Wake Up Call! – Extraordinary Gifts!

 


EXTRAORDINARY GIFTS!

Transforming a gift into something extraordinary for others is an act of loving oneness.

I knew that the second box of Saffron given to me would remain unused so I asked a friend if she could use it. She was overjoyed to receive it. The next weekend she posted on Facebook that she had used the spice to make a chicken dish that she served to 100 people at a soup kitchen.

Instead of keeping the gift for the enjoyment of her immediate circle she chose to use it all in an offering for the hungry.

When I asked her what prompted this she said, “I wanted to use this exotic expensive spice to create a beautiful meal. I didn’t want to hold on to it like a personal treasure. The best part was seeing how much the meal was enjoyed.” Then she giggled with delight!

A simple act – a gift shared in the creation of an extraordinary meal – was with joy from those not expecting such a feast. What gift of yours will be transformed into something unexpected and extraordinary?

Call-to-Action:

  • Be mindful of the many gifts you have

  • Be present to unexpected opportunities to do something extraordinary

Notice how your act of transforming a gift into something for others affirms our oneness.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Scars of Beauty

 


SCARS OF BEAUTY

It’s in the scars of my life that I discover the love and kindness that shape my heart.

A good friend and I sat on the lawn talking about the most difficult and harrowing experiences we have each lived through. We know one another so well that we didn’t need to dwell on the pain, fears or maliciousness of those experiences. It was a conversation of thankfulness for what we have learned.

It was a choice not to dwell on past hurts but to explore the rich texture of life that the scars reveal.

As we spoke of wading through and beyond the muck we remembered the moments of being there for one another and those who loved us amidst the shards. And we named our own mistakes and naivete.

As we hugged one another we shed thankful tears for our hearts and lives expanded with love, kindness and gentleness toward ourselves and all who had contributed to the luminous scars and their healing. The response was our gratitude for the journey thus far.

Call-to-Action:

  • Befriend your scars by naming the beauty they reveal

  • Pay attention to the gift each scar has bestowed

Notice how your life is shaped by the rich texture of transformed scars.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – What Matters

 


WHAT MATTERS

Some of my concerns seem trivial, keeping me from what matters most.

On the last leg of a trip a delay kept me in the airport for hours. I was tired and longed to be home. My frustrations were interrupted by watching a family with three young kids, one of whom was in a wheelchair following cancer treatments. Their tender interactions were remarkable. As we spoke I realized I was in the presence of love.

I could have held onto my frustrations but instead was invited to return to what matters most on the landscape of my life.

The family whom I encountered caused me to think about those who have nursed, nurtured and nourished me with loving care. My thoughts of them soon morphed into gratitude.

Instead of a frustrated passenger boarding my last flight home I got onto the plane feeling grateful. I fell asleep that night feeling blessed by the people and love that matter most. I woke up thinking of the family I’d encountered and gave thanks for them and their unexpected gift.

Call-to-Action:

  • Name and give thanks for those whose who love you

  • Intentionally name one person each day that matters to you

Notice how focusing on what matters most in your life changes your reaction to the frustrations of the day.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Navigating Conflict & Peace

 


NAVIGATING CONFLICT & PEACE

The competing energies of conflict and peace shed light on where your heart is.

I was talking with a wise woman about the practices of stillness and mindfulness that have brought her so much inner peace over many decades. She said, “It’s hard to talk about this when the world seems to be at war and when I cheer for any actions to stop the be-headings.” Then she added, “I feel torn about even saying this.”

She or I could have chosen to avoid the awkwardness of the moment and move to a safer topic.

Instead we kept “chewing” on the paradox between her support for violence being used to eradicate violence and her lifelong devotion to peacemaking in the world along with her own inner peace.

As I left she said, “I’m hoping that some wisdom or a lesson is revealed in my struggles. Perhaps I can try to be at peace and listen to the stillness.” She knew where her heart was to be found.

Call-to-Action:

  • Be aware of what competing energies reveal about where your heart is to be found

  • Pay attention to what the stillness says

Notice how engaging your competing energies of conflict and peace diminish the power of conflict.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Love no Matter What?

 


LOVE NO MATTER WHAT?

Celebrate the people who love you no matter what and do the same for others.

In my early teens I tried to take my own life because being gay seemed like a terrible and fearful thing. So I took what I thought were enough aspirin to do the job. I was surprised when I woke up the next morning.

Instead of imagining ending my life I had a vivid image of my grandmother’s embracing me and expressing their love.

The constancy of their love was a life jacket to me. Years later I began to understand that their love, which had turned my thoughts to life and not death, was the threshold of the journey to loving myself.

I think of them with gratitude, even though they have been dead for decades. I celebrate their love and hope that I am doing the same for others. Whose love has been a saving grace to you and how will your love be a life-jacket to others?

Call-to-Action:

  • Express your gratitude for those who have loved you no matter what

  • Be open to doing the same for others

Notice how your awareness of generous love expands your heart.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Live Generously!

 


LIVE GENEROUSLY!

To err on the side of generosity towards others is a choice to live well.

I held open the door to the dry cleaners to allow a harried looking man to go ahead of me. He threw three pairs of trousers on the counter and barked, “Three” as he radiated fury and rudeness. The generosity of spirit of the woman who served him was striking. I commented on her kindness.

She said to me, “I always have a choice to live generously or not.”

As we spoke she said, “I could experience his fury and get drawn into his behavior but I choose to believe that by being kind he might get a glimpse of another way to live.”

The result of erring on the side of generosity is to live well by choosing the markers how to live in the present. How will I choose when confronted by the fury of another? I’m counting on the grace of generosity.

Call-to-Action:

  • Mindfully err on the side of living generously each day

  • Be thankful for each person who tests the grace of generous living

Notice how you experience living well in the company of generosity.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Do Not Assume!

 


DO NOT ASSUME!

My assumptions about others may not be about them at all.

I was puzzled by my colleague Beth – she’d promised to record a message about a program that was dear to her heart. Each reminder was responded to positively but nothing was ever recorded. My assumption that she had an unspoken issue made me feel uncomfortable.

I could choose to feel unpleasant about my assumption or find out what had happened.

When we spoke Beth said, “I’ve been feeling so bad. I thought I knew how to record a video on my phone but every time I tried something got messed up. I felt incompetent and then my ex-husband started becoming abusive and I only had energy to deal with that.” Now I felt bad for Beth!

My assumption had offered negative energy. Our conversation was a reminder that our best intentions are interrupted by life. When my assumptions are challenged, explored and released I am grounded in the positive energy of the Universe.

Call-to-Action:

  • Be aware of your assumptions and the negative energy they can invite

  • Choose to be present to positive energy with others.

Notice the freedom of living beyond assumptions.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Let Go of Trying To Control

 


LET GO OF TRYING TO CONTROL

Let go of trying to control or change another person and find something to appreciate.

In the last year of her life my mother seemed determined to exceed her overweight status. The extra pounds kept further impairing her mobility. Whatever I offered – taking a short walk together, modifying her diet – was rebuffed with a terse “Yes, dear.”

I could live with my frustration at being unable to adjust her diet or I could let go of trying to change or control.

In choosing to let go I intentionally welcomed whatever surprise the Universe had in store for the two of us. Only Mom could have made the choice to change her habits!

Free of the change or control dynamics we settled into a new rhythm of appreciating one another as we were. The humor, the family stories and meals reflected a new ease. It was a more relaxed way to be present to one another.

Call-to-Action:

  • Be aware of how you try to change or control another person

  • Let go of it for both of your sakes

Notice how a circumstance that you cannot change is transformed when you release it.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Pause to Take Time

 


PAUSE TO TAKE TIME

Pause to take time with a stranger or friend and be surprised by what it reveals.

A person I barely know wrote about how surprised he was that I stopped to chat with him while out walking. He said it revealed his dislike for the barriers of self-protection that he has built around his life. His self-realization made me think about my simple intuitive act of stopping to chat.

I wondered what drives the choices I make when I pause to take time with a stranger or friend.

Is it my natural curiosity about the stories of others? Is it my delight in knowing something about another person? Is it my life’s belief at work that we need one another?

Perhaps there is no single answer. I’m grateful to the many who took the time to comment on our unplanned conversation. It’s made me more mindful of paying attention to my intuition in pausing during the day to spend some time with a friend or stranger.

Call-to-Action:

  • Allow yourself to pause and take time with others

  • Be attentive to what it reveals to you

Notice how unplanned time with others inspires, motivates or enlivens life.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Unexpected Invitations

 


UNEXPECTED INVITATIONS

Life’s unexpected moments are an invitation to be generous.

I watched as two young children on a ferry boat responded to the choppy waves by throwing up. Those sitting around them held their breath as if to avoid the stench of the vomit. The parents scurried to clean up.

In that moment the man sitting behind them chose to move into action.

When I asked him why he had helped clean the vomit, he said, “It’s hard to be parents and deal with the unexpected. I know how to clean up after kids so I jumped into help just because I could.”

As I watched the parents express their gratitude to this stranger for his generous kindness their relief was palpable. The unexpected retching had been transformed by the way in which a stranger had responded to life’s surprises. What will you respond to today?

Call-to-Action:

  • Be aware of life around you and the invitations it extends

  • Be willing to be kind and generous in how you respond

Notice how your mindfulness about life’s surprises enlivens and connects you to others.

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©2014 Robert V. Taylor

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