I love coffee. I love everything coffee. My favorite place to catch up with friends and solve all of the world problems is at Bean Towne, a local coffee house and cafe. The lattes, sandwiches, salads, and assorted gluten free products are out of this world and if you are lucky enough to have Sparky whip up your latte, you also enjoy a smile that will keep you warm all day. I don’t work for or with the folks at Bean Towne. This blog post doesn’t even have anything to do with them or coffee except that it is where most of my best conversations (other than the one’s that happen in my car) take place.
One day last week, I met a friend at Bean Towne for a late afternoon latte. We try to get together at least once a week; we are concerned that if we go any longer between visits, the worlds problems could grow out of control and we may not be able to solve them all in one sitting. Our conversation took many paths, as it often does, and we soon found ourselves on the subject of marriage and why some make it, why some don’t, and what we think the key ingredients might be that help to keep one going for the long haul. I have been married for 32 years (in April) and one of the things that my husband and I do so well together is dream. We make some fairly large scale plans and have some fairly lofty dreams, we always have. We dream about where we will go on our next vacation, how we will retire and we dream about little things like what we will have for dinner or what we might share for dessert. We never stop dreaming. We often share our dreams, hopes, plans, and schemes with our daughter, with our friends, and sometimes even with the lady at the post office or the guy that bags our groceries. I am sure that we drive people a little crazy with all of our dreaming.
Our dreams have changed over the years and some of the one’s that we had when we were much younger came to fruition. Many of them did not. We don’t look back upon the dreams that didn’t become reality, we know that they morphed into new dreams. I don’t know what we would do without our dreams, schemes, and plans; they keep us joyful and united. Our dreams are a common goal, a sense of togetherness, a joint effort and a constant topic of conversation. Dreaming is fun, it’s free, and it helps us to realize a never ending sense of hope and adventure.
People that allow themselves to dream and cultivate the dreams of others, they are the salt of the earth. To encourage a dream can lead to creativity and greatness and there really is no better way to show love and gratitude for another human being than to help them reach their dreams. We all have an inner child that has not forgotten how to dream; we just have to let go and allow them to have our hearts and minds every now and again.
Couples that dream together always have something in common, something to talk about and something to look forward to. Dream a little dream together. Start with something fun and silly or something big and serious. It doesn’t matter as long as your dreaming.
There is nothing like a dream to create the future.
“unconditional acceptance is the first step in opening the door to the miracle of forgiveness”.
Thich Naht Hahn
To truly accept others as they are, we must first truly accept ourselves. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see a beautiful, kind, loving, and forgiving person? Do you see all of the beauty and admirable and even remarkable qualities that are within you and that others describe as seeing in you? Do you see that you are perfect and acceptable? If we cannot accept ourselves; just the way that we are, we cannot accept others the way that they are. It is impossible.
I know that I definitely do not always see what others observe in me. I often wish that I could see “me” with my husbands eyes and heart. The way that my husband describes me to others causes me to blush; I feel like he is describing some angelical and mystical creature. He accepts me as I am.
Unconditional: wholehearted, unqualified, unreserved, unlimited, unrestricted, unmitigated, unquestioning, without condition, not limited by conditions.
Acceptance: the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered,favorable reception; approval; favor.
When we learn to unconditionally accept, we do not seek to change each other; we embrace each other for all of our uniqueness, flaws, quirks, beauty, wisdom, experiences, and qualities. We truly learn to enjoy to be in each others presence. There is a sense of ease and freedom to be in the company of someone that truly accepts you; it is easy, relaxed,empowering, and enjoyable.
Have you ever had the experience of being with someone that causes you to feel like you are walking around on egg shells, or that no matter what you do, you just don’t measure up? Do you feel like a circus animal; performing acts that are completely out of your nature? People that cause you to feel this way, are not showing unconditional acceptance of you.
O.K. here is the thing. You must forgive yourself for your transgressions. You must move forward, let go, and accept. The way that I work through a lot of my own “stuff”, is to think about what I would say to my daughter or what I want for her. I want nothing but the best for her, I want her to see herself the way that I see her. I want her to know how lovable, acceptable, beautiful, and worthy that she is. I want her to feel and know Unconditional Acceptance. My greatest desire is for anyone that I come in contact with to know Unconditional Acceptance from me. That is my goal;I am a work in progress.
Watch out for the following:
- Negative self talk; you believe yourself
- Criticism of your body
- A constant and relentless need for self improvement
- Feeling that you are not good enough
- Fear of failure
- Constant concern about making mistakes
- Feeling lazy, undisciplined, and unworthy
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to improve our body, mind and spirit. I am in no way saying that we should stop trying to be better. I am suggesting that we check our motivation; things that motivate us from a negative place are counter intuitive. I know from experience that I am much more successful at making changes when I approach my goal from a positive place.
Give love; get love. Give Acceptance; get acceptance. Give understanding; get understanding. You see where I am going with this. You are perfect, acceptable, lovable and beautiful. You are worthy. Be kind to you. Accept your flaws and you will accept that others have flaws but are none the less perfect, beautiful and ACCEPTABLE. Simple.
Peace and Blessings.
I have been married for 32 years and I have the gift of unconditional love in my life. Hopefully we will all experience unconditional love at least once in our lives as it is the kind of love that we should receive from our parents; it is the kind of love that we should have for our children. I think about the way that I love my daughter; there is absolutely nothing that she can do or say that would ever change my love for her; I love her without condition.
Unconditional love doesn’t mean that we don’t discipline our children or disagree with our spouse or parents. Unconditional love means that in spite of our shortcomings and mistakes, we are loved/loving. We are loved right through the tough stuff and we are forgiven. Unconditional love requires forgiveness; the two go hand in hand. As a parent, I find unconditional love to be a very natural and simple thing. As a wife, I have to admit, there have been times that I have been challenged. To love someone when they have deeply hurt you requires an immense amount of forgiveness but it also requires that you look beyond how you have been wronged and delve deep into the waters of your relationship and how you came to this place and these circumstances. It is never simple. To love unconditionally, we must let go of anger and resentment; unconditional love will be muddied if you hold onto negative feelings.
Unconditional love is more about what you do than what you say; it is an action, and not a feeling. I learned this from my husband and the way that he loves me. He acts like he loves me. He loves me by letting me know when I am off track, he shows love with simple acts like having my coffee ready for me in the morning and making me my “nest” on the couch so I am comfy/cozy while I drink it, he pushes me to grow, he shoves me out of my comfort zone, and he looks at me with eyes so full of love that it almost bursts my heart. It is more about what you give than what you get. If you do things for others with expectations (even if all that you are expecting in return is a feeling), or If you have to do something or be a certain way toward someone in order to receive love in return, that is conditional love.
Unconditional love should feel invigorating, energizing, liberating and gratifying. If you are feeling burdened or weighed down by what you are perceiving as unconditional love, you may be on the wrong track. Unconditional love does NOT mean that you are a door mat; be cautious that you do not become a people-pleaser. Loving unconditionally doesn’t mean that you are constantly seeking to make someone comfortable; sometimes they need to go through difficulties to grow. Growth and pain are part of our journey as human beings.
Love yourself without condition. This will sometimes mean that you are not on the same page with another and it is O.K. Forgive yourself and let go of anger, frustration and resentments.
Practice unconditional love by doing spontaneous things for others with NO expectations of anything in return. You will come to recognize what it feels like to truly experience love without condition and the absolute joy that will fill your heart by sharing it.
“Nothing you become will disappoint me; I have no preconception that I’d like to see you be or do. I have no desire to forsee you, only to discover you. You can’t disappoint me”.
Being able to “receive” is such an important part of healing and living our best lives. If we do not know how to receive, we are missing a very important part of life and/or the process of healing. To give is a wonderful and amazing experience but we must be able to receive as well. It can be as simple as being comfortable with someone paying us a compliment or giving us a small gift or token of their appreciation. Do you have a difficult time with graciously accepting a compliment? Do you feel undeserving of the gratitude of others? There are many ways that we receive throughout our lives, but none is more important than accepting and receiving love. To truly receive love, we must be open to it, our hearts must be open to receive the love of another and to experience the journey that comes with entering into a loving relationship. This of course, includes healing. To receive the benefits of a healing session, we have to be open to what is being offered to us. To be open, we must let go of the barriers of unbelief, distrust, and our own perception of what is and is not possible or likely to happen. The condition of both the mind and the heart (emotional) are critical to our ability to be open and to receive.
So, the next time that someone pays you a compliment, say “thank you so much, I appreciate your kindness”. It’s just that easy to start to open and receive ALL that is available to you. One baby step at a time and the next thing that you know, your an excellent “receiver”. Good stuff indeed!
I am always looking for ways to engage people on my Facebook page and I am always trying to find ways to make a difference in the lives of others so it is only natural that I would eventually come to the conclusion that I should ask my Facebook friends to help me to think of ways to have a positive impact on other peoples lives.
I posted a challenge for each of my Facebook friends/followers to commit one Act of Kindness per week for the month of November. I am so excited about the feedback and ideas that people have been posting! What if each person on my Facebook page shares the idea with their friends and it keeps going. We would have a Random Act’s of Kindness Revolution! Can you think of anything better? So, I am now faced with figuring out how to get people involved, how to get people to join in and commit random acts of kindness at least one time per week. Can we do it for more than one month?
Random acts of kindness don’t have to involve money and can be as simple as taking trash cans in from the curb for your elderly neighbor or sending a card to someone serving our country, or forgiving someone that has wronged you. All of these ideas were posted on the wall of my Facebook page! I love the heart of my followers and their friends and followers!! I REALLY HOPE that we can keep this thing going.
So, I challenge anyone that reads this blog post to join in and commit one act of kindness per week for the next month. Just do it! I guarantee you, you will feel wonderful and you could change someone’s life.
Post your Acts in our comments section. We love to hear how people are being kind and caring about each other.
Peace and blessings