A Hope for Why We Are Here

If you or someone you love has ever questioned, “Why am I here?”, Recording Artist Alicia Keys wrote beautiful lyrics for a song she sings that I believe gives an answer to this question.  The words in Alicia’s song could be an answer for all of us who have ever questioned, “Why are we here?” 

The YouTube video below is a recording of The Today Show during which Alicia performs her song, “We Are Here”, which she wrote after someone asked her the profound question, “Why Are You Here?”

Suicide often occurs because people have lost hope or fail to see a purpose or reason for their lives.  Alicia gives a simple reason for why we are here, and that reason alone can serve as a purpose and a hope for people’s lives.

Please listen to the words and music to this beautiful song, and leave a COMMENT with your answer to the question, “Why Are You Here?”  Let’s get a dialogue started on this post.  Then, after answering the question, you may want to share this post with others you know. You might also want to read and share similar posts on this site such as:

A Hope for A Connected Life at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/05/a-hope-for-a-connected-life/
A Hope for Global Thinkers at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/02/12/a-hope-for-global-thinkers-2/
A Hope for Freedom at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/31/a-hope-for-freedom/
A Hope in Human Diversity at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/13/a-hope-in-human-diversity/
A Hope to Save the Planet: http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/03/03/a-hope-to-save-the-planet/
A Hope from Sandpipers: Unity at http://ahopefortoday.com/2011/12/21/a-hope-from-sandpipers/
A Hope for Usefulness: http://ahopefortoday.com/2011/12/20/a-hope-for-an-empty-pot/
Hug Award Guidelines: http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/

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A Hope to Save The Planet

Earth Hour is an annual global campaign to help save the planet.  Native American Chief Seattle said, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors.  We borrow it from our children.”  This year I challenge everyone around the world to participate in Earth Hour as a commitment of hope to help save our earth for our children and grandchildren.

EARTH HOUR 2012 – MARCH 31, 2012

 

DARE THE WORLD TO SAVE THE PLANET

“We only have one planet.  You can help protect it. Participate in the world’s largest single campaign for the planet: Earth Hour.

It starts by turning off your lights for an hour at 8:30 pm on March 31, 2012 in a collective display of commitment to a better future for the planet.  Think what can be achieved when we all come together for a common cause.”

Earth Hour 2011 took place in 135 countries and more than 5,200 cities – it had a global reach of 1.8 billion and a digital footprint of 91 million.

You can join Earth Hour by clicking on one of the links below:

Facebookfacebook.com/earthhour Twitter:  twitter.com/earthhour YouTube:  youtube.com/earthhour Flickrflickr.com/earthhour_global Tumblrearthhour.tumblr.com Google +:  gplus.to/earthhour

Participate in Earth Hour

Pledge your support:  Click on a category below to sign up to participate and turn off all non-essential lights from 8:30-9:30 pm local time.

Go Beyond the Hour

This Earth Hour we invite you to do more than switch off your lights. We want you to dare the world to save the planet. “I Will If You Will” is a simple promise and a challenge. Dare anyone (your Facebook friends, co-workers, celebrity crushes) to accept your challenge and help protect the Earth or accept the challenge of someone else.

Click here to Visit “I Will If You Will” to see all the challenges and create your own.

All text about Earth Hour-Dare the World to Save the Planet was copied from www.earthhour.org.  Please leave a comment below to let me know that you plan to participate in Earth Hour this year on March 31, 2012.  Thank you, Connie Wayne

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A Hope for Inner Peace from Peace Pilgrim

Mildred Norman Ryder, better known as Peace Pilgrim, had a mission to help promote peace by helping others find inner peace.  She said,

“Peace is an idea whose time has come.”

She backed her words with action as a spiritual teacher, non-violence advocate, and a peace prophetess who lived from July 18, 1908-July 7, 1981.

In order to direct the attention of United States’ citizens to her desire for peace in the world, Peace Pilgrim began her first coast-to-coast pilgrimage across the United States on January 1, 1953.

She said of that day, “On that day I became a wanderer relying upon the goodness of others. It would be a pilgrim’s journey undertaken in the traditional manner: on foot and on faith. I left behind all claims to a name, personal history, possessions and affiliations.”

When she was not on the road, she was busy speaking and gathering signatures for the three petitions she carried in her satchel–one petition with a plea for immediate peace in Korea, and one petition for the President and congressional leaders requesting the installation of a Peace Department.

The third petition she carried was a plea to the United Nations and the world leaders for world disarmament and reconstruction:

“If you would find the way of peace you must overcome evil with good and falsehood with truth and hatred with love. We plead with you to free us all from the crushing burden of armaments, to free us from hatred and fear, so that we may feed our hungry ones, mend our broken cities, and experience a richness of life which can only come in a world that is unarmed and fed.”

She presented the petitions to officials at both the White House and the United Nations at the end of her first walk across the country.

Throughout her twenty-eight year pilgrimage, she honored the same commitment with which she began.  She walked until she was given shelter, fasted until she was given food, and went without money.  The only possessions she had were the clothes she wore, a toothbrush, and a comb.

Peace Pilgrim’s pilgrimage covered “the entire peace picture: peace among nations, peace among groups, peace within our environment, peace among individuals, and the very, very important inner peace.”  She talked about inner peace most often because she felt that was where peace begins.

Peace Pilgrim said, “The situation in the world around us is just a reflection of the collective situation. In the final analysis, only as we become more peaceful people will we be finding ourselves living in a more peaceful world.”.

The following is The Summary of Steps Toward Inner Peace written by Peace Pilgrim:

“FOUR PREPARATIONS        

1. Assume right attitude toward life

Stop being an escapist or a surface-liver as these attitudes can only cause inharmony in your life. Face life squarely and get down below the froth on its surface to discover its verities and realities. Solve the problems that life sets before you, and you will find that solving them contributes to your inner growth. Helping to solve collective problems contributes also to your growth, and these problems should never be avoided.

2. Live good beliefs.

The laws governing human conduct apply as rigidly as the law of gravity. Obedience to these laws pushes us toward harmony; disobedience pushes us toward inharmony. Since many of these laws are already common belief, you can begin by putting into practice all the good things you believe. No life can be in harmony unless belief and practice are in harmony.

3. Find your place in the Life Pattern.

You have a part in the scheme of things. What that part is you can know only from within yourself. You can seek it in receptive silence. You can begin to live in accordance with it by doing all the good things you are motivated toward and giving these things priority in your life over all the superficial things that customarily occupy human lives.

4. Simplify life to bring inner and outer well-being into harmony.

Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. Many lives are cluttered not only with unnecessary possessions but also with meaningless activities. Cluttered lives are out-of-harmony lives and require simplification. Wants and needs can become the same in a human life and, when this is accomplished, there will be a sense of harmony between inner and outer well-being. Such harmony is needful not only in the individual life but in the collective life too.

FOUR PURIFICATIONS           

1. Purification of the bodily temple.

Are you free from all bad habits? In your diet do you stress the vital foods – the fruits, whole grains, vegetables and nuts? Do you get to bed early and get enough sleep? Do you get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and contact with nature? If you can answer “Yes” to all of these questions, you have gone a long way toward purification of the bodily temple.

2. Purification of the thoughts.

It is not enough to do right things and say right things. You must also think right things. Positive thoughts can be powerful influences for good. Negative thoughts can make you physically ill. Be sure there is no unpeaceful situation between yourself and any other human being, for only when you have ceased to harbor unkind thoughts can you attain inner harmony.

3. Purification of the desires.

Since you are here to get yourself into harmony with the laws that govern human conduct and with your part in the scheme of things, your desires should be focused in this direction.

4. Purification of motives.

Obviously your motive should never be greed or self-seeking, or the wish for self-glorification, you shouldn’t even have the selfish motive of attaining inner peace for yourself. To be of service to your fellow humans must be your motive before your life can come into harmony.

FOUR RELINQUISHMENTS           

1. Relinquishment of self-will.

You have, or it’s as though you have, two selves: the lower self that usually governs you selfishly, and the higher self which stands ready to use you gloriously. You must subordinate the lower self by refraining from doing the not-good things you are motivated toward, not suppressing them but transforming them so that the higher self can take over your life.

2. Relinquishment of the feeling of separateness.

All of us, all over the world, are cells in the body of humanity. You are not separate from your fellow humans, and you cannot find harmony for yourself alone. You can only find harmony when you realize the oneness of all and work for the good of all.

3. Relinquishment of attachments.

Only when you have relinquished all attachments can you be really free. Material things are here for use, and anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you. You can only live in harmony with your fellow humans if you have no feeling that you possess them, and therefore do not try to run their lives.

4. Relinquishment of all negative feelings.

Work on relinquishing negative feelings. If you live in the present moment, which is really the only moment you have to live, you will be less apt to worry. If you realize that those who do mean things are psychologically ill, your feelings of anger will turn to feelings of pity. If you recognize that all of your inner hurts are caused by your own wrong actions or your own wrong reactions or your own wrong inaction, then you will stop hurting yourself.”

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For twenty-eight years, Peace Pilgrim’s message was, “This is the way of peace–overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.”

She also said, “The Golden Rule would do equally well. There is nothing new about that except the practice of it. But I consider it the lesson for today and so it becomes the message of the peace pilgrimage. Please don’t say lightly that these are just religious concepts and not practical.”

“These are laws governing human conduct, which apply as rigidly as the law of gravity. When we disregard these laws in any walk of life, chaos results. Through obedience to these laws this world of ours will enter a period of peace and richness of life beyond our fondest dreams.”

“The key word for our time is practice. We have all the light we need, we just need to put it into practice.”

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A Hope from A Silent Movie Tramp

During the silent movie era, movie star Charlie Chaplin was beloved and well-known for his role as The Tramp.

Chaplin played his first role in a true talking movie in a comedy movie first released in October 1940.

Chaplin’s powerful, final speech at the end of this movie was prefaced with the word “HOPE,” something that was much-needed in the world at that time in history, as well as today.

The movie was The Great Dictator, which Chaplin wrote, produced, directed; and in which he played not one, but two star characters who had strikingly similar appearances.

In his first true talking movie, Chaplin did not play his usual part as The Tramp, but instead played the part of a Jewish barber and the part of a dictator who looked like Adolf Hitler.

Near the end of the movie, subsequent to a series of mishaps, the look-alike Jewish barber replaced the dictator, and the barber was taken to the Capitol where he was asked to give a speech as the future Emperor of the World.

When the Jewish barber–as the future Emperor of the World–was reluctant to speak, the General at his side told him he must speak.  The barber responded, “I can’t;” to which the General replied, “You must– it’s our only hope.”

The bewildered Jewish barber, as if talking to himself, questioningly and quietly whispered, “HOPE?”  Then, he slowly made his way to the platform, in front of the microphone, and there he delivered the powerful final speech of The Great Dictator.

The Jewish barber, the look-alike, future Emperor of the World, ended his speech with these words:

“The soul of man has been given wings and at last is beginning to fly.  He is flying into the rainbow.  Into the light of hope!  Into the future!  The glorious future!  That belongs to you, to me, and to all of us.”…

As you listen to the YouTube video below, I hope this speech will stir you, as it did me.

The words of Chaplin’s speech are as relevant in today’s world as they were over seventy years ago when Chaplin wrote them.  What a powerful challenge of hope for today for the entire world!

Note:  In 1997, the Library of Congress selected The Great Dictator for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.  It was selected and preserved for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

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A Hope from Candlemas

Halfway between the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the spring equinox, February 2nd is celebrated as Candlemas.  During the days when there were no electric lights, Candlemas was a festival of hope for light.

It was a festival during which candles were blessed in hope that there would be enough candlelight to make it through the dark nights of the remaining winter days.

On February 2nd all the candles, which were used by the early Christian church and candles from people’s homes, were brought into the church.  Then, during a special festival or mass, a priest said a prayer of blessing over them; thus, the name Candlemas.

Within the Christian community, Candlemas is also known as The Festival of Lights.  The Festival of Lights is celebrated as the time of Mary’s purification and the presentation of Jesus at the temple, forty days after his birth.

Candlemas is still celebrated in many churches and countries around the world.  In Poland, the candles brought from home are decorated with symbols and ribbons.

In Poland Candlemas is called “Mother of God Who Saves Us From Thunder,” Swieto Matki Boskiej Gromnicznej.  In Hungary Candlemas is called the “Blessing of the Candle of the Happy Woman,” Gyertyazsenteio Boidog Asszony.  In Germany, it is Lichtmess, and in France it is La Chandeleur Fete de la Lumiere.

Romans and Celts regarded February as the start of spring.  February comes from februa, which means cleansing or purification, and Candlemas became known as the time of the washing of the earth’s face.

People in Western Europe believed that Candlemas was the time when the ground first awakened.  On Candlemas, they prepared their fields for the first planting and later impregnation of seed.

Because Candlemas has always been associated with fire, some people celebrate the Candlemas tradition of cleaning out their fireplaces, lighting a new fire, and sitting around the fireplace and discussing their hopes for the coming year.

Traditionally, Candlemas is a time of new beginnings…a time to celebrate all things new.  It is the dawn of the year, the time of germination.

Candlemas is a time to hope, dream, and live with expectancy of renewal.   What are your hopes and dreams?  What do you expect to be renewed in your life?

If you received Kate Kresse’s Candlelighter’s Award, take another look at it and what the award represents.  Bless your Candlelighter Award and the light within you.

May you be blessed with light throughout the rest of the winter and the coming year.  May light shine in, through, and around you.  May you be a light in someone’s darkness.

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A Hope from Biscuits and Birds

I met her, the woman who later received hope from biscuits and birds, when she came to the office where I worked.

She had a driver’s license, but she did not drive.  But, for weeks before his death, her husband had taught her to drive the short distance from their home to our office.

He insisted that, if something happened to him, she must drive to our office, because he was certain that our office was where she would find the help and hope she would need.

The woman was clearly distraught and wanted to die.  As a matter of fact, she planned to die.  She was going to go home and start giving away all her possessions.  It was clear that she did not want to live without her husband.

It had been two weeks since the woman’s husband had died, and her overwhelming grief had taken away her appetite.  And it had been over two weeks since she had eaten anything.

Even though I already had determined the woman was not eligible for any of the services our organization provided, I spent some time talking to her, trying to comfort her, and I encouraged her not to go home and give her things away.  I also encouraged her to go home and eat something, but she resisted.

Then, I asked her if she had a back yard, and she said, “Yes.”  I asked her if she had any birds, and she said, “Yes,”  but she clearly did not understand why I was asking her about birds.

Because I love nature and know how therapeutic it is, I suggested she go home, sit in her back yard, enjoy the beautiful sunshine, and watch the birds.  Then I asked her if she had anything she could feed the birds.

“Well, yeah,” she said, “I have some biscuits.”  I encouraged her to go home and feed the birds some biscuits, and I urged her to eat a biscuit while she fed the birds.  She agreed, “Well yeah, I guess I could do that.”

Since she had agreed to eat a biscuit, I took my suggestion one step further, and I asked her if she had any protein she could put on her biscuit.  “I’ve got some cheese,” she said.  “That will do,” I responded.  Why don’t you put a piece of cheese on your biscuit and eat it, while you feed the birds?”

At that exact moment, her face brightened, her eyes lit up, and she said, “How did you know? How did you know? That’s what my husband always told me to eat when I was not feeling well.  He always told me to eat a biscuit with cheese.”

It was then that the woman decided she had heard from God, and her husband had been “right” to teach her to drive to our office.  She had heard what she thought she needed to hear.

I later learned that the woman went home, fed the birds, ate a biscuit with cheese, did not sell her belongings, and went on living without her husband.

Did God use biscuits and birds to give a woman hope, when she needed hope the most?

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A Hope in “Just A Minute”

How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say, “Just a minute.”  If given just one more minute, people hope to do a plethora of different things, which they apparently believe can be accomplished in “just a minute.”

I suppose that is why there are so many authors who have written books about what can be accomplished in just a minute:

The One Minute Manager, The One Minute Entrepreneur, The One Minute Millionaire, The One Minute Apology, One Minute Wellness, One Minute Reader, One Minute Bedtime Stories, etc.

So, what is the true value of just a minute?  Simply answered, people are born in a minute, live minute-by-minute, and die in a minute, and the value people place on the minutes in their lives can only be determined by them.

Kevin Welch said, “There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read them.  But all that is going to matter is that little dash between them.”

Art Rainer similarly said, “On each grave marker is a dash between two years. The dash is time, and that is where we are, in our dash. And before there is some year placed on the other end, we need to figure this thing out.”

Some authors have tried to help people “figure this thing out” by writing books such as The Power of Now and Be Here Now, etc. These writings are profound; but, very simply stated, the dash between the two dates on a tombstone represent a few or a multitude of minutes filled with hope.  How people use those minutes filled with hope is their choice.

“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.”…Stephen Vincent Benet

“Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.”…Benjamin Franklin

“The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is; a miracle and unrepeatable.”…Storm Jameson

“Two things are as big as the man who possesses them–neither bigger nor smaller.  One is a minute, the other a dollar.”…Channing Pollock

“I lose my temper, but it’s all over in a minute,” said the student.  “So is the hydrogen bomb,” I replied.  “But think of the damage it produces!”…Spencer Tracy

“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty-seconds of happiness.”…Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t waste a minute not being happy.  If one window closes, run to next window–or break down a door.”…Brooke Shields

“Time needs another minute.”…Sly Stone

“Man as long as he lives, is immortal.  One minute before his death he shall be immortal.  But one minute later, God wins.”…  E. Wiesel

“I’m terrified about the day that I enter the gates of heaven and God says to me, just a minute.”…Maureen O’Hara

 

 

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For a list of twenty things that can happen in one minute, visit http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/01/30/20-things-that-happen-in-1-minute-graphic/.

For those who have seen the movie Forrest Gump, the following YouTube video is the summary of his entire life.  It proves that “Life is but a vapor…here today and gone tomorrow.”  So please enjoy and make the most of the minutes you have.

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