Random Acts of Kindness

If you are in a tumultuous relationship, whether with a coworker or friend, you can disassociate with him to end the conflict. But what happens when you stay? While ending a relationship guarantees the situation will turn out well, you gain from persevering through the difficult periods. 

The answer is hidden beyond the undesirable moments. An eye for an eye goes on for infinity, however, you can break the cycle. The times my siblings and I had a disagreement, my father would take each of us aside and say, “It takes two to make an argument.” This blanket statement never seemed logical to me because there were two of us, and we were arguing. 

The way to end an argument is by breaking the chain of disharmony. When you find yourself at odds with someone for longer than you want, stop reacting. Observe what effects follow.

You can resolve conflicts through random acts of kindness. You can end the warfare without actually feeling kind. It’s the act that makes the difference.

For example, if your nemesis is in a mint gum chewing phase, grab a pack when you are in a check out line and leave out for him to find. You don’t have to explain or give away your power. Simply let him choose how to interpret the act. 

You don’t have to be engaging when he asks where it came from. A shrug will suffice because it’s the randomness of the act that gives it impact.

Tell him you like something he is wearing or a thing he owns, or anything at all about his family or work. Certainly, try to comment on what you do like because there must be something, but don’t struggle over whether he deserves to hear a nice word, or whether you like it enough to say something. 

The acts can remain minuscule but make a point to do one kind thing each day. No matter how angry or inconsiderate your nemesis is, the tiny gestures of positive energy will accumulate. A small dose of goodness has a higher frequency than a pound of bad. A little kindness carries the weight of several years’ worth of ill-will. 

Your good acts will modify your nemesis’ reactions. Perhaps the unpleasant gestures are out of habit. For him to realize you thought of him that day, you took a moment to do something helpful, changes the way the two of you relate to one another. You steer the chain of events off the circular path. 

You can increase the level of love you experience through your random acts of kindness. Consider it a gift for both of you.

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. 

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.

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 Tuesday

image of stain glass window of Archangel Chamuel

Photo & Artwork: Archangel Chamuel by Florence Camm

On the afternoons of Tuesdays, he who sees as God is on my mind,

As God’s favorite, Archangel Camael gives tolerance ‘cause’s he’s kind.

When my thoughts begin to wander and my heart desires more,

Through him I find justice to right wrongs and to divert any pending war.

 

I reach out to Archangel Camael for added love in my relations,

Whether it is my friends, family, or even enemies needing my celebrations.

Forgiveness arrives as he sends understanding as the root of my life,

My career conflicts dissolve when I release to him my every strife.

 

He appears like a cautious leopard, crouched on barren rocks,

Wrestling all the sins of darkness by pulling Jacob’s locks.

He meticulously aligns the planets and in perfect timing he provides,

Solutions to my frustrations when I’m willing to accept a compromise.

 

Archangel Camael granted Jesus courage on His crucifixion eve,

His persistence and strength ease troubled thoughts that I sometimes conceive.

Sweet tingles signify his presence when he gently begins to glide,

I feel butterflies in my stomach, announcing he’s at my side.