Sunday, July 2, 2017

Finding Peace with others while being a winner! Or, He who loses his temper, loses

I decided this morning while studying scriptures, I will look for mentions of or references to peace. This will be my goal for this month, which has the fourth of July Holiday, celebrating America's Independence from British rule! Yeah! Does peace just equal freedom from war? Or can it go beyond that? As Americans, we celebrate many freedoms, including our right to free speech and right to worship as we may. We can create peace in our homes and neighborhoods and world by allowing others the same right. #11 of the 13 Articles of Faith written by Joseph Smith states: "We (as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints) claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." It is important to respect this God-Given right of free-agency. We can have tolerance for others beliefs, yet quietly disagree. This helps to prevent disputes. People have varying opinions about many things. We can agree to disagree. When I teach Anger Management, I tell my students we can come out as winners when someone is pushing our buttons, by remaining calm and agreeable. Keeping your cool helps you "Win". And we all want to be "Winners"! it is built into us. Just take a deep breath and allow the other person to vent. They may lose their cool, but keep yours.(No one wants to be a Loser either) There is a scripture that emphasizes the benefit of keeping your cool: Matthew 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison." many of my court-ordered students found themselves reacting when confronted and fighting back unnecessarily, and ended up in court and ordered to our classes. Let me give an example. One student had to take two classes, Anger Management and a One-Day Drug and Alcohol Class. My sister, Karen, was teaching two Saturdays in a row. The first class was Anger Management and she emphasized being a winner and being agreeable and they listened to Izzy Kalman demonstrating this skill in a fun, entertaining way. The young man came back the next Saturday and said with exuberance, "Karen, I tried that and it worked! The guy I beat up (the reason I'm here) pulled into the same parking lot as me. He came over to my car with his friend, his arm in a sling (I had broken his arm), and stuck his head in my open window and said, you ##**#, you broke my arm!" I remembered what you said and took a deep breath. I simply said, "You are right, man, I did." He stared at me and then yelled, "Your friends called me a *#!#* on Facebook and said _____ about me." I replied, "That could be true". He called me some more names, as his face got beet red, and I just said, "You have a right to your opinion" The guy looked at me in disbelief, like I was crazy and then stomped off. Karen then asked the young man, "how di you feel? He said "I felt great!" Karen asked, "Did you feel like you won that one?" "Oh yes!" he responded,"and I didn't have to lift a finger!" "The other guy lost it and I kept my cool."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Studying Scripture, asking Questions, Discovering virtues

I am intent on following the wisdom and advice of my Bishop. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and am currently re-reading the Book of Mormon as Bishop Stone has encouraged ward members to do. I am enjoying it. When I am reading, a question will often enter my mind and I am not satisfied until I decipher an answer. Today, as I read 1 Nephi Chapter 9, I wondered at what age did Nephi inscribe the plates of Nephi? As i read closely, I realized he had to be mature in age since he writes not only in past tense, but mentions making a full account of the history of his people. To make a full account, one must have seen and witnessed all, so he must have been in his later years of life. It would have taken a great deal of time to engrave the history of his people (wars, contentions, reigns of kings) and also to write in the smaller plates about the ministry of his people (written "for a wise purpose" in the Lord). I learned from this brief chapter that no only was Nephi patient in listening to the Lord, but also obedient and patient in writing. He demonstrated determination, strength and faith, not knowing beforehand the full purpose of intent of the Lord.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"The Pot calling the Kettle Black"

I am called upon to teach classes and lead groups in discussions. The students have been ordered to take my classes by the court system. Nevertheless, they chose to be compliant and attend. Often times, there is someone who will want to talk about other people’s short comings, rather than focus on what caused the trouble that brought them to my class.
One time, when beginning a Prime For Life Class (a DUI course about drugs, alcohol and the path to addiction), a student asked in a voice of defiance, “Well, what about texting? That causes accidents!” “True, it does”, I responded and then asked, “And your point is?” The class was silent for a moment, and then another student in the back said loud enough for all to hear, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Another blamed “the system” for young people repeatedly getting into trouble with the law. He said adamantly, “It’s the system!”. This student talked about young men who had worked for him, who could not pay court fines, and subsequently went to jail, learned more ways to commit crimes, and then had more court cases and more fines. I asked, “Who chose to break the law in the first place? Are the young men not to be held accountable for their actions?”

In another setting, a student talked about neighbors who profess to be Christians, yet indulge in sexual promiscuity. This student’s rhetoric put the focus on others’ misdeeds.
It is easier to point the finger at others than direct it towards ourselves.
(When I teach in a secular setting, I teach only that which is allowed, keeping Church & State separate, but for this blog, I am expressing my own personal belief system in a God)

The following is from the Bible (King James Version)
Matthew 7:3-5
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

The ancient teachings of Jesus lead us to understand human nature, that we tend to look at other’s faults rather than our own. We also may blame circumstances, or the “system”.
How is it that some people know how to be successful and happy within the guidelines of the law and others do not? Or is it that some are taught true principles, but choose to do something else, listen to another voice that is not in their highest and best. Perhaps they choose to listen to promptings of greed, envy, gluttony, lust and fear. Soon, the whisperings of the “Still Small Voice” of goodness and virtue are no longer heard, drowned out by the “Get yours first” voice that prompts evil intentions and selfish behavior. When my thoughts lead to selfish actions or even addiction, I endanger my relationships and other responsibilities.
What is missing? Is there some internal mechanism, like the spring to a clock that keeps it working? That internal dialogue that says, “no, I am not going to do that” or “This is the direction my life needs to go”.
The wonderful thing about life is that we all have free-agency. We only lose that right to choose when we break the laws of the land and endanger self or others.
It is exciting that I get to choose who I will BE. I need to learn what it is I want to be and what consequences or rewards there are for certain ways of thinking and behaving. I need to know how to be and what that feels like and looks like to be able to incorporate it into my life. As a Christian, my goal is to be Christ-like in my behavior. If I am truly Christ-like, I will be humble, penitent and look to my own shortcomings and pray for strength to overcome them. Prayer is a gateway to learn from my Heavenly Father.
I learn from the Bible about what Christ was like and how to follow him. I also learn from the words of a Prophet of the Lord, Thomas S. Monson
“Essential to the plan is our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without His atoning sacrifice, all would be lost. It is not enough, however, merely to believe in Him and His mission. We need to work and learn, search and pray, repent and improve. We need to know God’s laws and live them. We need to receive His saving ordinances. Only by so doing will we obtain true, eternal happiness.” 1
1. From the General Conference Address entitled, the-perfect-path-to-happiness?lang=eng">“The perfect Plan to Happiness” October 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Making Myself Visible

At the Sacred Energy Empowerment Center Bo talked about his spiritual journey. At one point, he said he ended up in a reclusive life style in Mexico. He studied the Mayas. He researched the ruins and their history. One day, an archaeologist said to him, “you will have dealings with Mormons”. To Bo, it was a prophetic. Bo told us how tourists had to get lost in Old Mexico in order to find him to get the information they were seeking about the pyramids and the Mayans. People would “get lost” trying to find the pyramids and find him instead, way off the “beaten path”, playing his guitar. They heard him playing and singing and found him and asked if he could guide them. He then took them and showed them the sites and explained stone carvings and records of the Mayans about the “White God” who came to the native Mayans. The records said he was a white bearded man, which was of note, since the Mayans had no beards. Bo said these tourists needed to hear this, because they were Mormons and this information validated their beliefs and the writings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Even Bo, who is not LDS, said, that there is no way that Joseph Smith could have known about Christ visiting the Mayas (or Lamanites, as they are called in the book of Mormon) without divine guidance. Bo decided, after a few groups had to get lost to find him, that he would just sit by the ruins and wait for the tourists. One of the locals, who saw Bo there frequently asked why he was there, “Are you meditating?” I woke up this morning thinking about how people have had a “round about” way of finding me recently to receive healing. Quite a few have found themselves in difficult situations and were court ordered to take a class. These special people who want healing end up in a one-on-one class with me and they are stunned at the results when I offer to do some ThetaHealing. Often times there are tears, as we work together with Creator and I witness change occurring through the power of God. That is what Theta Healing is about, healing! So, now, I wonder how I can make myself available to these people so they can find me without getting into trouble first and having court costs, etc., so they don’t have to “get Lost” or go off the “beaten track” to find me. I will use Bo’s example and make myself available to those seeking knowledge, information and healing.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Life Long Learning

Am I too old to go back to school? Why should I stop living and striving to be just because of age or infirmity? Look at Stephen Hawking and what he accomplished even with his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. I do have my limitations, but I know with God’s help, I can learn, and then use my knowledge and talents to bless the lives of others. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phillipians 4:13) I am a Latter Day Saint of the Church of Jesus Christ. “how can you call yourself a Saint?” you might ask. A saint in this context is a disciple of Jesus Christ. A true Disciple is one who is not “lukewarm” but “on fire” with a testimony of Christ as the Son of God. Apostle Neal A Maxwell gave an address in the April 1987 General Conference about the qualifications for a Saint or Disciple of Christ. He said we have to be committed and 'not just hearers of the word, but doers'. “Our task, therefore, is to “reconcile [ourselves] to the will of God, and not to the will of … the flesh” (2 Ne. 10:24). I am a child of God, which gives me great capabilities. “Where much is given, much is required.” Is the title of Chapter 17 in the manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles. See link below https://www.lds.org/manual/the-life-and-teachings-of-jesus-and-his-apostles/section-4-the-third-year-of-jesus-public-ministry/chapter-17-where-much-is-given-much-is-required?lang=eng

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Our seed

I am talking about children and in my case, also my grandchildren and so on and so on. After I am gone, there may be many generations to come after me. it is an astounding thought. I am hoping that all of my "seed" will come to Christ and know him. Nephi is explaining to his older brothers what Lehi was telling by way of parable, saying that branches of of the olive tree shall be grafted in. 1 Nephi 15:14 "And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved." I pray for my loved ones who do not yet know Christ as their redeemer. The quote above is found in the Book of Mormon, which I am studying now in an institute class and loving it (https://pathway.lds.org/). The spirit fills my heart and soul as I read, testifying to me of the truth of Nephi's words. I pray that you may read and also be touched as you search, ponder and pray to know if these things are true. Moroni gives us a promise in Moroni 10:3 "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. 6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is. 7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever. I add my "Amen".

Book of Mormon quote

I Nephi 15:11 "Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you." This is Nephi speaking to his rebellious brothers. He is giving us the formula for personal revelation!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

How could you not be happy when you see....

I was shopping the other day and the young woman at the checkout admired my fire opal ring and said, "That is a beautiful ring! It makes me happy just to look at it. How could a person look at that and not be happy?" I thought that was an interesting comment. I reflected on a visit I had with a good friend, Gary Whitley. He reminded me that all I needed to maintain my centered-ness, was to think on Christ. I thought how fitting that was for the Christmas Season and every "season" of life, really. You know, as I focus on Jesus Christ, a smile comes to my face. It is natural - I can't help it! How can someone look at Christ and not feel Happy! How can someone think of Jesus Christ, our elder brother who saved us, and not smile and be happy! For a moment, I wished it was an continual automatic response with me to be always be happy and not be annoyed with others or the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season; but as I prayed about it and asked God if he could wipe away any of resistance or struggle (Just change me!), God said, "No, You get to CHOOSE". "I get to choose" is a powerful statement. It means I take an active part in my creation, as I grow into my most magnificent self! It means I am free to choose darkness or light, deceptiveness or truth, sadness or happiness. Jesus said, The truth shall set you free. I want to be free of the trappings, misconceptions, and unhappiness that Satan promulgates. My body is my temple and a gift from God, our Father. My body is my "house" and as for me and "my house", will serve the Lord. Actually, "We will serve the Lord", as I am strengthened and not alone in my choice. God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are supporting me daily as I CHOOSE the right. I am happy when I recall and meditate on a line from a simple song I learned in church as a child: "I know my Savior Lives and Loves me too, the Spirit whispers this to me and tells me it is true, and tells me it is true, and tells me it is true". To know I have a "big brother" looking out for me is very comforting.