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Archive for June, 2007

A Leap of Faith

>Yesterday I got an e-mail requesting that I speak to a group of successful male entrepreneurs in their 40’s. I also got an e-mail from a pro-Israeli political action committee asking that I sign a letter to the President asking the U.S. to stop sending financial aid to the Palestinian government. And then I noticed on CNN that the Israeli government is going to release funds to the Palestinians. 
    All of these are connected. Want to know how?
    The entrepreneurs don’t want me to speak on productivity or sustainability, the want me to speak on connectivity. They want to know how to feel less fatigued and more able to connect to themselves, their wives and their children.  I see this as a direct sign that there is hope for peace in the Middle East after all. 
    Of course, you’re saying to yourself, “Now there’s a leap.”
    Have a little faith, I’ll get there.
    Things change when a majority of people make up their minds, and place their attention and their actions on wanting them to change. 
    Think about it.  What is the likelihood that 15 years ago those same entrepreneurs would have been looking for a guest speaker to help them get closer to their families?  Maybe one…maybe two of them (at the most) might have had fleeting thoughts about the subject. But I’m pretty certain they would not have pursued a solution…and certainly not publicly and in a professional setting. But, at some point enough of them decided it was a vital and necessary path to pursue and so they are acting on it.
    It’s called “the tipping point”…some number within group behavior that when reached creates a change in the behavior of the group. That’s what happened with those entrepreneurs.
    That’s what I believe can happen in the Middle East and elsewhere.
    The political action committee thinks that cutting off funds to the Palestinians will curtail their ability to fund terrorist activity against Israel. Israel, on the other hand, seems to think that showing moderate Palestinians that they are willing to reach out and help them will create allies for peace. 
    I know there are those who say Israel has tried it before and this kind of faith never works. 
    I disagree.
    It wasn’t war that brought the Israelites out of Egypt. It was the contagious faith Moses had in a new outcome. It wasn’t war that made a 2000+ year impact on human consciousness, it was the compelling  faith Jesus had in a new outcome.  It wasn’t war that expelled the British form India, it was Ghandi’s faith in how to prevail.  
    There exists a tipping-point in the Middle East where enough people in the world will place there attention and their actions on peace as the most viable solution. 
    That tipping point could be me.
    Or it could be you.
      Have a little faith.
   
 
   

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Who You Really Are

>I’m not inclined to be among the Paris Hilton media watchers, so I’m admittedly weak on the details of this saga. I do, however, know the big picture and I think it can be instructive for each of us, Paris Hilton included. 
      It all hinges on uncovering the higher truth, which is, that sometimes knowing Who You Really Are requires experiencing who you really are not.
      
I think certain assumptions are fair. Paris comes from a wealthy, educated family and was blessed with the ability and opportunity to use her life and her talents in almost any way she could imagine. She appears to have made some less than wise choices thus far, and the latest one has been the most humbling. 
      I hope.  
      You see, when we get too far from our own center, from that place that holds our highest potential for growth, it can get very painful.  And while finding out Who You Really Are need not be painful, for some of us the pain can be a gift used wisely. 
      Even if you don’t know what you want, or aren’t even sure of who you are, having an experience that goes beyond the limits of what you do want to experience can be the fastest was to get those answers. Knowing where those boundaries are can help turn you in a more productive direction for getting to where or who you want to be. 
      Bringing meaning to negative experiences and applying that meaning in a way that positively impacts your life means that in the end, there are really no bad experiences. Just experiences. It’s where the saying comes from, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it.”
      I believe in synchronicity. So, this week I’ve had the opportunity to live the words I am typing.
      Two days ago I had a really stressful day, physically and emotionally. My husband came home from work and, seeing my fatigue, suggested we go out to dinner and asked me where I wanted to go. Grateful for his suggestion, I thought that in return I would name a nearby bar/restaurant were I knew he could get what he would like…a roast beef sandwich and a beer.  Now, I’m a non-alcoholic drinking, vegetarian so my choices were going to be slim to none…but still.  
      When we arrived at the restaurant we walked in through the bar entrance.    
    It’s probably been 25 years since I was in a place like that and for good reason. Everything about the environment makes me uncomfortable. Sensing this, I ignored my feelings and pressed on. We were seated, ate dinner, and left. The whole experienced went on to be painful for two reasons.

      1.   I forgot to honor Who I Really Am and it negatively effected everything from the time we arrived until long after we left.

      2.   Once there, I didn’t handle it all very well.

      The good news is that I can look back at it and apply the meaning I found to positively affect my future. For sure, I’ll have another chance. Life works that way until you get it right.
    Next time I’m asked where I want to go, I’ll make sure it’s some place I really want to go. And next time I find myself in a situation that is uncomfortable, I will do what it takes to alleviate my discomfort rather than inflict it on another.
      The good news is that my husband and I have survived worse and always gone on to prosper.
      I wish the same for Paris.

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To TIVO or Not to TIVO

>Twenty-five years ago I had a friend who liked to say that television would turn out to be the downfall of our civilization.  Richard was prone to hyperbole. 
   But about the same time, I was on temporary assignment in California,living in a rental apartment for 3 months with no television. It literally changed my life. (Not living in California…having no TV.) 
   For those three months, I found myself with more “spare time” than I ever had before. I got up at dawn, jogged around a neighborhood track (where I met new people), read more books and magazines (making me more interesting to talk to), browsed local shops (meeting still more new people) and walked the beach a lot, taking in and slowly appreciating the many faces of Nature.  It was a short span of time in my life, relatively speaking, but the impact of life without television was both enlightening and permanent.
   Television isn’t inherently good or bad. It just is. It’s like anything else…it’s how we use it…or how we’re used by it. 
   
It’s obvious and easy to dismiss a lot of the meaningless and trashy shows that are available on any one of several hundred channels, but what about the more subtle effects of repeatedly seeing and hearing terrifying or tragic stories about things that take place beyond our immediate existence. Virginia Tech or Paris Hilton…do these events occur within your immediate world or impact the things you have to accomplish today? While I may not mind being informed about such things, and hopefully can in some way benefit from them or come to someone else’s aid, once informed, I don’t need to be subjected to the same story over and over when, in real time, it’s already over. 
   How does the repetition of history on an hourly basis support my living in the present? What does the investigation into the details of a mass murderer’s life do for me? And more importantly, what does it do for the children?
   I spoke with a friend yesterday who has a 6 year old son. At day camp, it seems he put his hands around his throat and said something at about wanting to kill himself…and the next day jumped in front of a go-cart after expressing a similar thought.  She loves her son and is rightfully concerned, yet doesn’t want to make too much out of it in case its just a “boy” thing and he’s trying to get attention by negative means.  In thinking about the incidents, she was repeatedly perplexed by “where did he ever hear talk like that?”  I don’t know that answer for sure, but he’s 6 and has a television in his bedroom. While she believes it calms him down, I believe otherwise.
   There are educational programs and programs with merit in all genres. They key is how responsible are we in discerning what nourishes us and what depletes and diminishes us?
   Some days I’m more serious than others. Today, looking back at what I’ve written, I seem serious. I could go watch TV to get my mind off of it all… but I think I’ll go read a good book instead. 
   Our 14 year old left for camp this week and packed 7 classics to read over the summer. I was elated.
   I’d like to thank the employer who sent me to California for three months 25 years ago for her choices.

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Open Minds

>  With the 2008 Presidential election in pre-mature full swing, there is considerable talk unfolding about the need for universal health care coverage.  While I do not underestimate the need for emergency treatment in necessary situations, I am at a loss as to why we would be so intent on spending millions of dollars to make sure everyone can access a system that is in many ways, primitive.
   In fact, I think the question being asked is the wrong question. It’s not “How do we provide health care coverage for all?” but rather “How do we more fully explore and integrate the many alternative approaches to health and wellness that exist today?”
   The current system that our politicians are so eager to expand basically serves us in three ways: 1) it treats emergencies, 2) it intervenes after illness occurs and 3) it over medicates due to it’s economic and political relationship with pharmaceutical companies.
   Whether it’s energy medicine (“epigenetics” as explored in the recently released “The Genie in Your Genes by Dawson Church Ph.D.) meditation, relaxation techniques, homeopathy, yoga, prayer, or the myriad of other alternative choices…it makes a lot more sense to be pro-active and support health and wellness than to arrive late on the scene and try and minimize the effects of illness and dis-ease (my favorite way of spelling it since I believe that all disease originates from some form of stress to our systems…physical or eco).
   The media spends a fraction of it’s time and energy reporting on the successes of alternative therapies, yet we are inundated with the endless debate and various politically motivated positions of candidates on how to make the current, ineffective system available for everyone. 
   About 2 years ago I injured my knee in a fall. I got an MRI, saw an orthopedic surgeon and wore a soft brace for awhile. Then, this past winter, I slipped on the ice and re-injured it. It was hurting on and off so I got an x-ray and went to see an orthopedic surgeon again. He said he couldn’t see much on the x-ray, gave me a prescription for an MRI, and a large, supportive soft brace to wear until I saw him again. 
   I began to wear the brace and noticed that the knee was hurting more with it on. I also noticed that since I had seen him the knee seemed to be giving me more frequent difficulties.  
   Since I had just read a book on EFT(Emotional Freedom Technique), an alternative and emerging method of energy healing based upon sending piezoelectric signals through the connective tissue, I began to follow the method and “tap out” the source of the problem with my knee 3 times a day.
   My appointment with the orthopedic surgeon was yesterday and I canceled it. I had not gotten the MRI because my knee is fine. Since applying EFT, I have no trouble climbing steps, no pain in the knee, and no limitation.
   Now, I’m not delusional. I would not advocate that you can tap out a broken leg or cancer. But isn’t it time we became as advanced in our thinking about this topic as we are in the application of our technology.  Isn’t it incumbent upon us to open our minds to ways that differ from what we were taught and what society puts it’s stamp of approval on when the success rate of that stamped reality is woefully low and the side-effects and complications woefully high?  
   And who is to say what alternative approaches to that broken leg and cancer are out there waiting to be applied?
   Here’s what I know. The path to healing my knee was 1)free (unless you count the cost of the book); 2)self-reliant and self-administered, 3)put no drugs into my body with adverse side-effects, 4)required no surgery and, 5)didn’t need a referral from my general practitioner.
   I’d write more about all of this but my knee feels so good I’m going out for a walk.

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Finding Your Way

>I gave my husband a GPS (Global Positioning System) for his car on Father’s Day. Yesterday, he told me that some auto dealers are now giving them away with the purchase of a new car. I have to admit, it is impressive. We drove our daughter to camp this past weekend and the GPS really gives you precise directions, and instantaneous recalculation, should you miss a turn. The one I got him also speaks the directions out loud in a clear, friendly voice.
   Did you know that each one of us is born with an internally hard-wired GPS? It’s called a “God Positioning System.”  
   The GPS for cars (and how it works) is just a mirror image of our own internal GPS. In cars, the basic data has to first be gathered, then input into software that upon your inquiry pulls up the relevant mapping.  If you’ve purchased the higher end model, the system then speaks to you…guiding you in the most direct way to get where it is you have indicated you want to go.  Should you get off track, the system knows it instantly, recalculates the new route based upon your new location, then advises you accordingly. Sometimes there’s a brief delay when it’s recalculating (I tended to become impatient when that happened).   
   The auto GPS, while advanced technology, is rather limited in comparison to the internal GPS.  Basically, the God Positioning System works the same way but with more extras. 
   Your internal system works this way. At birth (or before, depending upon what you believe) data is gathered (the possible places you may go and experiences you may have during your life) then the data is entered into the “software” (your consciousness).  During your lifetime, whenever you want to know how to get to where you want to be (career, values, relationships, health etc.) you simply turn on the GPS (access your consciousness), enter your desired destination, then receive the most direct and beneficial route to getting there. In fact, the internal system even has a friendly and loving voice that speaks to you as well. That voice comes through your own direct channel on the G-d frequency. No need for costly, maintenance-dependent satellites! 
   All you have to do is turn on your system, input the question, await the direction, and listen. As with the auto GPS, there may be a delay in re-calculation within your internal system. When that occurs, it simply requires patience on your part. You can be assured that once you clearly input your desired destination, the route will eventually be provided.  
   Listening is key to either GPS.  No matter how much you spend for the one in your car, or how much you say you are trying to access the one with which you are wired, unless you are willing to get quiet enough to hear the guidance, it’s not possible to benefit from the advanced “technology.”
   The truly amazing thing about your internal GPS is that the data input is being updated and revised instantaneously each second of your life. No waiting for some techie somewhere to acquire street name changes or add new lodging destinations to the existing mapping. Since God is the source of all of the information within your internal system, the latest and best data for your highest good is available at any moment, regardless of external changes to your environment or internal changes to your physical body. 
     I did a lot of research before I purchased the system I gave my husband. There are so many manufacturers, so many models, and such a large price range to choose from.  I probably spent about 10 hours all together.
   You can have the God Positioning System today. There’s only one manufacturer and all the models are free of charge. No shipping or handling costs added in, either.   
    Just turn on the system, ask and listen. 
    Oh, and during times of re-calculation, try and remember that patience makes all the difference.

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The First Family

>    I was reading an article about the effects of violent video games on children.  It theorized that while the games in and of themselves will not cause a child to act like the boys at Columbine or the Virginia Tech shooter, the games plus the presence of other risk factors will have an impact that will likely move a person towards heightened violence.    
   Admittedly, we live in a violent world. But so did Cain and Abel. 
   The negative effects of wanting what you do not have or being unable to wait to get what you want have been around for as long as we humans have.  And while it has many faces, and we propose as many possible origins, I think it all comes down to two simple principles: accepting your life as it is and allowing others to be who they choose to be. 
   Whether it’s the burglar breaking into a home to steal valuables, or the ex-husband who decides if he can’t have his wife he’ll kill her, or the mother who can’t take all the responsibility of caring for the children she birthed so she abandons them, or the teenager who wants his name in the paper so he massacres several students, or the person who steals simply because they want something and can’t afford to buy it, or the Muslim extremists who decide that everyone should live by Sharia law..it all comes down to acts born of the refusal to accept one’s life as it is and refusing to allow others to live their lives as they choose.
   We spend a lot of political capital on the federal, state and local level arguing and lobbying for better schools, “no child left behind” issues that relate to making sure all children have the fundamentals of education as we’ve defined them thus far.
   But what if our definition is in need of revision?  I’m not saying that reading and writing and ‘rithmatic…or quantum physics… aren’t valuable and necessary.  But maybe it’s time we re-evaluated what really matters in education. 
   Maybe it’s time we taught the children Acceptance and Allowing.    
   Acceptance 101 would teach the kids that your portion in life is your portion in life. Accept it with gratitude, whatever it looks like at the moment. If you want to change it, put your thoughts and energy into those things that will make a positive difference. 
   Allowing 101 would teach them to see everyone else as a mirror image of yourself and understand that others are also working on accepting their lives as they are so do not judge them for their progress or envy them their accomplishments and acquisitions.
   Our daughter is heading for high school in the Fall and we sat with her as she selected her courses. While I am pleased with her choices (she’s bright and creative as well so it’s a nice blend of academics and the arts) I would still loved to have been able to say, “Honey, why don’t you take “Acceptance 101” and “Allowing 101.”
   I’ll bet in hindsight, Adam and Eve would have loved to have been able to recommended those courses to their children, too. If they could have, just maybe I wouldn’t have had to write a column about violence.
   

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A Recipe for Joy

>   Last night I was looking at the news stories to get an idea on what to write about today. I was reading about the crowd in Austin, Texas that dragged a passenger from his car and beat him to death because the car had hit a child causing minor injuries. Then, of course, there was the daily violence in Iraq, and now Gaza. So, I thought I’d write about, if not the origins of violence, then what we can do about it.
   Then I got depressed and didn’t feel like writing at all. Now, it’s morning, and I awoke still depressed and still not much moved to write. 
   So, it seems, the topic is depression.
   We all have those days when we feel that the world is glorious, sunny, and anything is possible. And we all have those days when everything seems to close in, the sun can’t be found anywhere, and getting out of bed seems mildly possible. Yippee for the former. 
   As for the latter…Why?
   As I look back over the past few days, I can see that I was very caught up in the “do-ing” of my life as opposed to the “be-ing” in my life. For me, getting detached and too far from the “be-ing” part, the part where I am fully living in the moment and immersed in the wonder of it all, seems to cause me to drift farther and farther away from my own center. Since it’s from that center that I bring forth the great experiences of my life, drifting too far is dangerous and emotionally deadening. 
   When I am centered, it’s as if I can feel the pace of life, sense it’s purpose, and find joy in the smallest act. It’s also the place from which I am my most creative. Since it’s creativity that enlivens me, drifting far from center also means falling deeper and deeper into a place where there is little possibility of creating anything.  It’s a place of no movement, no change.
   We humans are not static beings and we do not reside on a static planet. Earth is in a constant state of change and becoming. So are our physical bodies. It’s of the utmost importance that our consciousness also be in that state of becoming, of change. For consciousness, that state occurs when we create and co-create. That’s when it’s possible to sense, if not know, that each of us has unique abilities and talents that we were born to utilize and contribute to the ongoing unfoldment of the whole for the highest good of all concerned.
   So, today, no matter how many “things” are on your to-do list, take a break.  Take an hour or take the day and just “be.”  
   Settle into that place within yourself where you are not what you do but are simply who you really are.  Allow your muse, your inner guide to creativity, to speak to you. That conversation can be recognized by how you feel.  Trust what you feel and allow those feelings to guide you to create something only you were born to create. And if all that you achieve is an hour or a day of “be-ing” instead of “do-ing”…I can assure you that you’ll find “be-ing” is it’s own reward.
   Maybe I did write about violence after all.  A world filled with people who are so disconnected from all things natural, who function and work at a lightening pace in order to keep up with the pace of the technology, who barely have time to accomplish what they need to do each day, let alone have time to share friendships and intimacy…now there’s a recipe for disaster. 
   Stop doing. Pause. Start up again. Be.  
   Now there’s a recipe for joy.

   P.S. I’m not depressed anymore.

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The Blog That Was Not Written

>  It’s my intention to write to my blog each week on a regular basis Monday through Friday, but yesterday I didn’t. Yesterday, our 14 year old daughter graduated from Middle School.  Despite my efforts to rise before dawn and get my blog written, it just didn’t happen. I had so much to do that I made the decision to get on with all that needed to be done for her and skip the entry.
   As a result of how yesterday played out, today I’m thinking about how we get done all the things that we need to do in this fast paced world in which we live. 
   The answer I call “priority plus.”
   Somewhere along the line it’s necessary to decide what is of importance to you because it’s likely that, more times than not, you simply can’t get to everything that needs your attention. So where to start?
   I think you start with the people who need your attention. Like I did, yesterday. 
   Sure, I get a kick out of writing my blog each day. The creativity is a vital part of who I am. I know there are people who click on it each morning and look for that bit of inspiration I try and provide.  But when it comes down to what I like to do, or even what I need to do relative to my career, it pales in comparison to what our daughter needed from me on her special day. 
   So the people in our lives have to be the first rung on that ladder of priority. The “things”…the “to do’s”…the tasks…have to come second.
   But there’s more. It’s not enough to decide who or what needs to be done and give it your time and energy. You also have to give it your attention.  By this, I mean that once the decision is made as to what is important to you, you have to put the full weight of your consciousness to bear on it.  Going through the motions, without your heart and mind being fully engaged, becomes a giant waste of your time and energy. You have to feel passionate, be passionate, about where you devote who it is that you really are. 
      A passionate commitment to whatever it is that you do is the engine that drives the bus.  Without a commitment of both thought(intention) and action, your doing remains nothing more than tending to tasks and obligations. But…add spirit, intention, consciousness, passion, emotion (whatever you call it) and suddenly you are fully enlivened and engaged with others in co-creating a powerful and meaningful experience.
      Who You Really Are is reflected in the choices you make. The choices you make show others how important people and things are to you. Making choices that honor yourself and others by bringing to those choices heart, mind and soul is an invigorating way to live.
      We had a great family day together yesterday. Everything we did was full of joy.
      And today?
      I really love writing this entry. 
      
 

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Rape, Lies and Faith

   It is often said that rape is not about sex, it’s about power. So is lying. Ex-District Attorney Mike Nyfong is a perfect example. No matter how many different words and phrases are used to describe what Nyfong did (misrepresentation, violation on the Canon of Ethics, manipulation of the facts, withholding of the facts, deceit) the simple truth is that he lied, repeatedly, to get what he wanted. 
   People lie to get the outcome they want.
   But why? And why do I say that lying is about power?
   When someone lies, they are consciously attempting to orchestrate or manipulate either another person or effect a specific outcome. Sometimes it’s both. In either case, the lie is used to feel powerful. It gives the person lying a false sense of power over others and outcomes.
   I say false sense of power because true power exists only in trusting that people co-create the highest good for all concerned
when they allow one another, and their interactions, to unfold spontaneously. Co-creation, like Creation, originates and proceeds in a natural flow. 
   When someone lies they lack faith in that flow. 
   Not trusting in real power, they attempt to create power with a small “p”.  For we humans, real power is found in the act of co-creation. Co-creation is done in and through our relationships and interactions with one another.  
   The person who needs to lie in order to feel powerful misses out on the one sure way to get it: by allowing the mystery of self and others to unfold, and, by trusting that the outcome will be for the highest good of all concerned.
   When it comes right down to it, a liar lacks faith and trust in self and others, but more importantly doesn’t understand what true power is all about.
   I always thought lying was exhausting. It’s hard work to remember all those made up, twisted facts. Besides, it’s inevitable that the lie is unmasked. And so the liar.
   Mike Nyfong sought power with a small “p” and it has cost him much. He hurt others and ultimately hurt himself. Having been disbarred, and as a result lost his means of earning a livelihood, he will have much time on his hands. 
   Perhaps he will use it to contemplate power with a capital “P”.

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Peace Prize

>     Everything runs in cycles. There are our biological body cycles, called circadian rhythms, the cycle of global weather patterns, even the cycle of life and death. There is also the cycle of violence. It seems that one has come around again. Gaza is on fire.  
   Like all cycles, the cycle of violence comes and goes…meaning it periodically escalates then de-escalates. And like fire, we can fan it or starve it of the vital elements it needs to maintain it’s destructive force.  The media loves to fan fires. So they are at it again.
   I am not saying that what’s happening in Gaza isn’t important. I’m a Jew and as such, care deeply about Israel and the safety of its inhabitants. I am also a human, and care deeply about the fate of us all. 
   What I know for sure is that feeding hate and giving it attention is no different than fanning the flame. It gives the destructive force power. It feeds the beast.
   History teaches many lessons so we get to pick the one’s we want to learn from.  While I hear many commentators likening Iran and Ahmadinejad and Hamas to Hitler and his intended move across Europe in a quest for extinction of some and domination over others, I prefer to look back and see that in at least 5000 years, aggression and violence haven’t solved anything. While they may produce a temporary cessation of conflict in one part of the world, because we’re all one, sooner or later the lessons taught by using force in one place surface elsewhere to be applied by someone else. And so on and so on. For 5000 years.
   Because we can pick and choose our lessons from history, and have the freedom of choice to participate in co-creating our own, I think we’d be best served to try a different approach.  
   I have an example of one I’d like to suggest.  
   My husband and I are very different. Not just in personality, but in our social and religious backgrounds. We also love one another. Periodically, those differences cause us to have a few recurring arguments over the same topics. We each have a tendency to dig in and become more rooted in our position until it escalates through anger all the way to cold silence. We eventually get past it and move on, although they’re not so much resolutions as capitulations to emotional exhaustion.
   This week one such difference raised it ugly head again.  Our “cycle” began, and as I watched it…it occurred to me that a new approach was necessary as history finally taught me that “digging in” or imposing my view was not a long-term solution.  So instead of focusing on our differences, I decided to see what was the strongest point we had in common. It took me about 15 seconds to find the answer. Harmony. I knew we both wanted harmony in our lives. 
   When my husband came home from work yesterday, I said I wanted to talk. I am certain he was readying himself in a defensive posture. I simply said, with conviction, “I am your best friend and you are mine. More than anything, I want harmony.”
   That was it. Pure and simple. No aggression. No argument. No defense. Nobody going on and on solidifying their stance. He just put out his arms to embrace me. 
   Our differences didn’t disappear. In fact, it’s the diversity of us that makes us unique. But what did occur was that we found common ground…higher ground…from which the view was more beautiful and the air was cleaner.
   It may not be that simple in Gaza or Iran. Or it may be. 
   It has to start with individuals, one on one. They have to understand that we are all one. And they have to set their intention’s and their vision on the highest good they share and communicate that to one another. It will likely be the same in any language. 
   Shalom or Salaam. 
   The answer is peace.

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About the Blog
gold post it

It's so easy to find bad news that generates fear and anxiety that I've made it my mission to see the positive side of what goes on around us. So, whether it's global, national, local, or personal… Gold Post It is where you can come to get a higher and more inspiring perspective on life.