Seeing the best in life's challenges

Whose Truth is Right?

How does one determine the Truth?  Is there such thing as Absolute Truth?  Does that even matter?

Many people associate the idea of Truth with Right and Wrong.  The Truth is Right.  We are talking about Facts here, and Facts are Facts, and Truth is Truth.  The End.

But, as the blackboard in my local burrito place says, “We don’t live in a World of Reality, we live in a World of Perceptions. “  Google says Gerald Simmons said that.  And once you delve into what’s True in the Real World, that Truth seems to get a lot more complicated.  In a World of Gray, it depends.

Does everyone have to agree on what is True?  I am personally sure that there are Universal Truths, but I suspect many of them are beyond our complete understanding.  There are Laws of Physics, for example, but our understanding now will certainly evolve over time and become more complete.  Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.

So, in my every day life, how do I decide what is True?  On what do I base my own decisions and actions?  What is my guide?

If I look outside for others to tell me what is True, it becomes very confusing.  Sure, it’s easy to adopt a set of rules and stick to that, but when life becomes complicated, those rules don’t always work so well.  Because one finds that not all of the sets of rules agree.  It is true that there are common threads in the sets of rules, if you look deep enough, and I think those threads are good clues.  As a good friend of mine says, “That’s information.”

But for me, I’ve decided that my Truth can only be found within.  No one else knows me the way I do.  I’m not like anybody else, and the better I get to know myself, the more I realize that I have to do it my way.  My way does include a lot of thinking and reasoning, because I am a very logical, strong left-brain person.  But interestingly, when I took a quiz that scored you on left vs. right brain thinking, I scored high on both sides, and about even.

That’s because I also listen to my heart.  I have always been willing to consider what’s outside the box.  I’m impulsive, because I listen and act on those impulses of the heart.

So maybe it’s important to say that you don’t have to abandon your mind for your heart – you can be a strong thinker, yet still focused on and listening to your heart.  For me, it helps to be aware of these two sources of input, and to acknowledge them for what they are.  They are tools to use to know how to be.

But while my mind gives me plenty of information, my heart always tells me the Truth.  The trouble is, most of us in the world, even if we are aware of what our heart tells us, end up acting on what our mind says.  After all, it’s what’s logical, it’s what makes sense, it’s what you’re supposed to do, it’s the Right thing.  (see how we got back there?)

If you follow your Heart, you can seem Crazy.  Selfish.  Your actions don’t “Make Sense.”  Because your Truth does not agree with the Truth of Others.  Of course it doesn’t!!  You are not them!   So, tell me, who decided that everyone’s Truth has to be the Same???

What makes this all the more interesting, is that when many people do figure out their own Truth, it is such a revelation, and it feels so good, that they make the mistake of assuming that THEIR Truth is the RIGHT Truth and everybody else should adopt that SAME Truth.  They discover their own Truth, yet remain in the same Old Paradigm thinking that imposes Mine on You.

I actually think that this is the struggle that is at the root of the so-called Mid-Life Crisis.  We have all been taught that there is a Right way to live our lives, and we are creatures that want to do good and be good.  We make decisions based on this Paradigm, and we are being good people, following the generally accepted way of this World, and everything should be working out just fine, right?

But as time goes by, we live life, we gain wisdom, we self-reflect, we pay attention to how we feel, we learn what activities give us joy and which ones make us uncomfortable or just don’t feel right, and well, if we are paying attention, there is that nagging feeling that something is “off.”

Because we are trying to live some generally accepted version of what’s Right, which is supposed to be True, but we find that it doesn’t feel True for us.

At that point, we can face this situation head-on or not.  We can try to find what’s missing, or try to find activities that satisfy our desire for happiness or completeness.

People generally think of the “mid-life crisis” as a bad thing, but I actually think it is an indication of a person who is really thinking things through, who is growing and becoming, rather than someone who has given up and is willing to stagnate in place.

And this doesn’t just happen at Mid-Life – anyone who can be accused of “finding themselves” has a similar thing going on.

Change and questioning the status quo scares people.  Many will cling to “the way it is” just so they don’t have to face the uncertainty of a new way of being.  Change rattles our sense of security.  So, on top of the internal pressure of trying to sort through and find their own Truth, this person faces increased pressure from those they live close to who don’t like this idea of change.

I know people going through versions of this process.  They are well-meaning, good, nice people who are trying to live their lives as best they can.  They are thinking about changing their situations or actually making changes in their lives.  The default way of reacting to this is resistance, refusal to listen, consider or accept, and becoming hurt and insecure.    In some cases, there is a reluctance to even start a conversation, not knowing where to begin.

In my opinion, awareness of these situations is a call to cultivate the skills we need to be able to deal with changes of the Heart.  There is such a need for the ability to be open to understanding the “heart callings” of others, to be able to listen and hear another human being trying to express their true feelings, their hopes, their dreams, and their visions for themselves.   For those who truly care and spend time in self-reflection and attempt to face and reconcile their personal Truth vs. What Is, these things are difficult enough to share, because many of us don’t want to “disappoint” others by not being who they thought we were.

Heck, we’re all just trying to do the best we can.  If someone is going to get thoughtful and spend time trying to figure out what is True for them, can’t we appreciate that for what it is, and listen?

Just another chance to ask ourselves, is it more important to be Right or to Understand?

Here’s a video to watch that will make you think about how you know what is True.  And it’s a lot of fun!

Want to know the backstory?  see here:


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Thoughts about Relationships

Watching my wall on Facebook is always fascinating.  I love when a “theme of the day” or week emerges, thoughts that complement each other and make me think.  The posts I see this morning speak for themselves, so here are they are:

from David Mills:

Today’s message from Neale Donald Walsch. Wow, I just love this:

“The purpose of relationship may not be what you think.

If you are excited about forming a relationship based on

what it looks like you can get, rather than what you can give,

you have started off on the wrong foot entirely, and you

could be heading for a big disappointment.

The purpose of all relationships is to create a sacred context

within which you can express the fullness of who you are.

And who you are is an experience you have BEFORE

you enter relationship, not because you did.”

from Jada Pinkett Smith:

Letting Go.

I have a friend that I had to lovingly let go. We had very different perspectives on what being a friend meant. There was no right or wrong…just different. Unfortunately, we lacked the ability to find a happy medium that made our friendship enjoyable, and we went our separate ways. Today, I realized that the ability for two people to separate, for the reason that you care for the other so much and desire them to be happy and accepted for who they are without question or doubt, IS a gift of friendship. We were able to take care of ourselves as well as one another. This experience gave me a different definition of “friendship”, and that at times “friendship” can come in forms we don’t recognize.

I am grateful for the lesson.


from Lauren Worsh:

I’ve been noticing lately how much we have conditioned ourselves to receive others conditionally, based on our quite narrow ideas and preferences regarding “how a person should be”. Rather, I should say, I have been noticing how deep it runs and how subtle it gets. For we do this, I believe, in quiet and habitual ways that don’t seem to be prejudicial. In other words, we filter what to give our attention to at a primarily unconscious level.

When we choose to let go of habits of preference and judgment, choose instead to trust the discernment of the clear heart, we begin to see, appreciate, and enjoy the perfection and uniqueness of those we previous felt uncomfortably triggered by. We own and metabolize those triggers, and are liberated in the process into an experience of life that is utterly redemptive and joyful. It is a cliche perhaps to say the heart overflows, yet there it is … … … The heart is a fountain; its continual pulse of expansion, release and integration infinitely, emergently luminous.

We are truly capable of enjoying and appreciating the unique gifts of all, and honoring Self without cease, in endless celebration.

There is no judgment on the habit of judgment. We start there. It was a strategy, and it worked. But where we’re going we don’t need it anymore. We can put it down whenever we choose.

from Lynda Allen:

live life

from Lee Harris:

More than anything, be kind to yourself.

Much of what we were taught in society was designed to make us hard on ourselves. Whether that judgment is on your appearance, your ways of being, what you think you are not good at.

Recognize all of those ideas are illusions that we have been fed. But when they combine with emotions, those illusions play out inside us as very real.

So if you make but one commitment for 2013, agree to be kinder to and on yourself. ~~Lee, from 2013: Year of Community

from Simon Nilsson:

The heart has its own intelligence and constantly communicates with other hearts.

from Aura & Soul Psychology:

When souls meet who have known each other before, there is an experience of ‘resonance’ that takes place that lets each know, if they are open to knowing, that something unusual is taking place on an energy level. A synergy occurs which is vibrational that lets the heart know that something powerful is going on. This kind of occurrence does not mean that we must respond in a particular way to it, for the destiny of each encounter and relationship has to be met on its own terms, and these include both the soul-level connection we may have with another, and also how the meeting fits into our present-day embodied life. Nevertheless, the awareness of having met another whom we recognize to come from the same ‘place’ as we have, is a deeply moving experience – one that many people have without knowing where the feeling comes from. –Carola Arcadia


Rushing to Blame and Judgment only inflames a situation (reblog)

This is a reblog from John Smallman’s blog found here:  Jesus through John


“To awaken is humanity’s destiny.  It is inevitable and unavoidable, and that is a very good reason to be happy and joyful.  I cannot impress upon you strongly enough how much God, our Father, loves you all in every moment of your existence.  There is nothing that any of you has ever done, or could ever do, that would cause him to withdraw His Love from you – absolutely nothing!  There are some among you who doubt this, but it is a doubt, a worry that you need to release.  You are all God’s beloved children – children whom He loves without reservation, always.  Whenever you feel down, depressed, shameful, worthless, guilty, or angry, just remind yourselves of this divine truth – “God loves me and will always love me regardless of what I or anyone else might think, say, or do.”

This does not mean, as you well know, that you can behave thinkingly or unthinkingly in an unloving manner.  To behave in a manner that hurts another hurts you more!  It may not seem like that, but someone who has been hurt can forgive, whereas someone who is doing the hurting cannot.  You cannot forgive anyone as long as you are inflicting pain on them – and that includes yourself because to hurt another is to hurt yourself.  To forgive, you have to stop inflicting pain, and to bear a grudge or carry resentment of any kind is to inflict pain on yourself, a pain that frequently drives you to project it outwards on to others whom you then see as the cause of your misery or unhappiness.

In the illusion, where there is so much pain and suffering, it seems that pain and suffering are imposed on some by others, often very vindictively, and in a sense this is correct.  But those behaving so unconscionably are themselves crying out for love.  If you attack them their pain intensifies – and a common response to that suggestion might be “A good thing too, they deserve it.”  But attacking conflict with conflict only leads to further conflict.  Those who could and would cause suffering can only be disarmed by love and forgiveness.  And if their pain is intense, as is very likely, disarming them is a slow process that requires love and forgiveness in abundance.

All of you who are presently on Earth as wayshowers and Light-bearers have learnt forgiveness and are here now to teach it.  Yes, many of you have suffered severely in your present lives and have issues with forgiving, perhaps feeling that you have not learnt to forgive and that you have no desire to do so. Nevertheless, you have to admit to yourselves that you do know that love is the only answer, whatever the problem.  You are aware that forgiveness is the way forwards, and you are working on engaging with forgiveness to release all your own anger, bitterness, and resentment.

You know that you need to do this, you know that this is the path you chose to follow, despite the pain, even though you are often struggling with it as you recall the unconscionable experiences that you have undergone personally, but you have sought spiritual assistance and you are receiving it.  Keep asking for help, and keep holding the intention to forgive or to learn to forgive, and with the spiritual assistance you are receiving you will succeed.  Then you will demonstrate forgiveness, and by doing so, teach it to others.

That lesson is the major one that all are in the process of learning and putting into effect.  And the best teachers are those who are closest to their own experiences of personal pain and suffering, because they can relate the most compassionately to those who are suffering, while at the same time being open to the awareness in themselves of the pain that those inflicting suffering are undergoing.  They can see and understand both perspectives.  No one who is not in pain imposes pain intentionally on anyone else.

Accidents occur through thoughtlessness or unawareness, and pain is inflicted. But those who cause those situations are filled with as much or sometimes more grief than those who got hurt.  It could well be that a person’s first lesson in forgiveness happens when they get involved in a situation where an accident occurs and they are given the opportunity to offer compassion and forgiveness to the one who caused the injury, as well as to those who were injured.

Rushing to blame and judgment only inflames a situation that is already causing much pain to all involved.  In your quiet times, your times that you set aside to be alone, dwell on forgiveness, remember instances when you were unexpectedly forgiven, and set the intention to be ready to forgive should something occur to upset, offend, or cause injury – physical or psychological – to you or to a loved one.  Your awakening process involves opening to love and forgiveness, and an essential part of that process is to set the intention to do so every day. Remember that to forgive and to be forgiven brings acceptance and love in a most disarming fashion.  Practice it, demonstrate it, and be the fine teachers that you truly are.

Your loving brother, Jesus.”



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Find (and Eat) What Works for YOU (reblog)

Here’s the exact same message I keep hearing, just coming to you and me in the midst of a different subject area… yourself, listen to your own body, find what works for YOU.  Stop depending only on external guidance and following one-size-fits-all programs.  Take that information, and think about it, and then figure out whether or how it works for you. 

This is such a basic principle, but it’s the opposite of how most of us have been taught to interact with the world. 

Why A Raw, Vegan Chef Does NOT Follow A Raw Or Vegan Diet

original post found here:

Today, instead of sharing a recipe, I’m sharing a rant. And I’m sharing it with love in the hopes that if you’re struggling at the moment, it helps you move confidently in the direction of your most vibrant, fulfilled life.

First of all, I want to clear up some confusion.

TRUE: I am a certified raw vegan chef.

FALSE: My diet is strictly raw, strictly vegan.

Let me be clear: MY DIET IS NOT 100% RAW VEGAN! Ok, that felt good. Even though I share that with people all the time, they rarely hear it.

TRUE: I eat A LOT of raw food, in the form of fruits and vegetables.

Wait a minute, Aimee! How can you eat cooked food when you are a raw food chef? How is that possible? Why would you do that?

This is a question I get A LOT! So let me share with you the answer.

I chose my specialized training for a few reasons. After both my parents were diagnosed with cancer, I wanted to learn more about how the body can naturally detox and prevent disease through the foods we choose to eat. Growing up on packaged processed foods, along with burgers and fries from fast food joints, I had NO IDEA how to make simple fruits and vegetables taste good to me. As far as I knew, veggies were something overcooked and covered in cheese sauce.

Why am I sharing this with you? To clear up the confusion you may be having in your own diet and lifestyle. Here are some typical questions, comments, and pleas I get over and over again:

I really want to get healthy. I’ve been trying to get healthy for years. I just don’t have the motivation or quickly lose it.

I have a busy lifestyle I cannot change that prevents me from making healthy dietary choices.

I hate eating fruits and vegetables. Can you help me?

I keep trying to go raw vegan, but I keep going back to cooked foods. I know a raw vegan diet is the best diet but I can’t seem to manage it.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Ok… let me take each of these in turn.

I really want to get healthy. I’ve been trying to get healthy for years. I just don’t have the motivation or quickly lose it.

Does this sound like you? If so, I have some questions for you:

What does healthy mean to you? How do you define it?

What have you tried in the past? When did you stop? What else did you try? When did you lose motivation there? And the next thing you tried? Keep asking yourself these questions and you’ll start to see a pattern. The point is to break the pattern and start something new. Doing this on your own can be daunting and soon you find yourself giving up. This is where a coach comes in, to assist you in breaking through to the next level of your life.

I have a busy lifestyle I can’t change that prevents me from making healthy dietary choices.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” There are plenty of ways to incorporate better health into a hectic lifestyle, but you have to open your mind to them. If you start any journey with the belief that the destination is impossible to reach, you are doomed to failure.

Gaining greater health isn’t like driving up to your favorite fast food joint and placing an order. If you’re not experiencing the health you desire, you have to be willing to change something. Disease is a sign that something is not working. Think of it as your internal GPS system. Disease and illness are signs you are going in the wrong direction. Start changing your course to get back on the path to greater health and happiness. To continue going in the wrong direction will only steer you further and further from your desired destination. And to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the results to change is the definition of insanity.

I hate eating fruits and vegetables. Can you help me?

The real question is: Are you ready to help yourself? Are you ready to let go of the thought that you hate all fruits and vegetables? Have you tried every single fruit and vegetable? What is it you don’t like about eating them?

No, I can’t wave a magic wand and voila, you suddenly change all your beliefs and your lifestyle. But if you are ready and willing to make changes, you are well on your journey to greater health and happiness.

I keep trying to go raw vegan, but I keep going back to cooked foods. I know a raw vegan diet is the best diet but I can’t seem to manage it.

Who says a raw vegan diet is the best diet? Look around and you’ll see experts touting another diet to be the best, either now, in the past, or in years to come.

Here’s a suggestion. Stop blindly following all those so-called experts in the media and start listening the true expert on your health and well-being: YOU. That’s right. YOU are the best expert when it comes to your body. Start listening to it. Yes, you can gain valuable information from the other experts, but remember YOU have the final say in what works for you. Quite empowering to know, right?

Wondering whether to be vegan, raw vegan, or paleo? Here’s a suggestion: Be YOU. Eat the foods that make you feel good, in body and in mind.

As someone once told me, ‘It all falls back to love.’ He’s absolutely right. It all falls back to love. Love for yourself. Love for your body. Love for those around you.

I love you and I wish you all the best in your journey. I wish you great health and happiness. If I can assist you on that journey, it is my absolute pleasure to do so.

Please feel free to comment here. I love hearing from you.

Until next time, stop neglecting your body. Stop hurling insults at it and telling it that it’s not good enough. Instead, love it and listen. Your body has a lot to tell you.

About the Author

Aimee DuFresne is a writer, speaker, life coach and raw vegan chef. After losing the two people closest to her in 2008, Aimee transformed her life and made it her business to enjoy each moment to the fullest. She is the creator of Fearless Fridays, a series interviewing individuals who have triumphed over tragedy to inspire and empower others to do the same. She shatters the myth that better health has to be hard or time-consuming and offers customized programs to her clients so they can enjoy greater health and happiness; making the process faster, easier, and a whole lot more fun!

Her first book, Keep Going: From Grief to Growth, is due to be released in late 2013.

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Energy Signatures and Frequencies

Aisha North’s recent post, The manuscript of survival – part 308, describes how each of us relates to other groups and individuals based on our own personal “energy signature.”  Basic science tells us that, very simply, we are all made up of energy.   The idea of an “energy signature” is that we each have a unique blend or combination of energy that makes us who we are.

It’s helpful to think about it this way when we try to think of who we are at the level of the soul.  We know we are not truly defined by the superficial and that we are more than our physical bodies.  But most people haven’t been brought up or taught to think beyond the superficial, so we don’t have a body of words or concepts that are commonly used to describe our uniqueness at a deeper level.

Another way to describe who we are, is that we each have a soul song, a unique “tune.”  Many people who have had near death experiences describe the music they could hear, beautiful tunes playing all at once.

Remember, it’s all metaphor, because these concepts cannot adequately be described with literal words.  You will never understand these concepts with your mind, but you will know and feel them with your heart.

A related, but different concept is that of frequency.  For some discussion of this topic, a good place to start is here.

The more “enlightened” a person becomes, the higher their frequency.  This is also similar to the description of “dimensions.”  Again, mere words will not describe these concepts adequately, so know and feel the concept.  Don’t get bogged down by the words.

Raising frequency involves releasing and transforming fears, beliefs, judgment, ideas of lack, and so much more.

The deeper inside you go, the better you know yourself, the more authentic you become, the more clearly you are knowing your own unique energy signature.  When you are aware of this, you will know and feel when you encounter others who are closely aligned to you.  You will recognize your soul family.

The higher your frequency, the more open you will be to seeing, allowing, accepting ALL others, whether their energy signature happens to be close to yours or very different.  You will be able to know and feel that we are all ONE, a gathering of unique bundles of energy that together, make up the big picture.

These are concepts I’m thinking about.  I’m learning for me, and there are plenty of resources for anyone who wants to delve into these topics.  If this resonates with you, I encourage you to delve away!!


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Being REAL

I just want to hug Charles Ramsey.  And it has nothing to do with what he did for those girls.  It has everything to do with who he is and what he is:  REAL.

Charles didn’t do anything out of the ordinary – he just happened to be dealing with a really extraordinary situation.  And deal with it he did, in a way that we aren’t used to seeing.

We are not used to seeing “real” on TV, especially.  Most everything we see on TV or video is already thought-out, polished, acted out.  And even if the person being interviewed is being real, the presentation is packaged in a way that gives the story a spin.  News people and anchors and actors each have their “persona” that has been created based on what they are supposed to look like, how they are supposed to act, in so many ways that our view of the world has become more skewed than we can imagine.

Then Charles Ramsey comes along, and gives the perfect example of a human being just being himself.  No overinflated ego.  No check on his language to make it “appropriate.”  No hidden agenda or motive.  No getting caught up in the drama.  His emotions are real, he is stunned by what has happened, but he is not even tempted to sensationalize it.  As George Stephanopoulos gets almost a little giddy about the fact that this has gone viral, Charles responds, “there is no feeling.  You do what you gotta do.”

Those of us who have had the supposed “advantages” of things such as wealth, and education, and homeownership, and maybe business and social connections, and orthodontics and maybe plastic surgery…..  The list goes on and on, of the superficial things that we think of as the trappings of success.  And guess what?  NONE of these things determine your character.

We should not be one little bit surprised that a guy like Charles Ramsey would do what he did.  What he did was normal, what any regular person would do.  Yet, how many people have placed such a high priority on protecting themselves, that they hesitate to “get involved” in a situation?

The world is full of people just like Charles, because every single one of us is just like him.  It’s just that many people have incorporated layers of gunk on top of their basic nature.  They have bought into the idea that they have to be someone else, someone who wants to be famous, someone that wants to be rich, someone that needs to fill someone else’s expectations.

We are taught to tell people what they want to hear, or respond in certain expected ways.   We are used to putting a spin on everything we say.  During his 911 call, the police officer obviously gets annoyed with the way Charles is talking.  It’s an indication of how we culturally associate credibility with the use of certain ways of speaking.  But when you listen, it is obvious that Charles is the one being factual, helpful and empathetic.  The officer comes off as “a moron.”

We become so attached to this plastic ideal of who we should be we don’t realize what we are doing.  We think we have to compete to be good enough or to be the best.  That mindset leads people to put others down to lift themselves up.  And we judge people based on their appearance, their race, where they live, what job they have, etc.

That competitive mindset is already rearing its ugly head, with people bringing up “dirt” from Charles Ramsey’s past.  They point out his mistakes, in order to feel superior.  It’s another version of the Perpetrator-Victim-Rescuer game.  The only thing more fun than playing this game, is arguing about which character is playing which role in the game.  It’s never-ending drama, which is fine, if that’s what you’re into.  Go for it.

We confuse a person’s character with the superficial trappings of “success” and we try to control others by pointing out their weaknesses and telling them they are not good enough.  Having character does not mean always doing everything “right,” it means being authentic and doing the best you can in each moment.  We put down entire groups of people, and they are usually groups like immigrants, poor people, people of a different religious affiliation, stupid people, people that don’t “get it”, etc.  Why??

If you look inside, and ignore all those external expectations, it will become very clear who and what you are.  You can just be you.  And you will know, just like Charles, that you aren’t doing anything unusual.

Charles is perfect just the way he is.  And so are you and me.

The media wants to celebrate Charles as a hero.  Instead, let’s celebrate him because he’s REAL.



The Problem with Evangelism

Despite the title, this is NOT a post about religion; it’s a post about a mindset.

The word evangelize is closely associated with Christianity, but in a broader sense, it means “to convert.”   Christians were instructed to spread the Good News (Mark 16:15.)

When a person discovers Good News, it is natural for them to spread it!  Whether it is an enjoyable story, a funny video, a quote that rings true, a beautiful picture or an article that we find insightful, we want to SHARE it!  That’s what’s happening on Facebook all the time, right??

This is even more true when we have a powerful personal experience, witness a life-changing event, or experience a breakthrough.  SHARING is CARING, and of course we want to help others with our newfound knowledge and insights.


If our intention is to help others by sharing, then how could there be a downside?

Evangelists are not inherently bad people.  They care passionately about others, and because they have had such a good experience, they want the same for others.

Some of the most fervent evangelists I know are exercise evangelists.  They have found a regimen that works for them, and all they can talk about is how wonderful it is and how YOU and everybody else should do it.

There are diet evangelists.   We see the evidence for various diets, the people who have had successful experiences, and they can be very convincing.   But we know that not everyone who tries the diet will have the same success.

Is it good for our bodies to eat right and exercise?  Absolutely!  A sharing approach will present information about how eating and exercising affects our bodies.  A sharing approach will acknowledge that bodies are individual, and respond differently to foods and activities.  A sharing approach will allow the individual to take personal responsibility for its own decisions and will encourage the individual to experiment with different approaches, to learn to recognize how his/her body responds in its own way, and to develop an approach that works for that individual.

PURE SHARING is done for the sake of sharing, with no expectation of anything in return, including the receiver’s agreement or appreciation.

PURE SHARING could be considered an aspect of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

Evangelism is Conditional Sharing.  It expects an outcome of Agreement.  And because the goal of this kind of sharing is focused on the outcome, any method to get to the goal is justified.  Have you noticed how evangelism uses fear, shame and guilt to manipulate people into conforming?

An evangelical approach to diet and exercise will use fear, shame and guilt to “motivate” people to “do the right thing.”  It will make people feel “less than” if they don’t stick to the program and get the “right” results.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this is the underlying reason that many people “fail” in their attempts to “get healthy” – negative motivation is inherently offensive to one’s self.  Positive motivation, however, is empowering and promotes healing and health.

There are evangelists that are FOR things and those who are AGAINST things.  In many cases, once someone with an evangelical mindset determines what this thing is, no amount of logic or contrary evidence will sway them from their crusade to convert the world.  They are so convinced that this is right for them (which is a great thing) but they are also convinced that it is right for EVERYONE ELSE as well.

And that is the problem.

The underlying truth is that we are all equal – equally important, equally worthy.  We are all ONE.  BUT, we are not all the SAME.  This seems simple, but this concept is central to understanding the problem with the evangelical mindset.

We are each UNIQUE aspects of the body of humanity.  And that means, what works for me, may not work for you.  (Another ALO reference, see Animal Liberation lyrics, below.)

The evangelical mindset is very 3D, while PURE SHARING is fifth dimensional.  The evangelical mindset focuses on RIGHT vs. WRONG (3D), rather than having a focus on what is APPROPRIATE (5D).  The first is a one-size-fits-all approach, while the second takes into consideration the uniqueness of each situation and each individual.  The first is about the RULES (3D) and the second is about WISDOM (5D).  In 3D it is all about COMPETING to WIN, while 5D is about ALLOWING.  The third dimension is about CONTROL and the fifth is about FREEDOM.

Many people are so fed up by the prevailing 3D mindset of evangelism, that they assume all sharing is trying to convert them and they become suspicious of any information that is different.  This is an unfortunate consequence of the prevalence of evangelical behavior and the old mindset of Judgment, Rules, Competition and Control.

How to share without evangelizing?  Let go of expectations and the need to be right.  Respect others enough to let them form their own opinions.  For me, when I read a disclaimer that includes the statement that the reader should use his own discretion, I immediately know that this writer has no agenda.  This disclaimer is surprisingly similar whenever I see it:  the advice is, to take to heart what rings true for you and to discard what doesn’t.

Jesus said to spread the Good News.  He did not say to impose your moral code on everyone else.  He did not say to kill people if they didn’t immediately fall into line with your interpretation of what the rules say.  He did not say to hate people and blame people if they didn’t think like you do (actually he said the opposite).  He simply said to SHARE.  With all his emphasis on UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, I believe he wanted us to practice PURE SHARING as an aspect of that Love.

And I knew you were hurt

Playin’ it off like you were tough

Cause I saw your spirit shrivel

When suddenly you thought

You weren’t good enough

And I think it’s sad, so sad

I think it’s bad for our health

To let hurtful words and thorny spurs keep us

From being ourselves

So at the end of the song

The message that comes through

Is you gotta be true to what grows on you

People gonna judge

People gonna always suck you in

Just remember what works for you

May not work for them

 -Animal Liberation, ALO


The Manner of My Living (reblog)

A man said, “My life is not what you care about. It’s the manner of my death.”
The following is from Lynda Allen’s blog Conversations with My Soul, found here

I was listening to the radio yesterday and there was a promo for an interview that was coming up on Fresh Air. I didn’t have any idea who the interview was with and I didn’t get to listen to the show, but one statement made me stop what I was doing and write it down.  A man said, “My life is not what you care about. It’s the manner of my death.”  As it turns out the interview was with C.J. Chivers, a New York Times reporter, who spent much of the past year with the rebels in Syria. I imagine the quote may have been a statement made by one of the rebels. No matter the origin or even the intention of the statement, it gave me pause.

The words caught my attention because of the truth in them. It’s so easy to go through our days focused on the busyness of life without a moment of real attention given to those around us. Then something happens, a bomb in the streets of Boston or Damascus, a shooting in Connecticut or Tucson a car accident in our own town and we pause and we look. We wonder, who were those people, what was their life like? I do the same. However, the statement from the interview yesterday made me wonder.

Why do we wait to notice our neighbors, next door or across the globe, in relation to their death? Why not get to know them in life? Why not focus more on the manner of their living? It is a simple act and might actually prolong some of those lives. What would happen if we knew each other, if we looked each other in the eye and saw our similarities, saw ourselves? Would someone with a mental illness that could drive them to murder be so easily overlooked or lost through the cracks? Would we have so much fear of “the other” if we saw that the other actually wants the same things – peace, love, family, freedom? Would the grief be easier to bear if we had taken the time to get to know our neighbor rather than grieving both the loss of a life and the loss of an opportunity to know a life more deeply?

I realize I can’t actually get to know all of the billions of people on the planet, but maybe one simple statement heard in a moment of listening is enough to prompt me to get to know a few more lives while they’re being lived, rather than after they have come to a close.  I hope so.

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