“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” -Lewis B. Smedes
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” –
Lewis B Smedes
I remember one time when someone I cared very much about hurt me. This person accused me of doing the very thing I had worked so hard to prevent. It threw me for a loop, and I felt so unjustified. How does anyone have a right to judge us when they don’t know all the details in another person’s life? I couldn’t sleep for days as the scenario went round in my head. I felt like I was on a merry-go-round going so fast I couldn’t get off it. That’s what hurtful things do to us, causing our blood pressure to go up and the symptoms that come with stress. You cannot fight or reason with someone in your head, and the only way to stop the merry-go-round was to begin the process of forgiveness. It started with forgiving myself for not living up to my own expectations. Even though I felt like the victim of an unjust accusation, I realized it was about how hurt they felt too. I needed to be free of all the anxiety. The whole ordeal created so much stress I choose to put it all behind me by apologizing for my part and forgiving them for how they hurt me in turn. I felt like a huge burden was lifted off me. Still, it took a long time to build back up what the hurt had damaged between us. It always takes time for an injury to heal.
Reflection: When we cannot forgive, we not only hold the person bound, but we hold ourselves bound as well. It’s like cancer that grows inside, destroying us from the inside out. The power to free me was always in my hands. I could choose to keep picking the scab of pain or heal it with the sab of forgiveness.
“Water is two-part hydrogen and one part oxygen. What if someone says, “Well, that’s not how I choose to see water.”? All we can do is appeal to scientific values. And if he doesn’t share those values, then the conversation is over. If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical value could you provide to show the importance of logic.”?
I cannot prove the manifestations that have enlightened me throughout my life with logical scientific proof. But it has created a peaceful, loving life for me, and this all the evidence I need. Therefore it is rational for me, and maybe that’s all that matters. Perhaps the study of logic could help me clarify my meaning in a better way, but as Harris points out in his quote above, you can’t make someone value what they can’t understand.
“When introduced at the wrong time or place, good logic may be the worst enemy of good teaching.” -George Polya
We have to be open and ready to analyze what logic has to teach us. That’s when we see the value it has to offer. The value of logic helps us evaluate the things we’ve come to believe. The foundational character of logic is what researchers call metacognition, i.e., the capacity to think about your thinking. It’s where philosophy and logic try to make sense of our thoughts.
Reflection: I like to remember how Einstein put logic into perspective. He said, “ Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without it, humanity cannot survive.
As humans, we are blessed with highly developed brains that articulate speech and abstract reasoning. Yet, as Robert Wagner points out, “Pets have more love and compassion in them than most humans.” We can learn a lot from our pets about unconditional love and compassion. Not only does the world need love, sweet love, but the compassion that goes along with it.
Compassion gives us the ability to step outside ourselves and into someone else’s shoes to try and understand their situation. Not to fix their problems but to help them find ways to create solutions. Simultaneously, the compassionate person needs to have healthy boundaries to know how far to go with our compassion. When it keeps someone else from taking responsibility for their own life, and also when our compassion causes us to take on more than we can handle. I think that’s why so many of us who are compassionate tend to feel guilty when we can’t fix what is wrong with someone else; this is when the Serenity pray comes in handy: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” It’s such a short but powerful prayer that is full of compassion for ourselves as well as others.
Reflection: Jesus teaches us to love one another as God loves us. To treat one another in the same manner as we would want to be. The same as we want to treat; this is what having compassion is all about loving, kindness, and understanding. As the Dali Lama reminds us, “Without compassion, humanity cannot survive.”
I began with a thought, and that thought became an idea, and that idea became an accumulation of God’s ideations, and those combined ideations created the one and only me.
I discovered a new word today, ideation. It was on a list of value-based decision-making. When in fact, ideation is a process of creating a list of ideas. It’s a valued process of bringing our ideas together without judgment and widdling them down to the ones that express our best values as individuals, as a group, or in the business world.
As I’ve mentioned throughout my One A Day Values, the whole purpose of writing them is to get us back to the positive way of thinking about the things we value in our life. I use a list compiled of ideations and encourage you, the reader, to take what resonates with you and leave the rest behind.
I picture ideation as an opportunity to create a roundtable of people coming together with the intent of creating inclusion with one another. First, we would write our different ideas on sticky notes one at a time and create a wall of sticky note ideations. Then we would separate them into various valued points such as politics, racism, religion, just to name a few of the most challenging things that divide us. Then we create more sticky notes of what we value about each of those subjects and take on those listed ideations one at a time to discuss until we can widdle our combined thoughts down into a none judgmental effort to create the most inclusive valued solution to the things that divide and create hate.
Reflection: Like Marin Luther King Jr., I have a dream of my own that one day we will put all our ideations together to create a way to value our differences. Just like all good things we create in our life, it takes work and constant refinement to keep things moving in the light direction.
I think sincerity is based on each person’s true original nature and begins with being true to ourselves. When we live out that truth, sincerity shines through everything we do. Sincere people are trusted because we know they are honest, forthright, kind, compassionate, and profound. Not only do I aspire to be this way, but I wish I could see it playing out in more people’s lives as well. If we can get back to seeing sincerity as the face of our soul, maybe the world would be a better place to live in for the better good of all.
Reflection: My deep desire is to be more genuine and sincere by putting that consciousness at the forefront of my mind and asking myself in each situation…is this my truth?
Carrying yourself with poise and joy and peace within – that’s sexy.
As I begin my research on poise, it turns out to hold much more substance than I realized. I always pictured poise as the girl practicing with a book on her head how to walk gracefully. In fact, she is an example of what having balance in our life should look like. We can all learn to walk upright with balance, but having proper poise is living the balance it teaches in every area of our life. I picture it like a ballerina dancing through life with the grace of balance.
Webster’s dictionary says that poise may imply both tact and address but stresses self-possession and ease in meeting difficult situations. Example: She answered the accusation with unruffled poise.
No wonder practicing poise has so much value. It not only teaches us how to find balance in life, but it also helps build character and confidence.
Reflection: At my age, keeping my balance is an integral part of my strength training. It takes the same kind of discipline as trying to walk with a book on my head, but it also teaches me the poise and grace I have yet to learn that encourages me never to give up.
Our minds are like a computer with all kinds of stored memories inside. When you live as long as I have, sometimes you wish you could delete the things that no longer serve you just to make room for clearer thinking. But it doesn’t work that way. Things do end, but our memories last forever, and it’s the experiences of everyday life that bring them to the forefront of our minds in any present moment, the good and the bad. Sometimes it’s a smell that triggers the memory, something someone says, a song, or running into an old friend.
My childhood memories haunted me filling me with all the emotions and experiences I didn’t want to remember. It wasn’t until I finished writing my memories about those years that I was finally able to put the child of my past to sleep in peace. I like the idea that “Memories are like a garden. Regularly tend to the pleasant blossoms, and removing the invasive weeds.” -Linda Fifer Ralphs. I call it my garden of self-love. As those weedy memories pop their heads up, I pull them out right away before they become too invasive and overtake all the work I’ve done to create my beautiful life. It’s funny how it has made room for me to remember the good things hidden behind the bad memories, and now the bad memories no longer have the power they once did to pull me into depression.
Our memories teach us things too as we look back, allowing us not to make the same mistakes. They also remind us of what we can do by building one memorable success on top of the other.
The favorite memories in my garden of love are the ones my husband and I have planted with our family. The older we get now, the more fun it is to sit around and reminisce with our children and grandchildren. As a genealogist for my family, I can’t say enough about how important it is to talk with our elder family members. Asking about their life and what it was like for them. Memories are all we have in the end years. It’s all we have of value to leave behind besides our love. So give the gift of your time to a family member, and you’ll get the gift of their story to hand down.
Reflection: As Dr. Seuss reminds us, “Sometimes you will never know the value of something until it becomes a memory.”
Ah-Ha Moments are the little gifts from God we stumble upon as we journey along the path of our life.
There are all kinds of ways we experience ah-ha moments. In the past few years, with all the political division, I’ve had quite a few eye-opening ah-ha moments that surprised me. I think we all have. Sometimes they can be good, and sometimes, you learn things you’d rather not know.
What I want to talk about here are the ah-ha moments that add value to our life. They’re often to me like divine revelations. You know those times when everything comes together, and suddenly you see with clarity what you could not even fathom before. Sometimes when we try to share these rare ah-ha moments, and others don’t get where we’re coming from, I can’t even find the words to explain how I came to know what I’ve experienced. Maybe that’s by Divine plan because the truth is that you can’t teach a person how to see what they must experience for themselves. They are like little gifts from God we stumble upon as we journey along the path of our life. Once we see what’s inside, it becomes burned so deeply into our heart, soul, and mind that you can never forget how it changes your life.
Reflection: One of the most significant ah-ha moments for me was when I finally realized that I was okay just the way I am. That there was no other Connie in the world like me, no one who could do what I was created to do. I was made exactly the way God intended. And I knew in that ah-ha moment that I was not a flaw or a mistake.
To foresee things clearly we should look through three personal lenses, our hindsight, insight and foresight.
Foresight has two parts: fore, which means before, and sight, the means to perceive.
I am the kind of person who strives to live for today, especially since I’ve gotten older. Still, I sit with my calendar each day, looking ahead planning things I have coming up. Thinking with foresight helps me put those plans into action. Like a trip, I have coming up. I have to put some foresight into driving there, which way I want to go and what I want to avoid. Where will I stay, the cost, and the weather, so I know what to pack?
Foresight plays into many other things I do. Like when I throw something out in the trash. I think about how it will affect the environment. Even the things I eat, I could use a bit of foresight to prevent heartburn or even gaining weight. Using foresight to help me think about the things I say and how my words affect others is essential. These are all personal foresight, but even the things I choose to do can affect the quality of the world I live, like doing my part to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The foresight of scientists predicted that one day we’d had another pandemic, but only in the worse scenario could they have predicted that it would be as bad as it got. Winston Churchill had it right when he said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Our experience with the covid-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call to be better prepared for the next time. Trusting the scientist and the foresight they put into their findings, and then doing our part to help prevent it.
Reflection: In our fast pace ever-changing world, it can be hard to know how fast to move on the things we foresee for our future. Keeping our focus on the value that foresight offers helps us anticipate the necessary changes we can make along the way.
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.
No matter what I choose to do today, it will require hard work. Even if I decide to sit around and do nothing, the way I deal with that creates hard work inside myself. I notice that the hard work goes away when I give myself permission to take a day off and relax. Cleaning the house is hard work, but if I remember how good it makes me feel to have a clean place, the work doesn’t feel as hard as procrastinating.
Who are we working so hard for? If we could see the clarity of our hard work in the proper perspective, we’d see that even in the hard work we do for others, the greatest reward is how it makes us feel afterward. We work hard to make a living for ourselves and our family. We work hard to finish the projects that are important to us, like my book. We work hard to maintain our health. To support our friendships, to take care of our families’ needs, to be better at our crafts, to create the life we long for requires hard work. Everything we want to accomplish in life is hard work.
The value of hard work is what it teaches us about ourselves in the end. How it builds character, shows us what we’re capable of doing, instills discipline, teaches us responsibility, commitment, how to live and make a living. And the best reward for all our hard work is not a pat on the back, a review, or a trophy. It’s in the way it makes us feel when we finish the hard work, and we know we put our best foot forward. Our reward is how good we feel for what we accomplish each day.
Reflection: I am grateful for the lessons that hard work has taught me in my lifetime. And for the continued lessons that it teaches me every day.