A 20 year collection of observations and research on what love is, what it is to be human, and the effects of human energy.
This guide could have been named "A Practical Guide for Changing the World". The concept is simple enough. All life is connected -
The Greek root of the word dynamic means power and strength (dunamikos -
Love becomes a controlling force in our life by first understanding its core elements and characteristics – Love’s Code. The next step is to measure, through a process of self-
Love becomes a controlling force in our life by first understanding its core elements and characteristics -
Undertaking and implementing the study of love results in change. While the degree of change depends on a number of factors, it is certain that the quality of our inner life changes for the better. That change is then reflected outward both in our actions and the energy other people feel.
"I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might."
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
How the energy of one person can make a difference globally can be explained by an aspect of Chaos Theory named the Butterfly Effect. The theory demonstrates mathematically that one very small change in a large system can over time put into effect a large change in the whole system. The example most often used is that the motion of a butterfly's wing can eventually change the weather in another part of the world.
Another example, relevant to us all, is the effect cows and sheep have on global warming. According to recent research, the footprint on the environment of eating one 250 gram hamburger patty is the equivalent of driving a mid-
To visualize this concept more clearly, imagine a place where the principles of love are integrated into the fabric of the community. They are taught as subjects at home and in schools with the same emphasis and attention to detail as reading and writing. By the time the children in the community become adults and enter the workforce it is quite natural for them to make decisions based on the characteristics of love.
Natural selection dictates that a few of the children will move into positions of leadership where decisions of the few affect the many. Because of their early training these leaders take for granted that corporate and government policy should be based on the elements of love and understand that such policies are not a detriment to success.
In the 4th century BC the Greek philosopher Empedocles argued for the existence of two forces, love (philia) and strife (neikos), which were used to account for the causes of motion in the universe. These two forces were said to intermingle with the classical elements, i.e., earth, water, air, and fire, in such a manner that love served as the binding power linking the various parts of existence harmoniously together.
It takes only a little more imagination to see how this one community could influence a world. Generation follows generation with each being taught from infancy the principles of love. They then take the seeds of what they know and plant them in other parts of the world. The fruit born of those seeds is a radically different world then what we know today.
"Love Imagines the World", a line in an opera by composer Peter Sellers, describes perfectly the dynamic of love. Progress at every level in every field starts with forming a picture of what could be; asking the question "What if...?" Throughout history progress has been made because just one person dared to imagine the impossible and then proceeded to take the actions necessary against all odds and obstacles to make the picture a reality. What this guide asks of you is to imagine a world driven by the energy of love, which will make the world a better place for all people everywhere. We can have a world of peace, a world where abject poverty, human atrocities and wilful destruction of our planet is relegated to the history books. It may not happen in our generation or the next or even the next, but it can be done one person at a time using the tools of Love.
The principals outlined here will not make you wealthy, successful or give you a perfect life, although they can improve the quality of it. It is not about achieving perfection. It is about understanding the dynamics of human interaction and how to train our thoughts and emotions for a more positive outcome that ultimately affects the world.
"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest-
Albert Einstein, N.Y. Post, November 28, 1972
When unconditional love is the outgoing energy, all benefit in the process. It's the physics of it.
The study of human energy in the scientific and medical community is, relatively speaking, a recent development. Dr. Valerie Hunt, with advanced degrees in Psychology and Physiological Science from Columbia University, is a pioneer in the field. Her research shows the connection between human behaviour and the influence of the immediate environment. Dr. Hunt says, "The energy field is the primary source of the interaction of a person with her/his environment. Whatever happens to you, it is your field that gets influenced ahead of anything in the nervous system or brain".
Each of us sends out and receives a constant flow of energy created by the conjoined twins of thought and emotion. The effect of this exchange can be as soft as the gentle touch of a warm breeze or have the strength of a hurricane. A burst of irritation or joy is like a match that flares and quickly burns out. Habitual thought/emotion puts an imprint on our health and well being, our immediate environment and ultimately the world.
The visible demonstration of emotions created by a repeated pattern of thought can become etched on our face for the entire world to see. Contentment and happiness can be seen in the crinkles of laugh lines and a certain sparkle in the eyes. A teenager wears a perpetual pout of discontent; an elderly person shows the worries of a lifetime in the creases and valleys of their skin.
In everyday life it is the sense we get from another person that tells us without words or body language their state of "being". One co-
A critical component of human vibrations is the understanding that it is always a two-
A walk in the forest or along a deserted beach has a different 'feel' then a walk in the city. A rock concert will produce a different energy than a symphony. Walk into one office and it feels good to be there; walk into another and you can't get out fast enough.
These are just a few examples of the vibrations we pick up on a daily basis. The walk on the beach is restful because the rhythmic sound of the waves rolling onto the shore emits an energy we pick up as soothing. Put even a few people on that same beach and the restfulness of your walk will be diminished, at least to some degree, by the vibrations being emitted by those people, particularly if their enjoyment includes playing rap from a boom box at full volume.
Put a group of people in a place for a specific reason and they will collectively create energy that can range from the beautiful and sublime to a killing spree. A wedding or convocation ceremony brings people together in celebration. A rock concert creates a frenetic energy that coils through the crowd like an out-
Several years ago I was invited to attend a drum ceremony. It was an experience quite alien to me and therefore out of my comfort zone. At one point in the ceremony we formed an unbroken circle by holding hands. The only sound breaking the silence was the rhythmic cadence of a drum in the background. In those ten minutes or so I went from being wary of the unfamiliar to experiencing beauty at its essence. Why? After all, it was just twenty people with a mix of personalities and backgrounds in a circle and a drum beating. What made it joyous and beautiful? The answer is energy created by intent. The majority of the people there had been to such a ceremony before, had experienced the beauty and came with the intent of experiencing it again. People new to the ceremony like me, who came with no intent or expectation, were able to share in the experience because of the vibrations being emitted by the majority.
An important side note here is that I would not have been able benefit from this experience had my mind 'been made up' that it was a bunch of guru hogwash. Had this been the case the harmonic vibrations would still have penetrated, but would not have been felt at the conscious level. The 'hogwash' mentality would have in effect erected barriers to the experience and separation from the group. Played out, the next scene could have included a person in the group exclaiming at the wonder and joy of the ceremony. My response would have been, at the least, total incomprehension and very possibly outright sneering.
Of course, the opposite of the above is also true; one person can strongly affect the many. History is dotted with individuals who have stood out from the crowd and changed the fabric of society for good or ill. And we have all been in situations where one person assumes control with the strength of their personality.
On Loving Creations.ca, where James and I have our respective art portfolios, there is a section named the Hero's Gallery created to make the statement that one person can make a difference. The eight people chosen for the gallery -
It is not a gift for oratory. Speeches by Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. bring us to tears; a speech by Adolph Hitler sends chills down our spine. But six-
It is not superior intellect. Yes, Albert Einstein falls into this category, but Candace Lightner knew no such fame before founding Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Nor is it wealth, good looks or even charisma.
The death of Candace Lightner's daughter by a drunk driver initiated burning outrage and a determination that no other parent should have to suffer as she did at the hands of a drunk driver. As a result drinking and driving has become socially unacceptable and relevant laws have been changed in countries around the world.
Heroes for Change
Martin Luther King, Jr.
A grade one teacher, Mrs Prest, told Ryan Hreljac about children in other countries that were dying for lack of clean water. In his young mind there were no obstacles to fixing this. It was wrong; it needed fixing. The first seventy dollars he raised doing chores has since translated into millions with "518 water and sanitation projects in 16 countries bringing clean water and sanitation services to over 640,000 people". An element worth noting in this story is his parents' loving response. He was not given that first $70; he had to earn it over several months. When that test of his commitment had been passed they jumped in and supported his goals with the kind of help that led to a foundation being created and a true success story of help and hope.
Mother Theresa was motivated by a loving heart and the conviction of her faith. Ghandi, Mandela and King were motivated by the belief that all people should be free. Rick Hansen, famous for his Man in Motion world tour, says "I'm driven by wanting to make a difference and leave this world a little better than when I arrived."
Adolph Hitler's motivation was fanatical hatred for his mother, a Jew. That hatred combined with the conviction of his own superiority led to genocide and a world war. Throughout history others like him have committed crimes against humanity, as do many today, convinced that their way is not only the right way, but the only way. The fear generated feeds their ego and supports their view of their own superiority.
The propellant for these and thousands of others who make a difference, one way or the other, is unshakable motivation fuelled by iron-
Variations of human energy at work are played out countless times across the planet in every culture at every level from children playing in the school yard to the deliberations of heads of state and corporate giants. The ultimate health and well being of the planet, and the people on it, depends on individuals at every level understanding and taking responsibility for the vibrations we create. The means to changing our personal vibrations is to understand and put into practice the Code of Love. The challenge to understanding and implementing the Code of Love is our own fragile humanity. We not only contend with diverse personalities and personal experience, but with a confused idea of what love is, or should be.
A Google® search of the word `love` in 2006 returned over a billion web pages. A click on the definition link takes you to a full page of the different ways the word is used. Included in the list are words like deep affection, fondness, caring, sexual passion, emotional attachment, strong enthusiasm and charity. It would be quite safe to say that it is a word used world-
Then there are the qualities and characteristics of love that are defined as something else. Under the heading of "good manners" we teach our children to share, be courteous and treat other people with respect. Businesses and universities teach `ethical behaviour`. The military and other institutions promote `a code of conduct` that includes honour, respect and caring. Empowerment and altruism are modern day buzz words that embody the concept of unselfishness, humanity and self-
Certainly love incorporates all of the above, but it is much more and little understood by the majority. It is quite literally the force that binds. It is an intrinsic force known and felt by every single one of the billions of human beings on this planet. A gentle touch on a baby's head, heart-
What has been researched and proven is that without the nurturing aspect of love both animals and babies fail to thrive physically and emotionally. Children and adults deprived of love try to fill the empty place where love should be. The unconscious need to fill the void can be seen in eyes that reflect only loneliness and pain, in the single-
By definition love doesn't care and is at the same time all-
To grasp this concept compare it to the oxygen we breathe. It is a necessary component of life and well being, but is unseen and mostly unnoticed until we don't have it. It is everywhere, every-
Acceptance ~ Compassion ~ Gentleness ~ Joy ~ Honesty ~ Humility
Nobility ~ Respectfulness ~ Thoughtfulness ~ Trustworthiness
Just ten words and yet, with their inherent characteristics (see table below) they describe love in its perfection. What makes it perfect is that every quality noted is applied equally to every human being and all living things in every situation. Were a human being to demonstrate all these qualities all the time then they would rightfully be deemed perfect. But this is not about being perfect. It is instead a guide for making different choices that lead to greater harmony and contentment.
Consider for a moment the individuals throughout history who have had the greatest impact for good on humankind. Without exception they have demonstrated some, if not many, of these characteristics. Now consider your actions on any given day. No matter where you live in the world, your economic status or position, chances are that, knowingly or unknowingly, you have demonstrated one or more of the aspects of love listed here. For the most part, we don't think about these actions -
The elements of love are as specific as the instruments in an orchestra. Each instrument has its own unique qualities or characteristics and produces music in a distinctive way. When played alone, depending on the skill and talent of the musician, it can make beautiful music. When the same piece of music is played by two or three instruments the music becomes richer, fuller. Put all the instruments together under the direction of a maestro and the music becomes a magnificent symphony of sound and vibration that envelops mind, body and spirit.
You are the maestro. You choose the instruments of love that will be played in the daily business of living. You are also the musician who, through conscious choice, knows the instrument and understands that it is only through practice that its full potential can be achieved.
As you study the characteristics of each element keep in mind that, like the notes in music, the table is mathematical in nature with specific definitions assigned to each key component. In contrast, the observations are a subjective commentary based on my own perceptions and studies.
Do yourself a favour and argue with me. Read what I have to say and then play it out across the landscape of your own circumstances. Accept some of it, all of it or none of it, but do think about it, because it is only through the process of conscious thought that the seeds of change can be planted.
People can change given knowledge coupled with desire. I know this because of the many times I have seen people make the choice to change as a result of circumstances that, unfortunately are often quite tragic. I have seen people change out of the simple desire to be more than what they are. I have seen people change when the proverbial light shines in their mind and suddenly they 'see ' what it is that needs changing. Over the course of a lifetime each of these examples could be valid as the catalyst for change that leads to growth as a human. Growth and maturity are integral to all processes of life. No living organism is designed to stagnate or stay the same. That is not to say that it doesn't happen, it is just not the natural order of life's construct.
My challenge, both in writing this guide and laying out my perceptions of love, is to adequately incorporate the understanding that humans are complex, unique individuals and that no one brush can be applied to all. You may and probably do share traits and experiences with thousands of people across the world, but how you think and feel as an individual is unique to you as my thought process is unique to me.
As you read through the next pages on what love is use the words as a measure to assess how much or how little you apply love in your own life and thoughts. The measure will vary considerably from one person to the next depending on personality traits and the components of your life. For instance, empathy and compassion is part of my nature so it is not something I have to think about. From childhood it has hurt me to see someone else in pain either emotionally or physically. On the other hand, acceptance, particularly the part about being non-
Acceptance, as a component of love, goes beyond the confines of just tolerance. It is an open plain with no boundaries. It is a state of mind, a way of thinking that says in essence "You are human; I am human; we share space on this earth`` and that in itself is the only criteria for the acceptance that ultimately counts. It is the umbrella over every other attribute of love.
Acceptance is a choice we make with our intellect and by understanding the difference between being human and being a human. Every single member of the human race is entitled to acceptance by the fact of their birth respective of their choices or circumstances. We do not have to agree with or like the choices they make as a human. We should, however, appreciate and acknowledge the circumstances under which those choices are made. People of different cultures, skin colour or upbringing may well be so alien to us that their way of life and thinking is beyond our comprehension. Still, the essence of love asks that we extend the gift of unqualified acceptance to every human being. Within such acceptance there are no criteria of liking or not liking, agreeing or disagreeing. Just as love 'is', so too is acceptance.
Acceptance is the greatest challenge we have as human beings. You only have to look at history to know this is true. Throughout the ages millions upon millions of people have died for no reason then they were different from their killers. Not accepting another human being, just as they are, has always been and still is the root cause of the majority of conflicts from domestic disputes to outright genocide.
A note of caution is warranted here. At no time should acceptance be confused with condoning bad behaviour, whether it is a child, an adult, an organization or a nation. The human race has made what progress we have because men and women throughout history have had the courage to stand tall against the crowd and say "No, we will not accept such behaviour".
Notice that the word pity is not included in the list of words defining compassion and yet it is the word most often cited as a synonym. It is an interesting phenomenon of the language because, for the most part, no-
Of the words listed to describe compassion the one that speaks to me the loudest is 'understanding'. To truly understand another person, or even our self, requires that we look beyond what is visible to the layers of circumstances that are hidden. It is to undertake the mental exercise of walking a mile in another person's shoes. It is to understand that we are not all equal when it comes to the choices we are accorded.
A woman in an African village has a very narrow window of choices compared to even the poorest of the poor in more developed countries. The boy growing up in middle-
Compassion is not exclusive to the obviously less fortunate. Using the characteristics of perception and awareness we can -
relate to, affect
Involve, be about
have to do with
Being gentle with ourselves and others is a cornerstone of what love is. We give ourselves the gift of grace then pass the gift on to family, friends, co-
The underlying essence of being gentle is in close proximity to forgiveness. It is a word not listed on the Table of Love's Characteristics because in perfect love any need for forgiveness is negated by acceptance. However, forgiveness is the word most often used to describe the action of 'letting go'; a process of thought and emotion that greatly benefits our well being. Letting go is to wrap a person or circumstance in the softness of love's energy. In return we benefit from the gifts of restfulness and peace.
For many people the characteristics associated with the word gentle literally go against the grain either by genetic structure or environment. Modern living seems to be about stress and turmoil and yet, according to any number of wellness books and articles, it is quiet and calm that is the effective antidote.
calm, kind, tender
quiet, light, mellow
In the symphony of perfect love joy is not one instrument, but the totality of sound coming together in triumph. It is the appreciation of all life coupled with the recognition that each component is precious.
Happiness is both a gift and natural component of love that comes with living its principles, knowingly or unknowingly. It is a state of mind and being that is as calm and serene as the sea on a sunny day.
Joy becomes your companion when you can see the beauty and wonder in every circumstance, respective of its face, knowing it is an opportunity for growth.
We do ourselves a great favour by taking time to remember that the place of joy exists and that we can go there at anytime in an instant. One day at work I was having a 'grey' day for no reason. Feeling low and a little cranky I went outside for a morning break and thought, "I don't want to feel this way and I don't have to." With the thought I mentally lifted myself up. I could feel the change in energy as it started at my toes and moved up through my being. It was an extraordinary experience. In seconds my internal landscape was bathed in the bright sunlight of joy.
The value of honesty cannot be overstated. Think what the world would be like if deception had no part in its fabric. Jails would be almost empty, leaders could be relied upon and, most of all, we would feel safe and know our children would be safe in trusting another human being.
Honesty, particularly self-
Humble, Noble and Respectful
These three elements of love have been grouped together because they are to a degree interrelated. Studied carefully, the words describe the characteristics of a great leader who understands and bows to the responsibilities inherent to good leadership.
Historically the children of royalty were trained from birth to understand their place in the world and to accept the sacrifices and duties that came with the job of serving the people. Were we to live in a perfect world, the same type of training would be given to every child who demonstrates leadership qualities, respective of their social or economic status. They would be a construct of a society that recognizes that the overall health of any society is largely dependent on the leaders at every level. In this perfect world leaders would be chosen both for their qualifications for the job and their proven ability to practice most of the qualities listed here.
Since we don’t live in a perfect world, as individuals we can work to make these qualities our own, whatever our role in society. We can also do our part by choosing leaders that demonstrate these qualities.
The characteristics listed here, individually and combined, could be summed up in the question, sincerely asked, "How may I help you?" It has been proven over and over, scientifically and empirically, that helping others is good for us; that acts of kindness send 'feel good' endorphins through our system and induce a sense of well being.
The key to the 'feel good' feeling is to offer help without resentment or any thought of "What's in it for me?"
Trust is a huge and essential element in the inter-
Being trustworthy, a close cousin of the all-
One example of trust is letting our kids know that they can always call home for a safe ride without fear of a lecture or judgement.
The big thing about trust is it fragility. The inescapable fact is that real trust takes time to build, but can be destroyed in a single moment to with an act of betrayal or even
'just a lie'.
Every organism, from the smallest to the largest, has a combination of unique qualities that define it as a species. A few important aspects of being human are the ability to think rationally, the range of our emotions and our ego. Personality, place and status, genetics, physical and mental capacities as well as experience add to the mix. Separately and in combination these factors provide the nuance of shading and colour that make each human being unique. It is the complexities and variables of being human that impacts our actions and thinking every day and that creates a filter through which we view the world. To successfully implement the practice of love as a way of life it is necessary to acknowledge that the filter exists and then work to understand how much or how little the filter distorts our thinking.
We watched a show on television where the plotline had a patient intensely in love with a woman who, in his mind, did not return his love. His brain translated his emotional pain into a heart attack every time the woman came near. The doctor's solution was to shock his brain so that all memory of his love would be erased. A side effect of the procedure was that all memories of people and events were erased.
I don't know the validity of the medicine involved, but it did get me to wondering what each of us would be like as adults if all of life's experiences -
Writing in his 2000 autobiography, Andersen noted that "a belief that success is inevitable has proven very powerful in my life." Explaining his core belief, he said that "... the greatest force in life is love.... If people will believe in the power of love and let it work, it can do wonders."
Former Gov. Elmer L. Andersen served only two years as governor but changed Minnesota
A key to finding the answer to anything is to know enough to even ask the question. You cannot ask "What is a computer?" if you have never heard that such a thing exists. You cannot even begin the journey to find the answer to "Who am I?" without first understanding the dual nature of being human and the third element that holds the potential of bringing the two together.
In each of us there are two parts to the whole. One indicator of this is our own mind talk. We use the words 'I am' or 'you are' as if there are two people talking in our head instead of just one. These two-
See the words that follow 'I am' as having emotion or the feelings about who you are as the context -
In contrast, the words 'You are' identify what is external -
A third part of us is what I will call the Centre as a means to describe its importance and value. Some of you need no explanation of this place; its reality in your life is a given. For others it is foreign territory and the majority don't even know it exists. A few of the place markers that tell us of its existence are discontent, a feeling that something is missing; a yearning that has no name. The reason it remains undiscovered is because access requires us to suspend the reasoning part of our mind.
The Centre is where the purity and power of Love resides. It can be a place of temporary sanctuary or where we live for a time. I have experienced it both as a sanctuary and place of abode, but the siren call of life draws me away again and again. We have labels for the few people who call this place their permanent abode. They are called saints, gurus, prophets, mystics, messiah. It takes living in the Centre to meld the duality of outer and inner mind into one.
Our individual personality is the lead character in the play called life. Everything we do, say, think is coloured by the combination of personality and experience. While experience, particularly the experiences of childhood, plays an important part in who we are, it is our personality that largely determines just how we deal with each experience.
I have watched this played out on more than one occasion when two people in the same family and same circumstances make completely different choices relative to a given circumstance. In an adverse scenario, one person will respond with thought and understanding; another will crawl into a box of their own making to hide; and yet another will react with anger and resentment. Another scenario is where children raised in a loving, nurturing home choose a path of destructive behaviour.
A niece with a talent for perception once said to me "Aunt Norah, you walk around with your head in the clouds." I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it because that's what I do. I think about and analyze everything; pulling every thought apart and then putting it back together again. The tendency to think and over-
We do not need to be slaves to our personality. Yes, we are each born with specific character traits. However, the overriding factor is our innate ability to choose how much or how little those traits will affect how we live our life. That is not to say it's easy. Modifying personality traits is on par with moving away from beliefs taught to us as children. It can be done; it's just not easy.
“Life can always get better or worse but I have learned to live with the day you have right now. The only guarantee about tomorrow is that it will come no matter what your plans are. So make your plans, but live for today and what makes you happy for today.”
my youngest son, Christopher Mutch
Experience starts literally at birth, perhaps even before, and gets piled on each day lived with a multitude of flavours and texture. Some are subtle and hardly noticed; some are bitter; some sweet. If a particular experience is repeated over months and years it becomes imbedded in our essence or the core of who we are. This is also true of an event or events that greatly impact our sense of self. At every stage in life we are the composite of all our experiences to date, both perceived and real. How we respond or react to a given circumstance is largely determined by our own experience and/or the experience of those who influence our life.
An example of this premise that stands out for me is my husband, James, and our friend, Mark. These two men have very different personalities and outlooks. What they have in common is that both were raised in close-
The contrast to this is my own family who, through circumstances and choices made, lived mostly in isolation in both rural and urban settings. It was also a family whose members grew up in an atmosphere dominated by fear. The outcome in this case is five adults and 14 grandchildren plagued with insecurities. Some have overcome the legacy of childhood, at least to a degree, others have not.
A multitude of factors contribute to a person's experience in life. A few that play a major role are culture, gender and health. Then there are the times in life, especially as young children, that experiences are dictated by someone else with little choice given to the individual. As a person grows older more and more of what is experienced is a matter of choice. In fact, the majority of what we experience over a lifetime, whether it is recognized or not, is the result of the conscious and subconscious choices we make on a daily basis. However, the experiences that tend to have the biggest impact are the unexpected ones that, like a punch in the solar plexus, leave us gasping for breath. Whatever the experience, we can't undo any one of them. And yet psychiatric facilities are filled with people unable to let go of the hurts inflicted.
Truth is fluid and ever changing, always expanding -
Few childhoods are perfect. Most of us carry baggage of some sort or another into adulthood. But, at some point, maturity insists that we no longer "blame" events and people in our childhood for the choices we make as adults. We recognize that, unlike childhood, we are accorded the privilege of choice and need not be bound by the past.
Letting go of hurt, anger, anguish, heartache, hatred or any other emotion that retards our growth and prevents the happiness that is our due requires, first of all, acknowledging and accepting the fact of the emotion held. You cannot let go of something if you refuse to see that you have it and that it is affecting your well-
Recognizing the impact of my own childhood drama and trauma was a process of many years. There are things buried so deep under the protective layers of forgetfulness that I'm left with only a sense of menace and dark shadows. It was only recently that I came to understand the need for accepting that those childhood experiences are part of who I am and cannot be undone. It's like breaking a leg that doesn't heal quite right leaving you with a limp. The limp is always there as a reminder and it does make doing certain things more difficult. You are, however, still capable of living a full, productive life and being successful as a human being. If, on the other hand, the remembered pain and limitations imposed by the injury dominate your thinking and attitudes then you will live the life of a cripple.
In an earlier version of this guide there was a section on friendship. After hours and hours of writing and rewriting the section I still had only one paragraph and it was mostly taken from a dictionary. I had no idea the extent of the issues I had harboured on this subject. I knew that the inability to make friends had been a lament for years; that it puzzled and hurt me. Then I realized that I just had to let it go and, of course, the immediate question arose "How to I do that?" The answer that came to mind was, "You just do". You break the chain of thoughts and emotions that keep the hurt alive by mentally melting just one link so the buried hurts, anger and confusion can flow out.
It actually can be just that easy; a split second of true understanding instantly changes something in our emotional centre. I know this to be true because it has happened to me on more than one occasion. Usually, however, letting go is a process of conscious steps taken one at a time that starts with honest assessment and recognition.
People demonstrate just how imperfect they see themselves through casually spoken language that has a negative at the end of the words, 'I am'. I am stupid, fat, thin, clumsy, lazy, a perfectionist. Or it can be seen in the words 'I need'; 'I want'. The paradox is that however imperfect a person sees themselves they insist that the other people in their world conform to their idea of what the world should look like.
Living by the Code of Love can be your goal without necessarily measuring up to your criteria for perfection. It does not mean you will never be late for an appointment, burp in public, leave the cap off the toothpaste, cupboard doors open, or want to put a pillow over your head when the kids yell for breakfast. What it does mean is that you endeavour to accept yourself and others as they are without trying to change either, which would seem to contradict the whole purpose of this guide. Perhaps this will explain it:
My sons, like their mother, are both klutzes. Do I think that to be an imperfect trait? Absolutely not! I'm smiling even now at the many grins shared when something has been knocked over or broken. Do I want them to change? No. Mind you, when one too many things have been broken, they (and I) might want to change this particular trait. Or not.
It seems for a lifetime that my own personal bug-
What is really important is to be comfortable in your own skin, to accept who you are -
But what about the 'wants' of life? I want to be slimmer, fatter, exercise more, eat better, be smarter, get ahead, and be financially secure. All of us have one or more of these wants. But how important is it for us to achieve them?
First of all, only YOU can decide what is important and why. Be sure of the 'why' before you expend energy and effort in an endeavour that, from a higher perspective, has no importance. Remember that every action we take has a consequence -
Ralph Kramer in the Honeymooners, an old sitcom, became known for the phrase, "It's my way or the highway, Alice!" In fact, this could be the rallying cry for the countless wars based on ethnic and religious differences. A group of people has a collective belief that has been passed down through the generations. That belief is as much a part of their identity, both as a person and a group, as the colour of their skin. The need to be safe and secure in who they are can only be satisfied by proving to everyone, by force if necessary, that their way is the right way. To concede that another group might be right in their beliefs is to enter a frightening maze of doubt and confusion. How can two people with opposing views both be right?
It is an interesting study on how we come to form our beliefs, which can be anything from a rabbit's foot is lucky to core racial tenets. It cannot be overemphasized that the single most important influence on how we think about the world and ourselves is what we are taught as children. Even when we rebel against what we have been taught and consciously seek to replace those beliefs, they are still embedded deep in our subconscious and will rise again and again throughout adulthood to cast doubt on our new beliefs.
I once wrote a children's story to explain how people become prejudice against other people outside their own group. The story is about a Pooke who grew up in Pookenhavenville, a village tucked away in a tiny pocket of the world, where everybody believes the moon is made out of green cheese. One little Pooke decides to leave the village and explore the world. In the course of doing so he learns that the moon actually isn't made of green cheese and he believes this because 'science' has proved it. After many years and many adventures, the little Pooke finally gets the chance to go to the moon. He climbs out of the rocket, steps onto the surface and, in the excitement of the moment, reaches down and scoops up a handful of the moon to eat it.
In the era in which I grew up children were taught a dress code. Only certain clothes were appropriate for a specific occasion. Jeans were appropriate (for boys anyway) for a ball game, but certainly not for a job interview or a nice restaurant. The belief was that you showed respect for yourself, other people and a place by taking the time and making the effort to dress appropriately. Through the repetition inherent in childhood instruction this became a basic belief in the way things should be. Anyone not conforming to this belief was considered ill-
As the eras have changed so too has the dress code -
Another aspect of the need to be 'right' has to do with personal self-
While working on the 'great garden project' of 2009 I had substantially completed six of the eight gardens and wanted to put the coloured bark mulch on the paths between the gardens that were finished. To me it was a way of visibly measuring my progress. My brother, who was working on the rock walls along the main pathway, thought I was crazy. To Dave's way of thinking you finish one aspect of a project before moving to the next. His mildly disgusted comment was "It's half done!" "Exactly!", I replied. To Dave the three words were a negative; to me they were a positive. In this instant, neither of us was right or wrong; we just had a different approach to the same end.
As we get older being right seems much less important. Perhaps it is because experience has taught us that we are quite often mistaken in our assumptions and views on the world; that the panoramic view afforded by age allows a greater perspective and, most importantly, that truth is fluid and ever-
How marvellous to let the other “be”
and have them accord the same grace to me.
Making choices without decree
is life without prickles daring to be free
Each of us has a view of life and living, a world view so to speak, that is integrated into our identity as an individual and as a group. A basic component of that identity is what we believe to be true. The truth as we know it is the measure by which we judge all other people. We want, need, them to conform to our belief because that validates our truth. This premise can be seen in every aspect of living from our first impression of a person newly met to ethnic wars.
The majority of people I've met through the years, on the surface at least, are pleasant, decent people. They will sigh with wonder at a beautiful sunset; take pleasure in a kitten or baby at play. In-
I am reminded of a young man I worked with in a restaurant. When I made a similar comment about customers being mostly nice, he responded that, as far as he was concerned 90% of people, not just customers, were just grumpy creeps.
It's called perspective. That young man was bitter and resentful at a world he saw as passing him a raw deal. He looked on the world with angry eyes and so could only see anger.
Still… it needs to be noted that personality plays a part as well. My oldest sister, Marilyn, by and large lived life in the negative, seeing menacing shadows everywhere. In a moment of candour one day she said, "Even if my childhood had been wonderful, I think I'd still see a negative; I was just born that way." That's not to say, it has to be that way. It just takes more work to be happy when your inclination by nature is to view the world as grey.
Love Is an altogether amazing force. You can’t touch it, but it has more reality and impact than any physical entity. Without the energy of love, our world would be bleak beyond imagining..
The essence of love is beauty
trees blowing in the wind;
clouds hovering above the earth
to bring rain and growth;
birds singing a melody of praise to the universe
Each of us is responsible for only our own emotions. When you perceive yourself as being responsible for someone else’s emotions then you suffer the consequences of guilt when you are unable to make them happy.
And you do them no service -
Every day and in every situation we make a choice to react or respond. We can choose to be happy or mad or sad. We can choose to be miserable over a love gone wrong. We can choose to take responsibility for someone else’s emotions with the inherent consequences. We can choose to allocate blame for our own mistakes. But for every negative choice possible there is a positive choice just as readily available. We can choose to look at every circumstance as an opportunity to grow.
What we cannot do is make anybody else responsible for our emotions nor should we make ourselves responsible for theirs.
We all get annoyed or irritated at times; even lose our temper and say things later regretted. We worry about the kids, our job, the house. We all have moments of the ‘great me’ when we want/need attention. These things are part and parcel of what it is to be human and, when they are momentary and not sustained, have no great affect on anything.
Having said that, some emotions have the force of a hurricane that destroys or damages everything in its path. Below is a brief overview of a few of the biggest detriments to the practice of love.
A young woman, dark skin, dark hair, gets on the commuter train. The only seat left has a bag on it. The bag belongs to another young woman, little more than a girl, who has white skin, blonde hair. When the dark haired girl asks to sit down the blonde gets up, stating clearly, without words, that she would rather stand then sit beside “one of them”. The “one of them” calls the blonde a bitch, but the look on her face says the anger is just a cover for the hurt of being shunned, once again, for having the “wrong” ancestors. Her day is ruined.
Watching this small human drama unfold I wonder what goes through the mind of the blonde girl. Does she justify her behaviour, send a mental sneer, or does she think nothing at all?
The dark girl cannot change the colour of her skin or her ancestry. The blonde can change her attitude, but why would she? The prejudice played out this early morning most likely came from her parents’ and friends who learned it from their parents, but they cannot be blamed. It is the girl’s choice to accept her parents’ attitudes without questioning the validity of those attitudes.
The blonde is pretty, tall and slim. Perhaps she has never known the hurt of rejection in her young life. But, sooner or later, she will experience that hurt. And when she does, will she make the connection? Will she say to herself, “Oh, that’s what it feels like.” and send a silent apology to the dark skinned girl on the train, and all the others she has hurt with an inflated value of her own worth.
The other side of this snapshot of life is the choice the dark-
We call it anxiety, worry, apprehension, stress or phobia, but it is all fear and it will dog our footsteps and nip at our heels -
Our children are so tightly wrapped in cotton batting to keep them safe that the muscles needed for independence and thriving as an adult atrophy. The message of fear seeps into their pores and erodes hope and belief in what is good.
Fear of change keeps people chained to habits of thought and action that serve poorly. It limits their vision to a narrow band of life that holds a false promise of safety and stability. It deadens the hope of expanded possibility and erodes the human capacity for growth.
Give in to the need to scratch an open, but healing, wound or infection and you not only delay the healing but take the chance of making it worse. The same applies to such emotions as resentment and hatred. The underlying wound that causes these emotions is very real. The equivalent of scratching a wound is when our mind goes over and over and over the injury, keeping it open and bleeding.
My experience with hatred was many years ago, but still remembered with clarity for the affect it had on my life. I was just nineteen, a single mother of a toddler. Due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to pay the rent and went to my father for help. He slammed the door in my face. Hatred was born in that instant of shock and pain and became my constant companion for the next eleven years. Letting go of that hatred did not come until, at the age of 30, I saw very clearly that the hatred was like a large boulder in an otherwise lovely garden and that nothing would ever grow in the place where the hared resided.
When I look at this emotion I see only shadow and dark, roiling clouds. What is not black is gray and the light of love cannot shine through. Anger will turn on love and tear it apart.
James, my husband, is one of the few people I know who knows intuitively where the behaviour switches in his brain are located. When a trait, habit or characteristic no longer serves him, he goes directly to the panel of switches, unerringly finds the right one, and turns it off. There are a few other people I've met through the years that have this ability, but the majority of people, including me, do not. Instead of just flipping a switch and moving on with our life, we try to rewire the whole mechanism through will power, affirmations and a myriad of other techniques. Unfortunately, I can't provide a map to the location otherwise I'd use it myself. What I can do is share what I've learned through the trial and error of living.
There are hundreds of self-
b) an ability to visualize;
d) making the time to practice the exercises; and
It is the self-
Our brains are, in effect, wired for repetition and will default to the pattern of thought and behaviour until, through repetition, the pattern is replaced. However, even with the highest of motivation and intent, making that transition requires commitment and persistence with an undertone of gritted teeth determination.
"Her head is in the clouds" is an (mostly) accurate description applied by the people who know me well. A rather pronounced tendency is to be chasing down some thought or other instead of paying attention to what is going on in front me -
Then a pattern of speech emerged that caused some concern. It was like my brain became disconnected from my mouth. I would think one word, but an entirely different one would be spoken. For instance, the thought “When you go to the airport” would be said as “When you go to the freezer.” It has without doubt been a source of humour through the years, but it began to happen with more frequency so I finally mentioned it to the doctor who sent me for a memory assessment. The doctor who conducted the assessment said that he could see no physiological reason for the phenomena; that I just needed to focus and resume the ‘quiet time’ of earlier years.
The first thing noticed was a pattern of what I thought of as nervous energy. Thoughts would flit from one subject to another and then take off with the speed of light to land on yet another subject totally unrelated to the first two. In the course of observing this pattern I became aware that my body movements reflected the fast, jerky tempo of my thoughts. Then I made the connection with “being in the moment”, something I had known about for years, but that had just not sunk in below the level of head knowledge. Suddenly I knew how one related to the other.
Implementing this new found knowledge required a shift out of high gear; to slow down in order to be completely engaged in each moment whether a thought, a conversation, an activity or just moving from one place to another. It meant being consciously aware of body, mind and speech at any given moment. The result was quite remarkable. Tense muscles relaxed; movement and speech became softer; calm permeated my entire being; and I stopped tripping over chairs.
As I was to find out the hard way, staying fully engaged in the moment is no easy task given our innate slavery to habit. An essential element to establishing and maintaining the new habit was and is setting aside a portion of each day for what I call quiet time. Contemplation and reflection for fifteen minutes (the first five are needed to go to slow mode) at the start of the day initiates a rhythm of quietude that acts as a cushion for whatever the day brings. The ‘but’ here is that previous patterns will take over all too quickly to without the twin guards of diligence and resolve.
Unless you are a very important person (read rich and/or powerful) or a celebrity, chances are that people do not hang on your every word. This has nothing to do with whether you are liked, loved or respected. It is just that the majority of people are so caught up in their own thoughts and their own life that they just don't 'see' you. Their eyes may be on you, but their ears are closed to anything except what is going on in their own head.
Just for the fun of it I have tested this theory a few times by stopping what I was saying in mid-
Seeing the person you're with includes small details like listening well enough to know what name they prefer to be called. It is to be aware of a person in your space at any given moment; to 'see' them as a unique individual worthy of your attention. At first, 'seeing' may simply mean extending common courtesy. But over time, with self-
We humans are too often inclined to choose criticism over praise. We walk into a room that is obviously neat and tidy, but instead of noting how nice it looks we zoom in on the dirty spot. Nobody likes to be criticized and yet for many it is a dish served with relish at every opportunity under the false pretence of helping.
Criticism can be served up as censure (disapproval, condemnation, belittlement) or analysis (appreciation, assessment, evaluation). The first warps capacity and ability; the second offers encouragement and promotes creativity. Criticism points a wagging finger with the emphasis on 'you'. You are so lazy, irresponsible…. Instruction carries a tone that says, "I accept you totally as you are, but you may wish to do this another way." Instruction assumes the person being instructed has a right to their dignity and respect as a human being.
Most people know the expression, or one like it, "When you point a finger at somebody else you are pointing three fingers at yourself." Like most sayings, this one has a truth hidden behind the obvious. Rightly or wrongly, we make excuses and justify our actions and attitudes on a regular basis. Love asks that, instead of pointing a finger with a nail in the end, that we do the same for the other person.
There is never any excuse for intentionally offending another human being. Putting someone down, insulting them, making them feel small is just wrong! It accomplishes nothing worthwhile and only serves to add bitterness, anger and resentment to a world already overburdened with dark energy.
When you blame, you open up a world of excuses, because as long as you're looking outside, you miss the opportunity to look inside, and you continue to suffer.
Whatever you might think conscience is, a construct of culture or innate to being human, it can act as a useful guide in the practice of love, provided it is not confused with guilt. The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms defines conscience as “the awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one's conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong”.
For the purpose of this discussion, a healthy conscience is something that lets us know when we are out of sync with love by producing a ‘squirmy’ feeling in the pit of our stomach. It kicks in when we are contemplating an action that will harm and makes itself known in the form of remorse when we have taken such an action without thinking.
By contrast, guilt is defined, in part, as “self-
Make sure your worst enemy is not living between your own two ears.
There are few universal solutions in life. This is so because people and circumstances cannot be painted with the same brush. I believe that the one exception is understanding the nature and power of love and adopting the practice of love, to the best of our ability, as a way of life. Every single human being on the face of the earth can benefit from greater understanding of what love is and putting that understanding into practice. It is only the degree of the benefit that will vary from one person to the next. What I can say with confidence is that anyone who is willing to put in the effort will be happier and more content.
The drive to be something better, to improve our health and habits are a few elements of human growth. Planting seeds of love and caring by giving of our time and talents are more elements of the process. It is doubts, confusion, fear and struggle that impedes the process.
It is an extraordinary thing to be happy; to hum along with a merry tune respective of what is happening in your life. Picture yourself protected and safe inside a globe of tempered glass with meadows blanketed with spring blossoms and birds soaring free underneath a blue sky singing their own unique melody. Being happy protects you from the slings and arrows of other people and life. At the same time happiness creates an energy that emanates outward to envelope the people close to you.
The practice of love is a life-
Choosing to put the practice of love in your life is a choice that will naturally lead to other choices. There is no right or wrong, good or bad. The practice of love chooses one way over another because to do so is to be in line with what love is. How you think, what you think, what you choose to read or watch, how you spend your time and with whom are all choices made every day. Singularly, they may not seem important, but cumulatively they form the substance of who we are.
A skater, to become a champion, must practice for hours every day. Is it work? Well, yes. It's hard to get up those two hours early; to give up hanging out with friends. Yes, it takes making what are sometimes hard choices. Is it a struggle? Yes and no. Flying around the ice, getting that twist just a little more perfect is sheer joy. But I doubt there is a champion anywhere, of anything, who has not at some point said, "I can't do this, it's too hard." And yet they carry on because to not skate is unthinkable.
And so too is developing love. At first it may seem like a struggle, like hard work. But, as you stay the course, as you live love, it quite literally becomes your nature until to be or do anything else seems strange -
As in all things in life, implementing Love's Code into your life requires a starting point. You have to know where you are before you can get to where you want to be. Look at it this way. If you want to go someplace, even if it is just to the other side of town and you have never been there, you have to start with a statement or acknowledgement of your starting point.
To take it to the silly, if you actually live on Pine Street, but in your head you think you live on Elm, you can't possibly get to where you want to go because you are starting with misinformation. So you need to know, or to own up to, where you live right now. You live in a house on a street in a town. You own the house. The house is you. The house may have many rooms, or just a few. It may have an attic, a basement, or both. It may be a mansion or a shack. It can be one, or the other, or both. Your living room can look like a mansion and your bedroom like a hovel.
The point is for you to know and understand, without judgement, what the you of you looks like right now. Are there bags of garbage hidden in the basement left over from childhood or broken relationships? Is one room bright, sunny and sparkling clean, and another dark and dingy?
Using the above as a guide to take a good, hard look at the inside of you, at your emotions and thought patterns relative to your life. See as clearly as you can what the real, hidden you looks like in the context of family, home and recreation. What parts do you like, what don't you like? And remember, this has nothing to do with how much money you have or how you look on the outside.
Remember too that this kind of assessment and change is an ongoing process. Discovering the bits and pieces of garbage hidden away in the attic takes time and the willingness to shine a light on the dark corners of mind and heart.
You are Here
Thoughts, without the harness of restraint, flit like a humming bird or go round and round and round like an out-
Thinking about what you think is the foundation for changing the energy you project. Like weeds that are pulled from a garden you change your pattern of thinking by first noticing the thoughts and then eliminating the ones that do not serve your peace of mind. Make no mistake; this is a life-
"You are what you think" has been a statement made throughout the ages in one form or another. Put another way, whatever you pay attention to, give thought to, will be reflected in your attitudes, speech and behaviour. Every action, including inaction, is motivated by a thought and/or an emotion held consciously or sub-
Not all thoughts give birth to emotion, and not all emotions have enough strength to be felt by any but you. This is why it is so very important to pay attention to what you think, to listen to the tone and texture of your thought-
As monitoring each thought, along with the emotion behind the thought, becomes a habit through practice you come to 'hear' immediately when a note is flat or out of tune with what love is.
Think about what you think!
I have for quite some time understood the importance of accepting ourselves and loving ourselves. What I was unable to put into practice was the acceptance without the criticism. I could love myself but; there was always had a 'but' attached.
One day while waiting to see the manager, I noticed a young woman who worked in the office. She was overweight, slightly unkempt, and wore glasses. With shoulders rounded and slumped, head hanging down, she projected an air of dejection. She seemed somehow familiar, even though I didn't know her. Then I realized I was looking at the perception I had once had of myself. Knowing that I had changed, I wondered why.
You see, despite imagined chains on the door and terror in my heart, I did quite well in sales. What other people saw was a woman who dressed well, carried herself tall (all 5'2"of her) and exuded confidence. And, while it was a long time before the inner image changed completely to match the outer, the changes on the outside inspired confidence from other people, which in turn inspired confidence in myself.
One night I spoke at length to a friend who told me a story I want to share.
My friend's life was not going well. She and her husband were in trouble financially, their marriage of a number of years was on the brink of collapse, and there were family conflicts. She told me that her life only started to 'take off' when she followed the advice of a minister.
He told her to look at herself in the mirror; look directly into her own eyes and say, "I love you." This does not seem like such a difficult task to undertake. And yet Buff (a nickname used for privacy) told me that it took her three weeks of struggling with herself to do it. The result was extraordinary. She made an intense and profound connection. Tears poured down her cheeks in what I suspect was a needed cleansing.
The story doesn't finish there. When Buff went back to the minister and told him of her breakthrough he replied that there was one more thing she needed to do. He said, "Now I want you to hug yourself." Again, something seemingly quite simple. Once more Buff could not bring herself to do it. But she was determined, and vowed she would not sleep until the task was completed. Buff stayed awake for 48 hours, but she did it. Now, giving herself a hug and saying "I love you." to the image in the mirror is a daily practice. And her life has indeed turned around.
The next step is deciding to change the traits that prevent you (in your own mind, not anybody else's) from liking and loving yourself.
There is no one-
Before you set out on this self-
Think for a moment how you define yourself. Think of one or two adjectives. Mother, father, boss, employee, rich, poor, charming, beautiful, handsome, good, bad, plain, sexy, attractive, soft, hard, tough, gentle, ambitious, lazy, intelligent, stupid, smart. These are just some of the adjectives we can use to describe who we are. It’s hard to pick just one or two. The reason for doing this exercise is that the tools of love cannot be used for your benefit until you see the need for them. You will not see the need until, unless, you undertake an honest evaluation of yourself. Part of that evaluation is asking yourself what is important to you, and most important of all, are you happy in your under-
Do you perhaps think, like I did, that taking on the characteristics of love will make you a dull, boring person, stripped of any ability to function in a competitive world? It doesn’t. It is true that what you consider important does change. But what is also true is that by aligning your ideas, attitudes, and behaviour with love you project a different, more positive energy. The people around you will, for the most part, respond accordingly. The reason for this is that energy projected from love attracts the positive instead of the negative. The exception, and it is the exception not the rule, is when the other person has put up a barrier to anything positive by their own choices of anger, resentment, fear and hatred. With this type of person, and we all come across them at one time or another, the best we can do for them and ourselves is to understand and return a soft answer.
Gratitude and praise are a corner stone of love. If hate and resentment are weeds that choke the growth of love, then gratitude with praise is the fertilizer that makes love flourish.
Praise seems like a rather outdated word. In today's language it is used sparingly, particularly in the secular world. And yet, in its guise as honour (another rather old fashioned word) it brings body, mind and spirit together in harmony. Honour love; honour life. Allow wonder, joy and awe to fill you up until a song is born, a song that will lift you up to soar with the eagles. Inhale gratitude and you will exhale joy.
Early in my studies I came across the counsel that we should be thankful in all things, good, bad or indifferent. At the time life was so bleak that it seemed like an impossible quest. How could anyone possibly be grateful for the heartaches, disappointments and "stuff" that life tends to pass out?
At first the practice of gratitude was hard slogging. I didn't have it in me to be thankful for the 'stuff', but I found that there was always something that I could be grateful for and, when things got bad, I would start listing them: I have two fine sons who love me; I was born in Canada; I'm not crippled or mentally challenged; I can read and write….. Given some thought the list was actually quite long and by checking off what was good I was not dwelling on the 'bad' and felt better for the exercise.
For some people the list might be quite short. Imagine living in the ghetto eking out a living that barely feeds your family and being in constant fear for your life and that of your children or watching your children die from lack of clean water. Still, they laugh; they love. Or how about the man that was so paralyzed in a ski accident that all he could move was one eyelid, but went on to write a book one blink at a time? Humans have amazing resilience and can adapt to the worst possible circumstances; and that of itself is worthy of praise.
It is the so-
These days gratitude is automatic and admittedly far easier to practice. Ours is a happy home with love as its centre point. We live in a lovely town free of the fear and stress so prevalent in the city. I rarely walk up a flight of stairs without being grateful that I can; the crippling arthritis that put my mother and two sisters in wheelchairs passed me by. The list is long and for that I am grateful every single day.
From a biological process lasting a few seconds a baby is born; a few pounds of flesh and blood whose primary needs are to eat and sleep… and be loved. What kind of adult the baby becomes depends on many factors, but the single, greatest influence is the parenting the child receives.
For at least the first six years of a child's life its parents (or parent) have the status of a god that is all-
The view a baby or young child have of their parents is so deeply imbedded that it goes far beyond thought or even feeling. It is something they just know without question. As babies and young children we attach expectations and assumptions to our parents that we attach to no other. As a result it is our parents who have the ability to crush and disappoint us far more than any other human. At our most basic level we cannot accept that our gods are less than perfect.
The importance of the responsibility cannot be overemphasized. It is a responsibility so great that the future of the world hangs in the balance. In generation after generation each child becomes an adult and makes decisions based on childhood influences. A child taught to love through word and example is far more likely to make decisions as an adult that are based in love. Were that same child to be taught that life is cruel and hard, that you take what you can get, then it is likely the decisions made as an adult will reflect that attitude at both the micro and macro level.
We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Depending on your point of view, I have been blessed or cursed to have had a number of relationships that have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. Either way, each one offered a gateway to viewing the world through another person's eyes. They also provided the means to assess and measure the essence of what makes a relationship, and the people in it, thrive.
Being 'in love' provides one of our greatest opportunities for growth. It can lift us up to heights unknown and then turn around and pull us down to depths of despair. A good relationship is beautiful beyond measure; a bad one can shred us to core.
The importance of living the Code of Love in a romantic relationship cannot be overstated. Treating your special 'other' with gentle respect, honour and caring every day, year after year is rewarded with harmony, absolute trust and the ability to stand strong together no matter what life brings.
For my 55th birthday, James surprised me with a night out on the town in a hired limousine. Needless to say it was a very, very special night.
Through the years of our marriage, James has surprised me with actions of love over and over. But, more than the gifts, spontaneous dances in the living room and general thoughtfulness, it has been his consistent, loving devotion that has built a solid foundation of trust. It is that trust that lets me know without doubt, that no matter what, he will be by my side.
Through the years of a long and varied career I have been privileged to be mentored by excellent managers who intuitively understood that you get better results with a positive approach. These men and women taught by example that treating people with respect, no matter what their position, age, intelligence or skill level, pays dividends in cooperation and team building. There have been a few poor managers as well, but those experiences only emphasized the benefits of positive reinforcement as a management style.
While respect should be inherent to all human interactions the dynamics of the workplace present a challenge as well as opportunity to affect our environment in a positive manner. The workplace is unique in that it brings together a group of people with diverse personalities and backgrounds in an atmosphere that is not only competitive by nature, but has an underlying component of fear.
One aspect of working with a mix of personalities is how it affects the collective energy of one department or even the whole company. The energy felt can be noticeably positive, wholly negative or both. How much or how little of either depends on what the staff, individually and collectively, is projecting. One dominant personality, particularly in a position of authority, can lift up or pull down the entire workplace. The opposite is also true. If the majority of staff is projecting one kind of energy, their collective strength will offset what is being projected by the one, even if that person is the 'boss'. A few examples come to mind to demonstrate how this works.
For a short time I worked in a small company with only ten or so employees. The staff was dedicated and hardworking, but also knew the value of fun. We enjoyed chatting and joking with each other and made it a point to have an extended weekly lunch together. In contrast, the owner of the company approached the business of business with sober intensity. In her mind there was no room for fun and frivolity. In this instance the good humour of the ten outweighed her dour approach with the end result being that the positive energy made it a good place to work for all of us.
Another time I had a long-
The most compelling example of observing the dynamics of a workplace occurred at my last place of employment before taking early retirement. In some ways it was like watching and being part of an unfolding drama with the first scenes set in a menacing forest and then making a slow transition to an open meadow under clear skies. What made it fascinating to watch and a privilege to be a part of was seeing the story within the story of one man whose superior leadership changed the lives of many and influenced an industry.
The workplace was made up of a small mix of professionals and support staff. The office was small, cramped and rather dingy. I was hired to replace the office administrator who was leaving after three years. It was not a happy place. The secretary sat at her desk hunched over as if seeking protection. When someone came to the counter for assistance her response was sullen and the help minimal. She had just returned from a six-
The hour and a half spent with the person I was replacing was more than enough to see that being in control, down to the smallest details, was an essential component of her management. As I was to find out later she ruled the office and the people in it with the proverbial iron rod. Chit-
The counterpoint to the office administrator making life miserable was the head of the department. He was an extraordinary leader who brought together opposing factions and worked tirelessly to provide mentorship and promote equality. He wore the mantle of authority with quiet dignity and was highly respected in the industry.
Changing the atmosphere that had been poisoned by the former administrator took time, patience and gaining the trust of staff that had every reason to be wary of administration. Drawing on the skills learned from my early mentors, procedures were changed and responsibility delegated. An open door policy invited collaboration and encouraged initiative. The result, particularly when viewed from the point of contrast, was quite amazing. There were staff outings, lunches together and birthdays celebrated. The once sullen and unhappy secretary greeted people with a smile and was quick to offer assistance.
Another example of what 'love in action' looks like in the workplace was provided by a young manager named Branca. A woman in her early twenties had been sent from Toronto for training in the position I held temporarily. Soon after she arrived she became quite ill and I wanted to speak with Branca about her situation. She asked if it could wait as she was due in a meeting in the next two minutes. I told her that, yes, it could wait as it was personal. Branca's response was "Then I have time, let's talk." That evening Branca left work to spend the night with Nancy so she wouldn't be alone and sick in a strange city. A few months later, when Branca treated me to a farewell lunch, I commented on how extraordinary it was for a manger to go to such lengths for an employee. Her reply was startling and worth repeating. She said that she had grown up in a perfect home with parents who loved and supported her and then had gone on to marry a perfect man and secure a job she loved. Giving back, where and whenever possible, was a way to show gratitude for the life she was given.
A news clip tells about women in Afghanistan protesting a law that allows their husbands to rape them. A human barrier of police tries to protect the women and a few male supporters from the men throwing stones at them. Hearing this causes my heart to melt in a pool of sorrow mixed with horror that such practices could still exist. I ache for the women who are the victims of this inhumane law and for the makers of the law who are so imbedded in their belief that they cannot see the inhumanity.
And then I step back and see the situation from a different perspective. For thousands of years the men in this and other cultures have been raised to believe that women, however beloved, are inferior in every way to men; that it is the man's role to protect their women from themselves. In essence the message is that women are a man's property to do with as he wishes. It is their in-
And then I think, "How different is this law that we perceive as abhorrent then America's law that protects the right to bear arms?" It too is embedded in tradition and defended by every means possible. The underlying menace of both laws is harm to another human being. Again I ask, "How are the two laws so different?"
The laws noted are just two instances of cruelty, heartlessness, brutality, callousness, sadism, atrocity and unkindness of one human being to another. So how do we change these things when they are imbedded in the very fibre of a culture?
Changing the way individuals in a culture think has invariably been the result of one human being stepping out from the crowd and stating, by word and action, "This is wrong!" That one step made by one person opens a small portal that allows other people to join the first in a new way of thinking. As more and more people embrace the change there is a subtle groundswell of influence that builds over time until finally the leaders too embrace the change either through personal choice or political pressure. On a few occasions throughout history it is the leader who has started the process, but more often than not, it has been one ordinary individual whose only claim to the extraordinary is the courage to stand alone and say, "This is wrong!"
Phrases like "he's lost in thought" and "how time flies when you're having fun" express the relativity of time. Days unfold in timeless innocence for the very young. In youth it slows to a crawl waiting for adulthood. In the middle years of parenting and work it becomes a precious commodity in that there is never enough. And then, inevitably, in the final years of life it slows once again until it stops with the last breath taken.
It is a self-
However, it does not have to be that way. As noted in 'The Tyranny of Habit, it takes, shifting out of high gear; slowing thoughts, body and being. This of itself has tremendous value. Suddenly there is time to smell that rose, to inhale the beauty of a sunset and exhale appreciation. There is time to look into the eyes of a loved one and commune silently in the melody of love. It is these moments that bring the calm of a pristine lake on a warm summer's day; a calm that radiates outward into every aspect of life.
As you continue to practice living the moments of life, you find that time does indeed expand to accommodate all that needs doing. Concentrating on the moment at hand in a centre of calm is highly productive with far less mistakes both in the practical world of commerce and on a personal level. You find that the next thing that needs doing has its own moment and you can rest easy knowing that it will get all your attention when its time comes.
In the span of 'all time' we are given just a few short years to live in this time, this place. We do well to remember that what came before is done and gone, and what will be, will be. We cannot undo the past, and the future for most remains an unknown until we get there. What we can do, should do, is live the moments of our life to their fullest, seeking the truth that serves our individual growth. If we live each day to the very best of our ability and understanding then we need not concern ourselves with the future, either here on earth or what lies beyond.
There is little doubt that our world is in need of repair. Children starving, acts of terrorism and genocide, the effects of global warming fill our news on a daily basis. Fortunately the doom and gloom is being counter-
Remember that every single person has an effect on the pond of life. Knowingly or not, each of us contributes and is responsible for the health of the pond. Were we to live in a world where love was predominant, our world would indeed be different.
For those wishing to have the Code of Love as the dominant factor in their life there are two responsibilities that must be met. The first responsibility is to not be the cause of disharmony; not an easy task given the inherent limitations of being human. The second responsibility is to consciously, actively contribute to the harmony and balance of our universe.
As stated throughout, this guide is not about being perfect or having a perfect life. It is about making you more aware of who you are, of other people, of how you act and react. Because if you open your mind to "see" and "hear", even a little differently, a seed will have been planted that, with even the smallest amount of attention, will grow into something uniquely you, uniquely beautiful
A New Day Awaits
The mother of two sons and grandmother of three, I live with my husband, James, and brother, David, in the small community of Powell River on the Upper Sunshine Coast of BC, Canada. We moved here in 2005 to pursue our art and enjoy semi-
Although an avid reader from childhood I was twenty-
In the fall of 1990 the seed for Love's Dynamic was planted by way of a dream. In the dream I climbed out of a suffocating black hole to stand on a high plateau. Behind me was a panorama of mountains and valleys with a road that twisted and turned, which I knew represented my life to that point. In front of me was a gate in the middle of a wooden fence that extended from horizon to horizon. In my hand was a large key that I knew opened the gate. But I wasn't ready to open it. Instead I looked through a knothole and saw only the faintest outline of mountains and sky. Again I knew why. I was being given the opportunity to paint my own future and it could be anything I wanted.
As dreams do, one led to another. In the second dream I was in a foreign country giving a lecture on love to a small group of people influential in the affairs of their country. The invitation came as a result of the popularity of a book on the subject of love. It was then that I had the first inkling of my heart's desire and what I wanted the picture of my life to look like. At the core of my being, more than anything, I wanted to write and talk about the power of love for change in the life of every individual and in the world.
Dreams, however, seldom come true in an instant. It took almost twenty more years of life, living and learning and the dream is still in the making.
www.lovesdynamic.com © 2017
Table of Contents
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|Heroes & Villains|
|Table of Love's Characteristics|
|Gentleness & Joy|
|Honesty & Nobility|
|Thoughtfulness & Trust|
|In search of…|
|Colours of Experience|
|Baggage of Bad Experience|
|To Be or Not to Be – Perfect|
|I’m Right, You’re Wrong|
|Filter of Perception|
|The Tyranny of Habit|
|See the Person You’re With|
|Conscience, Not Guilt|
|What Do You Think?|
|You Loving You|
|In the Workplace|