Saturday, July 22, 2017

Looking

By 


“What we see is mainly what we look for.” ~Unknown
Years ago I was fortunate enough to travel on a Mediterranean cruise. I had just graduated from college and was in that difficult transition stage where I didn’t know what would come next. I was looking to relax, but also hoping that some soul searching would lead to clarity, epiphanies, and answers.
One day I thought I found them on the island of Santorini, Greece.
Between the blinding whites, the sapphire blues, the sun-kissed streets, and the black-sand beaches, I felt like I had been dropped ina utopia.

There, where everything was crisper and brighter, my mind felt clear and my heart felt hopeful. I suddenly had the feeling I would find my way and all would be right in my world.
As I lay on the beach made from volcanic ashes, overflowing with happiness, I knew I wanted to remember the moment, capture that feeling and preserve this place.
I strolled down to the shore where hundreds of rocks were piled together. They were all jet black, oval shaped, and glistening. I picked some up and felt like I was holding little pieces of paradise in my palms.
I collected a dozen or so. The plan was to wrap them in a towel, bring them home, put them in a decorative jar, and always be reminded of the beauty of Santorini.
I imagined my future self, back at home, thousands of miles and hours away from this peaceful sanctuary.
I thought these rocks would become miniature touchstones any time I was feeling down or confused—that I would look at these black slabs, be transported back to this moment in time, be reminded of Santorini, and feel instantly better.
When I got home, I unveiled the rocks and immediately felt disappointed.
These rocks weren’t pieces of paradise anymore.
Without the shimmering sun and the sparkling Aegean waters, the rocks had lost their magic, their glory.
All I had in my hands were a pile of greyish looking stones. In the light at home, away from the Grecian sands, I could see the rocks weren’t breathtaking or naturally shiny and they certainly weren’t that memorable.
They were just…. well, rocks.
I wasn’t reminded of the feeling on the beach. Instead I was upset that what I wanted the rocks to be was clearly not their reality. Somewhere the rational part of my brain knew this was ridiculous, but I was still angry.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized how these rocks did in fact, give me a gift. They taught me a few important lessons.
In life we can have a tendency to take something and try to make it into another thing. Does it work? Sure, sometimes. After all, we can take lemons and turn them into lemonade; we can take a blank canvas and turn it into a beautiful painting.
But more often than not, we can’t change something into something it’s not meant to be.
Sometimes, a rock is just a rock. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just a rock. And no amount of wishing, manipulating, forcing. or hoping can change that.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Knowing this can help save a lot of energy that gets wasted on frustration and sadness.
The rocks hadn’t changed—not one bit. My perception of them had. The feelings they evoked and the moment I had in Santorini simply passed. I was stuck between wanting to hold on and having to let go.
We often try so hard to hold onto something from the past that we miss what’s right in front of us, in the present.
The same is true for the people in our lives. We sometimes try—accidentally or purposely—to get the people we love to be more of who we want them to be instead of appreciating who they already are. We want them to be who they used to be or who they could be, instead of who they are in the present.
I remember when I had the realization that one of my oldest and closest friendships was falling apart. There were many reasons for this split, but ultimately I think it came down to the both of us not seeing each other for who we were in the moment.
We kept trying to squeeze each other into the roles of who we were when we first crossed paths years and years ago.
We put this pressure on ourselves too. We attempt to perfect a million things, instead of just acknowledging our weaknesses and strengths and working with them. 
We rarely accept who we are in the present because we are so consumed thinking of who we want to be in the future—or remembering a younger version of ourselves.
I don’t know what just now made me remember those rocks from Santorini—the ones I didn’t put on a pretty display—but I am glad I did.
I am grateful for the reminder that we need to accept things or situations for what they are and people for who they are. When we stop looking at everything the way we want to see it, and start seeing it simply as it is, life flows much more smoothly.
After all, it’s better to let things and people shine where and how they are meant to.

Wisdom from a Poor Man

Wilmington's $1 million winner says life won't change


Staff Photo David Reynolds
Robert White buys lottery tickets Monday night at the Greenfield Food Store in Wilmington. On Saturday, Carolyn Daise (left) sold a $1 million winning ticket to Joe Demello, who plays scratch-offs at the store almost every day. White, who plays occasionally, said he was happy to see a winning ticket sold at the local store on Greenfield Street in Wilmington. "Wish it was me though," he said.
Published: Monday, December 8, 2008 at 5:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 at 10:05 p.m.
Almost every evening Carolyn Daise would hand Joe Demello a pair of $10 scratch-off lottery tickets – the most expensive she sells – and tell him he was a glutton for punishment.
Demello, who has played scratch-off tickets at the Greenfield Food Store on Greenfield Street in Wilmington for years, didn’t argue. Daise said he’d usually just shrug and say: “I’ll just get broke and get through with it.”
But on Saturday around 5:30 p.m., Demello, a 56-year-old painter from Wilmington, won $1 million.
He scratched off the ticket in the store, left without telling anyone, then returned the next day to share the news.
Demello is one of just six people to win a $1 million prize since the $130 Million Blockbuster game started in August, according to a statement from the North Carolina Education Lottery.
Back in the store Monday night, Demello said he’s glad he won, but that his life won’t change.
He’ll get the money in annual after-tax installments of $34,000, he said. Nice, but not enough to give up his day job. His lottery habits won’t change either. Demello says he’ll go back to winning $10 or $20 one day and nothing the next.
“I like to gamble,” he said. “I always have.”
He handed folded up bills to Daise and Sylvia Ayala, another clerk at the store as they rang up orders. He said he’s also given away $2,000 of his first check to a longtime friend who needed money.
While Demello played down his winnings, other shoppers at the store Monday said they’re thrilled one of the regulars hit it big.
Clifton Norman, 51, was one of several who said they were happy for Demello, but wished they’d played the ticket.
“Where was I?” Norman said, adding that for any one of the 52-year-old store’s customers to win is great. “This store has been here a long time and served a lot of people,” he said. “For somebody to win here is a blessing.”
Raymond Keels, 58, said it’s especially nice for someone to hit the lottery during tough economic times.
Demello said the economy hasn’t affected him much. “Hell, when you’re poor – all times are tough,” he said.

Heart

Don’t ever believe that it is too late for you to become spiritual, that you have done too much damage.

The most important thing is our desire to become someone better, to find little ways to let go of our selfishness every day.

The main thing is to do a little more today than yesterday, and tomorrow a little more than today. And to keep in mind that we are not doing anything for anyone else but ourselves.

All the Creator desires from us is our heart.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Send in the Clowns? Trust me; they're here!

CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of clowns plans on taking part in protests in Chicago during this weekend’s NATO Summit.
The ClownBloq, as they call themselves, will be a group of protesters who will appear in clown suits.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, while some protesters might throw a bottle of urine, the clowns say they will throw a pie.
“Joy and laughter and celebration is resistance,” one member said in a Hyde Park cafĂ©.
The group will be armed with 1,000 whipped cream pies, and one member said he does not expect police to take it all in stride.
“I think it will be very telling of the violence of this state to see the response of the police officers to a pie,” another ClownBloq member said.
The ClownBloq also has a Twitter feed which repeatedly references plans to throw pies at opponents.
“Knock Knock. *Who’s There?* The #MSM (mainstream media), and we want interviews. *You can haz interviewz, and piez,*” one tweet reads.
The Web site for the group says it must be “consistently reiterated that Clown Bloq is both a joke and NOT a joke.” A member said the best comparison is a court jester.
“The court jester was given the ability to question the absurdity of leaders,” she said.
The group says its intention is to be “both disarming and tactically militant,” and its members are trained in “hard blocks, soft blocks, de-arrest techniques as well as other historically significant tactics.”
The group also provides basic training in clowning.

Never the Owners

 “Nothing in this world is really ours. Even if we work for something, what we receive as a result is not really a possession… We should see everything in this world as if it came from heaven.”

It’s a powerful concept, isn’t it? Nothing we receive in the world, nothing we are born with for that matter, really belongs to us. We are merely a receiver for all we are blessed with and it is our job to change from being a cup to being a straw – sharing those blessings – our money, our time, our love, our friendship, our talent – in the best ways that we can. 

When we begin to believe we are the source of the blessings in our lives and that we deserve or single-handedly created all that we have, we are in essence saying we don’t need the Creator. And with that consciousness we disconnect ourselves from the Light. The Light only rests where there is a true desire for it.

The way to receive more Light is to share the Light that we have. To truly live this wisdom means we start viewing ourselves as the managers of our blessings instead of the owners. Then we can become a channel for the Light of the Creator!

It’s such a dramatic shift in our consciousness and not easy to do, but the results of the effort are worth it. 

We are never the owners, just the managers.

Flyin' Air America...circa 1975


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