Life is complex. But complexity always starts from something simple.
Recently, my life has been complicated by moving to a new state. Anyone who has relocated knows how tough it can be. After a month of procrastinating, I finally went to the department of transport and got my car registered. Yay! I was given two license plates for my vehicle, and, with a sense of accomplishment, I drove home.
That afternoon, I pulled out a wrench from the back of the car and managed to remove and replace my back license plate. I’m not particularly handy, so this was an achievement. Since the vehicle was from PA, it did not have a front license plate, which means less work for me…or so I thought.
There were no bolts on the front plate.
I began with searching the vehicle for bolts in case there were spares, but I had no luck. I found a box of nuts and bolts at the church, but I could not find any that fit. After wrestling with the unsuitable bolts, I went to Home Depot and bought a packet of “license plate bolts”. But alas, they didn’t fit either.
I felt defeated.
Continue reading The Simple Things
It’s a trait that is associated with happy, successful and wealthy people all over the world.
But what exactly is gratitude?
I’m not talking about the definition. Sure, it’s good to be grateful, but what does it look like to live a grateful life? What does it feel like? Is it a peaceful warmth that floods your chest? Is it where the voice in your head that says: “Do more – NOW” goes quiet? Is it the subtle confidence that things will work out? Gratitude plays a large role in a new area of psychology called positive psychology. From my experience in psychology along with my foundation in New Church teachings, I can see a connection: there is an underlying spiritual foundation that supports many of these concepts. Accordingly, I was excited to see how gratitude could be applied to my life. Of course, you don’t become grateful overnight. It takes months of patience and practice and, even then, everyone has their ups and downs. A great way to start out is by turning to the Word, but just sitting and reading all the time left me restless. I wanted to take action!
About four years ago, I experimented with practicing gratefulness every day.
It was much harder than I anticipated.
Continue reading Being Grateful For Our Blessings
The first thing I noticed when I arrived in the U.S. was the accents. It was surreal…it felt like I was on a movie set! Three years later, I don’t notice them anymore, however, it has certainly made me more conscious of the way I speak and what I say. As I find my words becoming infected with an American accent, I am reminded of how important communication is. We talk to people every day – it is a vital part of our lives, and yet, I often find myself struggling to communicate effectively with people.
A conversation with a stranger is simple: learn their name, learn something about them, wish them well. Sometimes you might need something from them, such as assistance at a checkout or directions. It is conversations with acquaintances or even friends, however, that I find difficult. There are many possible reasons for this: we are all subject to the human desire to be accepted and we don’t want to be ridiculed by someone for a simple, snap judgment that is based on limited information. We want to be seen as ‘nice people’. Still, no matter what excuses we come up with to not have deep conversations with people—whether it be to maintain a good impression or to protect ourselves from judgment and rejection—it is still necessary to have these conversations. Human connection requires it. We require shared experiences that discourage us from focusing solely on ourselves and sharing shows us that no one really has it figured out, we’re all flawed and learning as we go.
Continue reading The Art of Conversation