Love, Hope and Changed Lives

One of my favorite topics is love. Whether I’m in a relationship or not, love is always a crucial part of my life.  There are countless amazing quotes, sayings, writings and artistic renderings of love because no one ever finds all the words or ways to describe what love is.    Maybe that’s because love is an ever-changing, ever-revealing emotion, for lack of a better word.  Love has so many sides that I don’t doubt for a moment that even at the end of our lives we haven’t seen or experienced all the dimensions of love.  The two aspects of love I would like to consider today are hope and life.

Love brings hope.  Love creates hope.  Love encourages hope.  Love of life, love of animals, love of nature, love of creativity, love of taking walks, love of a better future, love of those I know, love of those I have yet to meet, all these give me hope to keep living and making a difference in the world.  Even when things seem difficult because of natural disasters, human disasters (like the gulf), political challenges, life struggles and difficult relationships, I know that at any point I want I can look deep inside myself and be reminded of love.  Maybe it’s the mystery and excitement surrounding love, whatever it is I just can’t let it go!  That spark within me keeps the fires of love burning, fanning the flames of hope.

Love changes lives.  I believe it is a fact that without their mothers (or a surrogate mother), animal and human babies can’t survive.  There are essential emotions, emotions of strength, connection, life force and love that are conveyed between mother and baby in those early days/weeks of life.  You can probably remember the first crush you had that either completely broke your heart or gave you a new determination to excel at life.  Love can give you reason to keep living or to change your life for the better.  Love can help you soften some of your rougher habits and qualities, and can soften even the toughest of people.

Whether you need some life-affirming or a reason to get up tomorrow, look no further than love. What hope and life has love helped you find?

*As I’ve said, love is a never ending conversation.  So, every month or so I’ll include a new post on love.  Keep checking back for more!

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A Bit of Peace

It’s great to read whole books but sometimes there are just portions of books that stand out to you as you’re reading.  I love this verse from Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 6:16 “This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.””

So many times in our lives we are at crossroads, places that we must choose which path to take.  Sometimes we can see down the path and other times it is hidden from our sight.  I’ve stood at many crossroads throughout my life and made some good choices and some choices I’ve learned from.  The times that I’ve made conscious choices were the paths that either taught me the most or I appreciated and enjoyed the most.

Something that I hear more frequently of late in spiritual circles and in holistic circles is the suggestion to ask for wisdom.  They share about how important it is to ask your body why it hurts, to ask your heart which way is best, and in this case, to ask the paths which one is better for you to take.  There is guidance out there that is available to us if we would just stop to seek.

It almost seems too obvious to pass along the words “…walk in it…” I mean, once you know the right way to go, wouldn’t you take it?  Although, there are many doubts that enter the mind once a path seems correct.  After all we are human and have these built-in option and doubt generators in our minds.  Of course even on a “good way” there will be challenges and obstacles to overcome.  So don’t think that just because you’ve chosen the right path to travel you’re home free.

But this verse ends with great encouragement. I love how peaceful it sounds to “…find rest for your souls.”  That’s all I am looking for at the end of a long day, after challenges and the world have tried to get the better of me all day.  It sounds like Jeremiah wrote that phrase with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, perhaps because he knew what it felt like to find rest.

Don’t forget to look for fellow travelers you can share the journey with, then you can find peace and satisfaction together.

Forgiveness

There are many songs that I love, but a more recent one has caught my attention.  It’s “Forgiven” by Sanctus Real.  It goes like this:

Well the past is playing with my head
And failure knocks me down again
I’m reminded of the wrong
That I have said and done
And that devil just wont let me forget

In this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am

I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
Cause I’m forgiven

My mistakes are running through my mind
And I’ll relive my days, in the middle of the night
When I struggle with my pain, wrestle with my pride
Sometimes I feel alone, and I cry

In this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am

I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
Cause I’m forgiven

When I don’t fit in and I don’t feel like I belong anywhere
When I don’t measure up to much in this life
Oh, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ ‘cause

I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
Cause I’m forgiven

While many of the more mainstream Christian/spiritual songs are good, in my opinion, I love the new route that this one takes.  Forgiveness isn’t something that is frequently discussed.  It’s something that can be incredibly hard to do and accepting the forgiveness someone offers is hard too.  Yet, it is a concept in all spiritual teachings and from enlightened thinkers.  It’s better than the popular “let it go,” more freeing than being pissed at someone, and does good for not only you but them too!  I love the lines “And I don’t have to carry/The weight of who I’ve been…” because that’s exactly what it feels like when you haven’t forgiven someone, or someone won’t forgive you.  It’s this giant weight that you carry around, a weight that hinders your life, blocks you from moving forward and slows you down.  You may have been carrying this weight around for so long that you don’t realize you’re carrying it but you are.

Do yourself a favor.  Forgive those that you are holding grudges against, forgive those that ask you for forgiveness.  It may not be easy, in fact for many people it is really hard.  But, it just makes the world a better place.  And trust me, once you activate the power of forgiveness in your life, you’ll feel much better too.

Reasons to love relationships

The more time I spend listening to seminars and interacting with people, the more I am reminded of how powerful relationships are.  Relationships really make the world go ’round.  While there are many benefits of relationships, three are support, wisdom and fun.  And, just to clarify, by relationships, I mean friendships, family, work, marriage/partner/significant other, and even the passing relationships you have with strangers like the individual who gives you your morning coffee or checks you out at the supermarket.

Support is something that so many people are in need of today.  Whether you’re a single mom, struggling business person, feeling like you’re a lost soul, recently jobless, struggling with your finances, or you’re alive today are just a few reasons why having the support of a relationship is essential.  We were not on earth to be alone.  Your life journey is not meant for you to do it alone.  Journeys, whether they be road trips, late homework nights, new businesses, or families, are meant to be done together.  Without the support of a friend, coworker, partner or family member, you may not even be able to complete your journey!  Having someone there with you in both the tough times and the good times just makes it easier or more fun!

The wisdom that another person can bring to your situation is amazing.  One of the great benefits of having relationships are to get another person’s perspective on something else. True, sometimes you will get unsolicited, and unwelcome advice, but that advice ALWAYS contains some bit of truth or wisdom that you can apply.  Even if that truth just reflects back to you that the individual saying it needs more love and relationships in their life!  But when you’re looking at your situation, you can see one or more sides of it.  You certainly will be missing something that someone else can suggest to you that will shine new light on the situation or give you a fresh thought about it.

The most exciting aspect of relationships has to be fun!  We are on earth to have a good time, to celebrate together, to work together, to play together.  These interactions shouldn’t be painful.  If they are either you need to check out your responsibility in the interaction (words, facial expressions, body language, tone, enthusiasm, participation), or you need to check to make sure that the individual you’re interacting with is a good fit with who you are, the values and the lifestyle you have.  Science has shown that the more we relate, the more we laugh, the more we enjoy life and live our lives, the longer we will live and the happier we will be!  How great is that?!  Therefore, it is absolutely vital to your health, self-esteem, attitude and longevity for you to have happy, fulfilling relationships!  Sure, you’ll piss each other off occasionally, but the majority of the time you will be a blessing and a benefit to each other.

I love having relationships.  I love all the challenges that relationships bring with them. Frankly, the challenges in the relationships bring out the best in me!  What are some things that you can do to put more support in your relationships, to share wisdom with a friend or have more fun?

Inspirations from Micah

This week in some of my spiritual/inspiring reading I have been the book of Micah in the Bible.  It’s a relatively small book in the Old Testament, but it has some bits of wisdom that I have really been inspired by.

Micah 3:8a “But as for me, I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the Lord.” (NLT)

Micah 6:8 “O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (NLT)

Micah 7:7 “As for me, I look to the Lord for help.  I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.” (NLT)

We can learn a lot from these 3 brief verses.  First and foremost, from 3:8a, the power we have is given to us by God, our Source.  To be honest, I would much rather have the unlimited power of my Source, God, than my own power.  My power gets tired, weak, doesn’t always stick around, only lasts for so long, needs to be fed, needs to be rested and recharged.  But with God we have this amazing, unlimited, powerful, strong power that we can tap into whenever we are in line with God/Source and His plans for our life.

Micah 6:8 shares some interesting perspective on our lives.  We walk around saying “I have to do..” and “Oh, I’m late for…”  and many people don’t even know what they’re doing in life or why they are doing what they’re doing!  Here Micah shares 3 great tips:  do what is right, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.   As humans if we’re not doing what is right to our fellow human beings, or to the animals around us or to nature and our earth, we’re setting up a big failure for humankind.  To not take care of those and that which supports us, is slowly killing us.  Loving mercy is a not what we typically hear.  Synonyms of mercy include forgiveness and compassion.  Instead of drilling it into someone that they’re wrong, have messed up or have unintentionally hurt you, show some compassion and forgiveness.  Finally, walking humbly with God is hard.  Walking with God is a phrase that is frequently used to describe having a relationship with God.  But to add the dimension of being humble with God, is kind of like saying that you’re letting God lead, instead of you leading God.  It’s about remembering that God is in charge, not you (which actually comes as a relief to me and many others).

Finally Micah 7:7 shares confidence in God.  Life is hard, life does have many rough spots that you will encounter. But Micah assures us that in looking to God for help, God will save us and hear us.  I love the words that he chooses to use: confidently and certainly.  Those are two strong words that aren’t to be thrown around lightly.  It’s hard in this day and age of massive change to be confident or certain of anything, but I have to agree with Micah that those words still apply to God today.

Gratitude

I had a very busy day today, as did many individuals.  Two of my biggest highlights occurred when I took a minute to go outside and see what was going on with nature today.  I absolutely love spending time in nature and seeing the beautiful, amazing, changing world we live in and interact with.

The first break was around 2.30 when I finally had lunch.  I took my plate outside and sat on the lowest step of the deck, with my feet on the ground.  I just sat there and watched the birds take baths in the bird bath, the breeze blow through the trees and enjoyed my food.  All of a sudden a robin flew down and landed about 4 feet from me.  We were both very surprised to see each other.  The robin stood there for a few seconds and then flew off.

A few hours later I took another break to just get a minute or two of fresh air.  When I went out there one of our resident wild bunnies was enjoying the hostas and other plants in the back of the yard.  I absolutely love seeing the animals in nature, living and coexisting with us humans.  The bunny just sat around a little then hopped over to the hostas and began nibbling.

One of the greatest things about being a spiritual human is about being awakened to the amazing details that nature holds.  It gives me such joy to be mere feet away from real, wild animals, real green plants, sun-warmed stones and bright blue skies.

Those very brief moments reminded me why I am so grateful for so much in my life.  I am thankful for the really simple things, things that many people take for granted, like being close to a robin or bunny.  I am grateful for the things that haven’t happened yet!  I’m grateful for the people I have yet to meet, to interact with, to learn from, to help, to grow with, to share deep moments with, and so much more.

So, with a grateful heart I look forward to the adventures, blessings and surprises that tomorrow will bring.

What is Fresh Perspectives?

Fresh Perspectives is my way of offering you an opportunity to learn more about that bigger something, and perhaps even deepen your connection to it and understanding of it.  And although I may refer to it as ‘God,’ whatever that bigger something, that Source, is for you, it is my hope that we can connect with it together.

This Fresh Perspectives blog will give you a glimpse into some of my Bible reading, Inspired reading, healthy life reading, and the insights and perspectives I gain through them.  It will also be a reflection upon life and spirituality.

If you would like to learn more about Fresh Perspectives, newsletters, and me, visit my website.

Whether you need a fresh perspective about yourself, your partner, your family, your life or your job, it is my hope that you would begin to find that perspective here.

Life is an amazing journey we are all privileged to travel.  I am thankful that we can travel it together.