Fly Right

One of the sure signs of autumn in North America is a “V” of geese flying south.  Although it is esthetically pleasing, there is much more to the “V” pattern than you might realize.

GREATER RANGE

As each bird flaps its wings, it forces a movement of air that creates an uplift for the bird immediately behind. By flying in a “V” formation, the flock is able to travel more than 70% further than a goose flying alone could.

When we work together as a group moving in a common direction, we can get there quicker and easier if we cooperate and help lighten the load for others. Working together and supporting each other creates an environment of trust and unity, which leads to joy in our work, and a greater sense of fulfillment.

The Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

When we feel we are valued members of a group we enjoy the work we do as part of that group, and in turn, we become a much more productive worker.

TAKE A BREAK

When the lead goose gets tired, it drops back into the formation and another goose moves up to take the lead.

The Lord has counseled us to use wisdom and not run faster than we have strength.

“…It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.” – The Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4:27

It’s important to take a break occasionally. In an organization, it is beneficial to change leadership now and then and get fresh wings in the lead. Not only does that keep people rested physically, but also creativity is increased, and enthusiasm is heightened.

Mormon-Media-Network-fly-right-image-by-morguefile-snowbear blogTHE BUDDY SYSTEM

When a goose gets sick or injured and has to drop out of formation, at least two geese drop out with it. Those two geese remain with the injured goose until it is ready to fly again. The three then either start out in their own small formation, or join another larger flock, until they are able to catch up with their original group.

No one should be left behind.  We should always be aware of those around us who are struggling. There is no better exercise than reaching down and lifting people up.

Maya Angelou said, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

Nobel Prize winning author Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I woke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

If we believe, as the Book of Mormon teaches, that the purpose of life is joy, then we should live lives of service.

Mormon Media Network Fly Right - image by Morguefile-gracey blogATTA BOY

When you hear the honks of geese overhead, you’re hearing the geese in the rear of the “V”.  They honk encouragement to those in the lead who, for the moment, are bearing the brunt of the work. We all need that kind of encouragement.

In study after study, it has been found that the biggest motivator for employees in any work environment is not money, but rather being appreciated. Money is usually in the top five, and moves around from study to study, but being appreciated is consistently number one.

Geese seem to instinctively understand what Horace Mann meant when he said, “Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.”

Life can be difficult, but we can each make the journey lighter with words of encouragement . . . Honk if you agree.

 

Copyright © 2015 by Energy Media Works LLC

If you have comments or questions, we would like to hear them. Just click on leave a comment below.

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Image Credits:

Three geese on a pond by: morgue file, snowbear

Goose honking by: morguefile, gracey

Geese flying by: Wikimedia commons, Airwolfhound

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RELATED QUOTES:

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made, What’s a sundial in the shade?” – Benjamin Franklin

Work without love is slavery. – Mother Teresa

“If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn’t anything you can’t do if you want to.” – Jim Henson

“Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.” – Horace Mann

Quotes on friendship

Quotes on kindness

Quotes on endurance

Priesthood

The human brain does not like chaos. When we see something that does not make sense, we try to find something familiar about it in order to bring it into a safe, comfortable place. That’s why clouds sometimes look like elephants. Our logical brain gets together with our creative brain to solve the puzzle.

We don’t limit this to things we see; we try to make sense of things we hear, things we read, anything in our lives that doesn’t seem to fit neatly into something known or familiar.

When rules, policies, or traditions don’t make sense we search for answers. This is especially true when we see something that seems unfair or out of balance.

For decades the Priesthood was denied to men of African lineage. This was confusing. It seemed unfair and out of sync with what members of the church believed to be just. It was a sky full of clouds and many theories were presented trying to make elephants out of them. Theories varied greatly, but none made sense to everyone; not everyone could see an elephant in that cloud.

Sometimes we can just look at the sky and see it for what it is, a sky full of clouds, but when we feel compelled to find shapes, we will.  The Priesthood cloud compelled people to find shape because it wasn’t just an ordinary cloud that could be dismissed as such. Our logical brains were demanding we make sense of it. Theories ranged from the absurd to the offensive. The only theory nearly everyone could accept was this: It’s what God wants.

In the 14th century, logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham in England, developed what has become known as Occam’s (or Ockham’s) razor. It is the idea that when you have several theories for why something is the way it is, the simplest theory is usually the right one. This is what members of the church settled upon. The simple answer to the Priesthood cloud was the better one — God wants it that way.

QUESTIONS

Fortunately, questions persisted. Questions are the lifeblood of the gospel. Major events leading to the restoration of the gospel all came as a result of someone asking a question. Joseph Smith entered the grove with a question on his mind.  In 1978 President Spencer W. Kimball asked the question and the Priesthood cloud took shape.

We have the same situation today with the Priesthood. Women are not ordained. As with the African American situation, all kinds of theories are presented.

         1. Men have the Priesthood and women have motherhood.

This cloud has a lot of holes in it and most people, when they really look at it, cannot make sense of it. If we are going to equate motherhood with Priesthood, several irregularities become apparent. 

  • The equivalent of motherhood is not Priesthood, but fatherhood.
  • If we accept that Priesthood is conferred on condition of worthiness, we have to look at its “equivalent”, motherhood in the same way. Therefore, only worthy women should be mothers.
  • Men need not be married to receive the Priesthood, but entering into motherhood without marriage is unacceptable.
  • Putting Priesthood and motherhood in positions equal to each other, or similar to each other, automatically relegates fatherhood to third place and this makes little sense in the eternal family view.
  • Women who never become mothers fall to fourth place behind fathers.

Another reason given for why women do not have the Priesthood is: 

         2. Women don’t need the Priesthood; they can share in it through their husbands or fathers.

  • It’s true that women can share in the blessings of Priesthood, but this is not the same as being bearers of the Priesthood.
  • If women, including single women, can share in the priesthood, then men can do the same thing. We would really only need one person holding the Priesthood in the church and everyone else could just share in it.

Because it is a difficult thing to answer logically, Occam’s razor ends up being the final word. God wants it this way. But how accurate is that? When we look at the Priesthood question concerning African Americans, one can make a good argument that God did not want it that way. It took reasonable men, in a time of emerging racial equality to make sense of it, ask God, and get the answer.

Anyone who has studied the gospel, the Bible, and attended the temple knows that Priesthood for men only is not an eternal principle.

In a 1969 address at Brigham Young University, Apostle Hugh B. Brown said:

“Our revealed truth should leave us stricken with knowledge of how little we really know. It should never lead to an emotional arrogance based upon a false assumption that we somehow have all the answers–that we in fact have a corner on truth. For we do not.”

He then went on to say:

“Preserve, then, the freedom of your mind in education and in religion, and be unafraid to express your thoughts and to insist upon your right to examine every proposition. We are not so much concerned with whether your thoughts are orthodox or heterodox as we are that you shall have thoughts. One may memorize much without learning anything. In this age of speed there seems to be little time for meditation.”

Things change. Sometimes it can take a while, but things change. One of the great things about the church is that questions are not only acceptable, they are encouraged. There are many things that have changed because of questions being asked and people sitting down and reasoning together.

When seeking change, it’s important to remember what we were taught as children; ask nicely. Good things do not come from bitterness, or hateful dialogue. And although it’s important to remember that God is God and we are not, it’s also good to remember that God is reasonable. The heavens are open and revelation is an on-going blessing in our lives.

RELATED MATERIAL

TEXT from the D&C: Declaration on the Priesthood (Source – lds.org) 

Belong, Behave, Believe

In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul welcomed newly joined members of the church, telling them they were, “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Paul knew it was important for people to have a sense of belonging and feel welcome.

In 1999 President Gordon B. Hinckley gave the same welcome and asked every member of the church to make a serious effort to make each other feel welcome.

“I plead with you; I ask of you, each of you, to become a part of this great effort. Every convert is precious. Every convert is a son or daughter of God.”

He then listed three things new members of the church need.

  1. A friend
  2. A responsibility
  3. Nurturing with “the Good Word of God” (Moroni 6:4)

 

Every member of any church needs these three things, and the order of these things is not by chance. President Hinckley showed great wisdom in listing these things in this order.

BELONG (a friend)

In any religious group a person should first belong (have friends) and feel welcome.  We all want to feel accepted, loved, and appreciated. Christ commanded that we make others feel accepted by not judging. It is extremely difficult to grow in the gospel (be nurtured by the “Good word of God”) if we feel we do not belong or are constantly under scrutiny. The “household of God” should be a safe place where people are free to be themselves, and are loved and appreciated for who they are and who they can become.

BEHAVE (a responsibility)

When we feel we belong we then feel a desire to behave and fulfill responsibilities. Behaving is a life-long process, and no one perfects it.  When we join a religious group we accept such responsibilities as obeying God’s commandments, helping and supporting others, being good citizens; in short, doing our best to emulate Christ.

BELIEVE (nurturing with “the Good word of God”)

When we feel we belong and are accepted, we can then take joy in “behaving”. This leads to believing and growing in gospel knowledge.

It is extremely important that we FIRST belong.  Without belonging, the other things become extremely difficult, if not impossible.  One of the worst punishments a human being can suffer is shunning or isolation. It’s unfortunate that sometimes members of the church get the order mixed up. Sometimes Belong gets moved to third place. It’s very sad when a person is accepted only when he behaves. In any organization there are many norms, traditions, and practices, which, in reality are relatively unimportant in the big picture. Unfortunately, some people place an inordinate value on some very trivial things. When this happens people feel they don’t belong and are not acceptable.

One life-long member of the church said he could judge the strength of a man’s testimony of Christ by whether or not the man wears a white shirt to church.

A young women leader judged the morality of young women by the length of the shorts they wore to girl’s camp.

Another man believes that any “true follower of Christ” is clean-shaven.

All of these are trivial and petty and should never be a reason to make someone feel unwelcome. Making such judgments privately is sad, but when the person outwardly shuns or criticizes, it becomes a hindrance to fellow children of God.

Even when people commit serious, grievous sins, we can always extend a welcome hand reminding them they are fellow citizens in the household of God.

In his April, 2012 General Conference address, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave us simple to follow advice.

“This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it! It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters.”

RELATED MATERIAL

TEXT: Every Convert is Precious” President Gordon B. Hinckley elaborates on the three things each member of the church needs. (Source – lds.org)

VIDEO: Judging Others? Stop it President Dieter F. Uchtdorf teaches this simple two-word lesson. “Stop it”. (3:19, Source – lds.org)

QUOTES ABOUT FRIENDSHIP

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. – Albert Camus

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. – Helen Keller

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

See all QUOTES ABOUT FRIENDSHIP.

 

Live Life Joyfully

One of life’s wake up calls is the first time you look in the mirror and see wrinkles.  It reminds us how much time has passed, and unfortunately, if you are a glass-half-empty person, it can remind you how little time is left.

American blues singer Bonnie Raitt puts this point across in her song, “Nick of Time.”

I see my folks are getting on

And I watch their bodies change.

I know they see the same in me

And it makes us both feel strange.

 

No matter how you tell yourself

It’s what we all go through,

Those lines are pretty hard to take

                                                            When they’re staring back at you.

 Nothing is more constant than change. As we grow older our bodies change, our lives change, our employment changes, our family changes, the world changes.

In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon reminds us that life, that ever changing experience, is all about timing.

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

EXPECT AND ACCEPT CHANGE  (verses 1-8)

Change is inevitable and we should accept it when it comes. Resisting change will only set us up for disappointment. People who embrace change and set their lives by nature’s clock are able to enjoy each new season.

ACCEPT LIMITATIONS (verses 9-11)

Unfortunately, religious environments can be breading grounds for guilt. They are not designed that way, but if we forget Solomon’s advice and we try to live every season all at once, we fail and, as a result, feel guilt.

A young mother with children in grade school and Jr. High may not have the same freedom a woman whose children are all married would have to do important “expected” things like write her personal history. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose.

If we fail to accept limitations, we can spend valuable days fretting over what we should be doing and missing out on the joy of what we can be doing, and are doing.

After living through many of life’s seasons, Marjorie Pay Hinckley said:

“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.”

ENJOY LIFE (verses 12 – 22)

After reminding us there is a time and a season for everything, and advising us to accept our limitations, Solomon ends his writing with some of the wisdom he was famous for – Enjoy life!

Enjoying the good results of our labors is a gift from God. (verse 13) God wants us to be happy today. He doesn’t expect us to do EVERYTHING today and then allow ourselves to be happy. He wants us to do everything we CAN today and rejoice in what we accomplish.

Above all, we should enjoy life. No matter what we can accomplish or when we can accomplish it. We should not be so cautiously intent on being the perfect parent, spouse, employee or neighbor that we miss out on the joy that is life.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!” – Marjorie Pay Hinckley

RELATED MATERIAL

Video: Turn, Turn, Turn (3:19, Source – YouTube). The Byrds set Ecclesiastes 3 to music.

QUOTES ABOUT LIFE AND JOY

The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”

Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it. — Chuck Palahniuk

To see more quotes, visit the QUOTES PAGE for LIFE AND JOY.

Flowers or Stones?

We each want to feel better about our self.  As hard as we strive to be humble and unassuming, we often feel the need to look good in the eyes of our friends, neighbors and co-workers.

If a person lives in a neighborhood where most houses are similar and he wants his house to stand out, he has two options.

He can collect several paint samples and compare colors for eaves, window frames, etc. then spend several days in the sun painting. He can then plant flower bulbs that will come up in the spring, sun loving flowers for summer, and hearty plants for late autumn. He can plant beautiful bushes and shrubbery he can trim and sculpt. He can maintain a manicured lawn with sharp edges and uniform-blades of grass.

It’s a lot of work, but surely, after such time and effort his house will stand out.

His other option requires much less effort. He can simply gather a bucket of rocks from his yard, a few eggs from the fridge and a couple cans of spray paint. Thus armed, he makes his way through the neighborhood smashing windows, splattering homes with eggs and spraying slander on every door.

There’s no denying that both options will make his house stand out. The first option makes his house stand out because of hard work and diligence. The other makes his house look better by comparison.  In reality, his house has not improved at all; it’s an illusion.

These two options are used everyday by people wanting to look better in the eyes of others. Some of us work hard on self-improvement while others wander through life throwing rocks and painting slander.

Self-improvement is hard work and takes time. It demands a lot of thought and evaluation. It requires remodeling and on occasion complete renovation.  It demands forward planning to assure that what we plant today will come up as desired in the spring.

It’s much simpler to shatter the windows of a neighbor. Spreading gossip is easier than spreading compost, but in reality, your hands become much dirtier.

Sadly, meanness has become popular and a sign of success. One can hardly turn on a radio without hearing a talk show host mocking someone. We popularize reality shows that embarrass and belittle people.

American author John Steinbeck said:

“It has always seemed strange to me the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

We are in danger of becoming a society that admires sharpness rather than kindness, aggression over meekness, and pride before humility. Sometimes, in an effort to improve ourselves, religious people can forget the teachings that are at the core of our religions. In an effort to appear faithful, we can begin throwing stones at others to make ourselves look better by comparison. Throwing stones can temporarily make one look good, but in reality, when we all start throwing stones, we all lose windows. It’s a much better use of our time improving our own lives by planting a few flowers in the neighborhood.

RELATED MATERIAL

Video: Go and Sin No More (3;22, Source: Mormon Channel)

Jesus Christ teaches about compassion when confronted with a woman accused of adultery.

Audio: The Candy Bomber (58:00, Source: Mormon Channel)

The Candy Bomber, Gail Halvorsen, shares memories of bringing joy to children in worn-torn Berlin after World War II.

 

Finding Peace

Finding peace can sometimes feel like an elusive butterfly. We see it. We know what it looks like. It seems within reach, but when we get close it moves away…not far away, but just out of reach.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”

If nobody but you can bring you peace, doesn’t it stand to reason that nobody but you can take peace away?

5 THINGS THAT INHIBIT PEACE

1. REGRET

We all have things in our past that we should have done differently, or perhaps not done at all. We cannot change the past; we can only change the way we deal with it. If we fret over mistakes, we hinder our ability to improve and move forward. You can’t start a new chapter of your life if you keep re-reading old ones.

2. EXC– USES AND NEGATIVITY

Often when we dwell on old mistakes and live in regret, those regrets turn into excuses. They can become excuses for continued poor behavior, or they might become excuses for not being the person you want to be.

Benjamin Franklin said:

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

When we are busy making excuses, we take precious time away from making a life.

3. RESISTANCE TO CHANGE

Living in the past can ingrain in us a resistance to change. We start to feel comfortable in the familiarity of regret, regardless of how truly uncomfortable that past may be. When we accept that things will change, and better yet, when we embrace change we can set aside regrets and excuses and move forward improving everyday.

4. EXPECTING YOUR LIFE WILL BE PAIN FREE

When we hold onto regret and wallow in the pain of the past it can make us gun shy about trying new things. The painful memories of past mistakes can become a warning flare keeping us from venturing into what might be an exciting and fulfilling future. When we expect life to be pain free, we tiptoe rather than dance. On the other hand, when we accept the fact that life can be painful, but rewarding, we accept the difficulties as lessons learned and wisdom gained.

5. THE BELIEF THAT THE INITIAL GOAL IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OUTCOME

Sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned. To be honest, things rarely work out the way we planned.  Have you ever been on a journey, a holiday, or vacation and gotten lost? You were heading to see a particular site and you took a wrong turn and found yourself miles away from where you were heading. If you kept your nose in your map and complained and regretted the wrong turn, you missed out on an unexpected scenic wonder. However, if you kept your head up and looked around you found you had wandered into something wonderfully exciting. Life can take wrong turns. But often those turns are “wrong turns” only because they were not according to plan. More often than not, those turns, when seen in a positive light, can be the beginning of an entirely new and thrilling journey.

If we start down the road believing that the original goal is the only acceptable outcome, we will likely be disappointed. And sadly, we may find ourselves regretting the “wrong turns”.

QUOTES ABOUT PEACE

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. – Jimi Hendrix

Peace begins with a smile. – Mother Teresa

See All Quotes About Peace

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Come What May

Very few of us are living the life we imagined 10 years ago. The difference is some of us are loving life and its unexpected changes, while others resent the surprises they’ve been handed.

When we are young, we don’t sit down and imagine our future as bleak, depressing and hopeless. We imagine great things, happy families, ideal careers and high adventure. With such expectations, we each set ourselves up for disappointment because nothing is ever perfect. However, just because we set ourselves up for disappointment does not mean we have to be disappointed; the choice is ours. We can either feel cheated when something doesn’t turn out as planned, or we can look at the way things did turn out and find the positive in it.

Because things rarely turn out the way we plan, one might decide that the best course of action is to have no expectations. But when we have no expectations, we by design, have no dreams. When we have no dreams, we have no hope, and when we have no hope, we have no joy.

There are three types of people in this world: The pessimist, the optimist, and the enthusiast. When we look at life enthusiastically, we realize there will be ups and downs and curves and cliffs, dirt roads, paved roads, and sometimes no roads. Enthusiasts take what they are handed and make the best of it. The pessimist sees life’s glass as half empty while the optimist sees it half full. The enthusiast ignores the argument, drinks the water and blogs about how great it was.

THE PRINCIPLE OF COMPENSATION

No matter how positive or enthusiastic we are, life will more than likely hand us something very difficult at some point.  There will be tears. There will be heartache and disappointment. In those times, it is important to remember that the Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. Tears shed today will eventually be replaced with happiness. We need to trust that the Lord wants us to be happy. The very purpose of life is joy.

In the book of Revelation, John promises us:

“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Joseph B. Wirthlin, an Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared advice his mother gave him when he was young. When he expressed concern about things in his young life that were not going according to plan, she told him, “Joseph, come what may, and love it.”

THE GOLDEN RULE

When something bad happens and we approach it with a positive attitude, we change the energy around us and we attract positive things. The opposite is also true. When we react negatively, we change the energy and attract negative things. Have you ever heard someone who is having a good day say something like, “This day just keeps getting better and better”? Or perhaps you’ve heard the opposite from someone having a bad day, “This day just keeps getting worse and worse.” What people often fail to understand is that their very attitudes have a great deal to do with the direction their day is going.

The golden rule tells us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. It’s important to remember to treat ourselves as we would have others treat us. We should treat ourselves with kindness and appreciation, and surround ourselves with positive energy. If we do this, we may not be living the life we wanted, but we will sincerely want the life we are living.

RELATED MATERIAL

Joseph B. Wirthlin “Come What May, and Love it” (3:32, Source – lds.org)

Taking his immigrant mother’s advice to heart, Mormon motivational speaker Paul Sleem lives to teach the next generation what she taught him: “I’m a Mormon, Motivational Teacher, Grateful Son” (3:46, Source – lds.org)

Meditation

In February 1968, the Beatles traveled to Rishikesh, India to attend an advanced Transcendental Meditation training session at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This much-publicized event was instrumental in introducing meditation to the western world.  The approximately 7 weeks spent in India was the most productive in the Beatles’ tenure.  John Lennon said,  “We wrote about thirty new songs between us. Paul must have done about a dozen. George says he’s got six, and I wrote fifteen”.

It would be hard to argue that the environment had little to do with the Beatles’ productivity. Getting away from the clamor of normal life can open avenues of creativity and productivity in each of us.

A QUIET PLACE

Gordon Hempton is an acoustic ecologist. He records the sounds of nature all over the world. In a recent interview with Krista Tippett on her radio program, “On Being”, he warns that silence is becoming a rare commodity. It wasn’t long ago that keeping earth’s waters clean was not all that important, and being able to see the stars was not something that should concern us. Today, when those things are nearly gone, we see the importance of them. Now we are in danger of losing silence.

Silence is not the absence of sound, but rather the absence of noise. A forest can be silent even with the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves, but noise is something different. We are awash in noise everyday. From cars on the highway, to the beeping of a smart phone, noise is a part of our lives. When we are surrounded by noise our minds are being pulled in many directions. Noise makes it difficult to concentrate, to control our thoughts, or to simply rest our minds in meditation.

Meditation is an important part of our physical, emotional and spiritual health.  The Lord has counseled us to not run faster than we have strength. When we are bombarded by noise, our minds are running faster than they have strength. When we turn off the noise and rest our minds in meditation, we are able to “let the solemnities of eternity rest upon [our] minds.” (Doctrine and Covenants 43:34) Meditation clears our minds and welcomes insight and inspiration.

MEDITATION AND YOUR HEALTH

In a recent report, the Mayo Clinic listed the emotional and Physical benefits of meditation

The emotional benefits of meditation include:

Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations

Building skills to manage your stress

Increasing self-awareness

Focusing on the present

Reducing negative emotions

 

Some research suggests that meditation may help such conditions as:

Allergies

Anxiety disorders

Asthma

Binge eating

Cancer

Depression

Fatigue

Heart disease

High blood pressure

Pain

Sleep problems

Substance abuse

 

THE POWER OF MEDITATION

David O. McKay spoke many times about the power and benefits of mediation. He taught:

“We pay too little attention to the value of meditation, a principle of devotion. In our worship there are two elements: One is spiritual communion arising from our own meditation; the other, instruction from others. [] Of the two, the more profitable introspectively is the meditation. Meditation is the language of the soul. [] Meditation is a form of prayer.”

If we will take time out everyday to turn off the noise, meditate and listen to the silence, we will hear a lot worth hearing.

 

RELATED MATERIAL

Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress” (Source – Mayo Clinic)

QUOTES ABOUT MEDITATION

 

Frankenflavors

GETTING BACK TO NATURE

We have wandered a long way away from the foods nature provides. Our food has become so processed, manipulated and manufactured it’s hardly recognizable as food; and our bodies certainly don’t recognize it.  We are raising the unhealthiest generation ever.

IF YOU CAN’T PRONOUNCE IT YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T EAT IT

One very simple rule of thumb for healthy eating is this. If it’s being promoted on TV, don’t eat it. Think about this. When was the last time you saw an ad for vegetables or fruit?  We’re not talking about highly processed orange juice or preservative-packed fruit roll-ups, but simple, untreated, unprocessed, straight-from-nature food.

Recently the American television news program “60 Minutes” reported on a company in Switzerland, which creates chemical additives for food. The words chemical and food in the same sentence should be enough to make you stop and think. This company sends its chemists around the world sniffing and tasting fruits, vegetables and spices. They then return to their labs, don their white coats and proceed to manufacture those smells and tastes. These Frankenflavors are then used by food companies world-wide to flavor sodas, candies, sports drinks, chicken soup, breakfast cereals, and the list goes on and on and on. Pretty much the only things food companies don’t flavor are foods right off the vine.

We know what you’re thinking. If they have found such great smells and flavors in nature, why not use those natural flavors? One of the super-sniffer chemists interviewed by 60 Minutes provided the answer:

      1. Natural smells and flavors are not addictive. A person might eat a granola bar flavored purely with real fruits and grains and be satisfied. But with the chemical additive, he wants another almost immediately. These chemical companies not only admit this, they think it’s a good idea and are proud to be pushers to the world.
      2. You can’t patent nature. No one owns natural foods. By creating their own “food” in a test tube, the company can claim it as intellectual property and make literally billions every year.

 

“I WARN YOU AND FOREWARN YOU”

There is wonderful instruction in the Word of Wisdom about the good things we should eat. There are also things listed that we should not take into our bodies. But what happens when the line between the healthy and the toxic becomes blurred?  What happens to us when seemingly healthy foods are laced with toxic laboratory creations? The Lord saw this happening and warned us. In the fourth verse of the Word of Wisdom, He said:

“In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom…”

Unfortunately, many harmful things are being included in our food and are being deceptively promoted as healthy.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MY FAMILY AND MYSELF?

There are things we should know to eat healthy and avoid harmful chemical additives.

          1. If it comes in a can, a bottle or a box, it’s not nearly as healthy as it would be in nature’s perfect package, some even edible – think apples and potatoes!
          2. This may sound odd, but if it won’t go bad, it isn’t good. A high school science teacher in Blue Hill, Maine has a Twinkie that has been sitting on the chalk tray in his classroom for over 30 years, and it looks pretty much the same. The sad thing is, that Twinkie wasn’t any less harmful right off the shelf than it would be today
          3. If you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not something you should eat.
          4. If it has a TV ad, avoid it.
          5. If a product lists “Natural flavors”, run! Run and don’t look back. “Natural” is an unregulated term used freely to lure and deceive unknowing consumers. The word “flavor” is also a red flag.
          6. The fewer the ingredients the better. A good rule of thumb is 5 or less recognizable ingredients. This does not mean you’re good to go if the item has only three ingredients: delicious devil’s food cake, creamy filling and yummy frosting.
          7. Stay informed, and help your children and grandchildren be informed.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Energy Media Works LLC

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Test Tubes photo by: Armin Kübelbeck, Wikimedia commons

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RELATED MATERIAL:

The 60 Minutes Report (14:00, Source – CBS News via YouTube)

The Twinkie Story (Source – The San Francisco Chronicle)

The Word of Wisdom (Source – lds.org)

The Power of Forgiveness

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ said,

“Ye have heard that it has been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Sometimes trivial, petty things can hurt us and we really have no legitimate reason to be offended. But we all have had big hurts. We have each suffered from the actions of others, which cause legitimate pain.  In Christ’s sermon, he did not differentiate between the little hurts and major suffering. He commanded us to forgive all things. He goes on to say,

“For if you love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publican so?”

It is clear that in giving this commandment, he understands he is asking his followers to do the hard thing. Forgiving those that seriously, and deliberately hurt you is not easy.

FOR YOUR OWN GOOD

We have all heard it, and some of us who are parents have probably said it. “I’m not talking just to hear myself speak.”  It is our way of saying, “What I am telling you right now is useful information. It’s something you really need to make your life better.”  The Lord never talks just to hear himself speak. He gives commandments because it is useful information we need. It’s something we really need to make our lives better.

Many people are under the impression that forgiveness is for the person you are forgiving. To a certain extent that may be true, but forgiveness is always for you and your wellbeing. Notice that Christ did not say, “Forgive those that deserve it.” He did not say, “Forgive those that have made amends.” Our forgiveness should be unqualified. There are no minimum requirements the offender needs to meet. The offender does not even have to ask for forgiveness, or even know he is being forgiven.

PRAY FOR THEM

In a discussion with Oprah Winfrey, author and lecturer Marianne Williamson advised Oprah to pray for those who have offended her. Ms. Winfrey’s initial response was, “PRAY FOR THEM?!” Ms. Williamson then makes a powerful point, and it is the point the Lord was making when he commanded that we pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us. She told Ms. Winfrey that if she will pray for that person everyday for 30 days one of two things will happen. Either the person will change, or you will. What a powerful insight. Either way your life will be better. When Ms. Winfrey said that praying for an offender is hard, Ms. Williamson asked which is harder, praying for an offender or walking around everyday with anger and bitterness eating away at you?

Forgiveness is the most important step in conquering hurt. Perhaps that’s why the Lord commanded us to do it. He knew that without forgiving our offenders, we would continue to suffer not only the hurt, but also the toxic debilitating load of anger and bitterness. Forgiving others allows us to heal the pain of the past and move forward.

Elder Richard G. Scott, an Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, “Bitterness and hatred are harmful. They produce much that is destructive. They postpone the relief and healing you are looking for. Forgiveness heals terrible, tragic wounds, for it allows the love of God to purge your heart and mind of the poison of hate. It cleanses your consciousness of the desire for revenge. It makes place for the purifying, healing, restoring love of the Lord.”

QUOTES ABOUT FORGIVENESS

“Carrying a grudge is a heavy burden. As you forgive, you will feel the joy of being forgiven.” – Henry B Eyring

“Forgiveness is powerful spiritual medicine. To extend forgiveness, that soothing balm, to those who have offended you is to heal. And, more difficult yet, when the need is there, forgive yourself!” – Boyd K. Packer

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. – Mahatma Gandhi

For more quotes on the topic of forgiveness see the Quotes on Forgiveness page.

RELATED MATERIAL:

The Power of Forgiveness Author Marianne Williamson talks with Oprah Winfrey about the power of forgiveness and prayer (4:16, Source – Oprah Winfey Network via YouTube).

Required to Forgive” W.W.Phelps tells how he was forgiven by Joseph Smith (7:52, Source – lds.org).

For more related material see the Forgiveness Topic Page.

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