Category: Grace

Nurturing the spirit in the New Year

“It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated…it is finished when it surrenders.”Ben Stein

For me personally, the above quote is the perfect one to begin the New Year’s first post. After setting a personal target to write every day in 2010 when I began this blog, I was delighted when by December 2010, I had managed around 345 posts. After a diligent start to 2011, both reader fatigue and personal fatigue induced me to scale down my target to just around one post a week. Even this I realized was tough going and by December end 2011 I was just happy that the year had ended albeit with very little output to showcase on this blog. Then I chanced upon this quote and that injected fresh life into my blogging endeavor and here I am back with the hope of doing  much more than in 2011.

There would many like me who have enjoyed the high points of success but have also experienced the low point of drudgery that sometimes overwhelms us. This is inevitable, but surrendering meekly to it is optional. For almost every individual, life by and large is fairly routine, occasionally stressful, sporadically successful but largely very boring. At various points in this cycle of life, the temptation to give in and surrender meekly is often overwhelming, but then the spirit of survival takes over and coerces us to take charge of our life. It is this spirit that we are all blessed with which needs to be nourished so that it powers us from within to tide over the bumps, the hurdles, the pitfalls and the chasms that we need to cross in our journey called life.

This is my 4 A’s formula to help nourish the spirit.

Accept with grace. Good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, bountiful or frugal these are extremes in a continuum and we need to accept that in the journey of life we would be getting our share of these. Rather than crave for more of good or whine about our troubles we should calmly and deliberately focus on acknowledging the fact that we receive these only because we are alive. Life by itself is a grace of the almighty and what comes with it needs to be accepted as it is. By accepting ourselves unconditionally we are ensuring that our spirit is fully charged up within us.

Avoid negativity. Finding fault, making comparisons, being dissatisfied are very human traits. Notice that these are never found in the animal kingdom and yet we proudly claim to be a more evolved species.  The irony is obvious and so we would be better off taking a leaf out of the book of the animal kingdom and wake up each morning with the hope of a better day.  By avoiding the negatives we would be letting our spirit shine brighter.

Appreciate gratefully. As an evolved species we have the power of communication, higher level of intelligence, the special gift of being creative and the individuality that is so unique to each one.  We need to realize that with these special gifts we are empowered to meet any challenge. Once we appreciate this power within us, we would be reinforcing our spirit.

Align harmoniously.  We need to align our life to our goals, our dreams, our expectations by soaking in the grace that we are blessed with, eliminating the negativity that we are tempted to embrace and by adding zest to our living by appreciating the blessings given in abundance to us. When we align our thoughts, hopes, aspirations, expectations to our material, spiritual, intellectual and social wealth we would realize that the spirit engulfs us from within and we radiate that spirit in our thoughts, words and deeds.

Remember: Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey. (Quote by – Alex Noble)

Try this:

  1. Play a game of snakes and ladders with a group consisting of someone much older, another person of around your age but of the opposite sex and a child. Notice that the group is heterogeneous and there is an equal probability of each person winning.  Can you see life as this game being played by characters not too different from those playing with you. The only difference is that in the game of life, everyone is assured of a win.
  2. List out all your negative thoughts, fears, worries etc. one below the other. When you run out of ideas to include in this list, realign this list in order of your most worry some thoughts. Adjacent to this list, against each point write down all the blessings, positive points, the skill sets that you posses. Once you have listed this in the next column write down all your hopes, your aspirations, your dreams. Now study the table and put a line under the last row where each of the columns is filled in. Cut of all the items in the other two columns against which there is no item in any of the adjacent column. Put a time frame column adjacent to the dreams column and enter a time frame to achieve each of your dreams, hopes and aspirations. Make this your practical horoscope and envisage the future for yourself.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Discovering the real YOU.

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. Thomas Jefferson

Many of us spend a lot of time pondering over the future and going around in circles confused and fearful about our fate. We shy away from finding out answers to some fundamental questions like

  • Who am I and how do I hope to shape my future?
  • What do I want to do with my life?
  • What are those values and qualities I cherish?
  • What are the fears that torment me?
  • Who are the people I can depend upon?
  • What are my yardsticks for success?
  • How do I go about achieving success?

Obviously there are no easy answers that will emerge in a jiffy but if we dismiss these questions as impossible to answer, the questions would keep lurking n our mind and torment us thereby impeding our productivity, happiness and peace of mind.

The answers to all the questions seem hidden, obscure and / or elusive but in reality they are merely packaged within the individual personality that you are. If you want to discover it, you would need to see yourself as a package doing the rounds in a game of ‘passing the parcel’ where a dimension of you is subtly revealed when you are vulnerable, exploited, hurt, abused or manhandled like the parcel, by those you interact and deal with. When every layer of the parcel is peeled out and you delve deeper and deeper, suddenly the parcel opens up to throw up a surprise gift ‘YOU”

The practical way out to discover yourself now is to unravel the real you and that can be done when you Act with Purpose, Ponder with Insight and Accept the reality with Grace.

Act with purpose : While our formative years were by and large guided and molded by parents, elders and teachers, our dependence on them will reduce as the years go by and we grow up to be mature individuals. Hopefully we would have accepted sane advice and guidance and focused on our values, education, manners, career choice etc. when we begin to furrow our own path our upbringing should discipline us make choices with positive purpose. The learning both formal and informal, our intelligence, our experience, the feedback we receive, the risks we take, the options we avoid are all partly subconscious but largely a purposeful goal driven activity. In effect we never idle away our time or waste our resources but act with purpose to achieve our goals.

Ponder with Insight: Of and on we do tend to look back and wonder about the twists and turns in our life and occasionally we would lament and rue some mistakes and lost opportunities and also be pleased about those right moves we made. Often we will keep analyzing the present, keep attempting to improve up on the existing and make efforts to learn, improve, adjust and adapt to the changes that we experience, perceive or imagine.  We would simultaneous also look ahead and with the wisdom of past experience, the knowledge of the current trends and the applying our commonsense and foresight, ponder with insight and plan for the present and future. Without realizing we would have discovered some key competencies, some harsh realities and the real facts about ourselves.

Accept the reality with Grace: Where we fail is in accepting the reality of our personality. We would need to enthusiastically accept our strengths, our abilities, our talents and our potential and leverage them to raise the bar of personal excellence. Tougher still is the challenge of accepting the reality of our limitations, our weakness, our insipid temperament and our irrational fears which curb our risk taking,  restrict our horizons and expose our inadequacies.  Once we learn to accept the reality of our personality with grace we would have discovered the secret of how to find happiness within ourselves.

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.  William James

Try this:

How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (1 being very poor and 10 being excellent) your abilities on. Now ask your spouse or sibling or close associate to do a similar rating for you. Compare the results.

  • Managing your time
  • Taking decisions
  • Interacting with people
  • Handling crisis
  • Being creative

Download the attached file Human Emotions  and from the list of emotions list out 5 Positive Emotions and 5 Negative Emotions that are typical of you. Now for emotion that you have listed give a suitable example from your life to make sure the emotion has been experienced by you. Next take a print of the file and show it to the following people and ask them to outline those emotions which in their view are applicable to you. You may make some revealing realities about yourself from the replies of others.

  • A family member (preferably a sibling)
  • A close friend
  • A colleague
  • An old school chum
  • A new acquaintance (they have to judge your emotions based on your interactions)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Using head and heart

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.  – Donald Laird

As social animals, we human beings have no choice but to live in society which implies that we need to interact with others, adjust to the demands of societal norms and yet maintain our own identity and independence.  This poses a problem simply because the individuality that we pride on wants to break free of any shackles imposed on us while the social instinct in us forces us to toe the line that is determined by society and culture. It is reconciling this dichotomy that unconsciously poses a big dilemma for most of us.  Our quote today, provides a glimpse of the option available to us to effectively maintain our personal identity while also ensuring we do justice to our social and neighborly role.

To begin with, we need to asses our own approach to our personal values, beliefs and actions. Being pragmatic would perhaps gives us the smoothest passage forward and that is possible when we don’t get overtly emotional and become a tinge more practical thinking out solutions, selecting logical options and making choices that suit our individuality. Eg. When we lose a loved one, grief would be obviously what overcomes us. Yet in that moment of grief too we need to get control of our emotions and if we always believed in organ donation should initiate steps for that. On the other hand if we are more traditional then there is no need to take on the guilt of pandering to the demands of those urging you to donate the organs for it is a very personal and private decision.

On the other hand when we play our role as social animals and discharge our obligations as neighbors, friends, relatives or as another human being, we need to listen to our heart and less to our wisdom which is often based on reasoning, logic and taken without any emotions attached to it. Eg. If we are firm believers in organ donation, we cannot impose our will on others who may not share our sentiments because of their personal reasons. We must respect the sentiments of the parties involved and try to empathize with their emotions rather than quarrel or wrestle with their flawed logic as we would be tempted to think.  Take another scenario which is more prevalent the constant battle between parents who want their children to study and the children who are more keen to focus on their own interests be it games or computers or TV. Most parents use a hackneyed logic of equating studies with success in life which the children view as a bitter pill the parents are trying to push down their throat. On the other hand if the parents encouraged the children to pursue their own interests while setting some discipline to ensure that studies were also regularly  done, it could be a win win situation since the children would perhaps see the parents as allies in their efforts to excel.

Criticism offers perhaps the best opportunity for us to put the above maxim to full use. When we are criticized we should suspend our emotional discomfort and attempt to see if there is any truth in the points raise by our critics. If the criticism is untrue simply ignore it. However if it is true then we need to be grateful that out attention has been drawn to something that impedes our effectiveness and we should work on overcoming those flaws.  On the other hand when we have to be critical of others, then we must consider the emotional ramifications of our feedback on the other party and hence we must not be unduly harsh or hurtful. Instead we must handle their fragile emotions carefully and encourage them to overcome their flaws whilst also drawing attention to their strengths.  This will help them maintain their dignity, reinforce confidence in themselves and at the same time give them the self belief that they can improve with effort and persistence.

Remember: The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. Blaise Pascal

Try this:

  1. Can you recollect the last 5 criticisms that came your way. Do you recollect who told them? Were the criticisms justified? What efforts did you do to learn and improve from those criticisms?
  2. Write down 3 strengths and 1 criticism you have concerning the following people.
  • Your favorite high school teacher
  • Your best friend
  • Your neighbor
  • Your own family members (list them out and write for each person)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

The little things add up

Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things. – Frank A. Clark

As you read this post, notice that it is actually alphabets put together to form words which are placed logically to form sentences. The sentences in turn are arranged sequentially to ensure that a whole thought is expressed and the paragraph contains about one or two ideas. The paragraphs taken to gather will form the sum total of the major subject being elucidated. The key learning is that to translate ideas into tangible offerings, one has to traverse the humble and often painfully slow paths without excluding even the most lowly process. The big accomplishments are actually the fruits of the labor that one puts in with faith, hope and competence.

A close study of the lives of the well know personalities in history be it politicians, philosophers, artistes, musicians, sportsmen etc. would bring out some interesting facts. Without exception each one of them has had to begin in humility, pursue in earnest, work unceasingly and constantly cope with the pain of failure and yet retain their determination, drive and discipline even when standing on the slippery mount of success. A sportsperson provides the perfect example of how the little things in life actually add up to reflect the major accomplishments in their lives. Kenya and Ethiopia throw up the maximum  number of world class middle distance and long distance runners. Also most all of them come from impoverished backgrounds and credit their success to the long distance they travelled as children particularly while going to school. The high altitude and harsh climatic and topographical conditions just helped them become more resilient and sturdy.

It is also important to appreciate that big accomplishments are also relative. For a person coming from an uneducated background, going through school and college would qualify as a major achievement. For an athlete representing his school, college, state and country would be the natural progression of achievement. For a management trainee achievement could begin with getting confirmation as an employee and then climbing the corporate ladder possibly to become the top honcho. On the other hand the parents of new born’s will look out for the baby’s smile and the first tender steps he/she takes and the first words the child says as major accomplishments of the child. While a child’s achievements while growing up would be the result of biological evolution, each of those achievements signals a healthy development and the accomplishment of small but critical stages of growth. The similar feeling of small accomplishments translating into big achievements is experienced by the uneducated when they learnt to read and write and the sportsman when he gets his first and subsequent selections.

Remember: “My mother taught me very early to believe I could achieve any accomplishment I wanted to. The first was to walk without braces.”  Wilma Rudolph quotes (First American woman Runner to win three gold medals at a single Olympics. 1940-1994)

Try this:

  1. Read up on Wilma Rudolph ( she was suffered from polio before she became an Olympic winner) http://tinyurl.com/47duhb6 and on http://tinyurl.com/cm3el3
  2. Outline your major accomplishments in the following categories and also think of 3 reasons why  / how you achieved that success.
  • Academics
  • Sports
  • Honesty
  • Friendship
  • Positive Thinking
  • Overcoming some fear

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Life story

Ten out of ten people die, so don’t take life too seriously.

After diligently managing to write this blog almost daily during 2010, I made a momentous decision to write only from Sunday to Thursday thus giving myself a break on Friday and Saturday. It was a tough decision to make for I was quite certain that I was letting my readers down. However things got worse when last week a combination of lack of motivation, overwhelming laziness and some minor illness combined to distract me from writing the blog with the same sense of urgency of the previous year.  I was therefore rather distraught when a couple of followers checked out with me as to why I had not posted my blog for a couple of days.  I was however  jolted into reality that I should set my own pace and enjoy what I do rather than force myself to do it because life is to be lived and not become a mere existence for me or for that matter for anyone. Today’s quote simply reiterates the point.

A simple test to understand the point is to recollect the names of people whose company you enjoy and to simultaneously list those people who, given a choice, you would avoid at all costs.  There would be a common thread that binds the first set of people and a dramatically different tread that binds the second set of people.  The first set of people would invariably be gregarious, have a contagious laugher, be very positive, often are spontaneous and they never seem to carry or display their problems or worries. On the other hand the second set of people seem to be glum, morose, negative, brooding, perhaps offensive in interactions and definitely seem to be cross with themselves and the world at large and their own fate in particular.

So how does one ensure that life is not burden to be carried but a song to be sung? The obvious answer is to reorient our mental conditioning and to view life as a song and not a burden. The next step is to set aside all worries about being a competent singer but to sing with the gay abandon that we all display as bathroom singers. Yes the key is to enjoy the song in our heart and sing to the beat that stirs us passionately. This kind of an attitude is not as easy as it sounds for many of us are more concerned as to how to utilize the lottery winnings than in the probability of winning the lottery. Life becomes a burden when we try to meet other people’s expectations and then we are in the vice like grip of the seven deadly sins of pride, envy, glutton, lust, anger, greed and sloth.

To be more pragmatic, here is a little self test. How many of us know anything much about our own great grandfather/ grandmother? In 99% cases the answer will be that we know precious little about him/ her. Yet we would believe that they did in their time contribute significantly to the family tradition and sustenance and possibly took their roles very seriously. Yet a couple of generations down the line there is no remembrance about the contribution let alone recognition. If they lead their lives in all seriousness and in a dour and self sacrificing manner, they would be definitely regretting it now. On the other hand if they had fun while taking care of their responsibilities they would have happily, cheerfully and ardently welcome death; for as the philosopher said ‘in the long run we are all dead’.

Remember: “Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.”

Try this:

  1. Recollect 3 of the happiest moments of your life. Now identify the reasons for that happiness. One of the prime reasons could be that almost everyone around enjoyed that moment. Now look at yourself as an inexhaustible reservoir of good cheer and begin to live life with a smile.
  2. Make a list of the following
  • The 3 regrets you have in life
  • The 3 hurts you cannot forget
  • Your three most painful moments
  • The 3 people you haven’t thanked enough
  • The 3 ambitions yet to be fulfilled
  • Your three favorites jokes

Now thrash the first three lists and begin working on the next three lists.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

When do we really live?

Unless you give yourself to some great cause, you haven’t even begun to live. William P. Merrill

From the time we are born our primitive urge is self preservation and this means that we tend to compete/ fight to live for ourselves. Beginning with our need for food, we seek shelter and security for ourselves and our loved ones because it is the herd instinct. As we grow and become adults we become independent but then we tend to become more and more selfish and self centered. While the animal kingdom exhibits similar tendencies, they never have the human weakness of greed. Thus animals that kill and live of the carcass kill only when they are hungry and even the herbivorous animals too eat just for their survival. Man alone tends to hoard, to gorge and to deny a fellow human being.  It is against this background that one needs to understand the need for the human race to consciously make amends for this selfish tendency and the one way to really do it is to give ourselves completely to a cause where the beneficiary is anyone but us.

Since our natural tendency is to live for ourselves, it is only a conscious decision that will really enable us to identify a worthwhile cause and help us spare our time, resources and energies on promoting the cause. The joy and thrill of giving out without any expectations is the real moment that we enjoy our life and appreciate the blessings that life has showered on us. The cause one stands for need not be related only to the human race but should be for the good of mankind. This means that causes as diverse as animal welfare and environmental concerns would be on the same pedestal as working for the handicapped, the aged and the sick. Whatever be the cause, the key is selfless service, total commitment and active participation.

Self less service involves the ready and free desire to be involved in the cause. If the involvement is conditional or it is taken upon reluctantly because of social pressure then the soul of the activity is missing. It is when one seeks out a cause to give selflessly that the cause becomes an integral part of one’s life else it will remain just a duty , a chore and an obligation. Total commitment means the whole hearted and absolute devotion to the cause. No matter what it takes, be it financial resources, networking, seeking out activists to propound the cause no requirement is ignored or side stepped. This is possible when we are wedded to the cause and then we become absolutely committed. The essence of real living is experienced when we give ourselves to the cause by being active participants and be physically involved in all that is required to be done. This involves giving of our time the most precious of our resources, getting our hands dirtied, something that we may not be really used to in daily life and then we experience both he pain of the other and the joy they get from our intimacy and companionship and service.

Remember: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Mahatma Gandhi

Ty this:

  1. One of the toughest religious orders to join in is the Mother Theresa’s  Sister’s of Charity. Yet they have one of the largest numbers of volunteers and applications to join the congregation. What do you think is the reason for it. If there is a home for the children/ aged/ sick or orphans run by them in your city visit them and spend a day to understand how they work and what they do.
  2. Outline a plan of action to identify a cause, to commit yourself and to actively be involved in it. Don’t fall to the temptation of trying to be involved in all your interests. Chose one and give it your all. Ensure that you even slot a time of the day for the activity and to give of your time and personal efforts. Experience the joy that comes with the commitment.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

The focus of prayer

We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties. Oswald Chambers

It is typical for most people to pray either as a ritual or when I desperation and in both cases the focus is our own paranoia. As a ritual we pray because we are afraid of divine wrath that may befall us and when we are desperate we automatically gravitate to seek divine assistance. It is significant to note that in both cases it is our self centered interest that is the bait that lures us into prayer whereas real prayer is a mix of spontaneous thanks, praise and a reaching out to god. This means our focus should be on GOD and not our personal motives or hidden agenda.

Our difficulty is that we believe in a god more because of our upbringing that focused attention on GOD, but there are many times we seem to take God for granted and/ or  wonder about the truth of GOD’s existence. Most times we have that niggling doubt that stops us from freely acknowledging God’s presence in our life. We pray without faith, we pray mechanically and we pray superfluously and more often than not we simply chant in unison with no understanding of what we are saying. When we pray without feeling, we cannot hope for our prayers to be answered, we lack the faith to believe our prayers will be answered and we are often blinded to the reality that our prayers are answered in different ways.

Since prayer is a communication with GOD, it is essential that we are able to visualize the recipient of the communication. The message has to be tailored to suit the understanding of the receiver of the communication. By focusing only on our self centered message we miss out on the opportunity to interact with GOD spontaneously and share from the bottom of our hearts. More critical is the reality that with focus on our message, which mostly is all about our wants and needs, we do not LISTEN to GOD’s communication to us. Far too many times, we never get what we seek, but in the long run we realize that we got something much more valuable than what we sought. Eg. We don’t get the marks we want but as a result we take up an education which is not out first choice. Later we realize that we got the perfect career choice.

More than anything else is the reality that when we focus on God, we seem to be able to get inspired in finding solutions to our dilemma. We also realize that our problems are really minuscule as compared to those problems of others and that many solutions are within our own grasp. Instead when we focus on our difficulties, we believe that we have passed the buck to someone more powerful who is expected to solve the problem. Thereafter, our urge to resolve the problem by using our own means is not considered a very favored option. Finally focusing on GOD gives us a peace of mind that whatever the outcome it is GOD’s will.

Remember: By my definition, prayer is consciously hanging out with God. Being with God in a deliberate way.  Malcolm Boyd

Try this:

  1. Make it a point to have 3 special intentions focused on our nation, the world at large and some individual known to you in your prayers. Have new  intentions  periodically if needed.
  2. Think of 3 specific instances in the past when your prayers remained unanswered. Reflect if you focused on God or the problem while praying. How much impact did the unanswered prayers have in your life? Was the impact positive or negative in your view?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Forgive and…

I firmly believe a great many prayers are not answered because we are not willing to forgive someone. Dwight L. Moody

When we hold a grouse against another, we not only carry a deep resentment but there is a lot of ill will that we wish upon that person.  We work up a frenzy within us, seek retribution in return for our agony that we endure and take delight in our foes distress and pain. We even convince ourselves that forgiveness is a crime and so we cling on to our morbid pleasure of hating that person and slyly look out for some ill happening in that person’s life. Notice that in this whole process there are three things that are actually backfiring on us. We are not able to focus on anything constructive, we do not generate or emit positive energy and we are obsessed with our foe and end up neglecting our own self. It is precisely these reasons that impede us from praying in faith and reaping its bounty. Let us understand each of these impediments a little more in depth.

Have you ever tried to concentrate on some task soon after going through an ordeal? You would notice that you are distracted, a sinking feeling constantly overpowers your emotions and the task on hand seems overwhelming. Your thoughts constantly seem to go back to the source of our discomfort and hence you are uneasy and disturbed.  Under the circumstances even a pleasurable task like watching TV or reading a good book seems like a burden. Something similar happens when we carry a grudge and are unable to forgive another. Then our joys are muted, our prayers sound hollow and we lack the conviction to seek in hope and receive in faith. Obviously then it is no wonder that most times our prayers remain unanswered when our hearts are fully of revenge and there is no space for peace and tranquility.

With angst in our heart, revenge in our mind and ill will overpowering our emotions, all the positive energy is sapped out of us.  When we transmit negative energy around, it is near impossible to expect positive outcomes.  Just as a rotting corpse will attract the vultures and the wild animals, negative energy will attract only cold vibes, churn up the existing tranquility and saddled us with undesirable outcomes. When the environment is vitiated the tempo slows down, our actions are leaden and our prayers are half hearted, cold and sprayed with the foam of hate, wickedness and malice which has filled out heart and refuses to subside.

Finally, when we cannot forgive, our mind, thoughts and heart have only the destruction and ill will for our foe uppermost in our mind. With our concentration on our foe so overpowering there is little time for us to pray for our own needs and even if we did mange it, most times it would be so negative in its desires (possibly seeking bad tidings for our foe) that the prayers cannot be answered. Yet we continue to pray partly mechanically, partly in fond hope and mainly to unburden our consciousness. With the spirit missing out of prayer, it is no wonder that our prayers remain unanswered. The best way out is then to forgive our enemies, cleanse our heart and mind and then pray fervently and lo and behold even if our prayers are answered with a NO we will accept that answer with gratefulness.

Remember: “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese

Try this:

  1. It is not easy to forgive someone who has wronged you a lot. Yet if you want to, it is better to take help from a matured common friend who can facilitate the forgiving process.  Sometimes the person you haven’t forgiven is long gone from your life and yet the resentment stays.
  2. Read some stories  from the Chicken Soup series on forgiveness and empathize wit those who have shared their stories of forgiveness.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Sincere prayers

Cold prayers shall never have any warm answers. Thomas B. Brooks

The warmth with which we shake hands and greet a person often sets the tone for the further interactions and the ultimate outcome can also be fairly accurately predicted. When we exude warmth we reinforce our self belief in the other and invite the other to place trust in us. The same holds true about prayers too. If we go through the motions of prayers as often ‘Sunday Christians’ are criticized for, without the full involvement of our body, mind and soul, the piety, the fervency and the faith that characterize prayer are absent. Instead of prayer being a support for our spiritual needs it turns out to be a mere antidote for our spiritual fears.

In reality prayer is a communion with the almighty and this implies that the communication must free, frank and preferably spontaneous. Instead for ease of use, for standardizing the implementation and for mass scale availability prayer has been reduced to a predetermined set of words and phrases to be used as instructed. Prayer is nothing but a spiritual pill administered by the spiritual doctors the priests and religious instructors. The vast majority of us are happy with this arrangement because it is readily available, quickly administered and gives one a great sense of relief from the fears of divinely backlash. Unfortunately for us ,  when we look back there is still a gnawing emptiness within, a lurking fear around and a an uneasy truce with our conscience.

If prayer has to be effective, we must offer it with full faith and gratefulness. We must be active participants in the business of prayer and be fully involved in praise, worship and thanks for the many blessings that we get from the bounty of the almighty. We must be prepared to be humble in our thoughts word and deeds when we are in the presence of the almighty and with full faith and confidence seek divine intervention for our most pressing needs. When we are frustrated that our prayers are not answered, objectively notice that this happens what we lack patience, faith and trust. Some prayers take time to be answered, other prayers are answered in a different way from what we want and then are many prayers that apparently remain unanswered but in reality are answered with a resounding NO but we refuse to heed that voice.

The warmth of prayer is never in it is length or its perfection of rendition but is manifest in its genuineness and the abiding faith with which it is offered up. A sinners prayer is often more effective and well received when offered fervently and remorsefully when seeking pardon for sins than a person masquerading as a saints feeble attempts at looking pious and god fearing. Warmth revives the spirit, brings light into gloomy souls and caresses the hapless tenderly. Ask in faith, believe in earnest and receive with thanks is the maxim that succinctly describes the perfect prayer.

Remember:   There is a vast difference between saying prayers and praying

Try this:

  1. Check out the Lord’s prayer given below and analyze it phrase by phrase. What is the message it conveys to you?
  • Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done,on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. [For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.] Amen
  1. Make a prayer list as under
  • List of people whom you would like to pray for
  • List of things you want that you would like to pray for
  • List of special favors you seek that your would like to pray for
  • List of blessings you have received that you would like to say a thank you prayer for
  • List of sins for which you seek forgivness

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Enjoying the sunshine

If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine. Morris West

There are a few people who perennial live as if there is a Damocles sword hanging over them.  There are others who live a carefree life till they experience an unexpected blip in their life and then they are so wary of life that they live in the constant shadow of an ominous future. Then there are the odd balls who enjoy everything that life offers as long as the status quo is maintained but get paranoid about any hint of a change be it a job change, relocation or even marriage and then they keep their eyes peeled for anything that will justify their fears. Taken together the list of people who have a lurking fear at the back of their minds is quite substantial.

While it is prudent to be vigilant and cautious, living in constant worry simply saps the fun out of life. It is when one steps out of one’s comfort zone that we discover the many joys that life has in store for us. For example we envy another’s hairstyle or dress but won’t dare to try that out. At other times when we are complimented for something we wonder if that is a sarcastic comment or remain unconvinced that the comment was genuine. In effect what happens is that we rarely relish the moment nor do we carry any nostalgic memories of those wonderful moments. Life then is no longer fun filled but turns out to be a chore that has to be mandatorily gone through. Imagine trying to sleep well knowing full well that you have to get up at an odd hour in the morning to catch an early morning flight; that is but a small hint of the type of life one lives when worry is a constant companion

If one has to overcome this fear psychosis it is imperative that one makes a conscious effort to appreciate that most of these anxieties and fears are actually trivial and a daily occurrence in almost every person’s life. Simultaneously one must also try to appreciate the downside of any eventuality and we realize that almost all of it has a very limited downside and nothing actually life threatening is involved. This should give us the comfort that in life most times we need to cross the bridge when we come to it. Once we have this assurance, it become easier for us to look out for those wonderful thrills and pleasures life has to offer us in plenty. Be it the beautiful sunny morning, or a torrent of rain when we least expect it or the pleasure of a sumptuous meal or the receipt of a surprise gift.

Nothing helps one enjoy life as much as treasuring the most trivial things. New parents are constantly looking out for the new born’s smile, gurgle, peaceful angelic sleep and as they grow up they cheer the first words uttered, the first baby steps taken etc. To a casual onlooker this behavior may seem silly and hyped but for the parents it is a high point in their lives. We too need to be like new parents everyday, seeking out the small pleasures be it the aroma of home cooking, the blooming flowers in our garden or the first scribbling of our child on the walls of the house. It is when we try to rationalize every act, ascribe motives for happenings or anticipate eventualities anxiously  that we end up seeing demons instead of the angels all around.

Remember: Negativity is an addiction to the bleak shadow that lingers around every human form … you can transfigure negativity by turning it toward the light of your soul John O’Donohue

Try this:

  1. If you have never attempted any of these activities because of your negative mindset about it, choose one activity to attempt over the next one year
  • Climb a mountain
  • Go for a 2 day trek
  • Live in a remote village for 3 days without any electricity
  • Go deep sea fishing with fishermen
  • Volunteer at an old age home / orphanage for 3 day at a stretch
  1. Make a list of 12/24 positive thoughts/ quote/ sayings. Tape it up on your mirror and read it every day and try to put the learning into practice. Change the quote every month or fortnight depending o the number of quotes you have. Notice the change in you during that period.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com