To see my post 'Removing the cloud of limitation' please click on the following link guest post
A few Christmases ago I received one of those circular e-mails which gave an insight into a child's view on what love is. There were quotes from children of all ages many of which were humorous but many which were also very touching in their innocent simplicity. The one quote that spoke to me the most was a comment made by a young child who when asked what love was had this to say:
‘Love is what is in the air at Christmastime when you stop opening presents and just listen!’
At the time of reading this quote I thought to myself, ‘How true!’ and ever since it has been a favourite quote of mine. However when I stop to think about it I realise that this little truth offered to us from the naive perspective of a child is far more profound than I first realised it to be; for surely love is the very thing that is in the air AT ALL TIMES. We may be more attuned to receive this truth at Christmas time because our focus on life shifts for a while. It seems that in order for us to FEEL the love in the air we must be willing to do two things:
1) Slow down and stop being so busy
2) Be willing to refocus our attention towards expressing and experiencing love
So the message behind this lovely, sweet, innocent remark is very clear – not only at Christmas but all year to – if we allow ourselves to slow down and refocus ourselves away from the frantic busyness of living our lives we may find that love (the very thing we all claim to want so badly) is not so far away from us after all.
Love it seems is literally in the air, in the stillness that supports our daily living. It is that close - no matter how far away it may seem to be it can always be accessed if we have the will to find it. This was clearly demonstrated in The Christmas Truce of 1914 when on Christmas Eve both English and German soldiers fighting in the trenches decided to lay down their differences and step aside from war for a time. They joined together in the singing of Silent Night and this simple act enabled them to refocus their thoughts and energies in such away that for the duration of the evening and into the next day peace was experienced in No Mans Land.
So perhaps the best gift we can give ourselves this Christmas is the gift of stillness – even if just for an odd moment here and there in between opening our presents, pulling the crackers, cooking the dinner and visiting our relatives.
Remember Love is in the air and it’s ours for the taking.
Wishing you all a vey merry, peaceful, love-filled Christmas!
'I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving'
Today I listened to the words of this well known song from the musical Les Miserables and I was particularly struck by the line ‘I dreamed that God would be forgiving’.
The word forgiving is a word that I suspect, is often misused. It is such an everyday word that perhaps it is used without a lot of thought as to what it really means. If we look closely at the word though we see that we can split it into its two component parts to get two separate words - for and giving.
SO, looking at the lines of the song, I find myself asking if God is FOR GIVING then just exactly what is it that He gives? The answer to this will probably vary considerably depending on your perception (if you have one!) of who or what God is. If like me you see God as the Source or Creator of Life the answer to the question is relatively easy – GOD GIVES LIFE!
If we take time to stop and think about this then perhaps we may reach the conclusion that there is no better gift than this.
What a fantastic gift and it is given freely to all of us whether we think we deserve it or not. We all know the old saying that rain falls on both the righteous and the not so righteous and that is because God makes no distinction about who or what is eligible to receive His gift. In other words His gift is given unconditionally. Every one of us who is alive today is a recipient of this gift and just as when we receive gifts from friends and family we are free to do with this gift whatever we choose.
This is all good news for a girl like me who was raised in a religion that more often than not saw God as someone who demanded something from me in return for His favours.
Seeing God in the light of a being who is FOR GIVING helps me greatly in my understanding of the word forgiveness. I was taught as a child that I should forgive others but it has taken me well into my adult life to even begin to comprehend what that word means.
So what does it mean to forgive someone?
Well I believe that when we forgive someone we are GIVING ourselves the GIFT of LIFE. Forgiving someone is a skill we can develop that helps us to live life in a way that is supportive of health and wellness. This is because when we engage in the act of forgiveness what we are doing is helping ourselves to live WITHOUT judgement, hatred, resentment, bitterness or the unresolved anger and tension that comes from seeking revenge and needing to see justice done. When we act forgivingly we are freeing ourselves of these life draining energies that have the potential to cause stress and harm to our health.
Often when we talk about forgiveness the focus is put on the person that has ‘wronged’ us in some way. We can become obsessed with their behaviour but when viewed in the light of a gift to ourselves we free ourselves from the need to control the outcome of the process. Furthermore, in keeping with the unconditional aspect of FORGIVING, the ‘offender’ is also set free.
This is not to say that when we forgive someone we are opting to tolerate behaviour that we find unacceptable or that we pretend that such behaviour doesn’t matter. Nor does it mean that we have no desire for that person to change! Rather it means that we choose not to spend our time and energy focusing on the desire for that change.
We shift our focus away from them to ourselves and free ourselves up from the need to do something about it. Instead of harbouring negative emotions we can use our energies in a positive way to create the kind of life that we want to live. We might still have to deal with the unwanted consequences of someone else behaviour BUT we will be able to do this far more effectively if our energies are focused in a positive way than if they are negative and scattered in all directions.
Ultimately we have little control over the actions of others only of our own behaviours and choices. Forgiveness is an act of KINDNESS to ourselves. Being for the GIVING of LIFE helps us to experience more joy, peace, love and friendship in our lives and the energy of these life enhancing qualities will radiate outwards and surely have a greater impact for good in the world than the negative energies we have decided to let go of?
CHRISTMAS is upon us. It is the season of goodwill. Perhaps it is time to search our hearts to see if we could benefit from a little GIFT unto ourselves?
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.