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

I Surrender!

“For like the olive
I cannot be without
The sturdy tree;
And like the nectar
I cannot flow without
The blossom at its Source.”

-Anita Neilson

Surrender:

The above quote is taken from my poem In the Garden which I wrote last year at Easter time.  It got me thinking of the issue of surrender.   The more I read and talk about spiritual matters, the more the word surrender raises its head.  And I’ve finally understood it!  Just as in the poem, an olive cannot exist without the sturdy tree which gives it life; and nectar cannot flow if there is no blossom from which it may flow.  So neither can we exist without that which gives us life – the Creator / God / Brahman / Source.   I’ve also realised that the more I/we fight this higher power and try to do things our way, even when it feels wrong, the more we become immersed in “I”, the ego.

The ego is the part of us that is entrenched in the duality of the material world.  It believes in all the dramas playing out before its eyes.  It has desires, needs, wants and believes that these will bring it the happiness it seeks.  But, deep down, we know, don’t we, that the soul has always had the right idea all along – we just didn’t want to listen!  For the soul is linked with wisdom – Divine wisdom – and it directs us towards courses of action which will be for our highest good.  Always.  We just have to surrender to it and have faith that everything will be as it should be, for our greater good.

Surrendering doesn’t mean giving in and doing nothing.  It means listening to our inner wisdom and choosing a course of action in line with it, one that will be for our good and the good of others.  It means doing the right thing just because it’s the right thing to do and not wanting or expecting something in return (praise, reward etc.).   This is non-attachment to the outcome of our actions, which is a highly desirable spiritual quality we should all endeavour to attain.

This Easter time, whatever your religion or belief system, why not take a moment to think about the avatar, Jesus Christ, who came to earth over 2,000 years ago as an embodiment of Divine Forgiveness.  Think of his teachings and the example of his life of renunciation and selfless service.   He was and remains an inspiration to many, and yet he was condemned by his people.  #healingwordsmon

Surrender  –  Faith  –  Non-attachment  –  Forgiveness 

 

Perfect Reflections

This post is for Debbie Roth’s   #forgivingconnects and my #healingwordsmon and it’s about non-judgement.  Today’s poem is an extract from Perfect Reflections (which will appear in my new book).

Show me Your light
In the evil deeds of men
For dost not evil
Merely cover the good in them?
Show me Your light
In hurtful, vengeful words
For dost not pain
Merely cover forgotten love?
Give me the strength, Lord,
To proclaim what is true:
That we are all
Perfect Reflections of You.

– taken from the poem Perfect Reflections by Anita Neilson.

I have to say right up that I have been very judgemental in life.  This all began with a childhood habit which grew into an ugly spiritual boil before bursting a few years ago.  Only then, could I see my behaviour for what it was – embedded in fear.  Fear of difference.  But ironically, now I realise that every person we come across is different, unique, and to surround myself in this bubble of fear was only hurting myself.   And yet, I choose not to beat myself up over this.  I forgive myself for my years of judging on appearances; of laughing at those less pretty or clever than I; of being a little too spoilt for my own good.

Now that’s not to say I don’t struggle with showing love to those who commit acts of evil in the misguided belief that it will bring them the happiness they seek.  But they are on their own journey through many lifetimes, just as we are on ours.  We’re all at different stages, and who am I to say that my way is the right way?  I know that there will be others who compare themselves favourably with my ‘misguided’ standards.  It’s such a tricky one this.  Yes, show love and understanding to people who do bad things but also speak out if others are being harmed.  I’d value your thoughts on this dilemma, because I do battle with this.  Anita.

Compassion

On technicalities:

Okay, so I’m learning already this week about how to use hashtags so that they are discoverable and no-one else has used them.  Yikes!  It’s a minefield, but the secret for me is to tread very carefully (which if my mother were still alive would make her giggle, as she used to say I was like a bull in a china shop!)🐂🙂

*****

Compassion:

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is that as you write, you pause from time to time and think, “Why did I use that word?”, “Where does that word come from?”  That’s what I was thinking when I decided to write about compassion.  The word seems to derive from Latin compassio which itself is translated from the Greek sympatheia.  So to embody compassion, we must have sympathy, pity, empathy with someone.  In other words, we share their pain at that moment.  And when a problem is shared, we are half way to solving it, aren’t we?

Compassion is something which I lacked in my younger adult life.  Like many people, I was so entwined in the material world seeking my happiness there, with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, that it hardened my heart over time.  I had (subconsciously even) locked the door of my heart so that no pain could hurt me and no harm could come to me.  I know now, of course, that life doesn’t work like that.   We have to open our heart and let the light flood in, be brave enough to analyse ourselves and change our bad habits.  For it is through our choices in life that we create for ourselves either pain and harm or joy and success.   When we become aware of this and decide to change, only then can pain and harm no longer trouble us.   I was blessed to go through this awakening life transition around 9 years ago when chronic ill-health struck.  It afforded me the space and time to do this inner work, and to start to see the world around me and everything in it in its true light:  a cosmic dance of energy.  Through my own suffering,  I could finally empathise with others’ suffering.  The door to compassion had been wedged open.

My husband, on the other hand, is one of those naturally kind and compassionate people.  He is truly inspiring, helping others instinctively with no thought of reward.  He is happy to describe himself as my carer.  I don’t need help with everything, but as I have chronic fatigue and daily pain which pops up in random places, there are some things I can’t manage, like showering, drying hair, housework (no great loss!), shopping and so on.  Anyway, whenever he does something to help me, I always thank him, and he replies (affecting a silly voice) “Everything I do, I do for you.”

Now, lock me up if you think I’ve gone mad (and even if I were, why would you?) but I’ve come to the realisation recently that God or my Guru (which are really one and the same for me because my Guru is the mouthpiece for a silent God) are at times speaking to me through my husband (and others, but that’s another post!). Let me explain.  As part of my meditation every day, I chant mantras translated from Sanskrit, or I say Christian prayers.  But sometimes the archaic language is a barrier to my devotion.  All I really want is a simple mantra that sums it all up:  how I want to get closer to God and live a good life helping others.  Something like, “Everything I do, I do for you”!  When my husband says it, he is addressing me;  when I say it, I am addressing God and Guru.  It’s perfect.

* * * * *

For this week’s #healingwordsthu  I wanted to highlight an amazingly beautiful YouTube video 40 acts of compassion by Micah Christian.    

These are just a few of the acts of compassion mentioned in this short 5 minute video.  You may have heard of many of them before, but to make a difference, we know that it’s no longer enough just to read and perhaps leave nice feedback.  We also need to make the right choice to put inspiration into practice.  We need to act.

TODAY:  Take 5 minutes out of your busy day.  Watch the video and let it inspire you!  Now, here’s the most important part – commit to putting one or two of the ideas into action in your life.

  • Leave a room cleaner than you found it
  • Ask people to donate to a charity you specify instead of giving you gifts for birthdays
  • Pick up rubbish (or dog poo) on the ground instead of stepping over it
  • Register to be an organ donor
  • Talk to a cashier when they are serving you and ask how their day is going….and really listen to their answer
  • Give up your seat on a bus or train to someone who looks tired

Have a great weekend. Much love, Anita.💙

#healingwordsmon – All things Irish!

My blog has been going for a little over a year, and I’ve decided to try out a blogging schedule. You’ve inspired me, my lovely fellow bloggers. It may get too much for me, but I won’t know until I give it a go! So, here is the schedule:

Mondays will be #healingwordsmon –  poems, quotes, short story, comment;
Thursdays will be #healingwordsthu – acts of Kindness, articles of interest etc.

So let’s get started with today’s #healingwordsmon –  All things Irish….!!😀💃

St Patrick

 

“I am Patrick, yes, a sinner and indeed untaught;
yet I am established here in Ireland where I profess myself bishop.
I am certain in my heart that ‘’all that I am’ I have received from God.
So I live among barbarous tribes, a stranger and exile for the love of God,”

-Saint Patrick.

 

Saints:

Ireland, like many other countries around the world, has its own patron saint – St Patrick.  This week welcomes the feast day of Saint Patrick (March 17th). But who was he?

Well, I’ve done a little research online and discovered that he was born of a Romanized family in Britain around the 4th/5thC AD (timings vary from sources).  As a youth he was reportedly kidnapped and spent 6 years tending sheep in slavery in Ireland!  During his enslavement, believing that God was testing his faith, he converted to Christianity.  He eventually escaped and returned to Britain and then Europe where he trained as a priest.

After becoming a Christian missionary and bishop, he returned to Ireland to convert the “barbarous tribes” to Christianity.  Legend says that he used Irish traditional pagan forms of worship to introduce and explain Christian theology, including the use of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.  From the 17thC onwards, his feast day was recognized in the Christian calendar. He is globally recognized as the Patron Saint of Ireland and is celebrated each year on March 17th  (sources:  Britannica.com and biography.com)

So what?

Indeed.  Why I am telling you about a Saint from the 4th/5th C AD?  Well, his story inspired me, and it got me thinking that we all need to be inspired.  We all have people whose lives are such a shining example of how to be good and kind that we can’t help but want to be like them, to be with them, to be them.  These could be saints, gurus, or people in our family or community.  The spiritual qualities they display, such as determination, resilience, patience, understanding, grace etc, act as magnets drawing like-minded souls to them.  St Patrick must have had quite a tough time of it in Ireland.  He is often quoted as saying that he would continue despite the derision he faced.  What kept him going?  His unbending faith.  How many of us would put ourselves out there like that, knowing that we likely faced scorn, ridicule, anger, perhaps even violence?

******* TODAY:  Think about something you avoid doing or saying because you fear ridicule.  Perhaps today you can find the courage to act.  *******

Poets:

Staying with the Irish theme, I’ve chosen an Irish poet to highlight in this week’s post:  WB Yeats.  A Dubliner, he lived from 1865 to 1939.  Here is an extract from his poem, The Choice:

“The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.”

-from “The Choice” by WB Yeats.

These lines seem to point to a dichotomy between success in the material world and the spiritual world.  Yet, there have been saints who have come to earth to show that it is possible to lead a spiritually advanced life while also carrying out daily duties (indeed this is desirable).  One of these was  Lahiri Mahasaya.

We always have a choice. Every second, every minute, every time we have a thought.  We can turn that thought into word, amplifying its power (so let’s make sure it’s positive and loving).  We can turn words into actions, amplifying them still further.  Let’s make good choices every time.  Let’s be inspired by those ‘saints’ in our lives and try to adopt some of their good habits.  Much much love, Anita.🙋‍♀️🎈