We choose our response to what happens, and in that response lies our growth and freedom.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The strength of a civilization is not measured by its ability to fight wars, but rather by its ability to prevent them. Gene Roddenberry

What does one write about after an event like the attempted assassination of Donald Trump? How should we react? Do we amplify, de-amplify, or have no reaction at all? Victor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

How can we use situations to make better choices and become better people? This is what life is about, did we hug loved ones a little tighter, and give thanks that the world we know wasn’t thrown into chaos?

For most of us life today is pretty much what it has been every day. We will probably never fully understand why a young man wanted to tear down and destabilize his country, instead of working to build it up.

I listened to Jordan Peterson speaking about building a life of significance which is hard, and why some people try to become significant by tearing things down and destroying. “Ignore me now,” seems to be their cry.

Is this something new, or have we always had the dangerous disillusioned who want to blow things up, and create as much mayhem as they can? How do we help the dangerous and disillusioned use their energy for good? How do we help them direct it toward a worthy cause? Is there someone out there who knew this young man saying to themselves, “I should have reached out as a friend, mentor, teacher, or pastor, maybe contact with someone would have made a difference.”

If life is good for us, we are blessed, but not everyone is so blessed. If we have a family, friend, mentor, teacher, pastor, or other religious figure in our lives that encourages us maybe we should be looking around for those who need encouragement, friendship, and a meaningful path in life.

I never understood alienation. Alienation from what? You have to want to be part of something in order to feel alienated from it. Boyd Rice

What if alienation is the root of the problem and we need to find a way to help people feel less alienated, to help them find a way to use their gifts for good? I’ve never liked the idea it takes a village to raise a child, or that we are our brother’s keeper, because it’s always seemed like it takes personal responsibility from people. But, we’ve heard stories where someone turns their life around because of someone’s influence. When someone turns their life around we don’t know where the direction they were going was taking them. If they become a solid citizen we treat them like they’ve always been on that path, and we look at those on the wrong path the same way.

If we could have helped someone and didn’t, befriended someone but wouldn’t, or encouraged someone, does that missed opportunity for helping someone cling to us and impact our lives?

It might be great to aspire to be a leader of leaders, but most of us will not be a leader of leaders, we are regular people who hopefully are making the best of the life we have. If we are an encouraging person, a friend, and a mentor, we don’t know who we may encourage, whose outlook we may help to brighten, or what small impact we may make in someone’s life. Can we reach out to someone with an encouraging word, and a smile, and bring people into the fold who feel like outsiders?

Alienation is a form of living death. It is the acid of despair that dissolves society. Martin Luther King Jr.

You can’t put abandonment and alienation under arrest. Carrie P. Meek

Young alienation, disappointment and heartache is all part of the first real growing up that we do. Judd Nelson

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Is controlling our anger one of the most powerful practices we can aspire to?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

We are not punished for our anger; we are punished by our anger. In other words, anger is its own karma. Eknath Easwaran

Is unexpressed anger toxic? Is this what leads to a lot of problems in our lives? Is anger management part of our lives, we will get angry and can’t always change what makes us angry, sometimes we have to continue to live with who or what makes us angry.

What made me think about this in part was watching someone erupt at a soccer game in a way that the situation didn’t seem to warrant. A few days later I learned they were going through something they couldn’t control and in that moment their anger at the game made sense to me.

Can we deal with our anger in ways that don’t destroy our lives? Misplaced anger has been part of our history since Cain and Abel. When Cain’s gifts were not acceptable to God but his brothers were, he slew his brother. Life is not fair and it makes us angry but often we don’t take our anger out on who causes us to be angry, we take it out on someone who can’t defend themselves, or we repress it and take it out on ourselves.

Resentment is one of the most destructive forces in our lives. It is cold anger that has settled into the center of our being and hardened our hearts. Resentment can become a way of life that so pervades our words and actions that we no longer recognize it as such. Henri J. M. Nouwen

You don’t have to chase anger out of you. You allow it to be in you, you embrace it tenderly, and then anger will subside, and the danger is overcome. During the practice you have helped anger, and it will be transformed slowly. This practice enables you to acknowledge your anger with a smile. Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the reasons I think we have freedom of speech is because angry speech is one way to dissipate anger, and if it isn’t dissipated it will present itself in another way. We might hate it when a protest of one kind or another, that we aren’t a part of, or sympathizer to, interrupts our day, but letting protesters protest may lead to more peaceful relationships than pent-up anger.

The question then becomes how can we handle our anger so it doesn’t become toxic? Is the vitriol that comes out during elections good for society and repressing it would be bad? Is this why some leaders become so powerful, they tap into our anger, and good ones use this power for positive change, but what of malevolent ones? Who gets to decide what is a positive change and what is malevolent?

If we can’t find ways to control and dissipate our anger is it a weapon others will find a way to use against us? How can we harness the power of anger and have it be a force for good in our lives? If we can see undesirable situations as a reflection of our faults and shortcomings will this help us become better and not bitter? We all have to face disappointment and anger in our lives and is how we deal with it one of the most important decisions in our lives?

It is easy to fly into a passion – anybody can do that – but to be angry with the right person to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. Aristotle

An angry man is allowing power to rise against him and enslave him, but when he learns to control these tremendous sources of power, he can use them to meet the most formidable challenges of the day and to make his greatest contribution to those around him. Eknath Easwaran

I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world. Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you for reading this post, and I hope you will return and read more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, and see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you for reading my books, and a special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Oh Canada! Our home and native land. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I have one love – Canada one purpose – Canada’s greatness, one aim – Canada’s unity from the Atlantic to the Pacific. John Diefenbaker

Oh, Canada! Our home and native land.  What can we each do to build Canada? Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much, what can we do, and if we work together what can we accomplish?

We live in a time when it seems grumbling is becoming a national pastime. We can all see the problems, but who is looking for, and at solutions?

John A. McDonald got a railroad built but he wasn’t perfect so we almost don’t dare mention his name. Could we build a national railroad now, with all the impact studies required?

We live in a time when taxing cow farts is how we deal with climate change. Is this what passes for a big idea these days?

Solutions are created at one level and problems at another level, and we will continue to progress and deal with the problems produced if we want progress to continue. We might not all agree on what progress looks like isn’t this one of the problems we face?

Laying a railroad from sea to shining sea was a big idea, going to the moon was a big idea, and creating a health care system so people didn’t need to die from lack of medical care was a big idea. Solving climate change is a big idea but also it’s just a bunch of small things we all must do, and no one will get credit for solving the problem.

Solving homelessness is a big idea, and if we let home builders build they can solve the problem, but they have to build on some of the best farmland in Canada, so everyone is not on board, and who pays to house the homeless?

Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die. Pierre Trudeau

What are the big and small ideas Canada needs over the decades and centuries to come? Part of what we all need to do is keep our families strong so they are not part of the burden. If every family looks after their responsibilities to the children they bring into the world can this go a long way toward solving the brokenness we see on our streets? Individual responsibility is the cornerstone of our society and every society. We can change ourselves, but what we want to do is get those people over there to change, that’s hard, and only if we can appeal to other people’s self-interest is it likely to work.

What makes a good society, and what makes a bad one? Can we keep the good and mitigate the forces that create a society we don’t want? But, we don’t all agree on what a good society looks like, and we don’t agree on how to go about building it.

We are sorting out a lot of things in Canada. We have differing ideas, and I believe, we will figure it out to the extent possible. I think fondly of the cows on the farm, farts and all. We have challenges ahead of us, but we have challenges behind us we figured out. Why should we think we can’t face what is ahead and continue to build Canada, a home for all who live here and a beacon of hope to the world, a country that deals with challenges, missteps, promises, and potential?

Happy Canada Day!

If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present. Lao Tzu

A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence. Jim Watkins

Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do. Bruce Lee

Thank you for reading this post, please come back and read some more, and have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, and see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end.

Thank you for reading my books, and a special thank you to those who leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase an item I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.