Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Archive for July, 2013

Are You Inclusive or Exclusive?

How comfortable are you with diversity? When we think about the Universal Energy of which we are all apart how can the diversity in others cause us fear or concern? Are we not all on a journey to learn our own unique lessons in life? Are we not all wanting the same thing? I believe each of us is wishing and hoping for others to look favorably upon us regardless of who we are and the struggles we are involved with while living on planet earth. Yet, sometimes we find ourselves viewing the habits of others and we think to ourselves, ‘well that’s rather strange.’ Let’s think again about the last time we felt uncomfortable because someone didn’t fit neatly into our own definition of comfort zone. I’ll bet a situation can immediately come to mind.

There are so many types of diversity: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic, status, age, physical abilities, mental capacity, religious beliefs, political beliefs the list could go on and on. The differences are so great that it is sometimes a real challenge – maybe even impossible – to find others that view life through a similar lens. What if the Universe designed the differences as a test to teach us something about acceptance?

Seems to me that we can look upon differences in one of two ways. The first is with acceptance and a level of respect that causes us to move beyond tolerance to actually embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity within each individual. As we observe their differences we learn from them and become wiser people in the process. Or, the other option is to run back into our own comfort zone and think to ourselves that we alone have the right or proper view of life. When people take this second approach, we can see it in their faces and feel it in their energy. Their facial muscles tighten, their arms are frequently crossed in front of them and their eyes, the window to their soul, say to us, stay away you are not like me and I am not comfortable around you. When you observe people with this mindset something sad happens as they live out their life. Their world becomes smaller and smaller. Frequently they become fearful and angry at the world in general. It is, as if, they have spiraled down to a mere point of simply existing – not fully living – but merely existing. How sad.

What if we all made it a point to expand our comfort zone in some way just for today? It doesn’t have to be a biggie but just something that causes us a slight discomfort. Discomfort can be a good thing. It can indicate an area for potential growth. The opportunity to become a wiser, more accepting human being is in our hands. We simply need to decide if we are big enough, strong enough or wise enough to become more inclusive and less exclusive. Due to free will the choice is always up to us.

Let’s take the challenge and pick up the ball and run with it today and look at another human being that is different from ourselves with acceptance and celebration. Doing so will cause us to smile when we go to bed tonight realizing that we purposely pushed our envelop of comfort and in doing so we have enlarged our lives and made the world a little better place.

Have a great few days!

Defining Normal

How many times have we thought when observing a person or situation, ‘that is not normal.’ Or better yet, how many times have we thought another person is not doing things right or correctly …according to what we judge to be so. The operative word here, of course, is JUDGE. If we are honest with ourselves, most or all of us would say, yes I do that frequently when what I see or hear doesn’t match MY definition of regular or normal. My question to you then is what do you define as normal? Do you think your definition is the only right one possible? Is there any flexibility in your interpretation of the word?

By definition, normal is stated to be ‘conforming to a standard, usual, regular or natural – a common behavior in society.’ However – and this is the biggie here – the definition of normality varies by person, time, place, situation and changes with societal standards and norms. In other words, ‘normal’ is intended to be a FLEXIBLE concept by definition. Yet we seem to define the word using a rigid standard according to what we are comfortable with at the moment. That sort of makes us judge and jury for everyone and everything in life doesn’t it? We place others unwittingly in an untenable situation because they are not meeting our own arbitrary standard of normal. Trust me on this one, they can feel your judgment and negative energy and will react accordingly. That is a rather dangerous or hurtful place to be don’t you think?

I believe defining normal is rather like defining beauty. It is in the eyes of the beholder as long as no one is hurt in the process. Each of us has a right to decide what works best for us without fear of reprisal or condemnation. It is sort of one of those inalienable rights given to us by a power much greater than ourselves.

If we allow ourselves to see the behaviors of others as ‘not normal’ that implies that something in their behavior needs to be corrected. But if we haven’t walked in their shoes and understand what they are coping with, how can we possibly believe that we are so smart, powerful or wise to determine what is normal or right for them? Could it be that what we are observing is simply a temporary or ‘normal’ state in reaction to that person’s circumstances at the moment. Could it be that they need understanding and acceptance and are just waiting to see if we are willing to get out of our own comfort zone and give it to them?

I believe that we would all be happier in our individual life journeys if we consciously worked at accepting others as we want to be accepted – without value judgments or conditions. The bottom line is that we are all seeking the same thing – unconditional love and understanding as we proceed on our paths. What we give we receive in return – no more no less.

Have a great few days!

Extend a Hand

I recently received a heartfelt letter from a woman in California who had read my book, ‘Just Behind The Door.’ I thank all of you who have had the opportunity to read the book as well as those of you who have emailed me your impressions. Losing a child, regardless of their age, or a partner, parent, sibling or best friend causes us to walk a similar path through grief. It is so important to know that you are not alone and that yes, the feelings of loss can be so overwhelming they can take you to your knees. There is nothing wrong when you momentarily feel so deeply that you question life itself. The deeper our love the deeper our grief.

What IS important to know when you are troubled about anything is that you will make it through – not necessarily totally unscathed – but you will make it through when you reach out to others for help. Regardless of the type of help whether reading about someone else’s journey, joining a loss group, working with a counselor or simply talking, talking and talking to a family member or friend about your feelings enables you to get the raw, gut wrenching hurt and fear to the surface. It may take weeks, months even years to truly heal. It’s okay – we are each on our own unique timeline in this life journey. Getting your feelings to the surface is THE critical first step in healing. At the surface there is light and with that light energy the slow, deliberate process of healing will begin.

Some might think that a person is strong if they don’t fall apart at times and show emotion. You know the reference to the saying attributed to the upper class British, ‘keep a stiff upper lip?’ Well, originally that was in reference to sewing the mouth closed of a corpse before throwing it overboard at sea. Kind of puts things in perspective doesn’t it? Show me a person who doesn’t struggle with their feelings when loss or difficult things happen in their life and I will show you a person who is sad, angry and alone.

True strength is being willing to admit vulnerability and seeking out someone to confide in who will truly hear you. Just as you can either be someone’s lifeline or anchor you can also be your own. The choice is always up to you. Being your true authentic self takes courage and by sharing your feelings it gives others the chance – the honor even – of being there for you. Those who are the happiest in life seem to have learned this lesson.

Remember the lyrics from the song written by Tommy Page, ‘A Shoulder To Cry On,’
Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on…
a friend to rely on…
you will feel better
if you let me walk with you…
by your side…
you won’t be alone…
a friend to rely on…
with you ’till the end.

Let’s show how strong we are by making a commitment to be there for others when they need us and to open up to others when we need a listening ear and caring heart. We reincarnated together, this time around for a reason and just like the links in a chain, together we are stronger.

Have a great few days!