The Importance of Doing

“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”
– Batman

Ten boys, nervous but excited, sat on the old bench. They had been waiting for this day since they unwrapped the gloves, balls and bats Santa brought them months ago. This was their first game. This was the day they would become baseball players.

Nine of them walked up to the plate. Five of them made it to first base. One of the five didn’t even have to use the tee. He hit the pitch six feet down the third base line. A throw to first, no catcher in the league could make before the runner stepped on the bag. The other four took their five strikes before the tee was brought to assist them. Three of the runners made it to second base. One was called out when he made a dash for third by running across the diamond. The other was tagged out when he was running for second, heard his mom call out his name and stopped to see what she wanted. During the excitement, confusion of hits, yelling, questioning of calls, and a few tears, one of the runners who made it to second actually rounded third and crossed home plate. Everyone on the team and in the stands made a mental tally of a score that wasn’t being kept.

What happened to the tenth boy on the bench? He couldn’t get himself to walk up to the plate. The why of it doesn’t really matter, it could have been his fear of striking out and failing. It may have been a fear of a baseball coming at him at a speed of one mile an hour or of standing in front of the sold out crowd of 48 parents and grandparents. What matters, is he would have to wait another week to become a baseball player. We can all be thankful that another game is scheduled for him next Wednesday.

Be mindful this month of what Batman tells us. It’s what you do that defines you. It’s not what’s underneath your cowl, your baseball cap, your words, your intentions, or even your expressions. It’s your choices, decisions and actions. When we get older we can’t count on having another chance scheduled for us next week. Be mindful of the importance of your doing.

Healing

Healing must be witnessed.

I believe this paraphrase of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s belief, grieving must be witnessed, is also true. If we are in need of healing we cannot just think about it or talk about it. We cannot even just pray about it. We have to witness ourselves doing something about it. If I want to lose 20 pounds, thinking about being thinner or talking about weighing less will not take the pounds off. I cannot expect God to work a miracle and make me 20 pounds lighter. I have to witness myself pushing away chocolate chip cookies, cake and ice cream. Others should be able to witness me exercising and working out. When witness follows thinking, talking and praying, the healing has begun.

We are people of sign and senses. We measure time, distance, height, weight, input and output. We measure change by witness.

Be mindful this month that healing must be witnessed.

OK

Everything’s gonna be OK.
– Grandma

What happened to the resolutions of January? What happened to the hopes, dreams and promises you made for the new year Did you get distracted? Lazy? Caught up in the problems that come with every new day, week or month? What does it say about you, your character and strength of will?

It says you are human and nothing more. There is no sense in getting down on yourself and labeling yourself as weak. It won’t help condemning yourself and lowering your self image and esteem any more than it is already.

April is Easter and resurrection. April is spring and a new start. April is Hope and beginning again. All is not lost. There’s still plenty of time this year to become the person you want to be, to accomplish what you want to accomplish. To do this you have to believe that everything can be OK. Once you believe this you have a direction in which to move. All you have to do is figure out a way to get there. If you don’t believe there is an OK, there is no reason to move, and you remain stuck.

Be mindful this month that no matter what the first three months of this year have been like… Grandma always said, Everything’s gonna be OK!

Dreams

On the day I was born
Said my father, says he,
I’ve an elegant legacy waiting for thee.
‘Tis a rhyme for your lips
And a song for your heart,
To sing to yourself when the world falls apart.
Look, look look to the rainbow.
Follow it over the hill and stream.
Look, look, look to the rainbow.
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.
– Finnian’s rainbow

For all of us, the world falls apart every once in a while. During those times it can be hard to find a dream to give us hope, direction and motivation. When this happens to you, find a dreamer. Borrow the dream of freedom from Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King. Use the dream of justice from Rosa Parks or the dream of service from Mother Teresa. These are the dreams that put the world back together after it falls apart, and the dreams that keep the world going. Your world.

Be mindful this month of the dreamers and the dreams around you. Some of the dreamers are gone, but their dreams live on. Many dreamers are living in your home, on your street, teaching in your school, standing on the other side of the counter. When your world falls apart, when you can’t find your own dream, follow the fellow who follows a dream.

The Chief Speaks

“So live your life that the fear death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, and beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

~ Chief Techumseh

Be mindful this month of your beliefs. Have you developed any of your own beliefs about life, how to live life well? What do you believe about people, about yourself, about love and relationships? Your beliefs act as a guide for living your life out day by day. Without them, it’s easy to feel lost and be lost. Think about how you would respond to the Chief about your own beliefs for living.

Regrets

I should have bought you flowers
And held your hand.
I shoulda gave you all my hours
When I had the chance.
Take you to every party
Cause all you wanted to do was dance.
– Bruno Mars

Everyone has regrets. Even Frank Sinatra had a few. The important thing is to find a way to live and never have regrets. If you ever figure out how to do that, let us all know. You’ll be set for life. The real important thing is to not let your regrets keep you from living.

The only way to do this is to learn from your regrets instead of getting stuck grieving the regrets of the past. Learning is education, and education is the silver bullet of life. Education gives you options and choices you never knew you had before. Education can give you the initiative and motivation to move on. It can keep you from being stuck and stagnant. Education brings with it change, growth and maturity.

It’s January. Why spend the first few months of this year grieving, obsessing and being stuck on the regrets of the past. Grieve, learn and move on with your life in a renewed commitment to a peaceful and happy life.

Be mindful this month of learning from your regrets and taking this education into a new year of personal fulfillment. Maybe then, like Frank Sinatra, your regrets will be too few to mention.

IFS, BUTS and DREAMS

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.
-Grandma

During a car ride years ago, five year old Bryan told me of a dream he had. He said that in his dream he was in a place filled with every kind of candy. He just walked around in amazement and he just knew he could take any kind of candy he wanted. Then he said, “It would be really cool if there really was a place like that.”

I then asked his mom, who was driving, if we could make a quick stop. She followed my directions to a candy warehouse. One of the owners was a friend of mine. When we arrived I talked with my friend, Bill. He let Bryan, his mom, and I walk through the warehouse. As we walked through all the rows of all the different kinds of candy Bryan’s eyes got bigger and bigger in sheer amazement. All he could say was, “Wow!!! This is cool.” At the end of the last row, Bill told Bryan he could pick out any kind of candy he wanted to take home.

For the next few days, Bryan told everyone he knew about his dream and how it came true. For all these years, I have told all kinds of people about the chance I had to make Bryan’s dream come true.

Be Mindful this month of the opportunities to make dreams come true. These opportunities are real gifts and blessings. Bryan found out having a dream come true is cool. I found out helping a dream come true is a gift all in itself.

Day of Reflection

On November 9th, a group of women attended a day of reflection. They were given $1.00 and asked to develop it any way they chose.  The following are the results of their efforts.  This page may also include any thoughts, comments or questions from their day’s experiences.

The Value of Witness

“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”
-Batman

Sixty girls, all seniors in high school, were asked this question: Would you like it if the people in your life who loved you stopped showing you signs of love and, instead, asked you to just trust that they loved you? Not one of the girls said they would like this. In fact all of them said they would hate it. They all insisted they wanted and needed signs and acts of love.

This has nothing to do with insecurity or lack of trust. It has everything to do with the nature of beliefs and values. A person is not kind or honest because he or she claims to be kind or honest. He or she must act in a kind and honest way. People are not loving because they make a claim to be loving. These people must perform acts of love. Love, kindness or any value or belief we want to possess must be witnessed.

Be mindful this month of witnessing to yourself and others any belief or value you claim to be important to you and by which you would like to be defined.

Hope and Future

Where there is no hope, there is no future.
-The last man to leave

There once was a beautiful little town, nestled in a beautiful little valley. It was the kind of place people would drive to on Sunday afternoon. It is the ideal place to get away from the busy city for the weekend.

One day the people of the town were notified by the state they would all have to move. The state had decided to flood the valley, build a resort for boating, skiing, vacationing, and make lots of money.

The people of the town were shocked, saddened and then very angry. They all agreed to start a petition to save the town. They made commercials for radio and television. They wrote editorials for newspapers. They emailed, posted, twittered, texted, and blogged everyone they could think to get a “like” from.

After a few days one man decided, “You can’t fight city hall” and left the town. The next day the family across the street saw his empty house, and they moved. Within a week two vacant houses on the block turned into four. Soon anger turned into fear, and everyone was packing to leave.

When the last man to leave the town passed the town sign, he stopped and wrote in big letter across the sign, “WHERE THERE IS NO HOPE, THERE IS NO FUTURE”

Be mindful this month of hope. You already have hope. You don’t need it. You don’t need more of it. You just need to choose to use the hope you have. Then you’ll have a future.