Don’t Take That Yoke!

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Text and Image © 2013 Paulissa Kipp

Don’t Take That Yoke!

A heart full of love compensates for a heart and mind that is filled with hate. The hope for a peaceful future exists in the way in which we love others. Evil will always exist, as will hate. Hate arises from envy – envy of liberty, freedom, opportunity to move with a minimum of restriction and envy of a way of life. Hate also rises up from places of deep pain and misplaced blame, for is it easier to blame others and circumstances than it is to take responsibility for changing the paradigm. Yet that is the challenge. Hate is only combated through love.

There are some – including our “intelligence” agencies and President –  who feel that it is important to understand why this act of violence was perpetrated.  I do not agree.  Allow me to explain.  I believe that our burden and responsibility at all times is to love.  The act of transferring my energies to wondering why others would wish harm upon me personally, my community or my country shifts my focus from the good I can do by fostering humanity.  I don’t need to know why someone would wish harm. That is not important.

Further, there are those who wish to engage in the one-upmanship of pain and death.  Those persons or entities use the red herring of “What about the ____X______ number of people who died in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or any other country in which there is unrest and in which America either volunteers or is begged to be the world’s police force.  Please do not misunderstand me:  I believe that all life is precious, that all humanity needs to be affirmed.  Therefore, I couldn’t care less about this one-upmanship of pain.  To me, it is all tragic but I choose to focus my energies upon the corner of the world in which I am most equipped to make a difference.  That is my own back yard.   I do not need to wear a yoke of guilt and responsibility for the hatred of others.  I do not need to be personally responsible for why someone chooses to carry out harm against others.  Neither do you. There are more important things.  Love is more important.

 

Fostering Humanity Manifesto

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Fostering Humanity Manifesto

Leonard Cohen observes that “everything has a crack, that’s how the light gets in”.  We soak up the rays, tell time and mark the seasons with the sun and grow with the help of the sun.  We turn our faces to the sun, always seeking the good, the beautiful and the happiness we believe is found there.

Yet along with the pursuit of happiness and warmth of the sun, often those who are the most vulnerable can be caused to be overlooked. Darkness brings fear, anxiety, monsters under the bed and cold truths we might rather avoid.  It is easy to see the light, yet darkness has value as well.  There we find the lost and lonely who are always left behind.  The homeless, the veteran, the mentally disabled, those with depression or any one of us on a given day who need a kind word, a gentle touch, a smile and understanding.

Instead, many of us look away as though by not laying eyes on humanity and need, it will not exist.  Yet vulnerability and the need for love always exists and neither ignorance nor apathy will change that.  The only thing that changes darkness and neglect is love.  You don’t have to love someone romantically to practice love.  The challenge is this:  Do not cause harm.  Give the benefit of the doubt.  We do not inhabit another’s mind so we will never know the full story at any given time.  Simple recognition of that fact will go a long way toward fostering humanity.

This is my vision:
1.       No one is insignificant.  Never brush aside anyone..  Who knows what they can teach us?
2.      “Treat the other man’s faith gently; it is all he has to believe with. His mind was created for his own thoughts, not yours or mine.” ~ Henry S. Haskins

Whether a person is a believer in a higher power or not, do not tear at the fabric of another’s belief system to feed your ego.  We all come to faith (I do not necessarily mean religion) in our own ways and our own time.  Who is to say that the person who walks silently along a brook doesn’t feel moved by a spirit?  Allow each person to engage in his or her own belief system.  At the end of the day, it matters most whether or not a person is kind.

3.      Choose love.  It is easy to be negative, to think that others have it in for us and to think the worst.

4.      Protect the vulnerable.  Don’t assume that someone else will be your backbone.
5.      Listen to others.  The most basic human need is someone to hear our story.  It matters.

6.      Make your points without personal attacks.  Weak people attack others instead of clearly and civilly stating disagreements and trying to find common ground.  When common ground can’t be found, wish your “opponent” well.

7.      Find beauty in everyone.  Everyone has it.  If it isn’t apparent, that means that you haven’t waited long enough.  Everyone has humanity to be laid thread, by golden thread, and woven into a tapestry of joyful existence.

8.      Add joy where you can.  Kindness costs nothing.

9.      Label no one.  Labels negate worth.

We are all magnificent; we are all capable of love, hope, kindness and beauty manifested.  You have more to offer than you could ever imagine and the universe is waiting for your wisdom.

I leave you with this:

Let me assure you that you are loved. You were wonderfully created, and made to be someone special. You are ever changing but in every phase you are a perfect masterpiece. You are beautiful, you are wonderful, and you cannot fail. You were not made for that. You were made to be a beautiful human becoming. You were made to be a warrior, not a doormat. YOU ARE A WARRIOR! Stand tall. Know that you are more than you ever imagined. Know you are worthy of every blessing. Know you are loved more than you ever imagined.  Foster Humanity.

Text and image © 2013 Paulissa Kipp

 

Tips for Lovingly Communicating with a Depressed Person

© Paulissa Kipp, 2013

Tips for Loving Communication with a Mentally Ill Person

  • Don’t tell your loved one that how he or she feels is “selfish”.  You wouldn’t tell someone that he or she doesn’t deserve to feel ______ amount of happiness.  It’s the same concept, really.
  • If your loved one asks you to stop a behavior because it is causing anxiety, is a trigger, etc, STOP immediately.  Your failure to do so speaks volumes about your love for the sufferer.  Not immediately stopping the behavior ramps up the anxieties even more and when your partner believes you cannot be trusted, all bets are off.  The mind wanders to self-doubt, lack of self-worth, wondering why am I not important enough to respect or protect, suicidal thoughts, thought of self-harm and more.
  • Do not mock your partner when he or she asks for you to stop talking and listen, when told that your noise (radio, voice, etc) is overwhelming.  Do not be facetious.  Do not say things such as “Do I need to send up a flare every time I enter a room because you startle so easily?”  That is not helpful and merely drives a bigger wedge between you and your partner.
  • Do not feign ignorance and say “I didn’t know ______ was a trigger for you” if your partner has clearly communicated that it is.  Your partner isn’t buying it.  Forgetting is understandable from time to time, but your partner will pay attention to pattern and frequency.  Forgetting and do a behavior once in a month or less frequently – you are more likely to be forgiven or believed.  Do it more frequently and it seems like a choice and recklessness with your partner’s feelings and wishes.
  • Beginning a statement with “Why?” can be a trigger for your loved one.  We want people to treat us with kindness, even if they don’t understand our actions. Having to explain to people solves nothing and has the effect of making your loved one feel judged, thereby adding to stigma and anxiety.
  • Beginning a statement with “just” as if it the desired behavior is simple to achieve and your loved one isn’t making an effort to change or cope.
  • “Just think positive.”
    “Just get over it.”
    “Just think about something else.”
    “There are people who are worse off than you.”
    “Stop complaining.”
    “Come on. It cannot be this bad.”
    “Cheer up.”
    “You are making it up.”
    “You don’t have a reason to feel that way, so stop it.”
    “Stop being so selfish.”
  • Comparing one person’s circumstances to your loved ones’.  If your loved one needs inspiration for succeeding with a mental illness, he or she will find it on his or her own.  Your attempts, while well-intentioned, may create further overwhelm.
  • If offering self-help books, frame your offer in terms of “You may find this information helpful.”  If your loved one refuses, graciously allow that to be the end of the conversation.

MORE LOVING WAYS TO COMMUNICATE:

  • Ask what you can do to help.  At times your loved one may need silence, sleep, a massage, music, a hug, a mug of tea, etc.  Do what you can to facilitate that.
  • Offer affection.
  • Let your loved one know that you are concerned FOR him or her, not scared OF him or her.
  • Communicate to your loved one that his or her challenges do not affect your love for that person.  Many sufferers worry that their challenges will lead to abandonment by friends and family.

©Paulissa Kipp, 2013.  Please share freely with a link to this blog and proper acknowledgement of me as the author.

As a sufferer or one living with a sufferer, is there anything you would add to this list?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

 

What The Human Spirit Can Do

I went to play pool last night with my team and as always, in a bar setting one never quite knows what one will see.  Yet last night with all of its drama and tribulation restored my faith in the human spirit.

There was a gentleman there who was a veteran of the war in Iraq.  His body wracked by injury, he wore a brace on his left leg which dragged behind him, his shoulder was twisted at what appeared to be a very painful angle and he used a walker.  Yet this man was dancing safely inside the confines of his walker and playing pool.  He shot the pants off of everyone he played.  He balanced his cue stick upon the walker and shot.  He showed joy in spite of his many challenges.  I took the opportunity to speak with him and walker dance a couple of tunes. 

At the end of the night I asked to photograph him, a request he graciously declined but was happy to allow me to share his story with you.  I asked him about finding joy in the midst of such challenges and thanked him for his service and sacrifice.  He told me “There are those who are paralyzed despite being “healthy”.  They don’t even realize it.  They don’t pursue joy internally or externally.  It is in the living that we thrive.  There are those who would prefer not to see me struggle and would rather I sat at home and withered away.  Yet socialization and activity ensure that I will continue to be productive and to give to others and society.  Don’t ever forget that no matter the challenges, the choice is ours as to what good we will share with the world.”  With tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat and renewed resolve, I hugged this man and wished him well.  I left my card with him and offered him and his family a free holiday portrait should he want one. 

The human spirit.  May we all inspire others through the testament of how we live our lives.

© 2012 by Paulissa Kipp