Shedding

I would stop writing about our cats every week, but they are just such darn good teachers! The issue this week seems to be shedding. The lint roller is working overtime because it’s not a good idea to leave our house without attending to the cat hair.

It’s just that time of year. If you have pets you probably deal with shedding. It’s another sign of spring but neither fragrant as the hyacinths nor as beautiful as the crocuses. The cats’ winter coats are no longer useful or needed, so their bodies are relieving them of the additional layer of fur.

How easy is that? They no longer need the additional weight and just let it go. How would it be if our burdens were released as easily and without a second thought? Our ego minds might immediately jump to the defense of keeping drama and difficulty in our lives by telling us that our issues are far more complicated than a natural process like shedding. But are they?

That argument begs the discussion of just how complicated we want our lives to be. Ernest Holmes said that our problems are as real as we need them to be. We can ask ourselves: How hard do I want life to be? How much do I want to struggle with issues? What hoops do I insist on jumping through when it is not required?

The questions I like to pose to myself when I feel I must do something are: What would happen if I didn’t do it? Would the world stop? Would my family despise me? Would I even remember the drama five years from now?

I’m posing a lot of questions this week for which I offer no answers. Each of us must individually decide what battles we will fight and which ones we choose to walk away from. Life offers challenges. How much struggle we experience is up to us.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Human Rights

I am writing my blog this week from New York City, where I am one of five adults acting as chaperons for 37 youth from Carlisle High School. We are here at the New York Hilton and United Nations for the National High School Model United Nations conference. Just us and over 3,000 teenagers from all over the world!

I’ve been told that some of the resolutions passed here at the mock U.N. over the years have been sent on to the actual United Nations – and that some of the ideas have been adopted. Our keynote speaker last night for the Opening Session was Shula Koenig, founder of the People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning (PDHRE) and a recipient of the 2003 United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights, an award given to five people every five years since 1966. Often when we speak of “human rights” we package the discussion as a political, economic, social or cultural issue.

Ms. Koenig says it is none of those. Human rights are human rights – period. As a culture we enact laws, policies and regulations to protect those rights, but the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we claim to hold so dear in our country should not be up for debate or discussion.

Few of us are in a position to impact a large number of people as is Ms. Koenig. She has spoken to people of all socioeconomic levels in more than 60 countries. She is 82 years old and I describe her as a saucy, German grandmother who shoots from the hip. Her clarity and passion for equality are intoxicating.

Just because we may not regularly speak to large groups of people doesn’t mean we are powerless to affect change. Every day we each come into contact with situations in which the rights of people around us are being violated. We can offer small gestures that have a great impact on those people whose hopes, dreams and goals are suppressed.

We can help to educate those individuals who appear to be victims by assisting them to see other options for life. Our teachings about thinking positively and relying on Universal support can go a long way if we are walking the walk ourselves, not just talking the talk. We don’t need to laugh at jokes that are “funny” at the expense of others due to race, color, sexual or gender orientation, or those physically or mentally challenged – and we certainly don’t have to forward them to our friends and family!

Open a door for a stranger. Offer to help someone elderly get an item off a high shelf at the grocery store. Approach a homeless person, instead of averting your eyes, and offer to buy them a meal. Lead by example. There will be no fanfare, ticker tape parade or award ceremony. There will, however, be a shift in consciousness, one person at a time, to support everyone around you to be more loving, more forgiving and more understanding of our human conditions.

Having rights as human beings is not an option. Doing something about supporting the rights of others instead of complaining about inequality is a choice. Choosing to support others requires courage, consistency and determination. I know you are up to the task. Now – go change the world…one person at a time!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Relentless Positive Action

Just a few weeks ago I heard the term “relentless positive action.” Positive action I get. I have been practicing living a more forward moving, positively enforced life for over two decades. I teach this to my congregations and clients. But “relentless?”

At the risk of making this another “cat blog” I must use our oldest cat, Dillon, as our model of Principle in Action this week. Dillon loves to drape himself over you and then fall fast asleep. He’s not particular about whether it’s your thigh while you are sitting watching TV, over your head and shoulders while perched above you on a high backed chair, or on your arm as you are trying to use your computer mouse.

He just needs to be near us. It really doesn’t matter what our agenda is. Having food on your lap, reading a book or making notes for a future talk is of no consequence. He intends to occupy the space he desires. Your sandwich, your book or your notepad are not simply irrelevant; they don’t even fit into the equation. His sweet face and sad eyes will get you every time if you attempt to push him away.

He is relentless, positive action in motion. The needs or desires of other creatures don’t register on his radar. He is being driven by instincts that compel him to fulfill his immediate need regardless of the consequences. As human beings we don’t have that luxury if we are to operate harmoniously in society.

Those who are not relentless in their pursuit of happiness and fulfillment in life are stopped by the smallest inconvenience. What’s keeping me from the gym today? Who’s stopping me from taking more candy off the grocery list? Which project needs so much attention that I can’t find fifteen minutes to do my yoga routine? If we need an excuse to get off course, we’ll find one.

So how do we move forward, relentless in our pursuit of our vision in a positive manner without bulldozing over everything and everyone in our way? Balance and intention hold the key. Spirit doesn’t fulfill our desires at the expense of people around us. We also need to make sure that the company we keep is supportive of our hopes, dreams, goals and vision.

Relentless positive action also means we re-evaluate our course frequently, making the corrections necessary to achieve our goals. We learn to compromise in the process, yet hold fast to our integrity and moral values that make us who we are. We strive to align ourselves with like-minded people who support our life journey and have a vision that we can similarly support. This week strive to be relentless in the positive forward motion of your life vision and goals!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry