Today’s Gem of Gratitude #285

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Today I am thankful for my shower. The shower is one of the places where I find myself being the most honest with myself. In actuality, it is probably the single place where I am the most honest with myself. When I am in the shower I tend to refrain from censoring my feelings and thoughts – if I need to cry, I cry; if I need to pray, I pray; if I need to sing at the top of my lungs while choreographing my own routine to my personalized soundtrack, then that’s what I do. The shower is reserved for God and me, and as the water comes down in sheets so do the walls that I have built around my heart, my dreams, my hopes, and my fears. In the shower I am the “me” whom I am learning to be outside of the shower; but as is the case with most things, I am a work in progress.

In the shower I am reminded of the beautiful qualities that comprise the people whom I love and care for – I am reminded of their humanness, their vulnerabilities, our differences and our similarities. It is there that I remember that they, too, need, want, desire, hope, dream, expect, long for, and seek while navigating their own paths of change. And it is in that place, in those solitary moments, that I draw closer to my understanding, compassion, consideration, and forgiveness. I see them for who they are, see myself for who I am, and I am renewed.

Now, I would be skirting the truth if I said that I experience this every single time that I shower. But, it certainly does happen more often than not. And one of the great aspects associated with “encountering” your true self while in the shower is that any attempt to run away is futile – figuratively, there is no way that you can get away from yourself, and literally, well, that would likely involve some major slippage, and who wants that? So, I have found that it is better to just linger in my own presence so that I can learn what I have yet to learn and see what I have yet to see. #lovebythedrop

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Today’s Gem of Gratitude #31

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Today I am thankful for love. Without love nothing worthwhile would be possible. We all define love in different ways, and my goal here is to give you a little bit of insight into what my view of love is. You probably already have an idea of what my take on love is based on the contents of this blog. To me, love is the appreciation of people, things (both tangible and intangible), and the expression of that appreciation in a way that is genuine and honest.

So many people use the word “love” casually and seemingly without giving it much though, and that is rather sad. Love is not something that is casual, and it is not something that should be referred to without thought and evaluation. Love carries with it the foundational ideas of commitment, permanence, compassion, consideration, thoughtfulness and dedication. Love is not about fulfilling the desires of the person purporting to love, it is about wanting the best for the one whom that person professes to love and actively treating the person whom that person professes to love in a way that demonstrates that. Love is a choice, not a feeling.

When I think of love and the act of loving, i immediately think of the description of love that is provided in the Bible: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT). And in considering this definition it is evident that love possesses characteristics that are not typically in line with the inherent nature of most human beings – human beings typically are not extremely patient and kind, are often jealous, boastful, proud and rude. They also have a tendency to be irritable, hold grudges, and are somehow drawn to the presence of injustice rather than being repelled by it, and instead fight the exhibition of truth. They are often quick to give up, thrown in the towel, lose faith and hope, and exhibit an allegiance that is conditional.

This, my friends, is the reason why the world is in the state that it is in. Instead of fighting against our natural human tendencies that are in direct opposition to love and what it seeks to express, we embrace the very deceptive characteristics that push us further and further away from love. Love requires work. Love requires an active determination to do what is right even when doing what is wrong would be easier. It requires us to put others before ourselves and cease focusing solely on our agendas, what we want, and what will work best for us. It demands commitment on our behalf, as it will not accept a halfhearted effort from us. And this seems to be something that most people are not willing to embrace because it is easier to remain self-centered and passively maneuver through life expressing a concern for others that is completely contingent upon things going our way.

I encourage everyone out there to set themselves aside for a while, even if it’s just for one day, and actively focus on meeting the needs of others (whether it be through the extension of a smile, buying someone lunch, taking the time to listen to someone who needs to be heard, etc.) and on exhibiting the characteristics detailed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. If we all make a concerted effort to do this, imagine the positive and loving hand and footprints that we will leave throughout society. We will transform our world of chaos, selfishness and inequality into the paradise that we all hope for and seek. We will be walking billboards of love. We will give love a face, a voice, a touch, and an infectious physical presence. #lovebythedrop

Today’s Gem of Gratitude #22

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Today I am thankful for new days and new beginnings. As human beings we sometimes become so caught up in our lives and the events of any given day, that we tend to lose sight of the fact that tomorrow brings with it a new day and the possibility of a new beginning. We all have moments that we would rather not have had to experience, moments that we would like to completely evict from our lives, never to return. We all have moments when we mess up, make the wrong decision, or drop the ball. We all have moments when people seem to demand more from us than we have available to give, when the events of the day overwhelm us to the point that we feel like roadkill. We all have those moments.

What we must remember, though, is that whether we drop the ball or life pushes the ball down on us, tomorrow is always a new day, and tomorrow’s gift to you is a new beginning. Yes, it is essential that we take stock in the events of the day, evaluate the things that have happened, and grasp the lessons that the day has taught us. However, we also need to forgive ourselves for our slip-ups and forgive others for theirs. And then we need to remind ourselves that tomorrow will be our new day, our fresh start. Tomorrow we will allow the world to encounter the version of ourselves that we wished that they had encountered today. Tomorrow is a new day.

We all have our ways of dealing with challenging days, especially those in which we feel that we have not performed up to par in some way. I have shared with you one of the ways that I deal with such days. What is the method that you use to deal with challenging days? #lovebythedrop