Bullying ~ No Man Is An Island


There are times we need to stand up, even when it is unpopular to do so, no matter what age we are.

No man is an island

We need each other.

In the case of the student shooter  at the Chardon, Ohio, High School, who was not a student at this high school, he was known enough to be taunted and bullied, bullied so much that he wanted his taunters dead. He pulled no punches on his Facebook page about his intentions. Was anyone listening?

We need to stop the growing tide of bullying, as if there is no solution. If someone is attacking us physically, it is assault and battery. The physical bullier is charged by a police officer and arrested. If someone is relentlessly bullying mentally and emotionally, there currently does not seem to be an answer. But our mental state is just as much a part of us as our physical state. We adults need to be accountable. We need to help. Adults need to stand up. Students need to stand up.

We need to empower our children to be able to stand up for young people around them, if they see someone struggling, being bullied, even then the person being bullied is not himself or herself. Adolescence is tough. But it is also an opportunity to teach compassion and empathy for others. Many young people are doing this already. There are so many teenagers doing wonderful things, on sports teams, achieving academic success. Teens, like everyone else, will have their own circle of friends, large or small.

As strong as life is, life is fragile. Life can change in a moments notice. We know this, but it still takes us by surprise when it does. In teaching important lessons to our kids, teaching them to stand up for injustice, for the student being bullied, even if that person is a loner, is important.

Every single one of us is important. Even people we do not like are important. Human life is important.

At times, we are strong, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Other times we are unsure of ourselves, cautious and fearful. Most of us know there is help out there with our friends and family. If things get out of control, we have counseling. It helps to talk things out.

If we, see something, we should say something. That goes for our students also. Students can always go to the guidance counselors, or their favorite teacher, or school principal to let them know if they think someone is in trouble.

The definition of  brave people is not that they don’t feel fear, but although they feel the fear, they do what is right, moral and just anyway.

We are not islands, no matter how private we choose to be. Not everyone likes the spotlight, to live out loud. Some of us are shy, maybe even withdrawn. We need to be observant of the world around us, for personal safety, but also for the safety of others.

Some would say we need to mind our own business. Only take care of the self. While self-improvement is a good thing, we live in a world where other people count too. And their lives intertwine with our lives, if only peripherally. We need to be aware, not fearful, but aware of others in our life.

Some might also say people need to toughen up. While that point might need to be made in some cases, we still need to be aware of other people in our world. It may not be our job to monitor everyone else around us. But it is our job to be responsible citizens in the world of us.

If a student along the way reported the bullying that went on in the Chardon High School while the shooter was waiting for a bus to go to another school, perhaps yesterday event might have had a different outcome. But we will not know for sure.

It is also possible that the student shooter mental state was completely unknown to students and his teachers.

One thing is for sure, no man is an island.

Namaste

De-Stress ~ Where Is Your Bliss?


Have you ever found yourself taking on more than you planned or want to take on? Are you stressed???

My bliss is near the water. I went in this submarine and saw rare sea turtles.

There are many things we can do in these stress filled times that are self-help antidotes. They are things we already know. But in the snap decision moment, we can find ourselves doing the exact opposite of what we want to do, like staying calm, cool and collected.

How many times have we been in the middle of a project, or a meal, and the telephone rings, or our electronic gadget alerts us that some new bit of information is coming in? What do we do? Are we in the habit of  constantly jumping at everything else’s beck and call?

Are we a slave to modern technology, or are we free ranging humans?

Depending on what we have going on in our life, there are times when we absolutely have to take this call. It could be the doctor, or an urget call from our boss. There are many valid reasons we, from time to time, should drop what we are doing, and answer that call. It would be irresponsible not to.

But is this the normal routine for us every day, in every situation? Do we let everything everybody else wants to come before our peace of mind, our plan for our day, or our priorities? We need to become aware and take stock of our triggers, from time to time, because nothing stays stagnant. Things always change. It is a matter of staying in balance no matter how chaotic life gets.

Becoming aware of how we are feeling is the first step in the right direction to correcting what is off with us. Feelings are our Divinely given tools, given to us so we can assess where we are, and where we want to go. Good feelings are affirming and are a sign we are doing OK. Feelings of discordant energy are a sign that we need to make a correction somewhere to bring us back into alignment with our true purpose, goals, and get back on track.

Where is our Bliss? This is something we take it with us no matter how busy we let yourselves get. One self-help tool is to remember to take three, count them three, deep, cleansing breaths each time a challenge comes our way. Seldom is the case when we need to react so fast, as if we are running from a burning building. Yet that is exactly how we tend to dash through our lives, putting out everyone’s elses fires.

An amazing thing to remember is, just because someone throws us the ball, we don’t have to catch it. What a relief it is to remember this. Yes, we already know this, but somehow someone throwing the ball to us plays to our ego and we can find ourselves rising to the occasion when we don’t really want to. If this happens to us occasionally, then we are doing a good and noble thing. However, if this happens to us every time, then we are doing ourselves a disservice.

When and how do you start your day? Some of us wake up and immediately jump on the treadmill of life. No wonder we get so exhausted. If our plan is working for us, we should stay with it. However, this tends to be one of the best places to introduce change if we are not happy with our state of affairs.

What part of the day is your best work production, alert time? What part of the day is best for you to exercise? What part of the day for you to meditate, pray or recollect in peace and quiet? This is different for different people. There is not one best answer here. What is important is to take a moment to reassess our life. Are you a morning person, afternoon person or evening person? Does the life you are living match your most optimum work load times? What do you want to do about that?

You don’t have to catch the ball. Isn’t that awesome to remember?

If we are people pleasers, this concept may be somewhat startling. One good thing to remember is that we cannot please anyone until we please ourself. The same thing is true for flying in airplanes. You cannot save anyone else until you save yourself first, for example by putting on your air mask before you put your child’s air mask on. What is it about false pride that makes us think we have to come last in everything?

The Divine Creator does not want you to come in last for everything, have a hard time of everything, lose everything, and struggle with everything. Sometimes these things happen. But it is in becoming aware of where we are in our life, truly taking stock of where we are and where we want to go, that we can improve how we feel, and decide to change our lives for the better if we want to.

Again, we are not victims, unless we choose to be. That statement can be infuriating if you find yourself in a difficult situation you did not plan. Yes, bad things happen to us all the time. But it is in how we handle these challenges, and transform these energies that can help us. We can begin again. That is OK.

Namaste

Freedom OF, NOT Freedom FROM …


We seem to have a problem understanding prepositions in this country.

Freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

Specifically, we have a freedom OF religion, not a freedom FROM religion.

This occurs to me each time someone has a problem putting a manger scene, or a menorah display on public property, like at Town Hall,        God forbid!

Will our eyes burn out of our heads if we see something that is not our very own rock-hard faith, agnostic “faith,” or atheist “faith”? Will a senior graduating from college have his or her faith waivered to such a traumatic extent, that rather than hold a baccoloriate service for FREE held in a church which, God forbid, displays a cross on the wall (and even if it is covered), decide instead to pay huge amounts of money at a civic hall, because this soon to be college student and their adult families need to be shielded FROM the religious beliefs out there?

Have our minds become so small and one-sided that we will be offended if someone says something we do not personally believe in? Evidently so. Our skin has become so thin in this country that a simple statement of what someone believes, is often attacked because someone else is “offended.” People lose their jobs now over such things. It seems we must have the group all think alike, come to a consensus, no individuals, and definitely no individual thinking. God forbid!

Oh, the outrage!

Above all else, we must be politically correct, but notice how this changes from year to year.

Really?

Should we change the name of the Red Cross, like we do in parts of the world that are run by theocratic governments, so in this country should be change the name to the Red Crescent?

Obviously we do not understand what freedom OF religion is.

Freedom is freedom, not oppression. We live in a land where freedom of religion, as well as freedom of thinking outside of the box, is encouraged. The last time this country had a Catholic politician run for the office of the president of the United States, it was John F. Kennedy. But he was a Democrat, and Republicans did not like that part. It seems now a Catholic is running for president, and it is OK because he is a Republican. Interesting.

When John F. Kennedy was running for president, according to Answers.com, he had to make a statement that basically said although he is a Catholic, he does not represent Catholics, or the Catholic Church. Perhaps Rick Santorum should be made to make a similar statement, and include that he will not represent the ultra Catholic Opus Dei special interest either. Women would not stand a chance in the political world, work force, or any other place.

In this country, we are founded on religious freedom, not a dogmatic rhetoric for a politician to use at his or her whim. When the founding fathers of this country separated themselves from England, one reason was they were separating from religious tyranny. If we really want to get to the bottom of what the founding fathers stood for religiously, perhaps we should promote the Masons, not the ultra Catholic – Christian right-wing of thought.

We all seem to enjoy the benefits of practicing our own religions in this country. It seems ironic to me, that this government in this country, stamps its feet down to the tune of separation of church and state when it doesn’t want to see Christian or Jewish symbols on government property, yet when it is time to choose a politician, they bring in a right-wing Christian focus. Is that what Jewish people want? Is that what Muslim people want?

Does anyone remember the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades? Just wondering.

We want to live in a land of freedoms; freedom OF religion, freedom OF SPEECH (we need to get this one back), and FREEDOM FROM ALL RELIGIOUS TYRANNY.

It’s a sad day when we have to shield our eyes and ears so we don’t have to hear something we believe differently about. Rather than take offense at every difference, we should grow in heart and understanding and embrace our differences.

It is vital that everyone have the freedom to be able to worship the Divine Creator of All, or not at all, if that is their belief.

Perhaps our politicians ought to be people of integrity and honor and have a spiritual belief of their own, but not be priests and ministers with an agenda against other religions. And just maybe instead of calling each other “satan,” we can get on with fixing our country. That is simply the promologation of fear.

Everyone has to live by his or her conscience. My only point here is our interpretation of freedom OF religion to mean freedom FROM religion, which it is not.

By the way, I consider myself to be a Christian, a Catholic one at that. But I also believe Jesus came to teach us so much more than Rome allowed their flock to think some 2012 years ago, or so. It was very much a control thing then, and if we are not careful, it will be again.

Namaste

Bullying and The Value of Life


Bullying is dehumanizing, both for the person who bullies, and for the person being bullied. Unfortunately there is no age limit for bullying. It happens by and to students. It happens by

Alcatraz Prison

and to prejudiced groups of all ages, sexes, and social economics. It happens all too often in today’s work force by employers, who know they can push people more because they know jobs are so hard to come by, to employees who allow themselves to be bullied for fear of losing their jobs. Bullying happens face to face, while cyberbullying relentlessly continues online. What can we do to stop it?

Stand up to the bully.

This does not mean turning everything into a fist fight. First, be smart. If you are the student being bullied, no matter what the bully is telling you, tell your teachers, your guidance counselors, your principal, and your parents. Know that you are not alone. It is state law that teachers must report the bullying to their superiors. Schools are improving their programs to address this kind of attack on students. If it keeps happening, keep telling. Never give up. There are some things you can do for yourself, beginning with bolstering your self esteem.

Just because someone says something about you, does not make it so. You are made in the image and likeness of God. God does not make junk. God made you and you are perfect, just they way you are. You will not be perfect if…, or when … you are perfect now. You are a whole person no matter what sexual orientation you are, no matter what gender you are, no matter if you are underweight, no matter if you are overweight, no matter what, you are perfect they way you are, right this very moment. That is the second thing to know. Do not agree with every negative thought, word or idea that comes from a bully’s mouth. Just because someone says something negative does not make it so. Understand that there are people willing to help you.

I’d like to think that prejudices are a thing of the past, but they are not. We’d like to think we are so advanced these days, but sometimes I think on many issues we are still in the caveman era. There are many kinds of prejudices that play into the hand of bullying. The person bullying decreases in character development by bullying. Seemingly good people, even Christian people, with not so good intent, harm others psychologically by badgering them, instilling them with fear if they are not like minded people, whether it’s for gay rights, birth control, immigration, or any other difference in belief. Bullying makes people less human. Bullying makes people less spiritual. No matter what our religious belief system is, bullying is not the way to get the message out. Attacking someone’s character either privately or publically is not a spiritual practice. Can you see Jesus or Buddha now, diminishing a person by personal attacks? That would be a twisted and perverted belief system.

Lady Gaga went on twitter to say “Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime.”

Young people are not alone on the bullying front. Adults are also bullies and are victims of bullies. As sad as it is when young people get bullied, it is pathetic when adults get into the bullying game, and we do. It is pathetic because we should know better. Anytime we act out in ways that are beneath human dignity, we diminish our growth, mentally and spiritually. The first thing to do is the same first thing to do for a young person. Tell someone. If it is a prejudice hate crime, tell a police officer. If you are being bullied at work, go to your human resources department. That is what they are there for.

You have a right not to be bullied.

Bullies don’t really want to fight. They want to torment. They want to get their way. They have ulterior motives. Pure motives have nothing to do with bullying. Bullies are weak. They are vunerable. As more and more people, young and old, stand up and refuse to be tongue whipped by inferior, manipulating mortals, it will become easier to stand up for truth.

Standing up for truth, honor, and integrity does not have to be done viciously. Anger and hostility do not need to be present. We simply need to say what we need to say. Bullies know how to push emotional buttons. That’s part of the game. But if we can stay level emotionally, that will be one less battle they will have won.

You are a wonder-filled creation of God. You are filled with God’s spirit. You are not alone.

Namaste.