Things that make my heart sing

Don’t you just hate those times when you’re in a low mood and none of your usual strategies works (see my previous posts on distraction, gratitude, acts of kindness, meditation)!  At times like these, I just allow myself to feel the emotions fully, knowing from experience that for me this low mood will pass tomorrow.

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Sharing our light in service to others

Have you ever thought about light energy and how it is the basis of everything on Earth? All the great Masters knew this. Jesus was often quoted in the Gospels as saying: “If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6: 22-23), referring to the practice of focusing on the spiritual eye in the forehead during meditation. Similarly, in the Hindu scripture, The Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna tells spiritual seeker Arjuna: “Out of compassion for them, I, who dwell within their hearts, destroy the darkness born of ignorance, with the luminous lamp of knowledge.”(Chapter 10: verse 11).

In ancient times, the importance of the sun to all aspects of life was reflected in its deification in the form of the sun god Ra.  As Ra shares his universal light with us this summer, let’s follow his example and share our individualized light —our gifts, love, time, and so on — with others.

Summer is the perfect time to do this because it’s a time of plenty when the natural world offers infinite bounty: there are fruits ripening, vegetables ready to be harvested, warm sunshine raising our spirits. As we delight in this bounty, let’s remember the words of Christ and Krishna above, who showed us how to lead a better, kinder, and more spiritual life to bring us closer to God.

We can all do this by giving of ourselves to help others. We each possess a vast amount of inherent Divine light that can be readily augmented by tapping into our inner silence. As we do this, we strengthen our link with its Source. For me, this happens best when I connect with God during meditation. Once we rediscover this light through the process of awakening, we can then share it with others. Amazing!

Read the rest of the article here as featured on Best Self Magazine.   Have a wonderful summer – and remember – share your light with others!  It will benefit both them and you.  Much love, Anita.🌞

Love and kindness to all

Love is such a powerful emotion.  Most of us find it easy to love our nearest and dearest –  our family and friends – and for some people this is enough in life.  They see no need to extend their love outwards from this closed circle.  In fact, the thought doesn’t cross their mind at all!

I used to think like this, but now the thought of sharing love to others outwith my little circle crosses my mind all the time.  I know it’s God prompting me to act.   I believe the first and easiest way to extend love outward from family and friends is to focus on the local community, which has a diversity of layers and avenues to become involved in.

Here are a few things we can all do to show love and kindness to those in our community:

Donate:

Donate food, toiletries etc. to the local food bank for those who are struggling financially and cannot afford to feed themselves and their children.  Don’t donate with judgement in the back of your mind.  Just help people who need help and give gratitude to God that you are financially able to do so.  We think nothing of spending £10 on a good bottle of wine to take to a family gathering.  Include your local community as your family now!  I’ve decided to allocate 10% of my weekly food bill to the local food bank.  You could, if you prefer, allocate a specific amount each week, say £5 or £10.   Do it regularly.  Make it a new, positive habit in your life.  One added benefit of this is that you will feel good knowing you are making a difference.  Not only will you be changing others’ lives; you will be changing yours too!

Respect others:

Treat others respectfully:  do not use them for your own gains; think of their good points when they are being difficult; speak well of them to others; walk away if they seem intent on having an argument with you; do not read their private correspondence; give them space; allow them to be the person they are, not the person you want them to be.  Treat them as you would like to be treated.  In other words,

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.”  (Exodus 20:16)

 Actions speak louder than words:

Be actively helpful:  for example, pick up litter from your neighbour’s garden if you know s/he is unable to do so; if someone asks for your help, give it if you are able (this could be simple things like giving directions, opening a door for someone with a pram/in a wheelchair and so on); and that metal gate to the park which squeals and grates each time it is opened or closed – go ahead and grease it so that others will not have to hear it.  Actively look around your local community as you walk or drive through.  Where is help needed?  Can you phone the local refuse department to uplift an old sofa which has been lying on the grass verge for a week?  Can you phone the police department to install speed detectors on a local road where cars regularly speed?  Can you pester local community groups to do litter picks in your area?  If community groups are unaware of problems, how can they be expected to deal with them!  That’s where you come in!

I hope this post has given you a few ideas of how to spread love and kindness out to your local community.  Please feel free to send in your suggestions.  Much love, Anita. 😀

Just Giving!

This week is holy week in the Christian calendar.  It asks us to remember the life of, and sacrifices made by, the avatar Jesus Christ who came to earth as an incarnation of divine forgiveness and love and was crucified by his people for blasphemy.  I’m thankful for his teachings and for the example of his life.  He was still teaching his disciples right up to the end.  At the last supper, he washed their feet, and I remember this being done at Holy Thursday mass when I was a little girl.  The priest would wash a member of the congregation’s feet, and I always wondered why he did that.  Jesus explained it to his disciples:

4 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.  – John 13:14-17

So, I’m thinking, okay I’m not going to be washing anyone’s feet any time soon, but how can I carry out a simple act of respect and service for another?  Well, I woke up this morning with the hymn “Suffer little children to come unto me….for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” ringing in my head over and over.   Yes, I can do something to help children!  Here’s what I’ve done.  I’ve set up a justgiving.com fundraising page to raise money for the Save the Children charity, which helps children in desperate situations all around the world.  I have set an easily attainable fundraising target of £100.  Would you like to help me reach this target by donating 1% of your income for this month (or any amount you like, however small)?  If you would, God bless you and I send you love from my heart.  If you can’t donate, send good thoughts.  Every little helps.   Anita.  Click on the link below to make a donation:

Anita’s justgiving page

Kindness traits in action

This post is for my #healingwordsthu and is an extract from my book, Acts of Kindness from your Armchair.

Chapter 6, Kind thoughts, words and acts.  Practice 7:  Kindness traits in action

Look at the kindness traits below.   Make a note of each one (*please use free downloadable pdf worksheets to accompany this Practice if you prefer) and beside each one write down any events, however small, where you feel you have made progress in embedding these traits of kindness more deeply in yourself.  It may be helpful to have two columns as outlined below with some examples:

Goodwill:                                I noticed when I was judging a friend unfairly and replaced this with a positive thought.

Benevolence:                          I joined in a prayer for wisdom for world leaders as they met to discuss a way forward for war-torn Syria.

Charity:                                   When entering a competition, I affirmed to myself that I would give some of the winnings to charity.

Compassion:                           I watched a tv programme and felt compassion for one of the celebrities who seemed lonely.

Generosity:                             Upon receiving four small gifts from my sister, I spontaneously offered one each of the gifts to my other sisters.

Humanity:                               I felt sympathy for people in the world who still have to walk miles to collect water each day.  I will no longer waste water.

Kindliness:                              I played Hunt the Food with the dogs instead of ignoring them to watch tv.

Philanthropy:                          I bought one of a friend’s paintings to encourage her in her art.

Understanding:                      I put myself in my husband’s shoes after I had cajoled him about something he hadn’t done and realised that it doesn’t feel good to be the recipient of this.

Other examples of how you have shown kindness traits in action could be:  perhaps you have thought more charitably of refugees fleeing for their lives; perhaps you became aware that you were about to say something negative about yourself or others and you stopped yourself and instead remained silent; perhaps you hugged a friend who needed emotional support and so on.  Note down the ones which you have experienced.  Read this list often, and add to it, and you will be amazed at what kindness your heart is capable of.

Kind thoughts:

 “If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him….if a man speaks

or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”

– The Twin Verses, Buddha.

Thoughts create our reality:  acts of kindness result from kind words which themselves originate in kind thoughts.  The Law of Attraction has fascinated many scholars throughout history from the Buddha to Albert Einstein to Christian Larson (The Optimist’s Creed) and more recently Rhonda Byrne (The Secret, The Magic) to name a few.  It proposes that our thoughts create our reality and what we think, say and do will be the reality that we attract back to ourselves at some point.   For example, if we think and say that life is unfair, that bad things always happen to us, that we are never lucky and so on these negative thoughts of lack are the reality that we create for ourselves and therefore we will always think of ourselves as a victim in life because it doesn’t go the way we want it to.  These thoughts lead us to negative emotional patterns where our lack of success – as we see it – may result in us experiencing bitterness and discontent.

With the support of a Cognitive Behavioural (or Holistic) therapist, we can learn that it is beneficial to think of compassionate alternatives to challenge anxiety and negative thoughts.  This gradually leads to much improved mood and motivation.   We are retraining ourselves to think more positively and attract a better reality for ourselves.  Instead of adopting the victim mentality of:  “I will fail, I’m not going to try”, we would say for example: “What is the worst that can happen?”  or “It might be fun!”  So, be kind.  Notice when you are being negative about yourself, acknowledge it when it happens and immediately change the thoughts or words to something positive.  Keep practising this and it will eventually become a new automatic mode of behaviour.

I hope you have enjoyed this section of my book, the content of which came from my personal experiences working towards finding new purpose in life through kindness. Om Shanti!  Anita.