Tips on How Couples Stay Together

image of J. Wilder Bill with her spouse in Italy

Photo: Decades ago in Sorrento, Italy

Longevity in a marriage can seem daunting. The divorce rate is declining, yet the possibility of separating can linger in the air. An argument can set off a chain of emotions causing you to feel alone.

This alienation can cause you to want to escape the abandonment. A daily routine can leave you bored, which can shift into a combative way of communicating. Your spouse might seem uninspired by any loving attempts to recapture a friendly atmosphere. A defensive response might block the connection your spouse yearns to receive. 

Even when a couple shares a life of blessings, not every day is monumental. We compare ourselves with the sensationalized portrayals of daily living fed to us by the media, and convince ourselves our relationships are lacking. 

The difference between a couple that stays together and one that separates is — the couple who stays together chooses to stay together. 

The complicated part is that staying together means work. It requires self-reflection by both. The conflicts of divorced couples compared to the disputes within a marriage have core similarities. Although no spouse is encouraged to remain in jeopardy, sticking through the thin parts fulfills the romantic promise made when the relationship first blossomed. 

The term commitment has lost its glory and sends a jolt of fear up spines. It is associated with being denied the ability to leave a horrible situation. If you decide to suffer the unpleasantries, know that you are utilizing the power to create a change in your relationship. You have the option to reevaluate your position.

By changing your interpretation, you shift the tone in your voice. Altering the way you respond instills a change in the way your spouse perceives himself. Where he might have considered you to be the obstacle to his happiness, now he can view you as the one who can comfort him through his struggles. 

Couples who last do not necessarily resolve all of their issues. The point of arguing isn’t who is right, or how often one wins. They concede to disagree. This acceptance of differences can be silent.

Marriage is rarely fifty-fifty. There are times when no matter how right you are, you must put forth ninety-percent of the effort to let it go. 

I used to envy couples’ relationships who were considerate and respectful toward one another. They didn’t bicker over dinner or talk down to one another. They were content and cordial and calm. Years passed, and the relationships I idolized ended in divorce. 

Communication is not the matrimonial deal-breaker. Proper communication can place a strain on a relationship. Saying what is on your mind, even though it might encourage a round of disagreements, places a value to both opinions. A relationship where you are comfortable letting each other know where you stand is the result of having strong ties. The committed attitude by both sides makes each secure in saying what he thinks. 

How exactly does a person establish a bond strong enough to survive the differences in opinions? Neighbors will help another when it comes to noncommittal actions as large as rebuilding after a natural disaster all the way down to the small act of holding a door open. But, when faced with a loved one who takes his bad mood out on you, your primitive impulses might resist helping him get over whatever is on his mind. 

Once you get to know another by understanding his hardships and how they relate to the day he is having, you develop compassion for him. By embracing your spouse’s previous experiences, by visiting his hometown, and spending time with his family, you deepen your understanding of why he perceives life the way he does. You don’t have to agree with his viewpoints. By connecting the dots of where he’s coming from, you stop taking his moodiness personally. 

Opening ourselves to another is boosted through touch. The physical form of intimacy seals business deals with handshakes. A sick person is strengthened by a nurse resting her hand on his forearm. A friend going through difficulties feels empowered by a hug.

To intensify a relationship, it is best to touch, no matter how briefly, at least once a day. A pat on the arm while your spouse is driving might draw him out of worrying about a doomsday he fears will evolve. Through physical contact, our senses assure us we can trust someone who is willing to get close. 

Spending time together bonds a couple. It doesn’t have to be long hours every day. The intimacy can be short or periodic, but the time we invest in loved ones should include a relaxed mind. Some couples relax during a vacation. Others relax while watching television. There is no best way. The emphasis in the togetherness is for each to have an opportunity to share his thoughts and establish nonphysical touching. 

Nonphysical touching occurs when two share a laugh, when they share an adventure, and when they tell each other secrets. The point is to establish joint memories. Later, when you return to your busy lifestyle, you will recall the emotional sharing you experienced.

The memory doesn’t have to be a life-changing event. The fact you associate the other with something you enjoyed or survived or embraced solidifies your bond. Even listening to your spouse tell about an experience where he had success or happiness creates a modified memory where you are a part of those good times. 

You have the power to determine the outcome of your relationship. If you choose to stay, then you will stay. It is that simple. 

The complex element is the ability to stay, which for far longer periods of time than you might prefer, includes improving yourself. Self-sacrifice and longstanding efforts might seem unfair, but having longevity in a relationship fills you with gratification. No obstacle can eliminate the confidence you gain from knowing you succeeded. 

The Momentum to Manifest

image of waterfall in Maui, Hawaii

Photo: The Big Island, Hawaii by J. Wilder Bill

Significant experiences in our lives prompt us to reach outside ourselves for strength and comfort. Sometimes, despite our best efforts to maintain a positive outlook, to focus on what we would like to have come about instead of on the worst outcome. Our prayers might seem unanswered, unless empowered by momentum.

A critical day in my life was when my mother decided it was time to remove the training wheels from my white Schwinn. She was surprisingly agile with the tools she carried out to the driveway. Despite my protests, she had me teetering on my bicycle at the top of our hill on top of a hill, with her arthritic hand holding the back of my seat covered in pink roses. She ran alongside me a few feet, and the momentum of my free falling down the hills held the power for me to keep my balance. 

On first attempt, my feeble mother let go and I glided into the cove independently. When my father got home from work, I showed him how well I could circle the manhole cover in the center of the cove. He suggested I go around the edge of the cove where it was easier to keep my momentum constant without having to cut the wheel. I gained speed until a stick got caught in the spokes. I hit the curb and the handlebar left a colorful bruise at my third eye.

They key in my achievement was the momentum. Despite my reluctance to reach the goal of riding without training wheels, the momentum ensured I would succeed. Only when the acceleration or forward movement was blocked did I crash. Once I learned to ride a bike, I was able to explore distant pastures and abandoned cottages. It broadened my awareness of what was around me. 

This building up of energy is how we elevate our skills and how we create change in our lives. You have the ability to change your situation by applying a greater amount of energy toward the outcome you prefer to have materialize. 

Attracting a desirable experience begins with your words. The words first appear inside your head. A repeated thought digs a rivulet in your subconscious, which paves how you respond. A critical aspect of taking control of your destiny is to discipline your thoughts. Notice what the narrative in your mind is sharing with you. When you allow the words inside your head to influence your perceptions. Until you notice where your inner dialogue originates, you have the potential of being manipulated as if your thoughts were someone else. 

The narrative in our minds doesn’t always say what we think, or even what is best for us to hear. Our minds tend to repeat what has been spoken nearby regardless of whether it is in our best interest. The thoughts could have originated from a violent movie, from an overheard conversation between strangers, or from others who don’t understand everything about our circumstances. When left unchecked, the lectures we give ourselves can merely repeat the ideas from those whose opinions we don’t trust.

A proven method for creating momentum is through prayer. Receiving an answer to a prayer relies heavily on the level of intensity. The more concentration and focus you put on any task, the more precise you are.

There are many tasks each of us performs on a regular basis. When you multitask, you are more likely to make mistakes. The outcome of your efforts is less likely to be the way you visualized. 

Each of our thoughts forms a barrier around our physical bodies. You program the space around you and those programs bring about your experiences. Despite the intensity of your wishes, it is possible for your prayers and efforts to bring about your preferred life circumstance seems to fall on deaf ears. 

A blessing of living in this time is in our ability to achieve what we want quickly. Prosperity exists in many forms and, where it doesn’t exist, we have the resources due to man’s creativity and intelligence to thrive with what we have. When we have a block in our thoughts or we hold back on applying our devoted attention to manifesting our desires, we tend to blame the higher sources, or perhaps kick ourselves for being unworthy. 

Never devalue yourself and your likelihood to achieve your best interests. As a descendant of the Supreme Being, you have a value. Each of us was born on Earth as a result of our placing a value on being here. There was a time where you managed to concentrate your efforts into bringing about your existence in this life. Know that this is a very special time for living, and the fact you are here, sharing with the rest of us, is your badge of recognition. With the infinite possibilities of what you can accomplish during your life, you get to choose enjoying the good, or romanticizing the bad. Keep in mind that many of us get a boost in spirit from a bout of bad luck. You might relish those moments you can indulge in pampering yourself until the veil of self pity lifts. 

Meanwhile, once you are ready to release the depth of your emotions, you have the natural talent to put deliberate concentration into manifesting the most desirable outcome you can visualize. The images take shape in the space around you and remain connected to your vision until developing enough momentum to draw into your path identical outcomes. This is where your thoughts attract certain situations and people into your life. When you are unaware of the power you have but you are perceptive enough to see similarities between conversations you have and experiences that follow, you might refer to the synchronicities as coincidences. 

The coincidence is in opening your heart to realize the link between what is on your mind, and what appears in your path. This awareness of how connected you are to the events that come about is a monumental step in developing the ability to take control of your life. 

Your job is to identify the source of where the thoughts behind the words you speak began. Notice how often you are repeating what someone else’s opinion, and evaluate whether it fits with your authentic feelings. Resist the habit of hearing unreliable voices in your head. Select the advice you give to yourself. Once you have a sense of safety, you should replay those thoughts. The power behind your words builds each time you apply concentration to the meanings, and it builds the momentum for you to create change.  

Parallel Light Resolves Conflicts

image of Japanese light trees

Photo: Japanese Light Trees by J. Wilder Bill

The most meaningful time of the day for me is at sunrise. As the first rays radiate out from below the horizon each morning, my dogs ask to go outside. Sometimes, we sit together and watch as the sun seems to move in fast speed, lifting out from the seamless ocean and warming the clouds. 

My husband prefers sunsets. He plans his entire day around the opportunity to sit with his feet propped up on the boardwalk rail. His face takes in the intense sunlight as he studies the shifting hues, watching closely for a green spark at the instant the sun dips out of sight. 

We all have a parallel connection with light. We thrive when the sun puts on a dramatic performance for us to remember. On a subconscious level, we are aware of our being an extension of the Light. Each of us shines in a unique expression of light. Each core soul exists as a techni-colored show broadcasting the sacred source. 

While each of us shares the ability to recognize who we are inside, it is easy to slip into forgetfulness when we interact with others. We might overlook another’s glorious light. 

What if, when you walk down a busy street, instead of viewing those nameless people as bodies, you see them as colorful lights? If you find it difficult to imagine, you can begin by intentionally assigning colors based on your feelings and experiences. The man who always makes a point to hold the door open for you can be a vibrant blue light. The woman who takes her time talking to the cashier at the newsstand, making you late for your appointment, can shine in red. The guy with the headphones who never looks up as you pass by each week lives the life of a strong green.

Although existing as light sounds like a new age concept, the idea has been around since the beginning of man’s quest to understand why we are here and how we are supposed to relate to others. Not to sound preachy, but I want to remind you of what how early on we were told we are light bodies. It is right for us to relate to one another as extensions of the Light.

According to the biblical scriptures, you are the light of the world. To summarize Matthew 5: 14 & 16, you have the ability to let your light so shine. Your light spreads to others and creates a bridge for someone who feels disconnected to realign his relationship with God and connect his own light to Heaven. In the Old Testament, Isaiah 60:1, asks you to “Arise, shine; for your light has come.” 

Buddhist teachings refer to the presence of one who is in touch with the source as emitting light rays. The knowledge gained from enlightenment intensifies your light, making it purer and clearer. According to Buddhist scriptures, “The light of Buddha touches all with its glow. His knowledge is said to shine, emanating inconceivable nets of lights, everywhere purifying all conscious beings.” 

By recognizing others as light forms, you can more easily identify with their soul nature. There are so many of us here on Earth at this time, each with an individual motive and agenda. Our lives overlap. Not everyone wants the same outcome at the same time. It might seem one person is working against your goals. He could be perceived as the selfish enemy who you must defeat. But in reality, his spirit is a light and it is connected to the same light you embody. You can overcome any tendency to think of another as competition or as an outsider with a personal agenda in conflict of yours. 

See everyone as light. You and every other person on the planet have the same makeup. All of us are in essence lights. In John 8:12, Jesus acknowledged himself as being the Light of the world, and since we are in His same form, you are too. That is, unless you choose to hide your light.

Light burns away the darkness. In this way, you have the power to remove the masks smothering the brilliance of those around you. If ever you feel alone or misunderstood, switching your perception of others, allows their light to shine in your life and lift you out of your vapors. People who you never were able to connect with might intend to share their light, but unless you accept their offer, you won’t see it. Seeing the light in another allows you to bask in the glow, and the more light rays you have shining on you, the brighter your light becomes.

Relationships are formed through the process of give and take. This isn’t to say one person is always on the downside of an interaction. It means that the energy that forms a relationship moves in a circular motion. It is comparable to a magnet. Without the polar opposites, the spark of a union cannot be strong enough to shield away an outside force capable of breaking the bond.

You enjoy the gift of deciding whether you want to live with your light accessible to others. Your light can radiate and spread the original source, pursuant to Ephesians 5:7-14. The good in any combative neighbors is visible once their light is revealed. Whatever qualities they express originates from the source. To ignore another’s light is to withhold from yourself an ample supply of love and harmony. The more you see the light in others, the greater the amount of light you have shining on you.

Awaken your inner light to brighten the lives of those around you, and the original source of God will reflect back onto you. As you move about in the world, imagine each individual around you as a form of light.

Archangel for Each Friday

image of an angel in white robes

 

With every Friday I find the grace of God in the form of true love.

Archangel Anael ignites romance with the serenity of a white dove.  

His affection inspires virtue with harmony for an abundant life,

As the angel most often invoked he gives inner peace to deter strife. 

Archangel Anael overcomes shyness, granting confidence to those redeemed,

Within a fiery chariot he carries me and all others highly esteemed.  

My long-term career acquires status as through him I’m recognized, 

For my creativity improving the world beyond what I ever realized.   

The prophet Enoch reached heaven upon Archangel Anael’s upward heave,

And if I practice patience, the glorious gift of passion I also will receive.

When he visits, artists and musicians find solace for their inspiration,

Because the beauty from the grace of God spreads everywhere in creation.

A Puzzled Groundhog Means Romance

image of an owl in a palm tree

Photo: Barred Owl by J. Wilder Bill

Happy Ground Hog’s Day!

For anyone puzzled, I don’t have a photograph of a groundhog. That’s a picture of a barred owl. The little fellow sets the mood, just as well as any other wildlife animal. Like the groundhog, owls at my house let me know what to expect from the weather.

I’m not the only person who improvises with the early Christian Candlemas Holiday. The concept began with preachers passing blessing candles they passed around the congregation. It was the townspeople who decided whether or not a shadow appeared as the candles burned.

In early Germany, Candlemas was celebrated alongside animals, and eventually the flame of candles weren’t the determining factor. The tradition shifted to observing the animals’ behavior in planning spring activities. The Germans who settled in Pennsylvania relied on the behavior of the many hedgehogs living in the area. All wildlife, including birds, insects and mammals, react to the sunlight, and we can pick February 2 as the decisive date. The wildlife notices the nuances in nature, and their instincts guide them on how to plan their time throughout February and March.

In the old country, farmers relied on the intuition of hedgehogs and badgers. If the critters saw their shadows at the harvest celebration, it meant winter still lingered in the air.

Then again, if the badger eagerly dashed out of its home, it was letting the farmers’ know the season for frozen grounds and sparse resources was over. The key signal the animals follow revolves around an intense sunlight at the end of winter being too bright to cast a shadow in the morning. Sunny skies heated the ground and melted the reflective snow.

The significance to farmers in having sunlight on February 2 determined when they could transition from a survival plan for the cold season to the period of new growth. Their ability to time how many weeks they needed to ration the grains and vegetables they kept on reserve translated into survival. The number of remaining cold days determined when the earth would thaw and farmers could begin churning the soil for the next season’s crop.

The warmer weather let the farm animals know when to start smooching. With their food sources becoming easy to access, they could support a larger number in their animal family, same as the farmers.

With the global changes, understanding our environment is as critical to our survival today as it was for our primitive ancestors. You don’t have to travel to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and stand among tens of thousands of frozen tourists to witness a critter’s instinctive reaction to the climate. At the infamous ground hog’s hole, a man in a top hat tosses a hundred year-old groundhog named, Phil, through a hole filled with electric heat. Little Phil predicts the future.

Anywhere on the globe, you can venture outside before sunrise in time to interpret nature’s hints about the coming months. If you study the trees and discover droopy leaves, you can expect a rainy season this spring. Where the buds are barely visible, you can plan for a floral Easter. Bountiful leaves flourish where a few cold days may come but the worst of winter is over, but the sky will likely be overcast for a few weeks.

For city dwellers, manmade structures are a haven for tiny climbers and birds. Where critters stay close to buildings, and resist venturing into the sidewalks and traffic, they are still relying on the manmade warmth and the ground temperature is remaining low for a while. If rodents or birds build homes in your interior walls and attic space, they likely are unable to find water outside, which translates into additional cold days.

Aside from pigeons and crows, flying overhead, an active bird life reveals an early spring. They are able to find food in the trees and plants. Resources, such as inspects, become active once the cold drought has finished.

If you also are in an area where you hear birds singing to each other, and your pet dog lingers outside the door with his nose tipped into the wind, head straight to the gym. Beach season and pool parties will come early that year.

For anyone who goes outside to stillness and quiet, with no inspects buzzing around your head and little chirping from the treetops, you can expect six more weeks of wearing fuzzy clothes, those adorable boots, and layering for your chic moods. If the ground hog runs and hides, consider this a wonderful time to plan a cozy Valentine’s celebration in front of the fireplace with hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies. With football season coming to an end, now is a smart time to reconnect with hugs and snuggles.

This year, the ground hog was puzzled by the sunlight. He has only predicted an early spring eighteen times, and this year he didn’t change his impulse to avoid the outdoors until the end of March. As for us Groundhog’s Day observers, we can rest assured in Phil heeding us to grab those blankets and wear thick socks for six more weeks.

Trees Unveil Our Emotions

image of unique trees shaped like a gateway

Photo: My Favorite Tree Gateway by J. Wilder Bill

Trees provide lasting impressions in our lives. All they ask of us is that we embrace their energy.

There is a magnificent red brick mansion on an elaborate road lined with manicured lawns and blooming trees. On the west side of the property, five trees along the brick road frown at me as I drive by. A flash of sadness, a smack of pain, a slam of discontentment, unrest and then a bleak finale. Each time my mood plummets as I’m confronted by the barrier of trees.

I knew by the faces in the trees the family is suffering. I thought perhaps a child is ill, or the couple is unhappy. The trees are recording and relaying their desperate cries.

We share a beautiful bond with trees. But like many, one of my childhood fears involved their coming to life, their long branches trapping me before I could escape. Plenty of fairy tales document incidents where a unknowing child is attacked in the woods after dark.

I grew up with an adventurous family, and my oldest brother’s joy was camping trips on the farm. His goal was spend seven days without seeing or hearing any evidence of civilization. His quest translated into our only eating what we caught during the night and sleeping on the ground. No water bottles, music, plates, flashlights, blankets or long Johns. Just us, lying on the dirt, with a fire that hopefully didn’t burn out so the bears kept their distance. Chiggers congregated in the thousands and they were especially attracted my sweet skin, compliments of my mother’s obsession with homemade baked goods. My duty was to carry the game. One night, when the bag ripped, dozens of frogs landed in the sludgy bottom of the lake. I found these outings a wonderful motivation for my earliest fasts.

Under the ominous silhouette of the forest, my brother told ghost stories about Native Americans burning down settlers’ homes with families inside while the men were out hunting. To this day, if you listen closely you can hear the wives and children’s cries carried time immortal by the trees.

Walking through the night allowed me to know how alert the birds remain after sundown, how peacefully cows stand in a pitch-dark pasture, and how the wind causes water drops trapped by the canopy of leaves to rain down harder than a storm. In the woods, the trees became animated. This was the first place I noticed the expressions of trees.

According the Vastu Living by Kathleen Cox, “we … honor nature because, like us, it is an expression of the five basic elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth.” Trees record the words spoken and the emotional outbursts far longer than we care to be reminded. Their cells absorb the vibration of the moods nearby. If the dominant emotion expressed is joy, the trees are vibrant and bountiful. If the dominant emotion expressed is sadness, the trees project their message of lower energy. The roots accumulate the signals of any pain and remorse emitted by people fighting and arguing on the property above them. Words linger long after the emotions of the person speaking dissolves.

“The element of fire in plants is life-giving,” Cox explains “Tall trees … should also be on the west to help retain the positive energy …. and help block the wind.” After the barrier trees felt suffering long enough to grow frowns, the family who lived there were in the news. Inside the magnificent home, the father experienced financial stress. He appeared to have anger issues left over from his childhood due to his having been adopted by wealthy merchants. His wife alleged he was abusive and left with the children. Within a year, the man committed suicide.

Although inscrutable on the surface, trees tell stories about the situations surrounding them. They mirror love and they respond to sadness. Scientists confirm how trees react negatively to certain vibrations. When exposed to harsh sounds, trees shrivel and die. Then again, trees react in a positive way when exposed to classical music, the singing of a happy child and comforting words spoken when they are watered.

“Without the harmonious presence of the five elements … we can never establish a lasting harmony for ourselves,” provides Cox. Science has shown, the words spoken or sung in a plant’s environment improves their health. Cheerful tones inspire better absorption of the nutrients, and negative tones are directly associated with plants shriveling and dying. The Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters set out to prove this finding wrong. The samples placed in a silent greenhouse suffered, unlike the samples given identical conditions, but with sounds.

If you look closely you can see the spirit of a tree. In my fantasy novel, the trees remember every word spoken throughout history. They never forget. The roots of the trees carry the messages across the globe. There are no secrets on our planet because the trees collect our words, but then again, trees also spread comfort. This is why we heal emotionally and spiritually when we spend time in nature amongst peaceful trees.

Archangel for Each Wednesday

image of angel in green robe

 

Wednesdays are the special day for chatting with a chummy friend.

Shining Archangel Raphael loves fun and travel to any distant land.

He responds to wounded humans, healing illness and disease.

In the image of a serpent, he removes pain with simple ease.

 

The golden Archangel Raphael is named God has healed,

He presenting a text to Noah related to the medical field.

His visit to Abraham bestowed great virtues to his name,

Guiding those repented up from the underworld gave him fame.

 

Archangel Raphael sends God’s blessings when heartfelt I pray.

His presence in conversations changes sorrow into a joyful day.

He shares knowledge of the sciences and aids pilgrims heading west,

As he watches over my doings, I know my safety is at its best.

One Man, a Heavenly Dream

image of the Lorraine Hotel at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. museum

Photo: Lorraine Hotel, Memphis by J. Wilder Bill

It takes one voice to bring Heaven to the globe we share. As much as we carve out territories and erect picket fences, containing space is impossible. One voice carries truth in every direction and to all walks of life.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. woke from his last dream in Memphis, Tennessee, the Delta where my dreams began. As I sit a thousand miles away, there is little notice of this national holiday but at the place of his assassination on the anniversary of his death, folks from all across the country make a sojourn to the Lorraine Hotel.

It’s a royal affair with the pilgrims wearing their finest feathered hats, elaborate dresses, and fur coats. Every walk of life drives with their headlights on. Folks who don’t typically have a reason to talk wave and honk to each other as they pass. For decades, a woman lived in a cardboard box outside the hotel, making a statement.

Dr. King’s early death symbolizes a dream cut short from ripening into completion. While his poetry gives African Americans the confidence to be accepted by their peers, his message does not deliver them beyond a limited concept of equality.

Glancing through the United States Census Bureau reports, I see the steady 23% climb from the 1960s to the present in the number of African Americans who earn a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. Yet, according to the Bureau, African Americans earn the lowest annual income. I get it, their people are suppressed because they don’t have the privileges others enjoy. But what exactly does that mean?

A large majority of millionaires, according to Statista, are of Caucasian descent. Oftentimes, first generation immigrants of non Western European ancestry consider themselves to be white.

Forbes lists more than 10% of millionaires in the U.S. as first generation immigrates. As a matter of fact, it’s not just African Americans who miss out. Immigrants become entrepreneurs at double the rate of residents born in the U.S. The Bureau reports 8% of the millionaire population are African Americans, born and raised in on their turf.

The successes or failures a person experiences is a reflection of his mindset – the image he has about himself. Self image creates road blocks that can be eliminated by his perceiving himself as capable of reaching certain goals and filling a chosen image.

If someone doesn’t find a value in opportunities, his self perceived image will override his ability to take that next step toward his goal. The New York Post provides that minorities accepted into colleges under an affirmative action program are less likely to graduate. California eradicated its affirmative action plan in 1996, and the percentage of minorities who stayed in college and earned their degrees doubled.

An article by the Technology Innovation Management Review stresses the significance in how a person perceives the value of what he receives. An individual might desire the value of attending college, or even the more basic needs of receiving food and shelter. His perceived value is his expectation of what the product, service or education will provide to him – how it will change his life. A critical element of the value is the “emotional payoff and achievement of a goal or desire.”

Receiving something for free or without having to provide anything in return causes the recipient to asses the product, service or shelter, as having a lower value. Having a thing that has no value leaves the recipient feeling unfulfilled, and essentially lowers his self confidence.

Not only the results of receiving the item or service provide a value. The recipient needs the fulfillment of providing something in exchange for the product, service or education in order to determine what its value is, in order to gain a sense of achievement in meeting that goal of earning the item or service. The value is determined before and after receiving.

How many gifts have you discarded? How often have you loaned something to a relative or friend, only to have it returned damaged or never returned, at all?

The next step in achieving Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is for our education system to incorporate self esteem courses beginning in elementary school. While Dr. King is an inspiration to today’s leaders in continuing his social progress, today’s speakers are spreading the same message he shared over forty years ago. The social climate has changed, and the cause to generate progress is not at the same road block. With a different issue at hand, the solution has changed, as well.

Dr. King’s spoken dreams are realized. We have this day to recognize the good in where our society is in the present moment. Still, this holiday signifies our time for a new approach. If Dr. King had lived to a ripe age, his message would have shifted to meet our current level of humanitarian growth in our global goal to assimilate Heaven on Earth.

It is right for minorities to apply the thoughts and visualizations with an intention to view themselves as achieving their goals independently. They have the capacity and strengths and talents to accomplish their dreams. They deserve the confidence gained through the fulfillment of an achievement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived the life of a man with the confidence to share his image, and to believe in African Americans receiving the benefit of his confidence.

Venice Funnels a Spiritual Walkabout

image of lobby at the Danieli Hotel in Venice

Photo: Hotel Danieli, Venice by J. Wilder Bill

Entering Venice transports you into the Renaissance period of religious paintings and relics. The goddess city is an excellent setting for a modern crusade. You can use the renovation projects funded by Venice in Peril as your guide, unless the environmental elements disintegrate the design flare created from the 13th through 17th centuries.

Arriving by train builds anticipation with each depot stop where teenagers board carrying backpacks and sleeping bags. After the shock of disembarking at a rundown train station, you exit into a world with the electrifying energy of Diagon Alley on the other side of the Leaky Cauldron’s wall.

Outside, the sun streams the length of a canal lined with quoined terra cotta and vermilion facades. Vaporetti drift within speeding flatboat taxis. Bridges span the waterways. Alleys funnel in all directions, corridors to churches and cemeteries. Regardless of how you arrive, both hotel and public boat taxis can take you down the winding canals to the submerged doorstep of wherever you stay.

“I love Venice. I remember Mozart lounging on a vaporetto in Amadaus,” I say to my dear Yankee husband, Zip.

“That’s Vienna,” Zip replies. “Mozart never lived here. People always get Venice and Vienna confused.”

We set off to explore the chapels with me in my favorite walking heels and a stroller in tow so I don’t have to carry the whippersnapper. Zip, eager to take in all the crumbling, desolate and bustling dead ends before cocktail hour, ducks through lingering crowds, leaping up the steps of bridge after bridge, after bridge.

“I sure can visualize Mozart here.” I shake out my numb toes while describing the lavish costumes and garish makeup from the movie.

“It’s Vienna,” he says.

By mid-afternoon, I’m fatigued and no longer able to pick up the stroller and child to carry over the arched bridges. Strangers break free from understanding companions to help lift my cargo over the steps. No matter which alleys my husband and I venture down, we eventually returned to the same Ponte dei Barcaroli bridge. I convince Zip to take in the beauty of a vaporetto ambling below. Lo and behold, an enormous sign gives homage to Mozart having been in that very spot.

“See. I know history. I watch TV.” I nudge my husband and he nods.

I manage to get the last word only because Zip doesn’t read Italian. Mozart merely visited the city with his father.

The secret to a spiritual walkabout is to venture down the intriguing crannies alongside interconnecting canals. On the other side of the next bridge are decaying neighborhoods with artistry equal to the refurbished sections.

Exploring by boat gives a breathtaking view of the mansions, especially where you glide inside the foyer of a palace. A new perspective appears during a midnight sail.

Key points of the city include the Basilica of St. Marks where the disciple’s bones are preserved. Harry’s Bar boasts having authors and artists create their greatest works within its walls, with Ernest Hemingway as one of the most famous.

Each island has a unique flavor. A monastery fortress fills one private destination. A fisherman’s island is lit with yellow buildings and vibrant fabrics cover the doorways. On another is amazing glassware.

Unfortunately, part of Venice’s unique ambience are the eroded stucco and weathered artwork. Venice in Peril hopes to deter the effects of the sea level consistently rising four to six millimeters per year as estimated by the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit. Where St. Mark’s Square once flooded fewer than ten times per year, the frequency has increased to sixty times within the same period. Flooding encompasses as much as 93% of the city.

The paintings and architecture suffer from air and water pollution, as well. According to Nations Encyclopedia, Italy’s air pollution includes deadly carbon monoxide emissions. Water pollution caused by industrial and agricultural contaminants has warranted warnings for pregnant women to have abortions.

Venice in Peril empowers the restoration of murals and building foundations. They give equal support to the lesser known churches and cemeteries, and therefore they preserve history. Their project list can serve as a discovery path on how Venetians viewed religions and politics throughout the ages. For information about specific projects funded by Venice in Peril, see, https://www.veniceinperil.org.

Join the World Peace Diet

image of sign in Tennessee mountains

Photo: Lookout Mountain, Tennessee by J. Wilder Bill

When we heal the earth, We heal ourselves. David Orr

The World Peace Diet is painless to practice. Devised by Will Tuttle, Ph.D., the visionary speaker, educator, author, and musician shares the impact the foods we consume has on not only our physical bodies, but also on our spiritual well-being. Dr. Will Tuttle emphasizes the significance our dietary choices make in influencing worldwide harmony. He provides innovative insights of the philosophical masters and the patterns mankind has followed throughout history and he shares the meaning behind his words in this interview.

J. Wilder:

You provide a full description of Plato’s theories regarding the benefits of people adopting an animal free diet. Why did some of Plato’s knowledge regarding science remain public while his information about adopting a vegan lifestyle vanished from available books? 

Dr. Tuttle:

Actually, in The World Peace Diet, I discuss several ancient Greek & Roman philosophers who all advocated a vegan diet and lifestyle – Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, and Plutarch. Pythagoras is considered the father of vegetarianism and vegan living in our Western world, and until the mid 1800s vegetarians were referred to as Pythagoreans. Pythagoras emphasized the spiritual, social, and health benefits of a plant-based diet, and warned people who if they killed animals for food, they would also kill each other in wars. These important ideas are more vital now than ever, and form the foundation of The World Peace Diet. Plato (like his teacher Socrates) was in many ways a Pythagorean and taught that herding livestock led to conflicts over land and to warfare. Plotinus was a neo-Platonist and strong advocate of compassion to animals, as was Plutarch, a Roman historian.

Their ideas have been covered over simply because they make people in our culture uncomfortable with what is their most basic behavior: eating food. This is unfortunate, of course, because if these teachings were heeded by us today, we would be able to reduce the many diseases caused by eating animal foods, as well as the environmental devastation that is unavoidable in growing vast amounts of grain and legumes and feeding them to animals who are hyper-confined, mutilated, and killed at the rate of 75 million per day in the U.S. alone. People are starving and malnourished, and it’s completely unnecessary, and all this slaughter is similarly unnecessary, and the war and inequity that flows from it as well.

J. Wilder:

In The World Peace Diet, you posit a hidden and powerful core mentality in our culture – what is that?

Dr. Tuttle:

All of us are born into a culture that injects into us from infancy a program that forces us to look with eyes that see certain beings as things – as commodities that exist merely to be killed and eaten. This mentality of reducing beings to things—commoditization of life—is devastating to our inherent intelligence, sensitivity, and compassion. It leads to a mentality of exclusion, elitism, might-makes-right, privilege, and disconnectedness. It is this mentality that is injected into us through our three daily meals, where we are all forced to participate in rituals in which sentient beings are reduced to mere flesh and secretions. We are forced to eat them, thus internalizing this mentality that is totally contrary to our well-being and the well-being of the Earth and of other animals. By far the most intelligent, creative, caring, and aware action that any human being in our culture can engage in is to extricate themselves from this toxic and destructive program, and switch to a plant-based way of eating and living, out of compassion to the whole web of life in which we are all embedded. This is the foundation of joy, peace, abundance, wisdom, health, and happiness for all.

J. Wilder:

According to your studies, people initially consumed fruit, nuts and leaves. What prompted humans to deviate from his healthful diet?

Dr. Tuttle:

No one knows the answer to this question. We don’t even know what happened in history, much less in pre-history! What happened on 9//11? Who killed JFK? What happened just a few days or years ago? We don’t know! What we have are “official stories” that are created for our consumption in order to keep everyone enslaved to a system of domination and ignorance, where we are willing to work in jobs that rob us of our precious time and resources, and imprison us in the ignorance of separateness, willing to fight wars and eat animals and destroy the Earth without comprehending our true purpose on this Earth.

Today, we can see that we are designed for plant-based foods, and whatever reasons people have had in the past for eating animal foods (which I discuss at length in The World Peace Diet), we can easily see that it is terrible for our physical, psychological, cultural, ecological, and spiritual health. Any one of us can prove this in our own lives as well!

So rather than look too much to the past, I think it’s a great idea to be pulled by the future. Let’s envision an abundant, peaceful, creative, and joyful future, and base our behavior on reaching that, rather than trying to figure out how we should be driven by a past that we will never completely know or understand (at least until we go vegan and awaken our latent wisdom)!

J. Wilder: 

Your information regarding how humans transitioned from being peaceful gatherers and gardeners to being aggressive figures who dominate and own living creatures as property provides a clear image of how our diet and its required mentality impacts our emotional stability. In what ways would humankind improve if we resisted eating animal products?

Dr. Tuttle:

By ceasing to eat animal foods, we begin the process of extricating ourselves out of the pervasive program of violence and reductionism that ensnares our culture in ignorance and war. The mentality required to reduced beings to mere objects of property is the essence of the problem, and by rejecting that, we open the door of the prison that we are in. Anyone of us can do this at any time! Going vegan is actually just the first step out of the prison. We are called by our inherent wisdom to shed all the layers of violence, fear, and delusion that cover the light of pure consciousness that we truly are. Going vegan is the first essential step, and it means adopting an attitude of radical inclusion whereby we cultivate respect and kindness for all beings, both human and animal. This is the essence of the inner work that is the foundation of transforming our lives and our world. As I say in The World Peace Diet, we cannot build a tower of love with bricks of cruelty. As we eat and act and relate with kindness and love, we build a body, emotions, and life of harmony and freedom.

J. Wilder:

The quote by Benjamin Franklin captured the experiences of many vegans with regard to attending social gatherings with the commitment to avoid consuming animal foods. Do vegans benefit spiritually by standing firm on their beliefs even when it causes strife within their communities? 

Dr. Tuttle:

It is quite humorous to say that vegans are causing strife within their communities by not going along with the meals and attitudes of exclusion, oppression, and mindless violence that are required by animal foods. As vegans, we are bystanders to the horrific violence perpetrated by people who take out their wallets and pay for animal-sourced foods. We are witnessing and questioning the unnecessary cruelty toward animals, and any “strife” we cause is the precious energy of liberation that will help both the perpetrators and the animals become free from this devastating situation. If we are doing our jobs well, we are causing significant cognitive dissonance by providing examples of people who are not afraid to be kind and to lovingly speak the truth about the interconnectedness of all life. Through this we can transform our world!

J. Wilder:

The observation that consuming dead animals kills the person who swallowed the flesh provides a vegan solution to many medical ailments. In what ways would world economy benefit from the decrease in physical disease and deterioration?

Dr. Tuttle:

If people stopped eating animal foods, our economy would be enormously blessed. The way it’s set up now, there is a small, wealthy elite that is enriching itself at the expense of people, animals, and the Earth. All are abused and becoming more diseased. Switching to a plant-based diet is an action of liberation. We stand up, open our hearts, and proclaim to the world that we love and that we are willing to act on that love. Our physical and psychological health immediately improve, as does our spiritual health. We begin to create healthier communities wherever we are, and we significantly reduce our ecological footprint on the Earth. We begin to create new economies based on spiritual growth and caring, rather than being slaves to a system of oppression and death. As vegan living continues to grow and percolate through our culture, we will see enormous healing energies released that will counteract the insane inequities that are perpetrated by the transnational financial and corporate powers. It all begins on our plates, and extends outward from there.

J. Wilder:

Some people express a lack of care about cows, chickens, fish, pigs, and other animals, and starving people. Should those who are concerned respond?

Dr. Tuttle:

We have to remember that anger, whether it’s expressed or repressed, tends to be toxic not only to ourselves but to others and to our relationships. Anger causes acidification and contraction, physiologically, and can lead to a variety of physical and psychological complications. It is exclusionary, (though not as exclusionary as indifference) and veganism is the path of expansion and inclusion.

For me, a wonderful way to understand and deal with the anger that tends to arise in these types of situations is to contemplate and remember the Taoist teaching of Chuang-tzu, who offered a metaphorical teaching about a boat. If you’re laying down in a boat on a lake, quietly resting, and suddenly another boat just whams into you without any warning, you’d probably get immediately irritated and angry and leap up, ready to yell at the thoughtless pilot of this other boat. Yet, if upon doing so, you suddenly see that the other boat is actually empty, and it just drifted into your boat, propelled by the winds of karma, you immediately see how foolish it is to be angry in this situation, and all anger dissipates. You even burst out laughing.

This is the same with us. The people we get angry with are empty boats. There is a karmic wind propelling them, and their words and actions, and it is essentially the programming of our culture. Why yell at or be angry with someone who is propelled by the cultural program? Is it wise to yell at and be angry with a program? With the wind? They are asleep – sleep walking and sleep talking. In many ways, it’s pretend sleep walking and sleep talking. We get frustrated and angry because they are causing harm to others and we want them to wake up. Our task is to discover what works best to do this.

Creating communities that encourage awakening is an important part of this – the essential ingredient in cultural and personal transformation is relationship and communication and interaction with others. Building vegan community, both where we are and in cyberspace, is essential to the awakening of our world. Everything we do to channel our energy of caring from anger to constructive community building is a healing gift that blesses us and everyone in our world.

 

Dr. Tuttle, thank you for sharing your insights, and for your tireless advocacy to bring about world peace. For additional information about The World Peace Diet, visit www.worldpeacediet.com.