Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Do what you LOVE. The bliss will follow.

Thanks to Computer Wallpaper
Backgrounds for the free use
of this beautiful fractal art.
Lately I'm getting a lot of material from comments in response to my Facebook posts, as well as other people's Facebook posts. This morning, a dear friend who is brilliant at what she does but who works for a horrible employer posted a status asking us what she thought we should do, and gave us two options she is considering going back to school to study, in hopes of getting out of her currently insane employment situation, and into a better one.

It occurred to me as I wrote my response that it was a good one for anyone in her situation, and advice I followed myself when I was in her shoes a few years ago:
"Go for what you LOVE. Then make it happen. If you go for what you LOVE, you will have passion for it driving you to your ultimate goal (what's your ultimate goal)? Example: MY ultimate goal was to continue to teach in some fashion, return to beautiful and inspiring surroundings, never work for anyone who's not as smart as I am ever again, and be master of my own destiny, no matter what it took to accomplish that; AND to get a PhD in something I love (but I didn't know if what I loved was even available back then in the place I wanted to be).

I focused all of my intention and desire on that goal, investigated the possibilities, laid the groundwork for achieving that goal with daily tasks to get me there. Result: A new PhD program in what I love was launched in the beautiful surroundings I wanted to live in, just in time for me to develop a plan for self-employment (which is working, though I am poor while it starts up, but that will change as I continue to apply hard work and passion to my pursuits). I FIRST envisioned what I wanted, FELT a burning desire to achieve it, and applied all of my energy toward achieving it.

NOTHING happens by luck or happenstance--you have to know what YOU want, how badly you want it, what you're willing to do to get it, focus all of your desire and intention on achieving it, take little steps toward getting there, and when you do, it will seem like it magically appears (but YOU create the magic). If you make a move because you think it will be better than where you are now, but not because you are truly passionate about that move, you will go from what-you-don't-want to more of what-you-don't-want.

What do you want? And don't let anyone tell you that you have to be practical in this--anyone and everyone who ever achieved their heart's desire was told by their circle of influence that they were crazy to even try; but they did it anyway, because they were passionate about finding their bliss, and refused to take "no" for an answer.

If you could do/have/be anything you want, what would that be? OK--now go for THAT. :-)"
Now for the rest of you: go follow Your bliss.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Being Grateful Does Not Mean Sticking Your Head In the Sand

A friend of mine recently posed this question on his social network news feed:
"I think people have begun to confuse being "thankful" for a favorable situation as a "physiological out" for not questioning the social structures that have caused such injustices that allows for there to be such suffering as suggested above in the world. We are not more fortunate because “God loves us.” Good fortune must never quench a good person’s thirst for justice. One is not ungrateful if they look about, and seeing suffering poverty in the absence of their own, ask why these conditions exist and demand that they change. Are we really to "Shut up and dance?

I am not saying that thankfulness is wrong and its expression is offensive. But I do think it rather odd that people think their own success or good fortune is reason to forget the rest of the world and “defecate like you ate a seven course feast."
I understand my friend's irritation at such an attitude--I find it a little irritating, too. I know far too many people who are happy to "shut up and dance" in their happy little fairy land, where there is no war, strife, or any significant amount of crime or serious poverty (yes there are places in the world like this, and I am fortunate to live in one at present).

But being grateful isn't about success or good fortune. Being grateful is about acknowledging that our very existence is a miracle, and understanding that means we can then be generous with whatever we do have (no matter how little), and give of ourselves from a sense of abundance (even if we are poor).

To be grateful is not to deny the evils of the world. Expressing gratitude does not preclude working to eliminate the evil. But to respond to evil with anger and violence (physical or verbal) is to give more energy to the evil.

That's what Gandhi and Martin Luther King were trying to teach us with passive non-violence: we speak up about the evil that is happening, we refuse to participate in it or cooperate with it, but to be angry about it and violent (physically or verbally) is to feed the evil.

Being grateful is the way to find peace in that passive non-violent response: yes, there is evil in the world; yes, I may suffer as a result of it; but I will suffer less if I look around and see that the evil is not as powerful as the good, because I give it no power in my own life.

Mother Theresa had this attitude about it: "I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there." Mother Theresa was a powerful woman who changed the world, without anger.

It's all about where you choose to spend your energy. Here's an old story about the same: "A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time." When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, 'The one I feed the most'."--George Bernard Shaw

Why feed the evil when we can just as easily feed the good? And for those who say that doesn't work, look at what Gandhi did; look at what Martin Luther King, Jr. did; look at what Mother Theresa did. They changed the world. We can change the world too, without being angry all the time (which doesn't work anyway), and while being grateful for all the good we do see around us. Despite the evil in the world, life is good, and I am grateful for all who are working for positive change in the world.