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. 

Love Your Dream, Live Your Love

image of aero-ballerina at Du Pont Registry for cars

Photo: Concourse d’Elegance duPont Registry by J. Wilder Bill

A dream. That’s where it all started for so many of us and that’s often where it all ended, unless you possessed the drive of an automobile. At the Concourse d’Elegance in Winter Park, Florida, I met three guys with enough motivation to transmute an interest in cars into fame and income.

Two men created the series, Car Show Television. 

Meet Andrew McClary and Alex Berry – two buddies who spent their leisure time admiring vintage and rare vehicles at car shows. The car industry wasn’t only about persistent salesmen and vacant showrooms. Practically every weekend, somewhere out there sleek models giggled and posed for poster style photos with car lovers. Famous entrepreneurs discussed ways to improve the planet by modifying engines. Friends who loved breathtaking settings at cozy airports full of glamorous private jets and aerobatic dancers serving champagne from chandeliers got gussied up to chitchat in the midst of the bright lights. Thrill seekers enjoyed riding actual race cars with legendary professional drivers behind the wheels.

Like so many dreamers, Andrew decided to replace his work with his passion. But how did he go about turning joy into gold? Andrew’s career revolved around the production industry. He produced and designed websites for television, and created reenactment scenes for trials. His architectural education gave him an understanding of the machinery. As a matter of fact, he is also an inventor of a model electric car.

His desire – create a car television show with features that get up close and personal with the vehicles. He wanted to give viewers the opportunity to appreciate the amount of work that goes into restoring a diamond in the rough. Those dreamy vintage vehicles oftentimes were forgotten in dumpsites or even at the bottom of a lake for decades. Many are one of two in existence, and one of five ever produced. Famous 1930s movie stars owned some cars and famous first-timers who did things such as flew long distances in airplanes and created animated movies. When walking in the shade of the trees through a grassy park full of vintage automobiles, it was common to pass by the one vehicle used to invade a country, or featured in a classic film, but unless someone took the time to present the unique information to the public, the stories were forgotten and a piece of history disappeared.

His friend and fellow car enthusiast, Alex Berry, motivated Andrew’s dream. Alex had a dream as well, and his revolved around the human interest story behind passion and hard labor. He wanted to share the excitement of the car owners by asking questions. Who were the past owners? What places had the car seen? Where had the car been? He loved listening to owners eagerly explain how they researched the original paint color and what gimmicks they had to configure in order to get the out of production parts to work properly, after years of rust eroded the pieces. Alex wanted to allow viewers to get to know the owners on an intimate level. Not all car enthusiasts were wealthy. Some were dedicated to keeping what were once innovative inventions alive. Many were regular guys who materialized their dreams of salvaging the art in machinery.

How could Alex satisfy his curiosity? Alex’s background was also based on the production industry. As the senior producer of multiple television shows, he understood how to materialize their concept for viewers. Thanks to his many years of working with Fortune 500 companies, Alex had the “in” with finding sponsors. Alex picked up a camera and shifted his admiration into recording stories about the amount of time and energy, heart and soul, that went into restoring a vehicle, into preserving history. To Alex, every car had a story to tell.

The result – Car Show Television originated on www.carshowtelevision.com. Their skills and passion were combined with dedication. Shortly after airing, Alex and Andrew started riding high. They captured a wide market that included vintage car buffs and general car enthusiasts. Children got excited at seeing unique cars as well as teenagers who couldn’t wait to earn their freedom. Car Show Television was picked up by cable television and was broadcast on The Auto Channel – WHDT – in South Florida, and continued to air via their website.

Another dreamer hosts a different series, Chasing Classic Cars.

The car business wasn’t too crowded for another dreamer with a sense of reality. Wayne Carini, a car restorer whose fascination for Ferraris started at the age of nine had stardom in his sight. His most recent mega-million dollar venture included hosting Chasing Classic Cars.

His dream was to surround himself with the finest and most elite vehicles in the world. According to Wayne, his job included traveling across the country and abroad to meet with clients. Those clients, as he casually referred to them, were the wealthiest individuals of fine taste who only drive the most elite vehicles created.

In his travels, Wayne gathered a nifty car collection of his own, with the Ferrari always remaining close to his heart. He rose to the top quickly, and was clever enough to continually reinvent himself. Chasing Classic Cars wasn’t Wayne’s first appearance on television. His desire was to introduce his inner circle of top dogs and their high performance autos to the world.

He features celebrities and entrepreneurs with the ease of your closest relative sitting down for a holiday dinner beside the fireplace. His lofty personal relations afforded him the grace of getting viewers into the private settings of the elite car owners’ garages. You can view the warmest, most engaging rich guy on the planet at www.velocity.com/tv-shows/chasing-classic-cars.

Love Your Dream, Live Your Love

What these three men have in common is goodwill in their dreams. They share a laidback style in connecting with us regular folks who are car enthusiasts. Each is conversational, and inviting. They sit down over lunch and ask what you think and what experiences have you enjoyed with automobiles.

Bonding with the average man just for the sake of sharing an interest is an expression of love. Having a curiosity about another’s quest for joy is an ingredient for loving life.

What is Gratitude Really All About?

photo of J. Wilder Bill when a child with her kitten

Photo: J. Wilder Bill by her favorite sister

When looking for love, it’s useful to know the power of gratitude. If it sounds as though I’m implying one can ramp up the love factor in his life by being thankful for what little he has, that is exactly what I mean.

Those moments when you felt warm and cuddly inside, when you couldn’t resist falling asleep before bedtime, are the times you connected to your peace of mind and the universal consciousness of love. You also disconnected from your self-destructive nature.

Modern gurus encourage us to be thankful as a means for overcoming our inner demons but such a vague objective can leave us with a sense of void until we understand the magnetic impact appreciation invokes. Take for instance, inspirational writer, Dale Carnegie’s suggestion to “… be grateful for what you have to be thankful for instead of complaining about the little things that annoy you.”

I invite you to imagine with me, my childhood evenings when a storm unexpectedly disconnected our electricity. Initially, surprise sets in. All the neighbors congregate outside to visit while hoping the lights will be restored quickly, but when they don’t, we return to our homes to strategize what how best to handle the situation. What is a person to do at eight o’clock at night in the freezing, pitch dark? Go to sleep, perhaps. Or then again, get creative.

My parents took us to the store for supplies and an opportunity to access a facility with a generator pumping heat into our lives. Once we realized the world wasn’t going to end, seeing how other folks would be out and about exploring the new landscape of broken tree branches covered in icicles among absolute darkness. The lack of comfort created an adventure and the opportunity to enjoy ourselves, and whether we intended to or not, we began to be thankful for humanity.

My enthusiasm piqued as we picked out activities to do without electricity. My mom taught me how to crochet beside the fireplace during a winter storm. Crossword puzzles provided friendly family challenges. Slightly burnt pan-roasted popcorn, chocolate and marshmallows warmed on the tips of coat hangers, and a foot pedal sewing machine gave the icy, dark nights a loving touch. My parents allowed us kids the opportunity to savor favorite imperishable foods typically avoided, all under the premise of cozying up with family and pets for intellectually stimulating tasks.

By complaining less, we open our hearts and thoughts to receiving blessings. Dwelling on the negative aspects of your surroundings is in invitation for your mind to explore additional unhappy experiences. I notice this phenomena oftentimes when I believe I’ve come up with an original idea, something like naming my children. I spent months searching every map, history book, and movie credit with a goal to find a meaningful and unique name for the special souls who found their way into my home. I referenced how common my choice names were, and in which eras and locations they were used, ensuring no one on the planet had the same names. Low and behold, as soon as the names became official, I noticed dozens of people who use them.

Such a happening where at first you think you alone came across rare information or ideas only to see them repeatedly thereafter, is known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. This theory relies on the brain’s ability to recognize patterns as a means to digest information and learn. Whether the patterning of being aware of specific words and events in life is due to coincidence or our intuition, the sensation leaves us with an overwhelming satisfaction and awe due to our ability to attract what interests and appeals to us for our current quest for knowledge.

The authors and editors of the Holy Bible considered gratitude to have such essential power for our spiritual growth, they provided explanations more than once in both the Old and New Testaments. “Give thanks in all circumstances’ for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1.

Gratitude ties into love. When you crave love, the fastest way to gain that golden warmth in your chest is through your state of mind. Not to say you need to change in order to be a better person who deserves to receive love, and never to suggest difficult paths force you to elude love. It’s a matter of signaling the world to give you the things you emphasize, the situations that mirror what you think about most. Paraphrasing Gautama Buddha, “Disillusioned men never appreciate kindness shown them, but wise men are grateful. Wise men express their appreciation and gratitude by returning kindness, not only to their benefactor, but to the world at large.”

Thankfulness creates a shift in your way of thinking. The change of your thought patterns drives you toward the situations in life you want to experience. You draw what you desire closer to you by focusing on the feelings that you would enjoy if you already gained what you want. Dale Carnegie pushed for us all to attain our goals, which we devise in our continuing efforts to gain more peace, in saying:

“Remember, happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think. So, start each day by thinking of all the things you have to be thankful for. Your future will depend very largely on the thoughts you think today. So, think of thoughts of hope and confidence and love and success.”

The invocation for gratitude isn’t a rule imposed on us because breaking rules is irresistible for so many. The suggestion takes into account the messages we send the universal consciousness, because wise men are aware no request goes unanswered. No matter how outlandish your wishes seem, the asking by you occurs in those moments you either complain or appreciate.

The angels and protective guide are merely messages to the Divine Source where creation begins. They don’t translate the hidden meanings behind your words of aggravation. Their job is to sing praise on your behalf no matter what attitude or tone you transmit. You, me, each of us, possesses the power to relay our wishes, which are always fulfilled. Therefore, we each are in control. These gifts of free will are worthy of our gratitude in every moment of our experience.

The Tune of Deserving Love

image of yellow rocks in the ocean in Tahiti

Photo: One Foot Island, Autitaki, Cook Islands by J. Wilder Bill

During our millennial enlightenment, the trend for how to love pressures us to disconnect from responsibility. We are enticed into the false-beauty of delving into the darkest corners of our personal feelings.

The shift from idealized happiness to painstaking denial is clear from the television guide list. When I tune into network channels for a little down time from cancerous family members, repairing a hurricane damaged home, proving to giant corporations they’ve been double charging my bill for years, and managing fraud, my poor little brain gets blindsided. Explosive emotions dominate the themes. Tag lines for the shows includes, “dysfunctional family” and “masterful in eliciting a range of feelings” and “dark, nuanced.” If I wanted to spend my free time listening to people argue, I’d just assume turn off the tube and dedicate more time with loved ones. The trend on and offscreen is to demand the right to deserve love.

The fact is, what it takes to receive loved hasn’t changed, ever. No criteria exists for earning the right to love. Business leader, Malcolm S. Forbes, put the low emotional returns of living a high drama life into perspective, saying, “Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”

Qualifying how difficult your life is to receive a greater amount than the next guy generates a competition, but love is not distributed in limited rations. The behavior you tune into provides a precedent of how you process the environment. Basically, the more time you spend in a situation, pleasant or dysfunctional, the more you get used to the stimuli.

Our brains adjust to processing the heightened emotions by disconnecting certain awareness sensors. Once those signals of threat and pain are tuned out, we accept the bad as being normal. The good news is we can adapt to anything, however, adapting to the barrage of resentment fractures our channels for receiving love.

The scenario, “birds of a feather flock together,” applies to the way we adjust our actions to mimic the behavior of those we spend time with. Exposing yourself to high drama, whether televised or in person, is counterproductive to receiving love.

Using anger as proof you deserve love removes you from what you crave. The modern coping skill of keeping a tally of every monstrosity you’ve suffered implies you consider your experience to be more significant, and you don’t care about others. Once undervalued and unappreciated, those around you disconnect from your message, since their brain adjusts by tuning out the bad feelings. They won’t identify love with a ranting person. I’ve learned to be careful in mentioning my hardships, because just as soon as I feel sorry for myself, the person next to me shares a greater hardship.

The more we use drama in despising the sensation of lacking love, the greater we distances herself from feeling loved. “Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it,” stated Rumi.

You only need to show up and be present to acquire genuine love. No one else has to participate in your receiving love. There is nothing for you to qualify. Skip rallying together an audience to support your cause to prove your highest ranking in getting the most love. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us,” provides Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Even if you believe you have a resilience to harsh words, putting them out there has the same effect of stabbing yourself with a knife. Hearing the insulting references and self loathing is harmful to your emotional self.

Thinking demeaning thoughts about yourself places you in the role of playing the victim, and the lower you place your emotional self, the farther you are from accepting love. While in law school, I would tell myself repeatedly that I was going to flunk out of school as a motivational tactic. After graduating, I acquired a position at a desirable workplace. A fellow graduate ran into me at the courthouse, and was agitated that all those years I whined about barely making it when I was capable of landing such a prestigious position. I felt bad, and a bit ashamed, because I didn’t realize my self motivation technique offended others. I made others feel less deserving by spreading my low energy, when I stored a full reserve of quality mentality for my personal thoughts.

Wake up each day glad to be you. Don’t shy away from embracing the electrifying charge of unfortunate events in your past. The challenges were moments to broaden your perception of universal love. The pain you felt was personal to you, which gave you the opportunity to make love in your life a personal experience. Instead of loathing your challenges, recognize them as manifestations of your insightful depth. Knowledge is a precious commodity and transforming difficulties into fables for you to share with others on similar paths allows your purpose on this planet to soar.

Your trials and tribulations, whether you felt they were unfair or viable punishments, make you an expert in resolving that subject. Give yourself the special treatment you know in your heart you deserve. According to Gautama Buddha, “You can search the world over and you will find no one who is more deserving of your kindness and well wishing than you yourself.”

If you are unconvinced your life isn’t the horrifying torture you perceive, participate more in the world and explore your neighbor’s path. Protect yourself from eroding your love shield by evaluating the behaviors you tune into, both on and off the big screen. Now is a time for opening your awareness.

Wondrous Words of Water

image of Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska

Photo: Mendenhall Glacier by J. Wilder Bill

Water is our salvation. Consider all the times you’ve taken time out from your hectic life with a soothing bath. Inner peace comes easily when you hear or view a body of water. Many of us plan vacations for rejuvenating our minds, bodies and souls with destinations and activities revolving around the wondrous H2O.

“Being out there in the ocean, God’s creation, it’s like a gift He has given us to enjoy,” states professional surfer and author, Bethany Hamilton who survived a life threatening shark attack. Author, Carl Hiaasen, describes his escape for inspiration as “to just get in a boat and disappear on the water.”

Water provides life within us, through what we consume, and by surrounding us in the atmosphere. Civilizations thrive where they show respect with it. We are all impacted by how man relates to it. Scientists advocate our infinite need to protect all resources. “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live. Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is generated by the sea,” explains National Geographic’s marine biologist, Sylvia Earle.

As Leonardo Da Vinci provides, “Water is the driving force of all nature.” We are advised to consume as much as eight glasses each day to maintain a healthy body and proper brain functioning, yet with the endless concerns about pollution, overpopulation and lack of drinkable resources, we tend to lapse into anticipating a cataclysmic apocalypse.

Many of us concede man must have clean H2O in order to survive, but the more research is conducted, the more confusing it is to decipher which choices we should make. Instead of fretting over the likelihood plastic bottles can poison us, or the chemical runoff from crops is decreasing our drinkable supply, we can be innovative in creating a solution.

It must be more than a coincidence that several religions view water as a means for cleansing  not just the body but also the soul. Submersion is considered a method for attaining purification. Washing with an intention for attaining a higher consciousness prepares practitioners to receive the teachings of the benevolent Creator. Even a few drops of blessed water have the power to uplift one’s spiritual connection. All faiths include a ritual or prayerful state of mind when utilizing water in a religious ceremony or church service. “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water,” writes the philosopher, Loren Eiseley.

Water is impressionable. It responds to our thoughts. “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was,” provides author, Toni Morrison.

Masaru Emoto, author and entrepreneur, devised a method for recording an impression of the memory of water by photographing frozen samples. Emotional images and words introduced to H2O while in its liquid form create patterns in its molecules believed to be a reflection of those moods.

Samples gathered from polluted reservoirs and tap water reveal murky, undefined shapes. Emoto believed human thoughts and images of nature play a role in the quality of water. He arranged several times for groups of five hundred participants to meditate on either an intention to purify the quality, or else on positive chants of love directed at the sources. Photographs of samples taken from the same locations as where the molecules formed murky, undefined shapes were transformed into symmetrical, intricate geometric patterns similar to snow crystals.

It made no difference if the five hundred people prayed, meditated or sang songs, as long as the words and thoughts were positive affirmations. His results were consistent regardless of who provided the loving intentions, who ranged from spiritual practitioners to elementary school children. Also, the distance between the participants and the source of water was irrelevant. Those meditating, chanting and praying were at times thousands of miles away from a body of water they set out to purify. The crystalline formations were equally improved to when the meditations, chants and prayers took place within the same building as the previously contaminated tap water.

Likewise, when the water was exposed to negative words and painful images, the molecules mirrored the chaotic and muddy emotions. In one instance, he recorded seeing microscopic formations from samples removed from a lake that resembled a facial expression depicting horror and pain. After his research concluded, he discovered human tragedies occurred within the body of water.

Emoto concluded that human consciousness and impressions of nature alter the molecular structure of water. He believed, “water could react to positive thoughts and words, and that polluted water could be cleaned through prayer and positive visualization.”

Next time, before taking a sip of a refreshing drink, send a positive affirmation to the item you plan to ingest. Use your consumption as an opportunity to purify what you place in your body. Take a moment to visualize what you would like to improve in your life.

When cleansing and washing any part of your body, put aside your worries and problems to avoid adding a murky element. Focus on intensifying the purifying effects. Practice expressing confidence in your water systems, just as actor and screenwriter, John C. Reilly, found, “There’s something about the water, that solitary kind of peaceful feeling. You’re on Earth but not quite.”

Become consciously aware of the power of your words, both spoken and in thought. Take time to appreciate the wondrous words imprinted in the molecules of water.

Pray for Us

image of Elvis Presley's tombstone of Jesus and angels

Photo: Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee by J. Wilder Bill

Regardless of where you stand on today’s issues, there are times when a political leader gives a statement or supports an order that contradicts your views. The political structure allows opposing parties to create opportunities for themselves by escalating the public’s differing opinions. This gives them leverage to suppress the civilians’ sense of power.

Without belief in our abilities, we become divided. Without unity, a nation lacks strength.

Each of us can make a difference in the government. According to the philosopher and founder of Taoism, Lao Tzu, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, ‘We did it ourselves.’” It is through the people actively participating that leaders are able to serve.

Our duty as civilians is to offer support and prayers for authority figures of every level and position. “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is,” stated Mahatma Gandhi. Prayer is action.

Within the Holy Bible, 1 Timothy 2:1-3 provides for man to give supplications, which embrace humility on behalf of another. We are to seek intercessions through angels and saints to exalt our pleas for governmental leaders to receive guidance. Saint Thomas More is the patron of lawyers, civil servants, and politicians.

Most importantly, we are to express gratitude for the benefits within our nation. Through prayers and thanks, the entire country acquires peace, goodness and honest dealings within its boundaries as well as with other countries. 1 Timothy clarifies that only God has authority over men, therefore it is proper to pray for political leaders to act with godliness and honesty. Leaders who make choices on behalf of the Divine promote the salvation of all mankind and support all men in their quest for knowledge of the Truth.

Faith grants strength. Trust in a Divine plan for placing those who are in office elevates our spiritual power. Our support influences their actions and grants them insights of Holiness.

Archbishop John Carroll, founder of Georgetown University, suggests first praying for God to have mercy on all nations, regardless of their views or actions, and then for the leaders to gain “heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life.” He includes all civil servants who are appointed and elected to have powerful protection in performing their duties “with honesty and ability.”

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

 Archbishop John Carroll

The English Prayer Book issues thanksgiving and blessings for the leaders of the United Kingdom by humbly acknowledging God’s mighty authority over man, praying for spiritual enlightenment of leaders, and then asking for eternal grace. Blessings are requested in saying, “look favourably on our sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth. Fill her with your Holy Spirit so that she may love your law and walk in your way. Give her health and strength; and grant that after this life she may enjoy everlasting happiness in your eternal kingdom.”

Rule the heart of your servant Elizabeth, our Queen, so that she, knowing whose minister she is, may above all things seek your honour and glory. And grant that we and all her subjects may faithfully serve, honour and obey her according to your word and ordinance.

Book of Common Prayer

Even a moment of silence dedicated to the President, Congressmen, Senators and Governors having spiritual counsel boosts their capacity for benevolent judgment. As Mahatma Gandhi explained, “It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

Prayers and support for government is a longstanding tradition. Unrest within nations tends to arise during periods of social transformation. It is unnecessary to evaluate and determine what decisions our political leaders need to make for us to enjoy safe, prosperous lives. Merely offering your request for them to be surrounded by Holy advisors and to open their hearts to Divine Love creates miracles. “Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us,” stated Socrates.

Love Life

image of polar bear mother with cub in water in San Diego

Photo: San Diego Zoo by J. Wilder Bill

Our planet responds to love. We have the power to improve the circumstances.

With a click of a button, you have the opportunity to witness global acts of uncertainty. Exposure to startling behavior and witnessing deteriorating conditions on Earth tend to produce waves of confusion. Images and news adverse with instilling a sense of safety ripples across the globe in a continuous chain, convincing many to accept the concept of a bleak future as being fact.

Any time my siblings and I disagreed with each other, my father would give the same lecture, his finger pointing, and his tone stern, repeating his notorious one sentence until enough hours passed for us to be too tired to argue with each other.

“Two wrongs do not make a right.” It was that simple for my father.

An intensified version of my father’s philosophy of life applies to global disharmony. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “In spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace.”

It seems world-wide violence is increasing, however, many of the same issues existing today began long ago, before mass media. On an optimistic note, humankind has survived terrorists, pollution, and riots for many generations.

A cure for global hostilities exists: Love.

Yes, by itself the word sounds ineffective. Certainly, anyone who is concerned about the seemingly wave of violent behavior is a person who cares but the same person might act adversely toward another out of love for family or his home.

By realizing the aggressions on the planet cannot destroy our inner peace, we can overpower the aggressions. With each moment we are given an opportunity to respond to violence with compassion for the other’s point of view, we create a chain of events that spreads more rapidly than the media can broadcast their versions of the events.

The effects of your act of love with one encounter will inspire the recipient to commit an act of kindness in a situation where he might typically have responded unpleasantly. Doing for others involves intellectual reasoning and a willingness to release your ego. Depending on the level of aggression, you are also placed in a position to exchange habitual fear for trust in the strength of love.

As the numbers of people reacting with love increases, hostilities are deluded. The aggressors lose power. Kindness multiples tenfold and eventually spreads so wide, it circles back to those who generated the loving energy. This isn’t sidewalk preaching. It’s been proven by political scientists, James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, and Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University that in a situation where acting out of love required a sacrifice by those who gave, their kindness “tripled over the course of the experiment by other subjects who [were] directly or indirectly influenced to contribute more.”

As Desmond Tutu explained, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

In the greatest turmoil, acts of kindness create the highest ripple. You have the power to change the conditions of the planet. Now is a time for love.