A Hope in The Art of Blessing

Because humanity has learned there is much hope in the art of blessing things and people, many ethnicities, cultures, and religions around the world share this art.  The words in the following photo are an example of an Irish blessing.

Blessing is also a core Biblical concept, and The God of Israel actually told the people of Israel that they could choose between life and death, good and evil, and blessing and cursing.

If choosing God’s blessing is a personal choice, then blessing other things and other people is also a personal choice.

Even though people cannot always verbally bless others, people can always bless others in their thoughts, prayers, attitudes, and actions.

At a time in history when schools are beginning to forbid children to say “bless you” when another child sneezes, the art of blessing others is important to teach our children and grandchildren.

The following content about blessing things and people is copied with permission from a little book called The Aloha Spirit by Serge Kahili King:

“To bless something means to give recognition or emphasis to a positive quality, characteristic or condition, with the intent that what is recognized or emphasized will increase, endure or come into being…”

“First of all, the positive focus of your mind stirs up the positive, creative force of the Power of the Universe. Secondly, it moves your own energy outward, allowing more of the Power to come through you.

Thirdly, when you bless for the benefit of others instead of directly for yourself, you tend to bypass any subconscious fears about what you want for yourself, and also the very focus on the blessing acts to increase the same good in your life.

What is so beautiful about this process is that the blessing you do for others helps them as well as you.

Blessing may be done with imagery or touch, but the most usual and easy way to do it is with words. The main kinds of verbal blessing are:

Admiration – This is the giving of compliments or praise to something good that you notice. E.g., “What a beautiful sunset; I like that flower; you’re such a wonderful person.”

Affirmation – This is a specific statement of blessing for increase or endurance. E.g., “I bless the beauty of this tree; blessed be the health of your body.”

Appreciation – This is an expression of gratitude that something good exists or has happened. E.g., “Thank you for helping me; I give thanks to the rain for nourishing the land.”

Anticipation – This is blessing for the future. E.g., “We’re going to have a great picnic; I bless your increased income; Thank you for my perfect mate; I wish you a happy journey; May the wind be always at your back.”

In order to gain the most benefit from blessing, you will have to give up or cut way down on the one thing that negates it: cursing. This doesn’t mean swearing or saying “bad” words.

It refers to the opposite of blessing, namely criticizing instead of admiring; doubting instead of affirming; blaming instead of appreciating; and worrying instead of anticipating with trust.

Whenever any of these are done they tend to cancel out some of the effects of blessing. So the more you curse the harder it will be and the longer it will take to get the good from a blessing. On the other hand, the more you bless the less harm any cursing will do.

Here, then, are some ideas for blessing various needs and desires. Apply them as often as you like, as much as you want.

Health – Bless healthy people, animals, and even plants; everything which is well made or well constructed; and everything that expresses abundant energy.

Happiness – Bless all that is good, or the good that is in all people and all things; all the signs of happiness that you see, hear or feel in people or animals; and all potentials for happiness that you notice around you.

Prosperity – Bless all the signs of prosperity in your environment, including everything that money helped to make or do; all the money that you have in any form; and all the money that circulates in the world.

Success – Bless all signs of achievement and completion (such as buildings, bridges, and sports events); all arrivals at destinations (of ships, planes, trains, cars and people); all signs of forward movement or persistence; and all signs of enjoyment or fun.

Confidence – Bless all signs of confidence in people and animals; all signs of strength in people, animals and objects (including steel and concrete); all signs of stability (like mountains and tall trees); and all signs of purposeful power (including big machines, power lines).

Love and Friendship – Bless all signs of caring and nurturing, compassion and support; all harmonious relationships in nature and architecture; everything that is connected to or gently touching something else; all signs of cooperation, as in games or work; and all signs of laughter and fun.

Inner Peace – Bless all signs of quietness, calmness, tranquility, and serenity (such as quiet water or still air); all distant views (horizons, stars, the moon); all signs of beauty of sight, sound or touch; clear colors and shapes; the details of natural or made objects.

Spiritual Growth – Bless all signs of growth, development and change in Nature; the transitions of dawn and twilight; the movement of sun, moon, planets and stars; the flight of birds in the sky; and the movement of wind and sea.

The previous ideas are for guidance if you are not used to blessing, but don’t be limited by them. Remember that any quality, characteristic or condition can be blessed…”

There is an old Christian hymn that says, “Count your blessings.  Name them one by one…”  When people intentionally take the time to notice, appreciate, name, and bless the things and people in their lives, it increases their awareness of the many blessings that are part of their every day lives.

In other words, people need not only to take time to smell the roses, but take time to bless the roses.  When people choose a life of blessing, they choose lives in which they want themselves and everything and everyone around them to prosper and thrive–not just survive!

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy reading A Hope in A Greeting, Word, or Phrase at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/20/a-hope-in-a-greeting-word-or-phrase/.

YouTube video below of Bing Crosby singing “Count Your Blessings.”

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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.”

###

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 for a New Label

“A Hope for a New Label”  is about a quotation I recently read about a label and how the quotation struck a really strong chord within my spirit.

Some people today are very interested in what designer labels they and others wear on their clothing, shoes, purses, sunglasses, etc.  They often hope to have the money to buy something new for their wardrobe that has a designer label on it.

Product marketers, singers, and musicians may also hope for new labels.  But none of those labels are what this article is about, or the type of new label for which I hope.

I do not know the source of the quotation, or if I am quoting the quotation exactly, but this is the quotation that struck a chord within me:

“Religion is like a bottle with a label on it.

Spirituality is what is inside.”

Even though I do not promote my spiritual beliefs by advertising or wearing the label of any particular religious group, I am a very spiritual person.  I know that I do not require a bottle to contain, or a label to label my spiritual beliefs.

Some people may have the “religion” bottle and label without the spirituality filling.  Some may even be empty on the inside, or they could be similar to the religious people Jesus admonished for presenting an exterior image that did not match their interior contents.

Usually, however, most people label themselves with some religious identity, even if it is the religious identity of their family, or an identity such as agnostic or atheist.

Therefore, I asked myself, how should I respond when someone asks me, “What’s your religion?”

I love to study the etymology of words, and I have learned the root meaning of the word religion.  Religion is not Baptist, Buddhist, Methodist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or any other label that relates to a particular “religious” organization, dogma, or belief system.

The root meaning of the word “religion” is “to bind back to.”  Religion was a way humanity used to bind them to God; not to a labeled bottle.

Worship has always been the means humanity has used to bind them to God, so religion and worship are sometimes used synonymously.

Worship is not just meditating, singing, dancing, praising, thanking God, or listening to someone deliver a message from Sacred Scripture.  The etymology of the word worship reveals that its root meaning relates to a sacrifice of self.

At this point in my writing, the question, “What’s your religion?” has now evolved into the question, “What are you willing to sacrifice yourself for?”

In case you might be interested in my answer to that question, my answer is , “I love God, I love people, and I love God’s Creation.”  I am willing to sacrifice myself–my time, my energy, my strength, my money, etc.– for God, beliefs, causes, and people I love.

My answer to that question does not mean, however, that I still do not hold to and practice certain spiritual beliefs, but my religion is LOVE.

In my page titled “Meet Me,” I say that I am a catalyst and a visionary for hope.  I would love to act as a catalyst for the design of a new label for all religion bottles.

I would hope to see all the labels religious people wear removed and replaced with a new label, “LOVE.”  After all, love is the substance at the core of world religions, which are still contained in many bottles with different labels.

If every religious person in the world wore the new “LOVE” label, and their interior contents matched their exterior labels, there would then be no need for the various religion bottles that separate and segregate the contents of the bottles.   Without boundaries or labels, people would flow together in love, and in love they would unite.

Am I a dreamer?  I hope I am not the only one.  If you liked this article, you also may be interested in reading http://ahopefortoday.com/2011/11/19/hope-for-worship/.

YouTube video says it all:  Love is the Question, Life is the journey,  and Love is the Answer:

 

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A Hope for Not Complaining

Author Maya Angelou offers a wonderful hope for not complaining:

“If you don’t like something, change it.

If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

Don’t complain.”

What excellent advice Maya gives, but it is often not easy to follow.  Sometimes people are powerless to change things, and sometimes they have strong, unyielding opinions that are difficult to change about those things.

The secret is in the last sentence of Maya’s quotation:  “Don’t complain.”  Things may not change, attitudes may not change, but complainers can choose not to complain out loud.

There are many complainers, but there are also many silent sufferers who are unable to change their circumstances or their attitudes about something that has hurt them very deeply–so deeply that they do not talk about or complain about it to others.

These hurts are often mental and emotional bruises and wounds that are never seen on people’s exterior countenances or in their speech or mannerisms.

There is much evidence that proves it is beneficial for people with these types of bruises and wounds to vent their complaints to someone, especially an experienced professional who knows how to help people who suffer from mental or emotional trauma.

People have different religious and spiritual beliefs that help them heal from illnesses, pains, wounds, bruises, and hurts of all kinds.  As part of my core spiritual and healing beliefs, I believe that Nature is a great mood enhancer and healer.

In the book, Blinded by Science, Author Matthew Silverstone proves scientifically that trees improve depression, headaches, ADHD, concentration, reaction times, and mental illness.

The African Bantu tribes have a spring ceremony during which they offer their personal, traumatic wounds to a tree.  During the ceremony, as they celebrate their intentions to never speak out loud about their wounds again, the Bantu tribes give their wounds to a tree for healing purposes.

I do not know if this Bantu ceremony actually heals the wounds of the Bantu tribes, but this or a similar ceremony–during which people vow to never speak out loud about their complaints again–could certainly be very therapeutic and healing.

This year “Tree Hugging Day” is March 19, 2012, the eve of the March 20th spring equinox.   March 19th could be a good day to venture into Nature specifically to have private ceremonies, where people release old wounds and complaints.

That way, the spring equinox could mark a fresh, new complaint-free beginning for the rest of the year.

Below is a YouTube video of Patti LaBelle singing “I Can’t Complain.”

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A Hope for Global Thinkers

In the movie Pay It Forward, a seventh grade, social studies’ teacher asks his students several profound questions:

1.   “What does the world mean to you?”

2.   “We’re not global thinkers yet, but why aren’t we?”

3.   “What if the world is just a big disappointment, unless you take the things you don’t like about this world, and you flip them upside down…and you can start today.”

4.   “What if it’s possible?  The realm of possibility exists in each of you.”

Many times people procrastinate sharing possibilities–thoughts, ideas, or plans that could change the world–because they are waiting on other catalysts for world change such as political, religious, and socio-economic systems, which are often big disappointments.

To be a global thinker, adults and youth look beyond their neighborhoods, countries, nations, and systems of the world.  They become aware of global problems, and they view themselves and other citizens of the world as catalysts for world change.

The song “We Are The World” sung in the YouTube video below says:

“There comes a time when we heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one…”

“We can’t go on pretending day-by-day that someone, somewhere will soon make a change…We are the world!”

“There’s a choice we’re making.  We’re saving our own lives.”

The movie Pay It Forward and the song “We Are The World” clearly send the message that we are the ones who can and must change our world.

In the book My Grandfather’s Blessing by Rachel Naomi Remen, she writes about our collective human task and how we can serve, sustain, and restore the world:

“We do not serve the weak or the broken.  What we serve is the wholeness in each other and the wholeness in life.  The part in you that I serve is the same part that is strengthened in me when I serve.  Unlike helping and fixing and rescuing, service is mutual.  There are may ways to serve and strengthen the life around us:  through friendship or parenthood or work, by kindness, by compassion, by generosity or acceptance.  Through our philanthropy, our example, our encouragement, our active participation, our belief.  No matter how we do this, our service will bless us. When we offer our blessings generously, the light in the world is strengthened, around us and in us.  The Kabbalah speaks of our collective human task as Tikkun Olam; we sustain and restore the world.”

In the Pentateuch, God asks Moses the question, “What’s in your hand?”  Rabbis, priests, and ministers use this question to challenge people to contemplate who they are and what they have, which they can use to serve God and humanity.

In the same ministerial way, the Pay It Forward social studies’ teacher challenges his class with the following assignment for the year:

“Think of an idea to change our world and put it into action.”

As the Pay It Forward teacher challenged, “What if it’s possible?  The realm of possibility exists in each of you.”  And as God said, “What’s in your hand?”

You might have a laptop with a wireless Internet connection, a cell phone, or some other media device in your hand, which can give you an almost immediate, greater awareness of global problems.

With all the new media devices available, more people also have greater opportunity to become aware of each other’s thoughts, ideas, and plans.  These communication devices now give global thinkers the means to globally communicate with other global thinkers, in a hope to find possible solutions to small or large global issues.

Is it possible that Hope Unites Globally HUG Award Recipients, throughout the world, can work together as global thinkers? Can HUG Award Recipients share their newly established identity and unity and be catalysts to help change our world? IF SO, HOW?

Think big, or think small!  And be sure to leave a comment.  Let’s get a discussion going about possibilities!

If you are not a Hope Unites Globally HUG Award Recipient and would like more information about the award, please read the HUG Award Guidelines at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/

A Hope for Today, sharing about:  life, personal development, spirituality, religion, carpe diem, seize the day, hope for today