“Be the change you wish to see in the world” ~ the real meaning behind this famous quote.

As the world around us appears to be falling to pieces, we wonder what’s happened and what we can do to bring peace to our broken planet. This was forefront in my mind today, as I searched the internet for inspiration on today’s Motivation Movement article. Fate drew me to this article “Gandhi didn’t actually ever say “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Here’s the real quote…” written by Joseph Ranseth, a speaker, author and transformationist. It discusses the famous quote by Gandhi and the real meaning behind these famous words. It was absolutely perfect.

“And while all of this “be the change” talk is good counsel, if we dig a little bit deeper, we realize that he wasn’t just telling us to lead by example, or to not get caught up in other people’s business while we still have our own issues to deal with.” ~ Joseph Ranseth

This, oh so famous, quote “BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD”, is attributed to Gandhi, but Mr. Ranseth indicates Gandhi didn’t actually speak these famous words. The actual quote and meaning is much deeper. Before we get to that deeper meaning however, we should discuss why the notion of “be the change” is such a powerful one. Mr. Ranseth indicates three reasons for this. It:

  1. removes judgmental thinking from our minds.
  2. turns us away from complaining and toward self-transformation.
  3. creates a desire to transform the only part of the world which we control: OURSELVES.

If Gandhi didn’t speak those famous “be the change” words, what did he actually say?

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This quote speaks deep-rooted spiritual knowledge that we see the world as a reflection of the world within. The world is a mirror for how we view ourselves. In this full quote, Gandhi is guiding us to do the work of self-transformation. In most cases, we want to avoid facing ourselves, transforming ourselves. After all, who wants to do that? It’s so much easier to lash out at the world and blame others for our own problems and failings in life, but that’s not the answer.. There is no doubt that our world is broken. However, Gandhi is indicating here, if we want to change that world, and fix it, we need to look in the mirror, and fix ourselves first. We need to take a deep, long look in that mirror and cleanse ourselves of selfishness and insecurity.

“I try to make myself zero.” ~ Gandhi

Mr. Ranseth indicates, when Gandhi was asked how he gained so much power over the British empire he said: “I TRY TO MAKE MYSELF ZERO”. What does this mean exactly? This means to develop “selfless love” in every aspect of our lives. We only do things for the benefit of others, never for ourselves. In other words, we make ourselves zero.

Closing thoughts:

The current unrest in the world appears as the act of a society that is lost and in desperate need of direction and guidance. It’s easy to lash out at world leaders and a broken system and demand change. We must remember, that broken system was built by flawed individuals, just as lost as everyone else. Until we look in the mirror, and reflect on our own selfishness and insecurity, nothing will change. The current hate and violence, so prevalent around the world today, speaks volumes about how people view themselves. Now, more than ever, we must face the MAN IN THE MIRROR.

ANNOUNCEMENT!

This is my final post for awhile. My family and I are moving across the country. We will be leaving my current home in Virginia at the end of July, and traveling to Colorado to begin a new chapter of our lives. After much thought and consideration, I have decided to halt blog posts until after we get settled in Colorado. I am hoping to be back at the beginning of September, but am uncertain about this timeframe. I’ll keep you posted. I really hate to pull back, but I believe it’s necessary, in order to focus on my family and this important change in our lives. Don’t go anywhere! I’ll be back!

I AM DIVERSITY By: Charles Bennafield

Today, in place of my normal “Middle-age Memoirs”, I am posting a previous article on cultural diversity. I decided to do this for 2 reasons. First, I am writing an article for the H.U.B., the Hawthorn University Blog, on insomnia, which is due today, and I’m just out of time. Secondly, and more important, it is fitting in the current political climate.

I sat awake last night, with a heavy heart, as most people in our country have, I suspect. On top of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, we are dealing with protests and civil unrest. Our country, still quite young in the grand scheme of the world, has come a long way since its founding 244 years ago. With that said, we have a long way to go, with a lot of growing and change still needed. As I laid in bed last night, eyes wide open, with thoughts on our broken country, I searched for something to say in today’s article and came up with nothing productive. That’s when I decided to repost this article, which includes the poem “I AM DIVERSITY”, by: Charles Bennafield

This article is on cultural diversity, which hits 2 aspects of wellness environmental and social. In order to have a clean, peaceful, loving planet, and healthy environment, we need, social wellness, something seriously lacking at the moment. We need to learn to be accepting of others. This little post is my two cents on the issue. Wishing all of you safety and good health. Namaste my friends.


HERE’S THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

I grew up in a moderate size town in South Dakota. Looking back now, my environment was very safe and comfortable. but also created a certain naivety within me. My parents, now married for 50+ years, created a safe and comfortable environment, paying for private Catholic school, with a beautiful home, nice clothes and always a good meal. (My Mom is an AMAZING cook!) Yes my sister and I were lucky to have loving parents who instilled in us a sense of pride in our country, culture and work ethic.

My Mother is my inspiration, with strength of character, (She’s quite stubborn actually) and a heart of gold, a wonderful combination. She led by example, volunteering with Hospice, and working in a nursing home. She gives her all in everything she does and would do anything for anyone. I watch her now, as she cares for my 100 year old Grandmother, and my heart bursts with pride. (UPDATE: My Grandmother passed away last year at the age of 101… I miss her dearly) My love of God and my fellow man come from her.  From my Dad comes my empathy for others. Despite all of the traveling he had to do for his job as I was growing up, he was always at my side, comforting me when things weren’t going quite right.

In 1992, I married my best friend and love of my life. I took what I learned from my parents and entered the big bad world, still a naive South Dakotan, but that would change.  Our first taste of a new culture was as teachers on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Central South Dakota, home of the Lakota American Indians. We learned to love these beautiful souls, who were giving and kind. They taught me to love our planet, Mother Earth, and accept the differences in others. It was here that I began to understand that even though we are all different, we are all one, unified under God, one of their core beliefs.

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About 3 years after I was married, my husband and I moved to the East coast. Talk about culture shock! We moved from, South Dakota, population 700,000, and one of the poorest counties in the country, (Todd County, South Dakota) to a densely populated city and one of the richest counties in the country (Fairfax County, Virginia). We moved from a laid back and relaxed atmosphere to the stress and fast pace of the big city. Here I learned patience for others. (Something I’m still working on!)

In 2003, we set out on a new adventure. Armed with the knowledge from my parents, the wisdom from the Lakota people, and patience, we moved to England where we lived for about 3 1/2 years. This was an interesting time. We lived in a small village in England and traveled all over Europe, exploring its diverse cultures and beautiful people. While in England, I learned to love discovering the diversity of our planet. However, at the same time, the love of my own culture and country deepened profoundly. I was no longer that naive South Dakota girl, but a world traveler. It was during this time that I learned an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT LESSON, one I wish to pass on to all of you.

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The lesson I learned in England was one of CULTURAL DIVERSITY. Why is this such an important lesson? Cultural diversity means “the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.”  This means we accept and respect ALL nationalities, cultures, beliefs, religions, languages, and traditions of other humans, while honoring our own. It means we don’t have to give up our culture or nationality to unite as humans or to come together as a planet. Embracing a nationality or culture doesn’t mean you dismiss others, it simply means you are  honoring your own.

So for today’s article, I am celebrating diversity, honoring my own nationality, and accepting the different beliefs and cultures of those around me.

To celebrate this, I present to you the song CELEBRATION, performed by children from around the world.

In my search for things to include in this post, I discovered the following poem I’d like to share with you. There is a jpg image at the bottom of the page, along with a PDF version, in case you’d like a copy.

I am Diversity
By: Charles Bennafield

I ‘m present in every place you go
Depending on your lens I’m friend or foe
I’m a force to be reckoned with
Like the winds of change I move. I’m swift.
I’m present when two or more are together
If embraced I can make the good even better.
I’m not limited to age, gender, or race.
I’m invisible at times and yet all over the place.
Don’t exclude me due to a lack of knowledge
Welcome me like the recruit fresh out of college.
Let me take my seat at the table
Even though I may be differently able
My experience, my passion, the authentic me
Can help add value for your company.
Learn about me; improve my underrepresentation
And I can provide a competitive edge to your entire nation.
I exclude no one. I am strengthened by all.
My name is Diversity and yes I stand tall.
Recognize me and keep me in the mix
Together there’s no problem that we can’t fix.
I am your best hope towards true innovation
And too many, I reflect hope and inspiration.
Your lives and companies will continue to change
Thus the need for Diversity and Inclusion will also remain.
Do all that you can to truly embrace me
And experience life’s fullness totally
I’m the thought lurking behind the unfamiliar face
I’m the ingenuity that helps your team win the race.
I’m the solution that came from the odd question that was asked.
I stand out in the crowd when I, Diversity, am allowed to be unmasked.
I’m diversity embrace me and we’ll journey far.
I’m Diversity include me and we will reach the shining star.
Coupled with Inclusion our lights burn longer
Together we are smarter, better and stronger
I am Diversity
Yes, that’s me

Written 3/8/2012 for The Conference Board Diversity Boot Camp Spring 2012 team

Closing thoughts

Remember, cultural diversity means we embrace our differences. It means allowing others to honor their nationality and beliefs without expecting them to change. When someone honors their own culture,  that doesn’t mean they are hateful or dismissive of others, it means they are proud of their country, culture and traditions.  We have a beautiful world, full of beautiful souls. By accepting our differences, by allowing others to take pride in their country and heritage, by learning from each other, we can come together as a planet. We all love where we come from, every one of us. Let’s honor that, let’s embrace that.

Let’s CELEBRATE OUR DIVERSITY!

I ‘m present in every place you goDepending on your lens I_m friend or foeI_m a force to be reckoned withLike the winds of change I move. I_m swift.I_m present when two or more

I AM DIVERSITY PDF VERSION

For my mother

My Mom came from a large family. She was one of 10 children who lived on a farm just outside Herreid, South Dakota. She learned early on, from my Grandmother and Grandfather, how to work hard. After graduating, she left the farm and became a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Later, I watched as she went back to school to become a Registered Nurse (RN). She graduated with honors and was my example when I returned to school to get my master’s degree. I thought of my Mom when I returned to school. I remembered her hard work and sacrifice. I remembered her long hours studying at our kitchen table. Like her, I graduated Summa Cum Laude.

She continued to set amazing examples for me and my sister. As I grew, I watched as she worked as an RN volunteer with the Hospice program. I admired her for working in such a sad and difficult environment. It takes a strong and compassionate person to care for people you know won’t recover.

After her volunteer work with Hospice, she took a job as an RN in a local nursing home. The residents loved her, as she quickly became their advocate, making sure they always got what they needed when she was working. She would go the extra mile, often baking cakes and visiting when she could.

Even though she was quite strict with my sister and myself growing up, and we still have disagreements to this very day, I hope she knows I look to her example when I think of helping others. I remember her tough love lessons of hard work and sacrifice. She set the bar high and I don’t think I’ve yet reached it.

This is a photo was taken in June, 1987. That’s me, on the right, at age 18, with my mother at Mount Rushmore in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.

In honor of mother’s day, yesterday, I’m posting a poem I wrote for my Mom in June, 2005, in honor of her 60th birthday. It describes me, talking to God before I was born. God is describing who he has chosen as a mother for me and how she would help me grow.

For My Mother

The Lord said to me, before I was born,
 “I’ve chosen the perfect Mother for you.”
With a smile on his face, beaming with pride,
 “Oh yes, this one’s quite special, it’s true.”

“She has a heart, as big as can be.”
He said, with a tear streaming down his face.
“There’s no one on Earth she wants to see hurt.
I’m sure she’ll be in this place.”

“She goes out of her way, to help those that she loves,
without a second thought in her heart.”
He turned to his head and looked into my eyes.
“She’ll be your advocate right from the start.”

He took my face gently into his hands.
“She won’t make life easy for you.
This one is willful, but that’s a good thing.
There’ll be lessons in all that you do.”

“You’ll make mistakes and bad choices it’s true.
But this Mother will see you through it.
She’ll use tough love and firm discipline
and teach you never to quit.”

“Well my child, it’s time for you to go.”
As he took me into his arms.
“There will be rough times, but you’re in good hands.
She’ll see you come to no harm.”

As a child and a teen, I forgot all his words,
making life hard for us all.
There were fights, tears and battles along the way,
but through it she stood tall.

As I look back on those years from the past,
I realized how right was the Lord.
What a fabulous person to have in my life.
For without her, I couldn’t soar.

The Motivation Movement: Anyway… (The REAL version!)

I am a bit under the weather today, so, I’m reposting this article. It was initially posted on my blog in January, 2017. The poem “Anyway”, continues to be a source of inspiration for me. This article discusses the true origins of this poem, which is normally attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta. I hope you enjoy this repost.

The Original Article

Today’s inspiration was born on August 26, 1910 as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu  in Macedonia. You know her as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016.

There is a “poem” circulating that is often attributed to Saint Teresa. This poem goes by many names: Anyway, Do It Anyway or Final Analysis. In my research into Saint Teresa and the origins of this poem, I discovered this “poem” was actually a sign hung in Shishu Bhavan, Saint Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta.** This sign contained the “Paradoxical Commandments” and the author is actually unknown.

Continue reading “The Motivation Movement: Anyway… (The REAL version!)”

Twas the Night before Christmas…

This beautiful and delightful poem was written in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore, originally for his children and has become a classic Christmas tradition. For a bit more information, here is a short video from Reading Through History, giving us the origin for this light hearted look at Christmas:

My oldest son received a copy of this book for his first Christmas. Since then it became a tradition to read it every year on Christmas Eve. Beginning this year, I’d like to add to that tradition, by including all of you and posting a reading of it here on my blog. This year I have a reading done by Lorne Greene. Enjoy!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

AND

TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

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The Motivation Movement: The Girl in the Glass

Do you love yourself? I mean really, truly honest to goodness love yourself… to the core, with every fiber of your being? Do you love your body? Do you think you’re beautiful? Can you look in the mirror…smile and say…”Hey there good lookin‘!” Do you trust your instincts? Here’s the big one…DO YOU FEEL LOVABLE?

I can honestly answer NO to most of those questions. I’ve never felt very good about myself. I never trusted my instincts; didn’t think I was pretty; didn’t think I was smart. In fact, I really didn’t like myself much at all. And, for much of my life I suffered from depression, that came in waves. I’d be fine for a while, then suddenly, there’d be a tidal wave of sadness, paranoia and self hatred. I spent many hours alone, because I was so uncomfortable with my own self-image. I often let my paranoia get the better of me.  I was uncomfortable around others, shy and often wondering what they thought of me.

In all of that time I spent alone in my room growing up, I collected poetry. I LOVE poetry and have a small collection of very girly, teenage type poetry. I do write some of my own, but mostly collect poetry. Among the poems in my collection is the poem below called “The Girl in the Glass.” As I was researching for this article, I discovered this poem is an adaptation of a poem by Dale Wimbrow, called The Guy in the Glass, written in 1934. The poem talks about the importance of accepting, loving and trusting yourself. Because, at the end of the day, you’re only hurting yourself, if you can’t be your own best friend.

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The girl in the glass ~ PDF

I finally came out of my shell, when I was an adult, married with 2 kids.  I changed my diet and eating habits, which helped with the hormonal aspect of my depression. But the biggest change came when I began my spiritual journey. When you go on a spiritual quest, it forces you to do some soul searching. I prayed a lot and mediated. What else can you do to learn to love yourself unconditionally? Here are 7 tips from Deepak Chopra.

  1. Making contact with your inner self” – Through self-contemplation and meditation. This forces you to look inside yourself and answer the tough questions.
  2. Honestly facing your inner obstacles and resistance” – This means facing your flaws and being honest about them. One of the things that helped me was realizing that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. You may blame others, like parents or siblings or spouses or others for your insecurities, but you have to look at what those experiences taught you. There are two types of experiences in life: good experiences and lessons. There is a lesson in every bad thing that happens in your life.
  3. Dealing with old wounds” – When you start this process, especially when you consistently meditate, you’ll find things get worse before they get better. Old memories and scars will reemerge. You’ll need to deal with them, before you can completely heal. This is a part of the process with which you may need help. Talk to a friend, spouse or counselor.
  4. Forgiving your past” – This isn’t something you can pretend of fake. Forgiving is going to take time. Once you learn to accept yourself, and where you are in your life right now, you can learn to forgive those who have caused you harm or abuse.
  5. Accepting where you are right now “-  This is the one where you have to say…”what’s done is done,” which will take time. You can’t change the past, so you need to learn to accept where you are and the person you are at this moment.
  6. Forming relationships where you feel loved and appreciated” –  This process will be better if you walk the path with a loved one. For me, I had my husband, who helped and supported me every step of the way. This is also an uncomfortable time, because you will realize there are people, in your life, who are no longer in sync with your new viewpoints and lifestyle. It’s okay to find new people who can support you, while you walk this new path.
  7. Practicing the kind of love you aspire to receive” – You’ve probably heard the saying “what goes around, comes around.” Karma baby! Karma isn’t always bad. Karma is simply the law of attraction. What you do to or for others, will come back to you. The more love and kindness you give to the world, the more you will receive. It’s the golden rule…TREAT OTHERS HOW YOU WISH TO BE TREATED.

I’m closing out with a song today…

As I was looking for a song to go with my poem today, I found a video of Sophia Grace and her cousin Rosie, from Essex, England, as they appeared on the Ellen Show. Sophia Grace is 8 and Rosie is 5.  Sophia has an absolutely AMAZING voice!

Here they are on Ellen:

Here is Sophia Grace singing

“Girl in the Mirror”,

a fitting song for our

Motivation Monday.

ENJOY…

and don’t forget to

love that girl in the mirror!

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Have you seen this? Human Family ~ Maya Angelou

I turned an assignment in yesterday, so I had a little extra time. I came across this beautiful poem by Maya Angelou and wanted to share it with all of you. Whether you’ve seen it, or not, it’s quite inspiring and worth a look. 

She talks about how we are each unique. If you travel the world, you won’t find any people who are identical, even twins are different. However, these are just differences on the surface: our skin tone, our hair color, our eye color, our height or weight. 

But, when you look within people, get past our outer shell,

we are all more similar than we are different. 

We all strive for what we love. 

We all cry, laugh, love, and feel.

We all bleed red.

We are all human

At the end of the day…

“We are more alike my friends,

than we are unalike”

God bless! Namaste!

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Human Family ~ PDF

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me…

I had a “Meditation Monday” post in mind for today, but I’ll be setting that aside for another time. Instead, I wish to express my deepest, heart felt condolences to families and friends of the 58 victims of the massacre in Las Vegas overnight. I’d also like to reach out to the 515 people injured in the shooting. (As of this posting) It is always difficult to understand why things like this happen. My heart is breaking for all of you today. No one should have to go through such terror. Please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

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I originally posted the below poem in May, 2017, as a way of expressing my condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the bombing in Manchester, England

This beautiful poem, titled “When Tomorrow Starts Without Me”, was written by David  M Romano. I was first introduced to the poem when I researched the article Proof of Heaven for my “daily inspiration” series. I hope it brings you a little comfort during this difficult time.

When Tomorrow Starts without Me..

PRINT: When Tomorrow Starts without Me..