How heavy is your bag

HOW HEAVY IS YOUR BAG?
Author Unknown

One of my teachers had each one of us bring a clear plastic bag and a
sack of potatoes. For every person we’d refuse to forgive in our life,
we were told to choose a potato, write on it the name and date, and
put it in the plastic bag. Some of our bags, as you can imagine, were
quite
heavy.

We were then told to carry this bag with us everywhere for one week,
putting it beside our bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next
to our desk at work.

The hassle of lugging this around with us made it clear what a weight
we were carrying spiritually, and how we had to pay attention to it
all the time to not forget, and keep leaving it in embarrassing
places.

Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty
slime. This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our
pain and heavy negativity!

Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, and
while that’s true, it clearly is also a gift for ourselves!

So the next time you decide you can’t forgive someone, ask yourself…

Isn’t MY bag heavy enough?

Check your attitude

Check your attitude

No matter what actions we perform in this world, we receive their fruits. For this reason, we should always keep an account of ourselves. We should not try to keep track of others, of how many sins others have committed, how many mistakes they have made, or how much more advanced thay are than we. Instead, we should always remember what we have done and what we have to do in the future. We should check to see how much self-control we have developed, how much equanimity there is in our minds, how much steadfastness we have achieved. We should check to see how much we have been able to rid ourselves of our desires, our anger, our jealousy, and our tendency to hate other people, to rejoice at their misfortune, and to feel sad when we see them advance. We should see how much compassion we have acquired, how much we have learned to love honesty and truthfulness, how loving we have become. We should always be aware of our faults and always try to increase our virtuous qualities. Above all, we should check our attitude. It is our inner attitude and feeling that determine our behavior. Not only that, it is these that determine our experience of the world.” ((Muktananda, I Have Become Alive, 100)

Lessons of Love

Lessons of Love

A ninety-one-year-old woman died after living a long, dignified life.
When she met God, she asked Him about something that had
long bothered her:

“If Man was created in God’s image, and if all men are created
equal, why do people treat each other so badly?”

God replied that each person who enters our life has a unique
lesson to teach us. And it is only through these lessons that we learn
about life, people, relationships, and God. This confused the woman,
so God began to explain:

“When someone lies to you, it teaches you that things are not always as
they seem. The truth is often far beneath the surface. Look beyond the
masks people wear if you want to know their heart. And remove your own
masks to let people know yours.

“When someone steals from you, it teaches you that nothing is forever.
Always appreciate what you have, for you never know when you might
lose it. And never, ever, take your friends and family for granted because
today is the only guarantee you have.

“When someone inflicts an injury upon you, it teaches you that the
human state is a fragile one. Protect and take care of your body as best
you can; it’s the only thing you are sure to have forever.

“When someone mocks you, it teaches you that no two people are alike.
When you encounter people who are different from you, don’t judge them
by how they look or act; instead, base your opinion on the contents of
their hearts.

“When someone breaks your heart, it teaches you that loving someone
does not always mean that person will love you back. But don’t turn your
back on love because when you find the right person, the joy that that one
person brings will make up for all the past hurts put together. Times ten.

“When someone holds a grudge against you, it teaches you that everyone
makes mistakes. When you are wronged, the most virtuous thing you can
do is forgive the offender without pretense. “Forgiving those who have
hurt us is the most difficult, the most courageous, and the most noble thing
Man can do.

“When a loved one is unfaithful to you, it teaches you that resisting
temptation is Man’s greatest challenge. Be vigilant in your resistance
against all temptation. By doing so, you will be rewarded with an
enduring sense of satisfaction far greater than the temporary pleasure
by which you were tempted.

“When someone cheats you, it teaches you that greed is the root of all
evil. Aspire to make your dreams come true, no matter how lofty they
may be. Do not feel guilty about your success, but never let an
obsession with achieving your goals lead you to engage in malevolent
activities.

“When someone ridicules you, it teaches you that nobody is perfect.
Accept people for their merits and be tolerant of their flaws. Do not
ever reject someone for imperfections over which they have no control.”
Upon hearing the Lord’s wisdom, the old woman became concerned
that there were no lessons to be learned from Man’s good deeds. God
replied that Man’s capacity to love is the greatest gift he has. At the root
of all kindness is love, and each act of love also teaches us a lesson.
The woman’s curiosity deepening, God once again began to explain:

“When someone loves us, it teaches us that love, kindness, charity,
honesty, humility, forgiveness, and acceptance can counteract all the
evil in the world.
“For every good deed, there is one less evil deed. Man alone has the
power to control the balance between good and evil, but because the
lessons of love are not taught often enough, the power is too often
abused.

“When you enter someone’s life, whether by plan, chance, or
coincidence, consider what your lesson will be. Will you teach love
or a harsh lesson of reality?

“When you die, will your life have resulted in more loving or hurting?
More comfort or pain? More joy or sadness? Each one of us has
power over the balance of love in the world. Use it wisely.
“Don’t miss an opportunity to nudge the world’s scale in the right
direction.

“Pass these lessons of love on to those you love and to those you
have hurt.
“For each person who receives this, there will be a little less evil in
the world and a little more love.”

Sadness (reading from The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie)

Ultimately, to grieve our losses means to surrender to our feelings.
So many of us have lost so much, said so many good-byes, have been through so many changes. We may want to hold back the tides of change, not because the change isn’t good, but because we have had so much change, so much loss.
Sometimes, when we are in the midst of pain and grief, we become shortsighted, like members of a tribe described in the movie
Out of Africa.
“If you put them in priseon”, one character said, describignn this tribe, “they die”.
“Why/” asked another character. “Because they can’t grasp the idea that they’ll be let out one day. They thik it’s permanent, so they die.”

The power of God

THE POWER OF GOD
Author Unknown

Have you ever been down and out and nobody seems to be around for you to
talk to…THAT’S GOD…he wants you to talk to him.

Have you ever been just sitting there and all of a sudden you feel like
doing something nice for someone you care for…THAT’S GOD…he talks to you
through the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever been thinking about somebody that you haven’t seen in a long
time and then next thing you know you see them or receive a phone call from
them…THAT’S GOD…there is no such thing as “coincidence.”

Have you ever received something wonderful that you didn’t even ask for,
like money in the mail, a debt that had mysteriously been cleared, or a
coupon to a department store where you had just seen something you wanted,
but couldn’t afford…THAT’S GOD…he knows the desires of your heart…

Have you ever been in a situation and you had no clue how it is going to get
better, but now you look back on it…THAT’S GOD… he passes us through
tribulation to see a brighter day…

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE INSIDE

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE INSIDE
Author Unknown

I remember reading a story once about a man who was exploring some
caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with
a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled up some
clay and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn’t look like much,
but they intrigued
the man so he took the bag out of the cave with him.

As he strolled along the beach, to pass the time, he would throw the
clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could throw.

He thought little about it until he dropped one of the balls and it
cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone.
Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each
contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of
jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left, then it struck him.

He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of
the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves.
Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have had tens of
thousands, but he just threw it all away.

You know sometimes, it’s like that with people. We look at someone,
maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn’t
look like much from the outside. It isn’t always beautiful or
sparkling, so we discount it; we see that person as less important
than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy.

But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that
person. There is a treasure hidden in every one of us. We are
wonderfully made. Not just our physical bodies, our spiritual selves,
which are sometimes hidden from others by the *earthen vessel*

But if you take the time to get to know that person, and if you ask
the Spirit to show you that person the way He sees them, then the clay
begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly
smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration
that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him
and is willing to trust him with his friendship.

Angel-Made Quilt

Angel-Made Quilt

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles. An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life.I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune.I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together,threadbare and empty,like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed,held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth.

The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries.So filled their lives had been.My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame.I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes.I had love in my life, and laughter.But there had also been trials of illness, and death, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times.I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again.

I spent many nights on my knees in prayer,asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was,and I had to accept it for what it was.I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light.An awe-filled gasp filled the air.I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image,the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes.He said, “Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles.

Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.”

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through.

Please share this with someone you love, care about or even someone who needs Jesus in their heart.They may scoff, but at least the seed has been planted,and God will do the rest.

May God bless you today and Forever.

Author Unknown

Speak now of yourself, my wonderful friend

Speak now of yourself, my wonderful friend.

What are the needs of your soul? Write a list – a long list – of all of your desires. No, this is not being self-centered or selfish, for I have asked you to unburden everything upon Me. Write this list, and then come and read it to Me. Let us speak of how your desires will glorify My Father, and I will hold the list close to My heart.

What are the concerns you have about yourself? In just a few words, tell Me how self-indulgent you sometimes get, how proud, how arrogant, how rude. Tell Me how overly emotional you sometimes feel, how frustrated, how touchy, how impatient. What else don´t you like about yourself? I already know these things, and yet I love you no less for them. Ask Me to help you improve, and I will gently work to transform you.

There is nothing good that I would not give you. Our Father created the universe and all that is in it. Everything is at My disposal to do as I desire, and I desire to give good gifts to you. Tell Me what you want. You have no idea how much I long to give you what is good! Much more is available to you than what you have now.

Heaven is a Gift

Heaven Is a Gift

There was a teacher who died recently and went to heaven. He came to the door and Peter said, “Wait a minute! Come here! Where are you going?” “I’m going in there.” “Oh, no you’re not.” “Why not?” “It’s not that simple.” “Why?” “Well, we have a points system here, you see: so many points to get in.”

“Oh, I didn’t think that applied here. How many points,” said the teacher, “to get in?” “Well, you need at least a thousand,” said Peter. At this the teacher was a bit shocked but then came to himself again and Peter said, “Okay, come on, come on, what did you do when you were down there?”

So he stuck out his chest and said, “I went to Mass every morning for 40 years.” He thought that was his trump card. And Peter said, “Fair enough. That’s one point.” At this the teacher’s heart was in his shoes and so, Peter continued, “What else?” “Well, I belonged to the Third World agencies, the St Vincent de Paul Society and a couple more charitable organizations.” Peter said, “Hurry up – what else? How much money did you collect for good causes over the years?” “Perhaps something like 25,000.” “Not bad,” said Peter, “not bad. That’s another point.”

At this stage the teacher was completely deflated and muttered to himself something like, “If this is the way it is, it’s only by the grace of God that I’m ever going to get in.” On hearing that, Peter turned to him and said, “Once you believe that, you’ve got the necessary thousand points. If you really believe what you just said, you may go right on in. Because heaven is a total, absolute, pure free gift of God.”

Can you sleep when the wind blows?

CAN YOU SLEEP WHEN THE WIND BLOWS?
Author Unknown

Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He
constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to
work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that
raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.

As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady
stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age,
approached the farmer. “Are you a good farmhand?” the farmer asked
him. “Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.
Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him.

The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk,
and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work. Then one night the
wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer
grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping
quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is
coming! Tie things down before they blow away!” The little man rolled
over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the
wind blows.”

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the
spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his
amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered
with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the
coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured.
Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then
understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to
also sleep while the wind blew.

MORAL: When you’re prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically,
you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through
your life? The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he
had secured the farm against the storm. We, as believers in Christ,
secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in
the Word of God. We don’t need to understand, we just need to hold His
hand to have peace in the midst of the storms. I hope you sleep well!