviction.
I ask him whether he has feelings for Malcolm after listening to what he’d been through and how he suffered. He snaps back, “Of course I have feelings for Malcolm. I have feelings for everyone who suffered in this conflict, and especially for Malcolm.” And for the first time, I see him make eye contact with Malcolm.
The archbishop sees it too. He turns to Malcolm and asks, “Is there anything you’d like to say after hearing Ronnie’s story?”
Malcolm looks at Ronnie and says, “What I realize now after listening to your story is how difficult it must have been growing up. And I believe that if I had grown up under the same circumstances that I would have done the same thing.”
Ronnie appears stunned. He takes a deep breath, puts his elbows on the table and leans toward Malcolm. His face softens and his shoulders drop. That steely resolve disappears as he awaits Malcolm’s next words. Malcolm goes on to say that if he’d seen someone close to him killed, he knows he would have been enraged. He says, “Yes, I feel I could kill. I make no bones about that.”
Something happens in those moments that creates an opening between the two men. They’re no longer two human beings disconnected by time and tragedy, but are communing, displaying an unusual intimacy. Suddenly it’s as if there’s no one else in the room. There’s a magnetism to the way they begin to relate.
Near the end of the session, Ronnie expresses a desire to stay in touch with Malcolm, inviting him to come to Belfast and have a talk one day over a pint. Ronnie says he’s happy the officer lived, adding that Malcolm was a brave man.
We sit in awe and silence. Finally, the archbishop asks the men if they know how they’d like to end the session. They look at each other for a few seconds, get up from their chairs, reach across the table and extend their hands to one another. Then they go into Belfast and have dinner together. They’ve seen each other many times since.
What happened between Malcolm and Ronnie that made their reconciliation possible? It has nothing to do with forgiveness; it was never asked for nor given. But what did happen was equally powerful: They honoured one another’s dignity, and in so doing, each strengthened their own. If indignity tears relationships apart, dignity can put them back together.
Through this, we learn that by inflicting indignities upon others, we diminish ourselves, and that by extending dignity to others, we build up our own. It’s hard to imagine that we’d make any other choice but to treat others well, knowing that the reward is to contribute to our own feelings of worthiness. After all, is such worthiness not what we all silently yearn for and what the cry is all about?
Donna Hicks is an associate with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, and conducts dignity workshops in the U.S. and abroad.
Happiness is a CHOICE,
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Sunday, April 27, 2008 - 01:33 pm: |
The Principle of Spiritual Energy Generation
by Owen Waters
As people become more interested in spirituality and how it
can change the world and improve their lives, the understanding
of spiritual energy becomes a key factor in their growth and
development. This article explains the nature of spiritual
energy and how it can be used in, for example, distance
healing, world healing, or simply for enhancing meditation.
Like the principle of electrical generation, the principle of
spiritual energy generation shows how a specific type of energy
flow may be generated. In the case of electrical generation, a
flow of electricity is created in a certain direction. In the
case of spiritual energy generation, a flow of spiritual energy
is created in a certain direction.
Spiritual energy is etheric energy conditioned by spiritual
Etheric energy is a primary energy of the universe, while
electric energy is a secondary, more dense form of energy.
Etheric energy is also known by many other names around the
world, including life energy, vital energy, prana, bioenergy,
orgone, ki, chi or qi.
For the last 5,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine, the
vital pathways of etheric energy in the human body have been
balanced using the healing modality of acupuncture. More
recently, the electrical genius Nikola Tesla produced vast
quantities of etheric energy using, apparently, very high
frequency electricity as a method of attracting etheric energy
out of the atmosphere. Because its behavior is very different
from regular electricity, he referred to it as 'cold
Just as the atmosphere is filled with electrons, ready to be
channeled through an electric generator, so is it also filled
with etheric energy. All energies are supplied and replenished
by the Sun, including the mental energy that forms the global
mind atmosphere or mind belt around the Earth.
The mind belt is conditioned by the thoughts and emotions of
mankind. Each person constantly attracts mental energy,
conditions it by their thoughts and actions, and passes it back
into the mind belt. Every one of us affects everyone else. A
spiritual act - one which expresses unconditional love - by
anyone anywhere upon the planet improves the mind belt of the
whole planet. A destructive act by anyone anywhere upon the
planet degrades the mind belt of the whole planet.
Etheric energy is a more subtle energy than electricity, and a
more dense energy than mental energy. However, because of its
vibrational proximity to mental energy, it responds readily to
applied mental pressure.
The human mind can, through visualization and intent, attract
etheric energy, condition it in any way desired, and then
direct it towards any desired objective...
Today, the new frontier of discovery is in spiritual energy.
Realizing that spiritual energy exists, and understanding how
it can be attracted, conditioned and transferred, opens up a
whole new realm of possibilities in mankind's use of all types
of God-given energies.
Both electric energy and etheric energy respond to pressure.
In the case of electrical energy, voltage is the measure of
electrical pressure. The more voltage you have available, the
more electrical energy you can move through a circuit. In the
case of etheric energy, the application of pressure via mental
intent is similar to the principle of voltage. The more intense
your intent, the more etheric energy you will move toward your
intended objective. For example, if you are sending distance
healing energy to a friend at another location, the stronger
the pressure of your applied intent, the more healing energy
you can generate and transfer to them.
There is a key difference between plain, unconditioned,
etheric energy and spiritual energy. Spiritual energy is
etheric energy conditioned by spiritual intent. In order to
achieve the spiritual conditioning of etheric energy and
transform it into spiritual energy, the individual's
consciousness has to first rise into the frequency range of
In the human heart lies the doorway from material
consciousness to spiritual consciousness... there
are two levels of heart-centered consciousness, and they
resonate at different frequencies. It's a yin and yang
situation. The lower, passive level is heartfelt consciousness,
where the person adjusts to the experience of unconditional
love. The higher, active level is heart-powered consciousness,
where the person puts that heart-centered awareness into
The doorway to spiritual consciousness is between those two
levels of heart-centered awareness. There are two major tiers
of human consciousness, each tier containing six stages. The
basic tier has a materialistic focus and ranges from the
earliest historical expression of human consciousness, all the
way through the evolution of empowered action and achievement,
and into heartfelt awareness. In this heartfelt state of
consciousness, humans shift from supporting, for example,
mindless commercial expansion into an awareness where the
environment becomes an important issue.
Humans then progress into the second tier of six stages of
human evolution. This is the spiritual tier and, by stepping
into it, mankind today is making a quantum leap in awareness.
This is the essential nature of The Shift that is transforming
today's society. As each human spends more and more time in the
spiritual tier, they engage in more and more heart-powered
action, changing the world through applied unconditional love.
The generation of spiritual energy is carried out through
spiritual intent applied to the universal supply of etheric
energy. The spiritual tier of consciousness begins with
heart-powered consciousness and is entered through the doorway
of the heart. The degree of intent determines the amount of
etheric energy that will be conditioned into spiritual energy.
Intent is also used to direct the spiritual energy towards the
desired objective, such as distance healing, world healing, or
simply for enhancing meditation.
The Principle of Spiritual Energy Generation states that
spiritual energy is generated by the mental direction of
etheric energy, conditioned by spiritual intent.
"Infinite Being" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE.....
Miracle Workers ALL, practice your special function. USE the fuel of your spiritual energy. Generate a HOLY INSTANT for ALL of our brothers and sisters. They WILL experience Happy Optimism!!!! Knowing G-d LOVES them as OUR spiritual energy heals the separation.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Sunday, April 20, 2008 - 01:27 pm: |
Goodmorning to ALL,
I was meditating and found myself surrounded by a bright light. In the middle of the light I was aware of 'feelings' and for just a moment 'sensed' these particular feelings are associated for me with those that I feel love for and love from. Then I drifted off for the rest of my meditation into the divine light I so love to just feel wrapped in.
When I finished my meditation I read the lesson of the day.....
April 20 - ACIM Workbook Lesson 110
I am as God created me.
If you remain as God created you, appearances cannot replace the truth, health cannot turn to sickness, nor can death be substitute for life, or fear for love. All this has not occurred, it you remain as God created you. You need no thought but just this one, to let redemption come to light the world and free it from the past.
ACIM represents Happy Optimism for me. The 'feelings' from my meditation appeared to be guiding me to further spiritual exploration this morning. With Happy Optimism I share a bit of my journey with you today.
I SEE ACIM mirrored in many diverse traditions describing ACIM's concepts of positive relationship, the communication skill of listening and through the affirmations of mythology. I am frequently awestruck by the synchronistic connections relating to Jung in the words of others and the direct connection with ACIM.
I AM nurtured by the wisdom of ALL spiritual teachers in and of this world that validate and connect me directly and concretely to my practice of ACIM in Happy Optimism.
"Only in the mirror of relationship do you see the face of "what is." The seer is the seen. Without the order which virtue brings, meditation and the endless assertions of others have no meaning whatsoever; they are totally irrelevant. Truth has no tradition, it cannot be handed down.......J. Krishnamurti
I hope you will have the patience to listen to this. Communication is anyhow very difficult because words have definite meanings, consciously, we accept certain definitions and try to translate what we hear according to those definitions. But if we begin to define every word . . . and leave it at that, communication will be at the conscious level. It seems to me that what we are discussing is not merely to be understood at the conscious level, but also to be absorbed—if I may put it that way—unconsciously, deep down, without the formulation of definition. It is far more important to listen with the depth of one's whole being, than to indulge in merely superficial explanations. If we can listen in that way, with the totality of one's being, that very listening is an act of meditation.
You have to listen without any effort, without any struggle. It is a very difficult problem to listen with the totality of one's being—that is, when the mind not only hears the words, but is capable of going beyond the words. The mere judgment of a conscious mind is not the discovery or the understanding of truth. The conscious mind can never find that which is real. All that it can do is to choose, judge, weigh, compare. But comparison, judgment, or identification is not the uncovering of truth. That is why it is very important to know how to listen. When you read a book, you might translate what you read according to your particular tendency, knowledge, or idiosyncrasy, and so miss the whole content of what the author wants to convey, but to understand, to discover, you have to listen without the resistance of the conscious mind which wants to debate, discuss, analyze. Debating, discussing, analyzing is a hindrance when we are dealing with matters which require not mere verbal definition and superficial understanding, but understanding at a much deeper, more fundamental level. Such understanding, the understanding of truth, depends upon how one listens.
Can one listen without any conclusion, without any comparison or judgment, just listen, as you would listen to music, to something which you really feel you love? Then you listen not only with your mind, your intellect, but you also listen with your heart, you listen with care, objectively, sanely, you listen with attention to find out.
I think there is an art of listening, which is to listen completely without any motive, because a motive in listening is a distraction. If you can listen with complete attention, then there is no resistance, either to your own thoughts or to what is being said—which does not mean you will be mesmerized by words. But it is only the very silent, quiet mind that finds out what is true, not a mind which is furiously active, thinking, resisting.
I do not know if you have ever tried this. That is, to listen to the words and to find out the truth of any statement that is made by the speaker, not only intellectually, not only with considerable doubt, but also to listen without any resistance—which does not mean accepting, but to listen so profoundly, with great attention, so that the very act of listening brings about a total breaking-down of the pattern of the brain."
From The Eternal Drama by Edward Edinger
"What is mythology? There are almost as many answers to this question as there are different human standpoints. On the broadest level, we can say that a people sharing a system of religious belief has a common myth. In this sense, a myth expresses metaphysical truths and gives answers to the basic questions of life. What we see more commonly today are conceptions of mythology that differ according to the field of thought from which they arise. By scientists mythology is often seen as a primitive effort to give explanations of nature—in short, as just inferior science. Philosophers and theologians tend to think of it as primitive philosophy or religion. The historically oriented read the great stories as the half-forgotten deposit of historical happenings that are left in the folk mind in the form of myth. Anthropologists and sociologists see myths as describing changes in social structures. For artists and poets, mythology is a treasury of images to be used in their craft, a common coin of the imagination for reminting into new forms.
...While myths can lead us to a comprehension of the larger dimensions of our being, an understanding of myths can teach us as well what we are not. Jung tells us:
The libido that will not flow into life at the right time regresses to the mythical world of the archetypes, where it activates images which, since the remotest times, have expressed the non-human life of the gods, whether of the upper world or the lower. If this regression occurs in a young person, his own individual life is supplanted by the divine archetypal drama, which is all the more devastating for him because his conscious education provides him with no means of recognizing what is happening, and thus with no possibility of freeing himself from its fascination. Herein lay the vital importance of myths: they explained to the bewildered human being what was going on in his unconscious and why he was held fast. The myths told him: "This is not you but the gods. You will never reach them, so turn back to your human avocations, holding the gods in fear and respect.
Jung is referring to the danger of falling into grandiose identification with the archetypal images, which in its extreme form is psychosis. Knowing that the gods exist makes one less likely to mistake oneself for a god. In this way myths help tell the ego what it is not. "
We heal ourselves and the world by exposing and examining our mythology through the profound practice of relationships and communication.
ACIM reaffirms my Happy Optimism. I would love to know what affirms Happy Optimism for each of you.....CARE to SHARE?
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Friday, April 04, 2008 - 01:05 am: |
Hi to all looking in. I just cracked up when I read this title.....OPTIMISM MONTH????? Doesn't ACIM teach us to live each moment as Happy Optimists???? I sure think so.....enjoy
How To Get Happy... During Optimism Month
By Mary Ann Troiani
OPTIMISM MONTH: March 1- 31, 2006
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you often expect bad things to happen? Pessimists are like the fairy tale about Chicken Little. In the fairy tale, Chicken Little kept shouting, ‘Help, help the sky is falling'. In contrast, optimistic people expect the best. Don't worry however, I co- founded OPTIMISM MONTH, which runs from March 1st –31st, 2005. If you’re a pessimist don’t get discouraged. Optimism is not a disposition you are born with or without. It’s a learned skill, and a very important ingredient determining your level of happiness. I suggest practicing these tips each week of Optimism Month:
Week 1: De-tox Your Mind
To get rid of negative or intruding bad thoughts remember this “Rule of Optimism”: You can only keep one thought in your mind at a time. You can focus your thoughts on either pessimistic or optimistic thoughts. It’s your choice. Pessimistic people focus on gloomy thoughts of how they could fall down and not get up. They expect the worst to happen. Optimistic people expect the best. So, houseclean your head. This week, when setbacks or problems pop-up, immediately focus on finding a solution. Pessimistic people focus on complaining, but happy and optimistic people focus on solutions.
Week 2: Optimism and Happiness by the Numbers
Are you obsessed with negative thoughts? A simple way to become optimistic is to count your way to more positive thoughts. It’s easy to become an expert at switching your negative and bad thoughts to more positive and upbeat thoughts and feelings. So, this week your assignment is to focus on counting and switching your bad thoughts to upbeat and uplifting thoughts. Each time you have a negative thought, immediately switch to a positive thought or solutions to your woes. Write a tally mark on a pad of paper each time you switch like this each day. Your goal is to decrease the number of times you need to switch. For example, at first you may need to switch 50 times. In time, you will decrease it to 30, 20 or 10 times a day. If you are obsessively negative, you will become obsessively positive using this technique.
Week 3: Avoid Emotional Vampires
Are you a loser magnet? Do you attract emotional vampires or losers into your life? To become more optimistic -- avoid emotional vampires. Pessimistic people allow “emotional vampires” to suck their positive feelings right out of their skulls. Emotional vampires include people who put you down, criticize you or mock or sabotage your dreams and aspirations. This week, take survey of your life by making a list of people and situations you are exposing yourself to. Then, discard or limit people, habits or situations that keep you from feeling optimistic and happy. In other words, “burn your bridges” if needed. Remember: Happy and optimistic people hang around with personal cheerleaders. Unhappy people surround themselves with emotional vampires.
Week 4: Act Like An Optimist
To begin acting like an optimist yourself, you need to learn what they do. Optimistic people act and carry themselves in certain ways. First, they use certain words. The words people use can effect their mood. Changing your words can actually change your attitude and feelings. I recommend using “upbeat” words instead of “upset” words. For example, you can say, “I feel overwhelmed.” Or, “I feel challenged … nevertheless I can do it”. Second, optimists and happy individuals take big steps, walk faster and stand taller. In sharp contrast, pessimistic and unhappy people shuffle their feet, take tiny steps, walk slowly and slouch. This week, use upbeat words and watch how you carry your body. Use the word choices and body posture of optimistic people.
Using each of these techniques during Optimism Month will help you become happy and optimistic. They are easy to carry out and will create a positive domino effect with people in your life.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mary_Ann_Troiani
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - 10:20 am: |
A wise person once said...
"HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE"
A wiser person once said...
"OPTIMISM DRIVES THE WILL TO LOVE, FORGIVENESS AND PEACE"
and maybe it is WISE guys that spread the LIGHT!!!!
Rev. Tony Ponticello (Admin)
|Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 08:59 pm: |
EVERYONE: A wise person once said, "Clean your eye glasses frequently. You can't be optimistic with a misty optic."
Maybe he was just a wise guy! :-)
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - 10:13 pm: |
I just saw this and thought you would find it as engaging and inspiring as I did:
This is a presentation by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, who had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. Most importantly, this is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.
For those who do not have the time, or wish to make the time, to watch the entire eighteen minutes and forty-four second presentation, here’s the punchline:
After she awoke . . .
“I found Nirvana. I’m still alive, and I have found Nirvana. And if I’m still alive, and have found Nirvana, then everyone who is alive can find Nirvana. Then I pictured a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew that they could come to this space at any time, and that they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemisphere and find this peace.
“And then I realized what a tremendous gift this experience could be, what a stroke of insight this could be, to how we live our lives. And it motivated me to recover.
. . .
“Who are we? We are the Life Force power of the Universe with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds and we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world. Right here, right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere where we are, I am, the Life Force power of the Universe, the fifty trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, one with all that is.
“Or, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid, separate from the flow, separate from you. I am Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, intellectual, neuroanatomist.
“These are the we inside of me.
“Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when?
“I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.
“And I thought that was an idea worth spreading.”
Is it ever!
Brenda Rouse (Brenda_r)
|Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 11:59 am: |
Thank you for this interesting new thread! I have been reading several books and articles on Happy and Happiness lately, and have come to realize that what professionals call “happiness” is what the Course would consider “lack of fear thoughts.” It IS a choice we make.
I read the articles you posted and realized how difficult it would be for the uninitiated in the Course to see hope in a world filled with messages of gloom and doom. One author noted that man is naturally gloomy...yes, in our imagined separate state we certainly can be!
You stated in your post to Rev. Tony “It appears to be directly speaking of the collective and the importance of our shifting our perceptions. “ That is how I read them. This is the ego at work in the world. (My, we have a lot of work to do here!)
On some other points:
"It appears that the Christian church understood this early on: There's no point looking for happiness on Earth; heaven is where you'll find it." This statement makes me wonder if the early Church really understood this as such, or was this just a way to convert the then presently unhappy pagans? I do not get the impression the early church was much concerned about personal happiness.
"It is the reason why Sigmund Freud wrote: 'Happy is not included in the plan of creation." Said who? The book of Genesis describes Eden as a very Happy place until man chose to be separated from God. (Of course, this is not speaking from a biological or genetic perspective, but only IF we accept the book of Genesis metaphorically as the basis of understanding of our Creation--which many people hold true.) Eden is where our belief in sin originated. Thankfully, the Course corrects the earlier teaching of “If sin is real, then happiness must be illusion, for they cannot both be true.”
<<But psychotherapist Miriam Greenspan believes that more
and more people are hurting from the increasing perception of threats
in the world. Greenspan takes a stand on the psychology of global
suffering.>> Again, the work of the ego on the collective consciousness.
Lesson 101 tells us: “The sinful warrant only death and pain, and it is this they ask for. For they know it waits for them, and it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form that evens the account they owe to God. They would escape Him in their fear. And yet He will pursue, and they can not escape.”
Imagine how much happier the world would be if it heard and accepted the liberating message:
God's Will for me is perfect happiness.
There is no sin; it has no consequence.
I was one of the one’s you spoke of who came to the Course seeking to have my “broken” heart restored. I strongly desired healing. I was “addicted” to suffering and the twisted feeling of joy being a victim gave me. Gratefully, I was healed in a way I never would have imagined, and I stayed around a bit longer to find true happiness!
You might appreciate this story... as I said earlier, I was “addicted” to suffering. (As most of my mother’s family is). I criticized, complained, craved appreciation, found fault, took offense in the smallest things, etc. Recently my mother come over to my house and every time she tried to get me to agree with her criticisms, or share in her agony orgy (a turbo charged pity party!), I refused to participate. I kept repeating to myself “I can see Peace instead of this.” She then went home and called my sister to warn her that I may need “psychological help” because I didn’t care about anything anymore!
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 09:41 am: |
Thank you for your comments. I am sorry you did not read an optimism of happiness within this article. It appears to be directly speaking of the collective and the importance of our shifting our perceptions.
It has been my experience that most spiritual seekers do suffer and ACIM appeals to them for exactly the reasons this authors presents for accepting shifting of perceptions. Many spiritual seekers come to ACIM with broken hearts and a desire for healing!!!!
ACIM is about optimism when you have not yet learn only HAPPY...." This article DOES speak to me of happy optimism and also the principles of ACIM. I am sorry if you were offended in anyway......."Everyone gets to decide that for themselves."
"Optimism gives you the power to try for happiness, and then when you get a little, you understand that trying to be optimistic was worth the trouble. In the end, it's about making an investment in yourself. The Italian writer Primo Levi survived a concentration camp in spite of his despair, because he believed in life, saw something positive in it, and he held onto that."
Diderot: Happiness is a state of well being you wish would last forever."
"Each dark emotion has a gift, a sacred redemptive power which we discover when we come to it with openness, and when we know the art of attending, befriending, and consciously surrendering to it. These are the three basic skills I teach in my therapy practice and in my book. Attending to emotions does not mean noticing and distracting ourselves from them. It means cultivating a deep awareness of emotions as in-the-body energies, and of the thoughts that both trigger and subdue them. Befriending our dark emotions is an extension of this process, elongating our emotional attention spans and developing what psychologists call affect tolerance. Finally, in surrender we do not give up our will, wallow in our pain, or become victims of our emotions. We simply allow the energy of emotion to flow through the body to its end point, without venting or melodrama. Surrender, like attention and befriending, is a 'staying with it' process, not a 'getting away' process. The only way to authentically let go of an emotion is to let it be, and this requires a great deal of spiritual discipline.
....We live in the world and the world lives in us. The dark emotions that our bodies carry are transpersonal energies housed in our flesh and rooted in our responses to the world - to the inevitable pain of being alive and being humanly connected to others. We see our private feelings through the lens of our separateness, but when we widen the lens, it becomes clear that everything we feel is experienced within a larger system of emotional ecology. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., we are all interconnected in an 'inescapable web of mutuality'. We can use the energy of our most dreaded emotions for the purpose of healing not only ourselves but this larger web. The call to healing is, in fact, a fundamental message of the dark emotions: because we all feel sorrow, fear, and despair, because these emotions are universal, we are all intervulnerable, for better and for worse. We feel together and heal together. In recognizing the profound ways that we are interconnected in our suffering, we come to understand healing in a larger sense than simply the amelioration of individual pain. We hear more vividly the cries of others in the human family, and of the earth itself for healing. We each have a particular gift or vision, skill or song to contribute to global healing. Individual healing, as I see it, has a lot to do with finding this gift and giving it to the world. When we can do this, no matter how small our gift may seem, we are made more whole. In this process, we break out of the prison of ego. We become fuller and more connected to others, and to life. This to me, is what healing is about. A healed life is always a work in progress; not a life devoid of all traces of suffering but a life lived fully, deeply, authentically, and compassionately engaged with the world.
'There is nothing so whole as a broken heart,' goes one saying. The world breaks our hearts wide open - and it is the openness that makes us whole. We cannot and should not expect to be completely cured of grief, fear, and despair in a broken-hearted world. We learn to accept suffering and vulnerability as a normal part of life, and how to use our suffering for the good. Because we are vulnerable, life hurts. We are not here to be free of pain. We are here to have our hearts broken by life, and to transform our pain into love. "
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2008 - 05:00 pm: |
Healing Through the World's Hurt
Therapists never ask their patients if their suffering is connected to world events. But psychotherapist Miriam Greenspan believes that more and more people are hurting from the increasing perception of threats in the world. Greenspan takes a stand on the psychology of global suffering.
Miriam Greenspan | April 2003 issue
For some 30 years as a psychotherapist, I have listened to painful stories. When people come for the 'talking cure', they generally wear their pain as a badge of shame. They believe that they are suffering because of some core defect resulting from bad parenting they received, and that therapy will rid them of this defect and remove their bad feelings - hopefully forever. Conventional psychology is largely responsible for such ideas, which is why therapists always ask questions about how their patients' pain is connected to their families of origin but almost never ask: 'How is your suffering connected to the world?'
Our world, so full of beauty and wonder, is also a place of unthinkable terror, ecological devastation, and a baffling, overwhelming mass of ongoing collective sorrows. In these times of war, despair about the military 'winnability' of safety and freedom from terror nips at our psyche like a snake. In this global context, the dark emotions of grief, fear, and despair are, and for the foreseeable future will be, unwelcome guests in our consciousness. We all suffer from these emotions, or from the ailments that stem from denying or numbing ourselves to them.
One by one by one, we in the psychotherapy profession see the common suffering of our age: the depressed and suicidal, chronically anxious, psychically numb, attention-deficient, relationally-impaired, multiply-addicted, spiritually wounded men, women, and children who come to us for help and healing. In increasing numbers, at ever younger ages, Westerners are finding it impossible to sleep without Ambien, to work without Prozac, to live without alcohol, nicotine, or heroin, to be without our endless array of techno-toys. Mood-altering drugs, once a type of medication largely confined to the closed halls of psychiatric inpatient units, are now household words: Who has not heard of Prozac? Terms like 'serotonin-deficiency' are now in the common lexicon, expressing our culture's reductive view of why we are so depressed.
Psychiatry diagnoses and treats these problems as though we are all little narcissistic bubble-selves floating around in space, with no relation to the social universe or earth we inhabit. Not one of the approximately 360 diagnoses of the DSM IV - the psychiatric bible of pathology - makes any connection between our emotional disturbances and the state of the world. What conventional psychiatry and psychology do instead is reduce human suffering to a plethora of categories of pathology, and document the steady escalation of these mental disorders in our time. These statistics tell us that some 100 million people around the world suffer from depression, and that each successive generation is more depressed than the one before. Millions more will be diagnosed with one or more phobias, or severe anxiety disorders with names like panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, substance-induced anxiety disorder. Sleep disorders too are on the rise. Children at younger ages are being diagnosed in increasing numbers with mental disorders once reserved entirely for adults - bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and eating disorders, along with escalating disorders of learning and attention and alarming new diagnoses like oppositional defiance disorder and attachment disorder.
In my view, our inability, both individually and collectively, to mindfully tolerate our grief, fear, and despair - emotions that are continually triggered in an age of global threat - is a crucial source of what ails us. These are the emotions we most dread and that most urgently require our attention. Aborted or suppressed grief easily devolves into depression, anxiety, and addiction. Benumbed fear often turns into panic, phobias, irrational prejudice, and violence. Overwhelming or unconscious despair can lead to severe psychic numbing or express itself through destructive acts to oneself and others, including suicide and homicide. Sadly, these patterns play themselves out on the world stage as much as in the individual psyche. Our children, growing into a world in which the 'normal' adult psychology of the older generation has traumatically endangered their world and their future, are carrying the burden of dark emotions that the adults in their world can barely name or tolerate.
If the bad news is that grief, fear, and despair are inevitable in the global environment we inhabit, the good news is that these emotions themselves offer us a means of individual and social transformation and healing. For more than 20 years, my work has focused on the healing power of the dark emotions. Most of what I know about this power I learned through my own personal odysseys in these realms. Being born and living for four years in a Displaced Person's Camp in Germany just after World War II gave me an early intimacy with the intense currents of grief and fear that circulated through the community of post-Holocaust Jewish refugees. From these beginnings, I learned that painful emotions are a power to be reckoned with, that they are transmitted inter-generationally, and that they tell a story the world needs to hear.
I started writing about the dark emotions in 1989, after my daughter Esther took a fall from her crib. Esther was born with a neuromotor disability for which medical science has no name. After her fall, I was warned by her orthopedist that falling again could cause Esther to become quadriplegic. I spent a long night looking straight into the face of my terror for my child's fragile life - and found that this fear, fully experienced in my body, had a trajectory, a movement that culminated in a state of unexpected, exuberant joy. In this moment, the idea for a book came to me, inspired and complete with chapter headings and title: 'Healing Through the Dark Emotions'. But the book was germinating for a long time before this. I date its beginnings to 1981, the year my first child was born and died. This grief was my harshest and most extraordinary teacher. It was a tornado that uprooted me and threw me down in a devastated landscape that mysteriously opened into a magical world where spirit was alive, even after death. It led me by the hand, like a child, and showed me that a great suffering can open the gate to a world charged with the sacred.
What my life has taught me, repeatedly, is that the heart heals itself when we know how to listen to it. In befriending our most dreaded emotions, we discover the heart's native intelligence. Each dark emotion has its own kind of wisdom, its own value and purpose, and its own alchemy. Each, in its own way, calls us to transformation. The alchemy of the dark emotions is a movement towards healing, harmony, and metamorphosis that happens when we know how to open to them, honour their wisdom and power, and use their energies wisely. In my own personal and professional experience, these alchemies move us from grief to gratitude, fear to joy, and despair to faith.
It is not the dark emotions themselves that hurt us but our fear of them, our belief that they are negative, and our inability to bear them mindfully. There are no negative emotions, only human emotions. But there are negative attitudes toward emotions, and negative consequences of emotions we ca not tolerate. I call grief, fear, and despair 'dark' not because they are unwholesome or pathological but because they tend to be shunned, silenced, or denied in patriarchal culture. 'Emotion-phobia' dissociates us from the energies of emotions like grief, fear, and despair and tells us that they are untrustworthy, dangerous, and destructive. Generally, we regard painful emotions as signs of psychological fragility, mental disorder, or spiritual defect. We suppress, intellectualise, judge, avoid, deny, or medicate them.
Grief, fear, and despair are primary emotions, as fundamental to human existence as love, awe, joy, and hope. Emotional suffering does not mean we are sick. It means that we are alive; that we live in a damaged and damaging social environment; and that we are challenged to use our suffering for the purpose of transformation.
Grief arises because we are not alone, and what connects us to others and to the world also breaks our hearts. Grieving our losses allows us to heal and renew our spirits. Grief is a sacred, redemptive psycho-spiritual process that develops our empathy and compassion - when it is not inhibited by well-meaning friends, religious clerics with blandishments not to mourn because it is God's will, or psychiatric taboos that give us two months of grief time before declaring that we are suffering from a major mental disorder. Redemptive grief - by which I mean grief that has been honoured and allowed to flow, mindfully, in its own unique manner - brings us to an awed sense of gratitude. When we fully grieve for what we have lost, we discover, as though for the first time, what we really have. We know our blessings - and we are grateful. This is grief's alchemy.
Fear is perhaps the most strongly stigmatised of the dark emotions, especially for men. Yet it is actually critical to our survival, both individually and as a species. Fear alerts us to protect life, extending beyond our instinct for self-preservation to our concern for the survival of others. Its call is an alarm that we ignore at our own peril. While we think of fear as paralysing, it is actually energizing. The paralysis sets in when we afraid to experience fear in our bodies, and so deny or numb ourselves to it. Fear is the adrenaline surge of 'fight or flight' which moves us to act. The trick is maintaining our awareness in the midst of this powerful emotion, allowing fear to move through us, and finding the right action - rather than trying to kill our fear through bold, aggressive moves (like destroying an 'enemy'). In the alchemy of fear, we find the courage to experience our fear mindfully and to open to our vulnerability. We are then released into the joy of knowing that we can live with and use our fear wisely, that fear does not have to stop us from living fully.
The alchemy of despair may seem even more remote than that of fear. At face value, despair seems to be a 'loser' emotion - an immediate threat to functioning and living well. Yet despair too has its uses. Arising as a response to something in ourselves or in the world that we cannot bear to accept, despair insists that we face into a dark truth from which we'd prefer to avert our gaze. It asks us to create meaning from unbearable pain, to radically transform the ways we think and act if we are to avert self-destruction. When we honour our despair, it delivers us to a more resilient faith in life. Having looked at the Medusa's head and not been turned to stone, we find a faith that is all the more unshakeable because it is not based on an avoidance of the dark. We discover that the darkness has its own light.
Again, our tolerance for this challenging emotion is only decreased by psychiatric assumptions of pathology. Psychiatry loves to put arbitrary deadlines on emotions it pathologies - timelines which, appearing in a diagnostic and statistical manual, attain the ring of hard science. It is not normal to feel sad, dejected, or hopeless, say the experts, for more than two weeks at a time (regardless of what is going on in one's life or in the world). But anyone who has ever experienced despair knows that despair requires a great deal of patience. The darkest of the dark emotions, despair needs some spacious attention before it lifts. Feeling this bad in a feel-good culture is transgressive; it goes against the grain of a culture of denial. In my view, depression is unalchemised, chronic despair. It is what happens when despair becomes chronically stuck in the body. This is not to say that depression is not a serious mental health problem, or that it has nothing to do with serotonin. The problem is that the way we think about depression as a reified, pathological, strictly biochemical condition blinds us to despair as an honourable emotion and makes its alchemy unlikely.
Each dark emotion has a gift, a sacred redemptive power which we discover when we come to it with openness, and when we know the art of attending, befriending, and consciously surrendering to it. These are the three basic skills I teach in my therapy practice and in my book. Attending to emotions does not mean noticing and distracting ourselves from them. It means cultivating a deep awareness of emotions as in-the-body energies, and of the thoughts that both trigger and subdue them. Befriending our dark emotions is an extension of this process, elongating our emotional attention spans and developing what psychologists call affect tolerance. Finally, in surrender we do not give up our will, wallow in our pain, or become victims of our emotions. We simply allow the energy of emotion to flow through the body to its end point, without venting or melodrama. Surrender, like attention and befriending, is a 'staying with it' process, not a 'getting away' process. The only way to authentically let go of an emotion is to let it be, and this requires a great deal of spiritual discipline.
We generally do not come to these skills intuitively because we have deeply internalised a 'contain and manage' model of how to cope with emotions. We learn in our families, our schools, and in the culture as a whole that control is the best or only way to cope with intense feelings. In keeping with the patriarchal ethos of hierarchy, suppression, and fragmented consciousness, we try to keep those nasty feelings down before they overtake our reason. While this kind of control may be exactly what is needed in certain circumstances, it is also a culturally-sanctioned compulsion born of our emotion-phobic reactions to the flow of emotional energy in the body. If we are to receive the gifts of emotional alchemy, we need a more feminine model of 'connection and flow' in which mindfulness, not control, is the key. When we know how to ride the energy of the dark emotions on the surfboard of awareness, emotional flow becomes transformational.
The loss of connection to nature in Western post-industrial society, the devastation of our environmental resources and the crippling effects of patriarchy are the largely overlooked global contexts that trigger and complicate the dark emotions in our time. These emotions are the conduit of our moral responsiveness to the world, carrying information our conscious minds would often rather deny or avoid. They are affective markers of our collective fate, and the unrecognised vehicles of an urgently needed worldwide social and spiritual transformation - the tikkun olam for which we fervently act and pray. If we ever needed the wisdom of the dark emotions, we need it now.
Yet, even as the dark emotions increasingly dominate our psyches, the wisdom they offer continues to elude us. This is obvious when we look around the globe. From our high school halls to the Pentagon, from the Middle East to Washington, D.C., we see not emotional alchemy but psychic numbing combined with violent acting out of intolerable emotions. In the Middle East, Israelis and Palestinians, two chronically grieving people, fight over the same piece of turf, creating collective traumas that destroy the possibilities of peaceful coexistence. Intolerable grief, fear, and despair emerge as a proclivity to violence around the world, especially in spots where compulsive, ritualistic cycles of vengeance continually both re-enact and produce more and more traumatized grief, fear and despair.
Huge mushroom clouds of unalchemised dark emotions afflict us in our time, transmitted transpersonally to all of us in some form. The 'sensitives' among us (who tend to be women and children) are 'carriers' of these emotions who hold dark emotional energy in their bodies, often unawares, putting them at risk for a host of mind/body ailments. Others become numb 'bystanders' to dark emotions in themselves and others, masters of the dominant mode of emotional cut-off. This patriarchal style of dissociating from emotion is killing us - contributing to interpersonal impasses, violence both perpetrated and tolerated, moral failures to respond empathically to human suffering, and the eco-cidal destruction of the earth. If our leaders were more attuned to the empathic properties of their dark emotions, such bystander crimes would be a lot less likely. What is needed is a shift to a more feminine emotional style and meaning system, in which emotions are seen as powerful ways of knowing that guide us to develop empathy, nurturance, and care of others; a shift in which these qualities are no longer privatised or devalued as second-order business. Perhaps then emotions - dismissed, trivialized, and pathologised in patriarchy - would not lose their potential for redemptive healing and transformation.
We live in the world and the world lives in us. The dark emotions that our bodies carry are transpersonal energies housed in our flesh and rooted in our responses to the world - to the inevitable pain of being alive and being humanly connected to others. We see our private feelings through the lens of our separateness, but when we widen the lens, it becomes clear that everything we feel is experienced within a larger system of emotional ecology. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., we are all interconnected in an 'inescapable web of mutuality'. We can use the energy of our most dreaded emotions for the purpose of healing not only ourselves but this larger web. The call to healing is, in fact, a fundamental message of the dark emotions: because we all feel sorrow, fear, and despair, because these emotions are universal, we are all intervulnerable, for better and for worse. We feel together and heal together. In recognizing the profound ways that we are interconnected in our suffering, we come to understand healing in a larger sense than simply the amelioration of individual pain. We hear more vividly the cries of others in the human family, and of the earth itself for healing. We each have a particular gift or vision, skill or song to contribute to global healing. Individual healing, as I see it, has a lot to do with finding this gift and giving it to the world. When we can do this, no matter how small our gift may seem, we are made more whole. In this process, we break out of the prison of ego. We become fuller and more connected to others, and to life. This to me, is what healing is about. A healed life is always a work in progress; not a life devoid of all traces of suffering but a life lived fully, deeply, authentically, and compassionately engaged with the world.
'There is nothing so whole as a broken heart,' goes one saying. The world breaks our hearts wide open - and it is the openness that makes us whole. We cannot and should not expect to be completely cured of grief, fear, and despair in a broken-hearted world. We learn to accept suffering and vulnerability as a normal part of life, and how to use our suffering for the good. Because we are vulnerable, life hurts. We are not here to be free of pain. We are here to have our hearts broken by life, and to transform our pain into love.
Christine Yoffe (Christine)
|Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2008 - 01:36 pm: |
Professor of happiness
French psychiatrist Christophe Andre a self-confessed pessimist, unlocks the mystery of what makes us happy.
Peter Van Dijk | March 2008 issue
For the second time in two weeks, I took the train from the Netherlands to Paris, and for the second time in two weeks I missed my connection in Rotterdam due to a screw-up by the Dutch railway system. The first time I got pretty irritated. The second time I didn't.
The key was simple and as old as the hills, but it works like a charm: Try to enjoy the moment. During my second trip, I was reading Vivre Heureux ("How to lead a happy life"), a book by Christophe André, the French psychiatrist I was going to interview in Paris. In the first chapter he quoted Voltaire, who wrote, "I've decided to be happy because it's good for my health." Reading another of Andre's books, L'Art du Bonheur ("The art of happiness"), convinced me I needed to interview him.
André has written some 15 books. Vivre Heureux and L'Art du Bonheur are targeted to a general audience. He also writes scholarly books and has done a comic book with the artist Muzo, in which André explains and clarifies a number of psychological disorders such as paranoia, narcissism and hysteria for laypeople in a surprisingly light and funny style.
Arriving in Paris, I make my way the next morning to his home in the suburb of St. Maurice near the Bois de Vincennes park and ring the bell at the gate of a beautiful villa. A couple of minutes later the gate is opened by André, who is strikingly bald, and he leads me through the garden into his large house. We sit in the sunny kitchen just off the garden in which a lonely cherry tree is also quite bald.
André looks like a Buddhist monk, which makes sense because he has studied Buddhism closely.
André, 51, the father of three daughters, spent his youth in Toulouse. Like many people raised in the Occitan region of southwest France, he is proud of his roots. He played rugby for 15 years, which is more popular there than soccer. "We're different than the northern French. We stand around the squares or sit at cafés and chat about rugby. Our identity is partly based on the camaraderie of this sport."
André developed a close bond with nature growing up near the Pyrénées mountains. "When we decided to buy a house here in Paris, I absolutely had to live near the woods. I need to take a walk every day to find my inner peace, to enjoy."
In addition to writing books and giving lectures, André works two and a half days a week in Paris' Sainte Anne Hospital as a psychiatrist, where he does a great deal of group therapy, and teaches half a day each week at the University of Paris X, Nanterre.
Why did you start studying happiness?
"All my books are based on discussions with my patients. In my first books, self-esteem is key; it's a problem shared by many of my patients. I treat all kinds of related symptoms: fear of failure, poor self-image, social phobias. These patients suffer a great deal and don't have the capacity to feel happy. I thought about how I could help them. In my own experience, happiness does take effort; you need to do your best to see happiness, experience it, absorb it.
"The first time I used a painting in my therapy was with a woman with agoraphobia. We were walking across the Saint Suplice square in the heart of Paris and we entered a church where the giant Eugčne Delacroix mural Jacob Wrestling with the Angel can be admired in the semi-darkness. We talked intensively about all types of associations that arose from viewing the painting and she was thus able to start a process of self-reflection. After that experience I used paintings more frequently."
Do you think people are naturally happy?
"We tend to be naturally gloomy. Melancholy is la condition humaine. Biologically oriented psychologists agree there's a good evolutionary reason for this. When we were all still hunters and gatherers, a certain degree of concern was useful. It was prudent to remain alert to dangers and problems, which is why we're geared to focus on the negative. It appears that the Christian church understood this early on: There's no point looking for happiness on Earth; heaven is where you'll find it. It is the reason why Sigmund Freud wrote: 'Happy is not included in the plan of creation.' It has also been proven that happiness and unhappiness are registered in different parts of the brain.
"And parents don't often teach their children about happiness. Have you ever been on vacation and seen them stop the car, point and say: Look what a beautiful mountain valley. See that old tree and how beautifully it's catching the light? They're more focused on how well their children are doing in school."
So you're not a happy person by nature?
"There are people who are spontaneously happy. I don't know many who are, but they exist. I'm more prone to depression than happiness; I'm more a pessimist than an optimist. I don't have a happy temperament. My family background plays a role. My father was fairly violent. I've never taken anti-depressants, but I consider myself emotionally fragile."
What about now? Do you experience moments of happiness?
"It's hard work but it's pleasant. You've got to put your mind to it. Working on happiness acts as an anti-depressant.
"You can spend an evening with friends and only realize once you get home that you had a good time. That means you've missed your moments of happiness. You need to realize that there are many opportunities to be happy. You have to realize: This is enjoyable, this is a nice moment, I'm having fun, this is a little bubble of happiness. I know people who have a nice weekend and cannot be happy because on Sunday afternoon they're already -starting to think about going to work on Monday. And at work they're thinking they're not happy because they don't see their children enough. Those people never have their minds in the present. You have to tell yourself: I'm going to enjoy this for a moment. My child is here and I'm going to stop thinking about my work. I'm emptying my mind and listening to what my child has to say.
"This can be learned. The English call it 'mindfulness.' Concentrating helps; meditation is very good. It takes hard work every day, but it works. Happiness can be learned. It's within reach. When I get too nervous, too excited, too eager, then I know I need to rest and take a walk. When I walk, I need to stop occasionally and look around. Look and be open; absorb nature.
Happiness is about the little things. Happiness tends to be calm and peaceful. You don't jump up and down with happiness, but with joy. Yes, there is such a thing as intense happiness, but it doesn't happen often in one's life. Striving toward absolute, huge, oceanic happiness, le bonheur fou, can be discouraging and distract you from little happiness."
André can provide a definition of "Happiness" with a capital "H"—in his book Vivre Heureux, he writes, "The experience of Happiness exceeds that of pleasure; it inundates the personality, escapes its control and limits, both psychologically and physically"—but it is clear that is not how he likes to address the topic. "Would you like another cup of coffee?" he asks, thus guiding me back to a modest yet tangible experience of happiness.
André jumps from topic to topic, from little to big happiness, from evolution to practical life lessons, from art to rugby.
Among leftist intellectuals in France, happiness gets a bad rap. In Vivre Heureux, André notes that the deadly sin of happiness according to these critics is petit bourgeois. Marcel Proust was gentler: Happiness was good for the body but bad for creativity. And any French intellectual worth his salt thinks happiness is selfish, for how can you be happy in an unhappy world?
André likes to quote playwright Henrik Ibsen: "To crave for happiness in this world is simply to be possessed by a spirit of revolt." André believes the root of the problem is that happiness dissolves differences between people, and French intellectuals, or the people who claim they are intellectuals, are afraid of being swallowed up in the mass of office clerks. "If a society places great emphasis on happiness being something anyone can achieve," he says, "then those people who are always searching for a way to be different can do nothing but criticize and reject this striving toward universal happiness."
Why has there been such a strong focus on being happy and living a good and conscious life in recent years?
"The interest in happiness emerged at the same time as the interest in health. Now that Westerners don't have to worry as much about pure survival, they're much more interested in the quality of life. But there's also a long-term trend here. Happiness also is part of democratization. Since the 18th century, everyone has a right to happiness. The American Constitution speaks of the pursuit of happiness.
"Nowadays, happiness is a topic addressed by the consumer society. Happiness is everywhere, which of course leads to a deeper interest. This is undoubtedly because the need for meaning is more keenly felt since the role of religion has declined."
What are the indispensable ingredients for happiness?
"Food and shelter are absolute conditions, of course. I distinguish between poverty and misery such as I have seen in Africa. You can still experience moments of happiness in conditions of poverty, but not in misery: it's a near-constant wasting away. Human beings are social animals, so our ties to other people are important. And we are children of nature. Many happy moments are experienced in the outdoors. It's no accident that in Christian heaven, we see our loved ones, friends and family again, and that this takes place in a natural setting of bubbling mountain streams and grassy meadows, the Garden of Eden.
Has there been progress in happiness? Are we happier than we were 100 years ago?
"The social sciences have been working with indicators of happiness for more than 30 years. All the studies find that people are reporting increasing levels of happiness. On average, Americans are happier than Europeans, and Northern Europeans are happier than Southern Europeans. The West is aging, and the majority of older people say they're happier than they did in the past. They also understand happiness better, because they understand what is and isn't important."
"There are plenty of objective reasons, too: In the Western world, illness, violence and war determine our chances of happiness less than they did in the past.
"And then of course we have drugs to fight depression. Prozac doesn't make you happy, but it does make you less unhappy. It decreases negative feelings so there's more room for experiencing happiness. I see that my patients suffer less when they're given good medication. Now, as an individual you have to work hard for -moments of -happiness. I don't rule out the possibility that in 20 years there will be other serotonin-based drugs that will take over that function.
"What I'm saying isn't politically correct—society will have to debate the matter, like with fluoride in drinking water—but I don't think it's impossible that there'll be some kind of happiness pill. I see so many people being eaten up, destroyed, by suffering. Alcohol, drug and domestic-violence statistics are much too high in our society. There are so many problems, so much unhappiness. If pills can change that, I won't reject it out of hand."
How can optimism play a role here?
"Optimism is an ingredient for happiness. It's not the same thing as happiness. There are pessimists who are happy and unhappy people who are optimists. Optimism is the human capacity to anticipate, and it's stored somewhere in the brain. Spontaneously, I'm a pessimist. If you ask me what the future holds for Africa, I'll start talking about famine, violence and misery. But if I concentrate, I think, What were things like in Europe 100 years ago? War, unemployment, illness, poverty. Things have changed here now, so why not there?
"Optimism gives you the power to try for happiness, and then when you get a little, you understand that trying to be optimistic was worth the trouble. In the end, it's about making an investment in yourself. The Italian writer Primo Levi survived a concentration camp in spite of his despair, because he believed in life, saw something positive in it, and he held onto that."
What is the purpose of happiness?
"It has no purpose—only that you're happy. It gives you a more interesting life. We don't live for happiness, but life is possible, beautiful and rich because it exists. When we're happy, we don't think about tomorrow; we enjoy it here and now. And we're only able to do that because we know that there could be more suffering tomorrow. Happiness is only possible against the background of death; only we human beings know that we're going to die, and that in itself is a good reason to strive for happiness.
"You could also say, 'What is the purpose of life?' Everyone gets to decide that for themselves. But, again, meaning and happiness are not the same thing. A big hero of the Nazi resistance has given a lot of meaning to his life, but that doesn't mean he's a happy person. To paraphrase Diderot: Happiness is a state of well being you wish would last forever."