Welcome to the Reflection Pool
What inspires you can inspire others.
We are passionate about creating a welcoming and caring environment for employees, patients, and families. To keep us true to our mission and core values of reverence, integrity, compassion, and excellence as we work and serve others, we use reflections at the start of every meeting. Reflections can create a dialogue and a new reality by inviting us to notice what we may not have noticed before, which in turn can positively transform how we think and feel about ourselves, others, and the world.
Feel free to browse our Reflection Pool for inspiration for your next reflection — whether to be shared with a group or for you personally. We hope this is a resource you find useful and come back to frequently.
Great things you can do
Go ahead and make it happen. Forget about what others might think.
There are plenty of challenges, obstacles, things that could go wrong. But none of that has to stop you.
Prepare yourself well for what you intend to do, then do it. Step forward, keep going, and persist until the job is done.
Yes, you'll make mistakes, suffer setbacks, experience your share of frustration, inconvenience, and discomfort. But that's no reason to shy away from the good things you know you can accomplish.
The temporary pains of your effort are nothing compared to the permanent pain of regret you'd have if you let the opportunity pass you by. So jump in, meet the challenges, give the best you have.
Don't leave yourself always wondering what might have been. Use this opportunity to show yourself and the world all the great things you can do.
Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder
"Once you uncover the history of this pattern and trace its roots, you will see that your reaction in the present moment is really a reaction from the past, a shadow character's attempt to protect you from re-experiencing an old emotional wound, which instead sabotages you in the present"
Yesterday was history. Today is a blessing. And tomorrow is a mystery and an opportunity. What are you going to do with it?
- Dominic F. Netek, Future Cancer Survivor, St. Lukes
Be at Peace
Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God--whose very own you are--will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
St. Francis de Sales
From Koshin Ellison, Zen Monk, Chaplain, CPE Supervisor in New York:
'The funny thing is that people always say, “Oh, you spend all this time with people who are dying.” I say “I spend a little bit of my time with people who know that they’re dying, and I’m spending the rest of my time with people who don’t know that they’re dying,” because what I’ve learned from this work is that each moment is so precious. It’s why I kiss Chodo in the morning: This is it, and actually it is it, ’cause that will never happen again either. I find such inspiration from people who are really struggling with knowing that their time is limited, because they’re the greatest teachers. They’re constantly thinking, “What was I worried about, what was I doing? So busy and not paying attention at all.” '
Earth is Forgiveness School.
You might as well start at the dinner table.
That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants.
Just One More
When I exercise at the gym, some of my workout involves lifting handles and bars on various weight machines. Some days I use lighter weight loads and go for higher number of lifts or repetitions. On alternate days I use twice the weight and go for half the number of lifts. On any day, but especially on the days with the higher weight loads, I can find myself reaching what feels like my limit; I feel like I cannot possibly reach the number of reps that I intend. At these moments, I drop back in my mind and let go of the larger goal, the bigger picture. And I tell myself, “Just one more!” This becomes my goal on that machine, on that day, at that time: ‘Just one more.’
This approach helps me almost every time. I find that I can push through one more lift. And then with my goal still set on ‘just one more,’ I find that I can push through again with one more lift. Usually I can finish the set. Sometimes, though, ‘just one more’ ends up being ‘almost one more.’ Yet, even then I know beyond doubt that I gave my all and that whatever benefit might accrue to me physically from the exhaustive effort, my mental and spiritual being have been strengthened in the art and skill of perseverance.
Sometimes life’s circumstances weight too heavily for me to do much more than to focus on ‘just one more’ step; ‘just one more patient;’ ‘just one more day.’ Usually, I find that I can push through and end up feeling okay, even good, about what I was able to accomplish. And anything that I might not have accomplished comfortably awaits my efforts until next time.
Ripples in Life’s Current
On the face of a pond, still and silent, a perfect reflection of the sky and the nearby shore, I would watch the ripples of pebble tossed into the unbreakable mirror. As I youngster, I would watch, almost hypnotized by the motion, the quiet circular waves grow and radiate from the center where the pebble first dropped into the water. If I could remain still enough and patient enough, I would see the ripples continue farther and farther, eventually dwindling in energy, but reaching distances that exceeded what I’d thought possible. From just a small pebble casually cast into the great still volume of the pond, the entire thing, it seemed, was altered, at least for a while. Even after the surface returned to its still and quiet stasis, yet, I came to realize, the pond was indeed permanently changed; for now there was pebble at the bottom of it that had never been there before, and that was likely never to be removed again.
I find it helpful to remember that ripples in the current of the flow of events in life affect me and I affect them. It is inescapable and so constant that I can easily forget that a word I say, or choose not to say, that an action that I take or my choice not to get involved, create ripples in the substance of life and of God’s Love in which I reside with every other person and creature around me. Those nearer, certainly, feel the effects of the ripples that I place in motion. And I feel the effects of theirs. And those further away or further down in the depths, so to speak, feel the effects as well, though to a lesser degree, maybe imperceptibly so.
Both a terse comment and a gentle compliment create ripples that radiate outward, not just superficially like on the surface of the pond, but in every direction; and they continue to move further than I can imagine. A gesture of kindness or of disdain, these reach the people directly nearby, but go on to touch people that I do not know, will never meet, but who somehow in some way either suffer or celebrate the effects of what I toss into the stuff of our common existence.
Likewise I am touched by the ripples that someone else somewhere near of far has put in motion. And I am granted the ability and the freedom to intersect these ripples with my own. I can drop something into the center of that wave and strengthen it for good or bad. Or I can interrupt it by creating a ripple of my own that starts off in a direction different from the first. And for good or bad, my ripple can go on to make a difference for those around me near and far.
I pray that I may choose wisely, graciously, the ripples that I begin and those that I reinforce. And when the waves play out and things settle down again for a while, I pray that what emerges in the stillness is a beautiful reflection of the love of God above, of the love of God nearby.
The great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go God’s love for us does not.
I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?
Faith moves mountains, love transforms hearts.
God gives miracles to those who believe, courage to those with faith, hope to those who dream, love to those who accept, and forgiveness to those who ask…
"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us"
Saint Terese of Liseaux
Because the patient has a need, we have a job to do. Because the patient has a choice, we must be the better choice. Because the patient has sensibilities, we must be considerate. Because the patient has an urgency, we must be quick. Because the patient is unique, we must be flexible. Because the patient has high expectations, we must excel. Because the patient has influence, we have the hope of more patients. Because of the patient, we exist.
To reach a goal you have never before attained, you must do things you have never before done.
Desires dictate our priorities;
priorities shape our choices;
and choices determine our actions.
So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference.
The Optimist's Creed
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.
To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.
If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill.
In Times of Transition
God of Love, You are with us in every transition and change. As we enter into this new era with excitement and even some anxiety, we recall your deep compassion, presence, and abounding love. We thank you for the gifts, talents, and skills with which you have blessed us. We thank you for the experiences that have brought us to this moment. We thank you for the work of others that gives breadth and depth to our own work. Be with us as we move forward, rejoicing with you and supporting one another.
We ask this in your Holy Name.
Courage is what happens when your desire to make positive progress is greater than your fear of a negative setback. Courage is what happens when you look at those fears, listen to them, learn from them, use them to prepare, and then move boldly forward.
Courage is how problems are turned into opportunities. Courage is why some people are able to move the situation forward though there seems to be no hope.
Courage is when you do what you know is right, even if it is the more difficult and unpopular choice. Courage is something that builds new strength each time it is exercised.
Courage is not something that you must obtain or struggle to develop. Courage is a choice that can be yours the moment you decide to use it.
When the goal is worthy and filled with meaning, the courage to reach it will be there. When your sense of purpose is strong and clear, your courage will be too.
Courage is indeed a powerful way to live. And you can choose it every time.
Work seasoned with God's love
Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation, but at other times as well. Those instances could include when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, or giving generously in the service of others. Our spirit should long for God and call him to mind so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God’s love, and so make a palatable offering to the Lord of the universe.
God doesn’t call the equipped, HE equips the called.
The way to walk through demanding days is to grip God's hand tightly and stay in close communication with Him. Let your thoughts and spoken words be richly flavored with trust and thankfulness. Regardless of the day’s problems, God can keep you in perfect Peace as you stay close to Him.
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phillipians 4:13
Prayer for the workday
Heavenly Father, as we enter our work place, we bring your presence with us.
We speak your peace, your grace, your mercy and your perfect order into our work.
We acknowledge your power over all that will be done, spoken, thought and decided within these walls.
Lord, we thank you for the gifts you have blessed us with.
We commit to use them responsibly in your honor.
Give us a fresh supply of strength to do our job.
Anoint our projects, ideas, and energy, so that even our smallest accomplishment may bring you glory.
When we are confused, guide us.
When we are tired, energize us.
When we are burned out, infuse us with the light of the Holy Spirit.
May the work that we do and the way we do it bring faith, joy and a smile to all that we come in contact with.
We thank you for everything you've done, everything you are doing, and everything you are going to do.
In the name of Jesus we pray, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen!
History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363). This helped ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd(Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
Memorial Day Prayer
God of power and mercy, you destroy war and put down earthly pride. Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears, that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters. Keep in your mercy those men and women who have died in the cause of freedom and bring them safely into your kingdom of justice and peace. We pray for the families of those who have died and for all of those wounded in battle. May God’s love be with them. Amen.
Pause and Remember
Every day we enjoy the blessings of living in our great country. Those blessings came to us at a high cost. This week-end let us stop, pause and spend some quality time in solemn remembrance for the men and women who gave everything so that we could be free.
Have a blessed and relaxing Memorial Day Week-end.
When we ask God to help us find our purpose in life, he gives it to us daily, but sometimes we are so easily distracted that we often ignored it.
Change is going to be our constant companion.
At a bare minimum, we must learn to live with it.
Far better if we make friends with it.
Ideally, we'll exploit it, seizing the new energy it stirs up and turning that to the orgainzation's advantage. We should invite change—even start causing more of it ourselves—realizing that's what produces the most promising opportunities in today's tumultuous world.
Let's accept the fact change has a destructive streak. Sure, it can rip the heart out of an organization. It can kill the spirit.
But the organization's soul won't die if you do the right things. Change can be used to charge up people's hearts and minds that otherise would stay forever locked. This is your chance to create fire.
You can take the energy caused by change and use it to turn up the heat within the team. Any time emotions are this intense, the fuel is there to build a burning level of job commitment.
That commitment is crucial, because high-velocity change puts heavy demands on the organization. We all need to be an team member who will invest ourselves fully in the work to be accomplished...to deliver dramtic results. We can't afford to accept a commitment level that remains at room temperature.
The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. Jeremiah 29:11
In order to claim this promise one has to think outside of the box because God’s plans are never ordinary.
You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus:
1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die. 2. An old friend who once saved your life. 3. The perfect man (or) woman you have been dreaming of.
Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car?
Think before you continue reading. This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.
You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back.
However, you may never be able to find your perfect dream lover again.
The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer.
WHAT DID HE SAY?
He simply answered: “I would give the car keys to my old friend, and let him take the old lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams.”
Never forget to “Think Outside of the Box.”
We may be short on resources; financial, staffing, etc. But there is one thing I am sure of and that is in this room there is no shortage of creativity and the ability to Think Outside of the Box.
CHI 20th Feast Day
We gather today
To recognize who we are and where we stand.
We gather today
To join ourselves in a renewed sense of being.
We gather today
To celebrate and bless Catholic Health Initiatives.
We gather today
Participants in this ministry.
We gather today
In the name of the God who Creates us
In the name of the God who Saves us
In the name of the God who fills us with Life and Light,
Baruch Atoh Adonai
Blessed are you, O God of all Creation.
Be with us we celebrate the birth and blessing of Catholic Health Initiatives.
We truly have more to be thankful for than complain about. It’s a hard thing for some of us to do, but get in the habit of looking at each negative situation in a positive light because there’s always a bright side you just have to look carefully enough.
Create The Opportunity To Change
When you intentionally divert your attention to gratitude and appreciation you’re not only feeling better, you’re literally changing the content of your thoughts, and, in so doing, you create the opportunity to change your reality.
Practice gratitude relentlessly. As you practice gratitude you will attract more thoughts and feelings of gratitude. In a short time your entire being will be saturated with it, and you will experience a happiness that is beyond what you can imagine. This is what is ahead for you when you choose gratitude as your way of life.
What Is Spirituality?
What is spirituality? It is that which transcends vocabulary.
It is both a complement and an intersection of science.
It embodies that which humanity has not yet the scientific means nor physical experience to grasp, yet it grow though critical thought and methodical exploration.
It is our communion with our world – nature, family, society, friendship, humanity, the universe — that which words cannot describe.
It is our rational way of processing the irrational and the infinite —the emergent properties, the beautiful wholeness and interconnectivity of a system, the spark of genuine creation, the mystery of compassion.
It is at peace with science. It acknowledges the need to disprove falsehoods and halt the tyranny of ignorance, but it is also the leap of faith we open ourselves to when the frontier of knowledge has not yet caught up.
It is our divine intuition, the comfort that glows and grows as we find new truths and face new unknowns. It is the logic of beauty, love and peace.
Today Is A New Day
Remember, you can’t reach what’s in front you until you let go of what’s behind you. Today is new day. Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny. It doesn’t matter what you did or where you were; it matters where you are and what you’re doing now. Never give up on yourself, and never abandon you values and dreams. And as long as you keep trying, there is still hope.
Your Profession Is…
“Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck. Your profession is what you’re put here on Earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”
Every Positive Change
Every positive change in your life begins with a clear, unequivocal decision to either do something or stop doing something.
No More Hiding
Be confused, it’s where you begin learning new things.
Be broken, it’s where you begin to heal.
Be frustrated, it’s where you begin to make more authentic decisions.
Be sad, because if we are brave enough, we can hear our heart’s wisdom through it.
Be whatever you are right now. No more hiding.
You are worthy, always.
Think of a Reason to Start Over
When you can’t think of a reason to go on, think of a reason to start over. There’s a difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction.
Use the words “From now on…” to release you from past regrets and to guide you toward to a positive new beginning.
Teamwork: A thru Z
Act as one.
Believe in each other.
Commit to excellence.
Do whatever it takes.
Embrace a common vision.
Foster group intelligence.
Give the benefit of the doubt.
Harness the power of many.
Inspire cooperation, not competition.
Juggle skills and talents.
Kindle collaborative genius.
Look out for each other.
More “we” and less “me” thinking.
Not minding who gets the credit.
Overcome obstacles together.
Put principles before personalities.
Quickly resolve differences.
Recognize each other’s strengths.
Share the workload.
Treat each other with respect.
Utilize everyone’s skills.
Value everybody’s input.
Work side by side.
Xpect exponential results.
Yearn to succeed together.
Zestfully making a difference.
Basic Element of Teamwork
One of the most basic elements of teamwork is: Be good at what you do.
Teams need talent. The more talent you bring to the group, the more you contribute. By building your skills, you are, in a very real sense, building the team.
So, keep stretching. Polish your skills and perfect your moves. Master the fundamentals of your job.
Strive for continuous improvement—also known as kaizen in Japanese—to keep the team growing. Keep improving at your craft to help the team chalk up the win. Any time you level off in your learning, the potential of the overall group flattens. And, teamwork always takes a hit whenever people begin losing their touch.
Also keep in mind, people can’t count on you if you’re not competent. You build a high trust level with your talent and individual ability.
Give your teammates good reasons to believe in you. Keep exceling at what you do.
You Compete As One
You are a team, a family, whether you like them or not. Just like you can’t choose your family, you can’t choose your team.
Even through all the drama, your team is always there for you, so be there for them.
You compete at one, not as individuals.
Everyone should try harder each time you come together.
Win or lose as a team.
Rise or fall as a team.
You Must Play Together
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime."
Prayer for Inner Peace
Lord, help me cultivate peace within myself. I am so prone to create chaos, which only leads to panic, and ultimately, confusion, and fear. And, in this confusion and fear, I freeze myself from action.
I find myself stuck, and this only creates more fear, panic and confusion. I know I have peace within because you are within. Lord, help me to embrace you. Help me to embrace my peace within and have the courage to act. Amen.
A Monk’s Story
A monk was walking through the woods. As he enjoyed the scenery, a thought occurred to him: If on some other day, in the midst of his usual routine, he were swept away and placed up close to the trunk of one these massive trees, he wouldn’t understand what it was. He’d have to step back to see that it was a tree to appreciate its beauty.
The monk realized that God is similar to that tree. God could be so close to us, and by stepping back, we’d recognize that God was there the entire time.
Sometimes we are in need of answers. By stepping back from our search for it, we may find that the answer was right next us all along.
What Actions are Most Excellent?
What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of a human being. To feed the hungry. To help the afflicted. To lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful. To remove the wrongs of the injured. That person is the most beloved of God who does most good to God’s creatures.
Blinded By Fear
So often I find myself fretting, worrying, anxious, afraid, asking God: “Am I where I’m supposed to be?” “Am I on the right track?” “Are you there?” Looking, searching out there, outside myself, for an answer for affirmation.
But, then there’s a flicker of a thought, an unsettling, but wonderful thought: Maybe these very fears, anxieties and panicked questions are themselves the very scales over my eyes that blind me to the possibilities that I’m where I’m supposed to be; that the answers I seek are not ‘out there,’ but within me, and that there’s no right path but only my path.
So I begin to consider that maybe the better prayer would not be the one filled with anxious questions, but rather one of request: God help me not be so anxious; help me to always see the potential you see in me.
Crossing the Threshold
Many times today I will cross over a threshold. I hope I’ll catch a few of those times. I need to remember that my life is, in fact, a continuous series of thresholds: from one moment to the next, from one thought to the next, from one action to the next.
Help me appreciate how awesome this is. How many are the chances to be really alive to be aware of the enormous dimension we live within.
On the threshold, the entire past and the endless future rush to meet one another. They take hold of each other and laugh. They are so happy to discover themselves in the awareness of a human creature. On the threshold, the present breaks all boundaries. It is a convergence, a fellowship with all time and space. We find You there. And we are found by You there.
Help me cross into the present moment— into wonder, into Your grace: that "now-place," where we all are, unfolding as Your life moment by moment. Let me live on the threshold as threshold.
Be patient with everyone, but above all, with yourself. Do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage. How are we to be patient in dealing with our neighbor’s faults if we are impatient in dealing with our own? They who are fretted by their own failings will not be correct them. All profitable correction comes from a calm and peaceful mind.
Once upon a time, there were three bricklayers.
When asked, “What are you doing?” the first bricklayer replied: “I’m laying bricks.”
The second bricklayer was asked the same question. He answered: “I’m putting up a wall.”
The third bricklayer, when asked the question “What are you doing?” responded, with pride in his voice: “I’m building a cathedral.”
If you search for this story online you’ll find different interpretations of the stories meaning, most including some sort of explanation about how the tale speaks to a person’s attitude and ability to see the big picture.
While these things are true and insightful, this story makes me wonder: Why do some companies have an overwhelming amount of cathedral builders? Then on the other hand, why do other businesses seem to only contain hordes of bricklayers?
There’s no question that a person’s individual perspective—attitude, ability to see the big picture, etc.–is crucial. But, the importance of the culture that individual is “IN” is often highly underestimated—even though a cultural explanation explains this conundrum much better.
Let me explain.
If there is a “we” component to our work—if there’s something about the collective group that makes us either better or worse as individuals—then this story isn’t just about a person’s mindset. It’s also very much about the culture surrounding the person.
As leaders we have very little control over how other people think. But if there’s something about the environment a person is in, which creates either more or less meaning in their work, then leaders are on the hook for something different.
A work environment—unlike a person’s mentality — is something a leader has a HUGE amount of control over.
So then the next question is: As a leader, how do I create more cathedral builders in this hospital? By building a better work environment.
Once we start asking that question, we’re headed in the right direction.
The journey before me appears daunting. It stretches out beyond my ability to see. The first step is slow to come…I pray it will come. I adjust my gaze from the endless beyond to the ground before me. The insight dawns, “This is the only step I can take. I can’t walk ‘out there’ today.” My sense of despair lightens ever so slightly and I find I am one step further along.
Maintain the Capacity to Forgive
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
You May Encounter Many Defeats
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
We Change Things
I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I’m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.
Making the World Better
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness—kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.
Honor Other People's Path
There is no "right" way to grow. See what is beautiful in every person's path, in every religion, and in every belief system. Honor other people's pahts, even if they are different from yours. Be inclusive and loving, and look beyond the form of people's beliefs to the essence. There is no right way; there is only the way that is right for you.
People are Often Unreasonable
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway, because in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Build a Better World
You can’t build a better world without improving the individuals. We must work on improving ourselves, and at the same time, share a responsibility for all humanity. Our duty is to aid those to whom we think we can be the most useful.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.
Any Task in Life is Easier if…
Any task in life is easier if we approach it with the “one at a time” attitude.
To cite a whimsical saying: “If you chase two rabbits, both of them will escape.” No one is adequate to do everything all at once. We have to select what is important, what is possible, and begin where we are with what we have.
If we begin and if we keep going, the weight, the worry, the doubt will begin to lift. We can’t always do everything, but we can do something now. As Plato said, “The beginning is the most important part.”
There Comes a Day
There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.
Who Our Hearts Beat For
The older you get, the more you realize that it isn’t about the material things, or pride or ego. It’s about our hearts and who they beat for.
Everyone Has a Story to Tell
Everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to teach, and wisdom to share. Life is a beautiful masterpiece bound together by your experiences. Open up and share your story; become an inspiration to others. You can make a difference because you matter. You were created with purpose. Live your life with intention, go out there and make a difference by being the difference.
With an Open Heart
I've learned that whenever I decide something with and open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.
People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Based on Our Choices
Everything you do is based on the choices you make. You can't blame it on your parents, past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument, or your age. You are responsible for every decision and choice you make.
It Is In the Stillness
We live in a world that encourages us to push ourselves past our physical and emotional limits. In our fast-paced world, we have forgotten how to be still.
It is in the stillness, we heal and replenish. It is in the stillness, we connect with our intuitive voice. It is in the stillness, we connect with our spirit. It is in the stillness, we connect with our higher self. It is in the stillness, we connect with our God.
Some call it intuition. Some call it the Holy Spirit. Some call it God's voice. Some call it the still small voice within. It is in the voice of wisdom where the answers lie.
Your body, mind, and spirit need something from you. It needs to tell you something. You must be still to hear it.
Remind Us, Open Our Hearts
Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked a nine-hour shift that day, and is rushing home to cook dinner, do the laundry, and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student balancing his apprehension over final exams and fearing he won’t receive his student loans next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum begging for money in the same spot every day (who really should get a job) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year they go shopping together.
Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest is love. It’s not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. We should open our hearts, not just to who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge, be quick to forgive, and show patience, empathy and love.
Humanity is Indivisible
When former Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek found out he’d be awarded the Peace Prize of the Association of German Publishers in 1985 for his efforts in reconciling Arabs and Jews, he chose Manfred Rommel, mayor of Stuttgart, Germany and son of General Erwin Rommel, to present him the prize.
Upon accepting the prize, Kollek said, “Who would have imagined that the Field Marshal’s son and I would meet in the peaceful profession of being mayors? Isn’t that a symbol of peace—our theme here tonight?”
In the face of fanaticism and intolerance, there is a need for a deep belief in humanistic Jewishness: treat all people with the same respect and in the same manner.
This isn’t always recognized, especially among groups who only think of themselves and overlook the interests of others. According to Jewish belief, however, humanity is indivisible.
Humility: accepting ourselves and others just as we are—with limitations, vulnerabilities, and imperfections included—as equally valuable and beloved by God without having to prove our worth by what we accomplish, what we own, or what we do right. Humility is about slipping underneath judgements by which we limit ourselves and one another to love and act fearlessly with power and authority.
What is This Storm Trying to Tell You?
In life, we think the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem. The real truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together for a time, then they fall back apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that.
Personal discovery and growth come from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Misery is self-inflicted. When we are expecting the "ideal" to overcome the "actual" or need things, people or places to be different for us so we can then be happy.
Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you. Let these hard moments inform you. Let pain be your teacher.
Your life’s experiences are trying to tell you something about yourself. Don't cop out on that. Don't run away and hide under your covers. Lean into it.
What is the lesson in this wind? What is this storm trying to tell you? What will you learn if you face it with courage, with full honesty and lean into it?
These Roses under My Window
These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones. They are for what the are; they exist with God today.
There is no time to them, There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower, there is no more; in the leafless root, there is no less.
Its nature is satisfies, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike. There is no time to it. But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future.
He cannot be happy and strong until he, too, lives with nature in the present, above time.
Different Drums, Different Drummers
If I don’t want what you want, please don’t tell me I am wrong.
If I believe differently than you, at least pause before you correct my view. If my emotion is less or more than yours, given the same circumstances, don’t ask me to feel more or less than you.
If I act, or fail to act, in a manner of your design for action, let me be.
I’m not asking you to understand me—that will only come when you stop trying to change me into a copy of you.
I may be your spouse, your parent, your child, or your colleague. If you allow me my own wants, or emotions, or beliefs, or actions, you must open yourself so that someday, my ways won’t seem so wrong, and might finally appear to you as right —for me.
To put up with me is the first step to understanding me. Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. By understanding me, you might come to prize my differences from you, and instead of trying to change me, you’ll preserve and nurture those differences.
If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
- By dissecting this poem, we discover:
- “Stop one heart from breaking.” As caregivers, preventing heartbreaks is an impossible task.
- “Ease one life from aching.” Compared to the previous line, easing someone’s suffering is possible.
- “Cool one pain.” Pain is described as hot.
- “Help one fainting robin unto his nest again”- help someone who is lost find their way.
- “Shall not live in vain.” As caregivers, our work is not in vain if we follow the basic themes in this poem.
The Best Day of Your Life
The best day of your life is the day your decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses; no one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours; it's an amazing journey, and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.
Often we speak about love as if it were a feeling. But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving someone, we may never learn to love well. The feeling of love is beautiful and life-giving, but our lovingness cannot be based in that feeling.
To love is to think, speak, and act because we are infinitely loved by God and called to make that love visible in this world.
Mostly we know what the loving thing to do is. When we "do" love, even if others do not respond with love, we will discover that our feelings catch up with our acts.
Thoughts Become Words...
Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviors.
Keep your behaviors positive, because you behaviors become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.
The Process of Meeting Problems
...it is in this while process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. Because of these problems, we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems, we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
Keep taking the steps that will get you closer to a career you love.
In Life We Do Things
In life we do things. Some we wish we had never done. Some we wish we could replay a million times in our heads. But, they make us who we are, and in the end, they shape every detail about us.
If we were to reserve any of them, we wouldn't be the same person. So, just live, make mistakes. Have wonderful memories. But, never second guess who you are, where you have been, and most importantly where you're going.
Peace Begins with a Smile
The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith; the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace. Let us have love and compassion.
Peace begins with a smile. Smile five times a day at someone you don’t want to smile at; do it for peace. Let us radiate the peace of God so His light can extinguish all hatred.
If we have no peace, it’s because we have forgotten that we belong to each other, that every man, woman, and child is my brother or sister. If everyone could see the image of God in his neighbor, do you think we’d still be seeking peace?
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 ESV
When I was a kid, my mom often cooked breakfast for dinner. One night, after a long, hard day at work, she served my dad a plate of eggs, sausage, and burned biscuits.
I was surprised at his reaction. My dad reached for his biscuit, smiled at my mom and asked me, “How was your day at school?” I don't remember how I responded, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bit of that thing—without making a face or uttering a word about it!
After we finished eating, my mom apologized to my dad for burning the biscuits. I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then."
Later that night, as I kissed Daddy good night, I asked him if he really liked burned biscuits. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your mom put in a hard day at work today and she's tired. And besides—a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"
As I've grown older, I've thought about that many times. Though I am not perfect, I’ve learned the importance of accepting each other’s faults. Celebrating each other’s differences is a key to a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.
We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband and wife, parent and child, or between friends.
My prayer for you today is to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at God’s feet. In the end, He's the only one who can give you a relationship where a burned biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!
Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket—keep it in your own. So, please pass me a burned biscuit.
Things That Frustrate You
May God give you perspective on the things that frustrate you. May your heart grow with compassion toward those who suffer in unimaginable ways.
May you pray as passionately for them as you do for yourself. May God protect you from a small, selfish mindset. May he fill you with thanksgiving and joy. May he renew your resolve to be a grateful, humble soul. And, may he use you tomorrow in ways that surprise you and bless you.
Eyes to See
Pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God.