Friday, August 30, 2013


Recently, while dropping my youngest child off, I noticed a pair of kindergarteners holding hands and skipping into school  Physically, the two could not have looked more different... everything from their skin and hair color, height and weight to the clothes they were wearing and their fabulous choices in lunch boxes and backpacks, each indicating a style all his/her own.  Their joy in that moment was contagious, and I suspect I was not the only carpool mom smiling at the purity of their enthusiasm as they bounded towards the building.

And it struck me...

We start out so inclusive and accepting of others, excited, engaged.  We are pure in thought and without prejudice.  Somewhere along the way, though, so many people lose their ability to focus on this concept of togetherness.  When do we begin to mistrust people who we perceive as different from us?  What makes us judge one another based on things like gender, political party, religious affiliation, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, appearance and social status?

The truth is that we are tragically losing young people as a result of the divisive nature of labels... labels that are placed on kids, often from an early age, by other children as well as by adults, labels that are learned somewhere along the way.  We are not born with the “labeling gene”.  While we hope that we are raising our kids to know right from wrong, to be accepting and inclusive, the truth is that as adults, we do, indeed, model labeling behavior in both subtle and overt ways.  Labels bias our opinions and perceptions and have the ability to separate us, one from another.  While it’s true that labels also have the ability to connect us, it seems as though exclusivity can arise even in the most well-intentioned groups.  

W.C. Fields said, “it’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to,” that matters.  We often buy into others’ perceptions of us which, at times, can affect our outlook and actions.  Further, we try to neatly define who we are via various labels we create for ourselves.  None of us can be linearly packaged... we are far too complicated for that.  

We must evolve.  Whether it is our own bias and judgments, others’ perceptions of us, or our self-imposed definitions, the divisive labeling has to stop.  We are more alike than different, and we, as thoughtful people, must stand up and speak up for the voiceless among us.  

Namaste is sometimes simply defined as “I honor the place in you where, when you are in that place, and I am in that place, there is only one of us.”

We are one.  Let us cultivate metta and make a difference.


Labels Playlist

Friday, August 9, 2013

How Do You Get Through Your Day?

How do you get through your day?  Make it from one place to another?  One task to the next?

Take the time to watch this video.  Be inspired by the power and impact of unconditional love and no limits, positive thinking.  It is worth 8 minutes of your life.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Perspective on Perception

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
~ Abraham Lincoln

My stepfather is one of the most generous, joyful, positive souls I've ever known.  He also happens to have been a POW in WWII.  During the war, he was a medic.  He was captured when he crossed enemy lines in order to try to obtain more medical supplies to help the many wounded soldiers around him.  As a POW, he suffered many atrocities, including being thrown off of a moving train.  However, when he shares stories with others about this difficult time in his life, he does so with a calm, reassuring tone and always says "I was lucky.  I was a medic so I got to help people, I got to save lives.  I never had to hurt anyone or take a life".  Further, he feels that his capture was purposeful in that, because of his medical know-how, he was able to take care of the other prisoners with whom he shared his time in captivity.  This thought alone kept him afloat while he was imprisoned and allows him now, even all of these years later, to speak of this experience as purposeful.

It's all about perceptions. 

Our lives are not really about the things at which we look, but, rather, about how we choose to see and feel them.  We often have little control over what happens to us, and the fact is that what actually occurs is relatively insignificant compared to our perceptions of the situations and events.  Perception, created by the stories that we tell ourselves and others about what happens to us, typically becomes reality.

However, we do have a choice.  We can look at challenges as growth opportunities or as failures.  We can see the glass as half-empty or half-full.  We can view the world as loving or hostile.  Regardless of which path we choose, we will be correct, because our perceptions will continue to reinforce our choices and shape how we see our lives.  

Stephen R. Covey wrote "To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions".  While it may seem easier said than done to change our perceptions, I wonder what might happen if we make a conscious effort to do so?  

What if at the end of each day, no matter what kind of day it was, we took a few moments to ask ourselves the following questions?

1.  What surprised me today?
2.  What moved me today?
3.  What motivated me today?
4.  What made me smile today?
5.  What inspired me today?

Try it.  You just might find that you view the world from a different and better place.  You have the power to alter your reality simply by seeing things in more positive ways.   After all, in the end, what we see very much depends on the clarity of the lens through which we look.

My Perspective on Perception Playlist