When we think of love, we may have romantic idealistic notions of what we think it should be, and of what we want from it.
However, love is much more complex than a set of expectations being fulfilled in a destined way.
Love is also about weathering through the discussions in a compassionate, understanding way. Love is about understanding the other person without putting any of one's own perspective upon it, just listening and taking it in with the open mind that makes the heart want to know the other person's soul.
Love is about knowing that there will be moments when communication fails, and to weather through those times without assuming anything about the other's true feelings based upon that moment's situation. Love is longer than one moment's evaluation.
To summarize, love is deep, when it is to last. So reach into the core and look for the reasons why you feel you want to connect, and draw from that very deep well whenever you need to quench your thirst.
Father Ramon Zarate says that the word "Compassion" comes from the prefix con, "with," and the root passion, "suffering".
I extrapolate that when we have compassion we are of the mindset that the others and ourselves have the Jesus in common.
The best friend that you should see in each other.
When you miss someone that has passed or that is absent in the environment, remember that there is a part of each of us in each other. We are of one body in Christ, and we feel that they a part of our heart, mind, and spirit, when we feel them and think of them in our consciousness. So we are never really without anyone else.
That goes for everyone and everyone else, such that we should recognize that part of ourselves in the physical and spiritual humanity in each other, that existence we share together, of the same kind. And we should care for them in trying to help, where we can. And connect with that part in them so that they see themselves in us and feel the empathy to help us too.
Even evolution theory does not practice that competition among like kinds to be beneficial, as a rule. It's a matter of seeing living as not us or them getting the benefits of giving and of experience, but of us AND them getting those benefits from... love.
Now you know the answer, but what about the question?
There's a Christian song that talks about the "eye of the storm" where God gives us shelter. I've seen a sample of that sheltering today.
In my life I've dealt with trouble with mixed results at my own composure. When it's someone else going through the motions of wrestling with their circumstances, you've just got to listen to them and silently give the prayers of intention of help over to God, who is the only one who can resolve those circumstances of others, through God's using us as His instruments and through the rest of the world.
In the storm one is lost in the rationalization of why you should not be grateful. It's just people around you acting like they've always acted but once in a while it seems personal. Yes life isn't "fair" if you define the fairness on our personal perspective. But trusting in God's plan and being grateful for things is like turning a light switch on to see the wisdom.
In the eye of the storm, God grants us peace in His graceful presence because we put our faith in Him. One can only hold one thought full in the mind at a time. Choose to take a moment to let the emotions pass. Choose to take a moment to be grateful in spite of circumstance. Suddenly the world seems much brighter, much calmer, more perfectly fitting into God's mysterious plan.
I once used to think that facing one's inevitable mortality, when it came close enough to count time left, was about knowing that you didn't regret any of the decisions you made, because you had to make them and accepted them as done.
While that makes sense, it makes even more sense for there to be regrets that you learned from which would have been done differently, some of which are also even humorous and can give a perspective leap of appreciation, all three of which are positive aspects taken only because of the regret. However those are benefits one could (and might prefer to) live without if one chose one's own fate...if one were to live without making the mistakes, according to one's own will and plan. What one then would need to face mortality, is to accept one is going to meet the maker and be able to, if it still matters to us after, be able to hear the reasons for the bigger plan that we are in, and appreciate that we know just little bits of that puzzle we can guess at. What is life, after all, if not mysterious?
Secondly, for the younger years I thought that mankind was about community, about working together because it makes more impact, and about finding one that one can team up with and share life with. I thought, in fact, that one like me had to be unhappy because of the time I had in solitude waiting for a meaningful relationship to form. My later relationship fulfilled my greatest expectations, perhaps because I appreciated it so much, but if a person were to choose solitude in religious and spiritual organizations I feel that contentment is possible in that community too, for I would choose to enter one should my wife ever pass away before me (something I fear sometimes), one could still be as content and fulfilled through the closeness of appreciation a relationship with God.
Thirdly, I've reflected on the famous quote by Descartes, and want to share something I've concluded that seems more in tune with our definitions in English. Reality (stating that something is true and existing) equals experience (some of the senses) combining with one's thoughts (the way one interprets those senses, our perspective). Therefore, part of reality is objective, while part of reality is subjective. When we deal with it we cannot separate the objective part from the subjective part entirely, though we can change what the subjective part is with more subjective thoughts over time, for better or worse. I assume my own perspective has improved with time, but perhaps that is part of the relative perspective.
Ever wonder why those who have terminal illness can be so positive in their outlook?
Because they don't have time to be cynical.
The key to giving worth to life is its finitude, its limited gift. Not to cut it shorter but to pack more into the moments that matter.
To focus on just what is good, and to be grateful. We all have deadlines.
In the jar of dreams I've put the main things I want to do before I die. There are things we can put in jars like wishes, dreams, notes of thankfulness, worries to pray about, memories we want to be reminded of.
My supervisor at one of my jobs said that her own family did a bowl or jar of the concerns the siblings had. At the end of a week or such they would pull out the pieces of paper one at a time reading their concerns, and the perspective gave them the sense that the things we worry about were temporary, passing by, and no longer relevant much of the time. Little things not worth arguing about or even thinking about, and yet we tend to take too much energy on them when they are "focused" on in our single span of attention.
In such cases, remind yourself in the heat of an argument of something big-scale concern more important, or of some value each other share, or of something you both are thankful for.
To get to know a little about me, why I'm writing this book series, and what qualifies me to write it, I'll introduce myself in more detail.
The life experiences I have, led me from depression, agnosticism, and the cynical arguments and futile attempts associated with feeling that no one cared, to an eventual epiphany of faith in which I realize that not only is there order in the universe, but people do care and we have a creator that put us here to cherish this stewardship of life in whatever form it may be, and to make lemonade from what looked like lemons but after all when in the right perspective are the best Long Island Iced Teas you could find.
To put this into more clear of a concept, in suffering I turned to God and found my faith, and from that appreciation I learned a peace so perfect that I find heaven possible on Earth.
As for my qualities list, and the positive traits that I aspire to and describe as ideal, I find that millennials question one's right to aspire to things more than one already is, as if it were hypocritical. The lesson that is lacking in that viewpoint is learning that one's knowing what is right and wrong can be clear and one can still overlook the importance of following it, with the due consequences, but that doesn't mean that one does not know right from wrong, and that does not mean that one can't suggest a better path for those about to make the same mistakes you've made.
Some mistakes one must make for one's self, is a possible argument, and it holds true to the extent that one may insist on trying what one feels one is being "kept from" the freedom to choose. That doesn't mean that it's best to try anything under the sun, though. It means that every decision is a responsibility with consequences, and to expect to get to try anything without consequences is not the kind of free will that God gave us, for He does have consequences. What He plans for us is to be freed of the most eternal and severe of consequences, so that the lessons are learned through the less severe sufferings (palanca) which we experience during our mortal first life, before the eternity after.
To my own mistakes, I've learned the real love of a relationship comes from sharing our lives together, and the resultant experience as equals or as allies. The love I started with didn't have that depth, and though the passions of youth were extreme they did not know the temperance of true unconditional love until my current marriage and step-parenting. I learned friendship in greater reciprocity with the family and friends that we shared, and through doing customer service and tutoring and teaching how to do things. I learned to communicate effectively through my passion for words, and though I've still a way to go in the balance of writing and editing, I've still got the sense to know what eventually needs to be worked on, both in conversation, and in publishing. We all could learn from each other, and that is why I want to share what I learned even though I've no professional research on the topics of life. Who could ever be complete in that field? What I offer is the wisdom and lessons of my personal experiences and from the stories I've heard from those who I've encountered.
I come to you on a personal level, as a writer with love for faith and philosophical introspection on the guides we choose to live by. I come to you as a human being, with pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, with things I know and things I might change my mind about when I find out more but don't we all? There are reasons I say the things I say to be true. What it is, works for me, and I hope it works for you.
Some rules... or, if you prefer, guidelines.
Each decision we make is either more positive or more negative. That is true of financial decisions AND of anything regarding our relationships with each other and with God.
In relationships with people, (and with God,) the most important thing is to understand the other person, otherwise one is misunderstanding them. In order to single-task focus on listening to the other person (or to God) without focusing on one's self, without focusing on one's reply, without focusing on one's own feelings or thoughts or needs, without focusing on the situation around you. In other words, just focus on trying to UNDERSTAND what it is that the other person is thinking and feeling, from their end, in their shoes. Do not even evaluate what they are feeling or thinking, just try and listen to it while sitting back and taking it all in. That is the art of feminine communication which needs to be taught to all human beings and become a more universal tongue for us to know each other deeper and to understand what it is we want to say.
There is a question we all should be asking ourselves, which will lead us to the discernment between positive and negative.
To say "more is better," is to contradict the truth to "be concise," "stay focused," "go with what's important," or "simple is best." Minimalism gives us more value with less distraction.
Example: when you are trying to multitask, the more things around, the less attention each gets.
Example: "out of sight, out of mind," if something is in the mind it takes part of our attention-energy and thoughts.
Example: Google's labels in the inbox, which do not hide the emails, in which the email stays to clutter up the inbox until you "hide" or "archive" it. Best to use a folder system for life instead of labels. That way things are put away in their place instead of distracting. Distracting from the most important things in life: The Spirit.
In my earlier, pre-evolved state of mind, I hadn't known how to respond when people told me to "just be yourself."
I thought that I had to be perfect in what I said, and because of that insecurity, I ended up saying very little.
I started writing down what I wanted to say and writing more things down by far than I actually said.
I didn't have the courage to be imperfect, and as a result, had no communication.
Communication is necessary in relationships, even before they have grown into relationships.
I learned when I actually started my first relationship, that my first one didn't read my mind, which in foresight is obvious.
I had for some reason assumed, in my limited experiences of communication, that everyone had pretty much the same thoughts.
That was very far from the truth, I learned after, because people are unique in not only personality, but also background.
I eventually met the one I was destined to be with at a poetry open mic, and had already had my first heartbreak to mature somewhat from.
The impression I made was good, and it was because I had been waiting for that opportunity to impress and had poetry written which showed my emotional strength of passion, which I hadn't found the right person for until that day.
Ever since then I have grown more and more, living in the life with that person now my wife, most of my life.
We still have issues with communication, but less and less so. It is the little things which get blown out of proportion that life deals us, that we have to show our strength in, in order to enjoy life in any circumstance.
For example, say several things that "should have" gone another direction in your daily life went very different than you thought could go, for the worse, as if the world were conspiring to attack you. It's just the normal reaction, flawed, which gets irritated or upset, but if you turn it around and flip the situation as I now try to do as soon as I see it as such, then you thank God for the palanca, for the challenge, for the opportunity to grow and serve up suffering on behalf of God and others, it is then that I achieve peace of mind so perfect that nothing short of direct pain can upset my lovely day.
It is that lesson I learned by doing it other ways, but others can learn if they hear stories like this from others.
Just talk things over, do not let little things get out of proportion, and love one another... pass it on.
A character in the Larry Niven science fiction series "Ringworld," Luis Wu, would say, perhaps even coined the term, TANJ, an acronym for "There Ain't No Justice."
I used to believe that saying to be true, and it was part of my state of depressed cynicism that placed value on unrealistic expectations, also known as the entitlement complex.
But now, I've come to realize why those expectations are unrealistic. To frame the view of justice as being against the will of God, the very rules we go by and are created for? To frame the view of justice as our being entitled to the gifts of life and secular results from our labors, and yet still be that unfair on our part to be ungrateful for those gifts simply because the lives we had and the gifts of pleasure in them were not as long or as deep as we had hoped for? To frame our view of justice as to be independent from the very being that created us and fathered us with the gift that we have not the ability to repay, the sacrificial example of His only begotten son on the cross for our eternal reward in the world yet to come, that reward which greatly overflows the gifts we have for a glimpse here on Earth? Indeed, it is right and just. We must become Graceful and humble toward our creator if we are to be blessed even further than we already are.
At the grouping for the ministry I participate in, tonight the topics included knowing God or actually the humility of realizing there is so much we still have to learn about God at the same time as our trust lets us feel that we are safely "with" Him and knowing Him that way.
The connection we have is in God is in everyone, and seeing that in each other lets us realize that we are not to judge our creator in them, however flawed their moments may be, for they are created in His image and here for us to help.
Each moment is an opportunity to work hard, and through our palanca of suffering, grow as people the way God intended.
A little background about me before I achieved faithful peace of mind.
My disability was caused by traumatic levels of insecurity. The insecurities I had stemmed from my being thought of as weak, as being a target for a bully and bullies, as being thought of as ineligible for having a relationship that I dreamed of having with a woman that I would love deeply. I thought of ideals in those days. I thought of how I had no plan for getting out of the bullying. I thought of how, in turn, I was unable to be the hero I wanted to be to myself and others, to make a difference in the world, and to achieve a romantic level of relationship that I thought I would have to have in order to compensate.
I know now that relationships have potential to be at the perfect heavenly romantic level by what you make of them, not just by who you're trying to impress, a key point in my maturity. Another point in maturing was in realizing that my sensitive and loving nature that made me a target wasn't going to be a weakness that would stay with me as an adult, but would be a strength that would help me stand out of the crowd as valuable and worthy of being loved, though all of us deserve love.
I learned to communicate and to be confident enough in myself and my value as a life in order to be able to have a relationship. I learned the value of compassion and of contributing one's share in many ways. I learned most of all the power of having faith in myself and firstly in God that put faith in me, such that I was able to trust it would all work out no matter what happened, toward a greater plan and God's control.
[See: "a willingness to face what we usually don’t want to face." https://zenhabits.net/insecurities/
Let my paraphrase and adapt their assessment of insecurities...
Overcome obstacles of:
criticism from others
criticism from self (habitual)
feeling that you need other's approval or to be thought well of (idolizing people)
Lacking trust (lacking faith in God's plan)
comparing self to ideals around us or in society (instead of comparing self to past self and seeing what one can do better)
rejecting ourselves (instead of accepting our weaknesses and strengths)
The obstacles are overcome by:
Forgiving and accepting yourself
Be your own one that you need approval from in your choices and existence (or seek approval from the unconditional God that loves you no matter what and recognize that love through you)
Don't compare yourself or others for that's a sin and that's never an accurate assessment. One's strengths and weaknesses should be accepted with on one's own definition, unique as each of us are, such that we work with ourselves in what we are and do, not working with what others want.
Have faith that the moment we are in, past, present, future, are part of God's plan in which all is Good. That is why they say "God is Good, all the time, all the time, God is Good."
When I actually take time to look back at where I was, and what I dreamed in the distance but never thought possible, I see that God has made those dreams happen for me and those around me.
I have remembered when I thought that having my voice heard to others wouldn't happen... then I wrote poetry in my own magazine and in books, and read in Open Mic readings.
I have remembered when I thought that I would always be alone since I didn't know how to start (or later to be in) a relationship... then I prayed and was answered meeting the love of my life.
I have remembered when I thought that I would never get married... then I was brought into that stability with my now-wife, in a Catholic faith that brings me such heavenly peace.
I have remembered when I thought that I would never be at rest inside from the worries and from the disturbances that plagued my youth... then I was granted that peace with the wishes that I gave up to God, in such amazing blessing that it transformed everything that life meant to me.
Life is a series of fortunate events when you put your faith in God.
We don't realize that we undervalue things so much.
We are surrounded by environments that make up life, in which we can Christianize them with perfect peace, or else we will be weakened by the environmental sins around us.
A little mistake is not to be worried about, it's all in God's great plan, just try to reaffirm that you can change those mistakes as soon as you recognize that they are mistakes, for they are indeed changeable and you do not have to commit yourself in order to prove yourself right when you are in fact wrong... it doesn't work that way!
On another thing, we've grown up with love and life as with "something to prove," in which we are convinced of our own view's correct nature, and passionate about anything we decide upon. This changes in life only in the decisions we make and in how we change those decisions upon information, the feelings we have about life, and our values.
Me and my wife have taken action in making our environments improved, Christianized, and have peace like never before we took that effort.
Every aspect has two sides or more, that which adds value and that which doesn't. Because of this focusing on the positive makes all the difference.
We made minimalism one of our values: the soothing sound of the breeze through the pine and other branches in the back. The balcony's light coming through in flicker and filter. The sound of the fountain trickling every day during the waking hours just across the street. Hush of night with a rare car passing. Geese and ducks humorously surprising us with cackles or honks in the mornings or mid-days. The occasional cat wandering by. Grassy hill view. Just a studio apartment for the two of us but paradise of peace sometimes. We don't need more to be happy, though we are open to whatever gifts God has planned.
#hygge the coziness of a perfect comfort in which our trust makes all worries irrelevant to the plan.
I'd like to think that I've learned the things I need to know.
I do know from my experiences. I do know from what I've seen, lived, felt, and tried. I do seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit. I do read the Scriptures, but need to do so much more and learn so much more that God has in mind for us.
What I remember from where I've been I've learned more of what doesn't work than the more recent present where thing do work, mostly, with seeking reconciliation when we have setbacks still, much less often or severe than before. If I were to imagine a perfect world, I would imagine one as a life of learning and always growing, always having a purpose against which to improve ever, with perhaps setbacks that show the value of the good. I imagine God has done that, and always has in a grand scale which is an infinite forest of which we can with limited wisdom see a few surrounding trees of, and know only enough to make our part count in.
Life is a journey of correcting directions and getting back on path with what our why (what gifts we were created to take action with) is with every decision basing those upon the best judge, our conscience, our Graceful trust in God's will. When we achieve that perfect trust and wisdom, and it bears the spiritual fruit of the Holy Spirit, that is our Actual Grace, on Earth as it is in Heaven.
I've found joy from being where I am meant to be.
That comes from:
1. accepting God's big plan unconditionally,
2. noticing the good parts not the bad parts and feeding the good wolf, the good energies,
3. God's blessing me with this faith and circumstance (one might not have one without the other, and perhaps the cause and effect get reversed in secular thinking).
Tuesday Oct 16th I turn 44, the same age my father was when I was born. I am blessed he is still here in the first life to experience it with me. I am ever blessed to no longer live alone but to have a family of my own. I am blessed by so many perfect small things of beauty that fit my needs inexplicably as if (which He does) He knows every need that I have. Answered prayers!
I've found Joy in serving God. Part of that Joy comes from seeing the difference in others, the rest of that Joy comes from knowing through faith and anticipating a long term good coming out of the bigger plan in spite of our suffering willingly and praying (Palanca).
As I embark this weekend on my ministry, please pray for us on the Men's #252 Cursillo Weekend. Palanca is where we take willingly on the patience through any hard moments, putting God above our own comforts. That is the meaning of trust, that leads to the perfect peace of mind of Grace, in which nothing else compares. Turn the patience into the joy of anticipation and any moment can be gotten through, one at a time!
Spread the love of Christ! Open your eyes to the colors of the beauty of God's plan! De Colores!
PROGRAMS (OUTLINES (steps)) for a [Unified General Topic (Successful Life)]
I. Program for a Successful Search [Find Answer, Query]
A. List words [topics, specifics, generalities]
B. Order (sort) words [rank in importance, group in types, minimize unnecessary ones]
C. Google It
1. Who would know?
- select blog/forum/database/your files/organization website/
...social media/wiki/academia/videos/tutorials/someone you know
2. Learn process of the type of information at location
3. Complete any required prerequisites to do the search (register, use learning-methods of use, waits if applicable)
4. Use best method of search or word selection or source selection (narrow, diversify generally if wrong results, narrow again)
5. Test results of the answer to validate its authenticity in a proper context more than once with some variation scientifically
II. Program for a Successful Environment [Specifically for the virtue of peace of mind/Grace]
A. Find the most important thing to do or to correct in the context of what you notice around you
1. [Search opportunities and -
evaluate environment in relevance to one's wants/needs,
evaluate the things you notice in application towards proposed actions,
evaluate one's own interactions (words, thoughts, actions in moment.
- ONLY relate to past definition of "self" (WHILE not using it as a present definition of self)
- WHEN it has lessons for the present actions/words/thoughts and not the past ones)
evaluate own satisfaction level and one's weighing against regrets,
diversify actions/words/thoughts (and questions about environment noticing more)
- if results weigh higher regret level than other options in past,
narrow actions (select more specifics) - if results are more peaceful and joyful than in past
[unless there is a qualifying event in which one either has a high level of
- desire to change
due to the lack of purpose or a lack of joy]
In a 2007 interview of JK Rowling I recently watched on YouTube, from her peak as the Deathly Hallows book was being released (note to self: never tie up all the important loose ends, leave the reader wanting more which they do want, and never make my books into movies, for it distracts from the imagination and authenticity of the original...) anyway, in that JK Rowling interview, she was asked several direct questions by the TV host, in which one of them was about the virtue she most admired, and she drew the connection in her motivation for writing with "courage", a value which I myself downplay because of its injustices from time to time, but her take on the virtue was that of a tool against injustice, not of blatant blind action but of knowing full well right from wrong and acting with consequence in mind as being a sacrifice. In my reaction, I agree to a small extent because Jesus was quoted to say that there is no greater love than to give one's life for a friend. But to that same end I elaborate that it is truly love and the selfless side of love in particular which is the focus of this quote--not the word choice of courage which I would choose to use, but that of the virtue of selflessness and thus being generous to the point of sacrifice and palanca, a key to our ministry in the Cursillo, in which prayer and suffering are a blessing by our taking action in spite of consequence for the sake of another's well being (and for God's intent on us doing so is in part our act of faith).
Which makes selflessness my most admired virtue...but which is attained through positive habit of thought, words, action, and inaction, which are all the decisions that count toward our giving faith or failing and sinning, in our struggle toward Grace.
The positive thought which helps keep me focused on God as the focus, the central deciding factor, is gratitude through noticing our enjoyable parts of every moment whatever that moment may be, which not only gets us through the hardest moments, but which gives us a reason to live, helps us keep on the direction of moving toward our purposeful dreams, and which is meditative prayer in action as we continue through living.
Martin Luther King Jr. in his "I Have A Dream" speech was perhaps ground breaking at the time, but since I was born afterwards the definition of dreamer was already set in place by his words and influence. The definition of dreamer in his time before the speech may have been one who is in a state of sleepiness in the world, one who is living in non-reality, but MLK Jr. defined in his speech for us a way to look at the dream. That way is in the heritage of the prophetic dream. That way is to look at having a dream out of wanting it really bad, not just the subconscious wandering but of foretelling that it will be by destiny because it HAS to be, so strong are the roots in right versus wrong and justice versus injustice and needs that we as humans must act to make possible solutions come to be enacted.
To Dreamers, the time is to visualize your true calling, that of a world in which we have faith and transform (Christianize and show the value of love not hate) all of our environments. The dream will be.
I was thinking about the cherished moments I was having this Labor Day and how I wished those moments with my wife in the perfect place feeling everything is going right, feeling that it would be so good if that Grace could stay with us forever.
It will happen that those moments will last forever, when we get to heaven, and when we have those moments return in life in our closeness to Christ. I was feeling that deep love I have for my precious wife and thinking I should make sure that I have that same deep eternal love for God as well, to Value God Deeply.
We may, when congratulating ourselves or appreciating... we may say those expressions "Job well done," or "That'll be fine."-- While we should not judge and positive feedback encourages, we should also realize that the work God wants us to do, if we realize this in our humility, is never to limit itself or fully qualify as completely done, but to continue and to need prayer to make it ever better, ever improving, ever on our journey toward closeness to Christ. That gives us our purpose in the spiritual sense. Lack of purpose is the real reason for depression, I speak from my experience and witnessing, and lack of real purpose is the reason why we sometimes lack the value of our lives and the lives of others.
Me and my wife revisited some of our saddest memories, yet were overcome by the immensity of the current blessings of the experiences we have been allowed to see, touch, smell, sense, hear, know, and feel.
Our little trip for a few days brought us some real perspective on how good things are and how much we take the daily life comforts for granted. We learned a lot from our camping, most of it because of our leaps of faith in the little moments as they each opened up their possibilities to us.
We miss our loved ones that have passed and the memories alone are enough to shake us up. We have realized that things have many sides to them to see, and to realize our worth is important so that we can hold onto that worth and value and selfless integrity love that makes life so precious in the first place, by seeing that positive gift in the breaths we take.
It's a hard choice.
It's an easy choice.
It's a choice we always have to make.
Donald R. Anderson. Aspiring writer. Amateur philosopher and amateur writer of Apologetics (i.e., the Catholic reasonings). Faith-driven kindred spirit.