unconditional love

Loving In All Ways – Breaking The Silence

Today, I was out on Facebook, responding to people and wishing my followers “Happy Birthday”, and came across a posted link from a friend of mine.  It read:

WELCOME TO OUR HOMOSEXUAL DAY OF SILENCE| Culture Wars Right Side News (www.rightsidenews.comDay of Silence by homosexuals in our public schools promotes un-natural life styles and targets Christians as bigots.

Because I am the mother of a gay man, and friend to hundreds of LGBTQSA, and a huge proponent of unconditional love, I connected to the link even though I recognized I would be saddened by it.  Once I had read it and knew exactly what it said so I could be factual in my response AND I went out to the Day of Silence website to make sure I was accurate in my understanding from the LGBTQSA side of the conversation, I felt I could respond with truth.   On the home page of http://dayofsilence.org  – here is the statement: 

On the National Day of Silence hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.

The following “conversation” took place between my friend and me. 

Me:  Unfortunately, J., this is a cruel and bigoted article. The Day of Silence is not about “sex on demand” or “the right to engage in whatever sexual practice feels right at the moment”. It is about being able to choose who you love without fear.  It is about being able to live your life just like everyone else – in a home with your spouse, your children if you are fortunate to be allowed to have them, have BBQs in your backyard, take your children to soccer, work in a job without fear of losing it because of who you love, and rent an apartment without fear of being kicked out because of your spouse’s gender.  It is about being able to walk down the street without fear that you will be beaten, or even worse, killed.  It is about freedom from bullying and harassment.  It is about mothers who love their gay children not having to live in fear because they are shot at through their kitchen window or have a fire bomb thrown at their house in the middle of the night because their son is gay.  It is about love for humanity.  This article is about hate and bigotry, and if people identify with it because they are Christians, I would challenge that fact.  Jesus did not teach us to hate.  He showed us how to love.

J:  Sexual behavior should not be promoted in school

J: I am for love of all people, however my God deems certain behaviors sinful

Me: Perhaps, but I would encourage you to support being factual rather than hateful.  Sexual behavior is promoted in school along the continuum of sexual orientation by all kids, not just by gay kids.  In fact, it is most blatantly promoted by those who are straight.  Get to know what the Day of Silence means before you take the opportunity to demean it.  Some of the gay people I know are the kindest, most loving people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  And, many are Christians.

J:  Why not a day of Prayer then otherwise people who disagree are hateful!

Me:  Disagreement does not automatically translate into hateful, J. I am disagreeing with you, but I’m hopefully not being hateful. I like you – you are a good man. I’m just sharing my feelings that the world would be a much nicer place, if you would take the stance of being a loving man. How about a day devoted to unconditional love – that way no religions or spiritual paths are being stepped on, and no judgments are being made about worthiness?

Here is what I know.  I was judgmental about the article, Christians who buy into this kind of rhetoric, straight kids who are in to public displays of affection, and J for not being more loving.  That was not loving behavior on my part.  This I know because I was finally able to detach from the outcome of the conversation, and check my own behavior.  I expressed my feelings and my values, and I am done.   I forgive myself for my judgmentalism – I am still working on my ability to love unconditionally – I am human.  What J does with my thoughts is up to him. 

So, why am I writing this blog?  Because I have more to say about unconditional love – without it being wrapped around my passion and love for LGBTQSA everywhere. (BTW – just so you know, LGBTQSA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning, Straight, Allies).

For those of you who know me well, you know that another of my passions is looking at the differing religions and spiritual paths for commonality and for understanding.  In addition, I am an avid reader.  Recently, a friend of mine gave me a book called “Love for No Reason” by Marci Shimof. There is a section in that book that pulled me in, and made my heart sing.  It begins by saying that love is our true nature, that it is always there; it is our essence. This meshes with the core value of Love agreed upon by our church recently, and this is perhaps why I felt as strongly as I did when I read it.  The book goes on to say that all the world’s spiritual traditions speak of this larger, more expanded kind of love.  It is this I would like to share with you.

In Christianity, the term that’s used for this highest and purest forms of love is agape, a word borrowed from the Greeks.  In the New Testament, agape is the love that God has for man, and that He commands us to have for each other.  It is selfless, generous, and healing – the foundation for a good life.

In Hebrew, the word for love is ahavah, and for Love for No Reason, ahavat chinam, literally “groundless love.”  Rabbi David Thomas, describes ahavat chinam as “the love we show to a fellow human being without regard to our own interest, simply because we are human and we see the humanity of another.”

The Buddhists call this love metta or lovingkindness, love that makes one want to help and to give of oneself for the welfare and well-being of humanity.  They consider this love the ultimate source of strength and power.

Hinduism uses the Sanskrit phrase parama prema (supreme love) to describe a state of love that is full, with no conditions, and that brings a person to the truth of life.  And, in the sect of Islam called Sufism, the word ishq expresses this quality of unconditional and Divine Love.

What is present in all traditions is the certainty that God is love and that each one of us has access to that love inside.  It’s only clouds of stress, negative habits, ego, and fear that block this pure state of love and prevent us from experiencing it.

As humans, all we can do is be willing to act on our belief in our ability to love unconditionally.  Ever since we were children we may have been shown negative behavior, ego and fear by our families and friends that get in the way of knowing who we really are.  We may have been taught these same things by people we know we should respect and have reverence for – our teachers, ministers, and leaders.  A measure of our growth is in recognizing that these people, and circumstances, are not always right.  They, too, are human, and what they are teaching has been written and interpreted by humans.  And, because of that, by our repetition of the words, thoughts and ideas they may be sharing with us, we may not be right either.  All we can do is examine our values, and consciously and meaningfully take action on our willingness to be loving in all ways. 

Today’s affirmation: 

Just for today, when I interact with others, I will focus on them with love.

 Just for today, I will speak well of myself and others, always. 

Just for today, I will engage with others to create a culture that deepens relationships.

 

Who are you willing to be, today?

Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.

 

Unity Principle No. 1

I was at church today, and was surprised to hear people who have been part of Unity for a very long time say that they didn’t know what the five Spiritual Principles of Unity were.  And, because I was pretty sure that I knew, I went out to find them to validate what I was thinking.  I write an article for the church newsletter on a monthly basis, but thought I would also document this in my blog so I could go back to it over and over again to continue my thought processes and spiritual growth.

The first principle is one power and one presence.  The Universal Power is the Source and the Creator of everything.  Unity calls this God, other religions and beliefs call this power by many other names.  This power is Love at work in the universe. 

Within this principle, Unity teaches that there is not a struggle between two powers of good and evil.  This is a paradox created by man and is simply a belief in the separation from God, and is caused by our fears and our propensity toward judgment.  There are many books that have been written about this particular concept, one of which intrigued me, called the Disappearance of the Universe.  A second, which I believe I could probably study for the rest of my life, is A Course in Miracles.  Briefly, we are taught that we have never separated from the Universal Power, it flows through us in everything we do.  When we remember this, and forgive, we move strongly into love, both for everyone around us and for ourselves.

Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master.  Georgia specializes in career, business and personal life transitions for people seeking change in their life.  She is uniquely skilled in providing support and encouragement as her clients set intentional goals to attain their desires, holding open the space they need to stretch and grow. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.    Her websites are http://www.collaborativetransitions.com, where you can find her blogs about business and career, http://www.rainbowbridgecoach.com , where she and many other coaches blog about mind, body, spirit and emotion, and http://www.georgiafeiste.com where you can catch her thoughts on a wide variety of topics.  Georgia can be reached at (402) 304-1902 or you can schedule a 30 minute consultation via Automated Appointment.

To My Friends

Source: Flickr Creative Commons
Source: Flickr Creative Commons

When we relate to another as a thing our experience is flat and lacking in depth.  We never really share ourselves; we touch on surfaces alone.  When we relate to others as spiritual beings, our experience opens into a ‘vertical dimension’ that stretches toward infinity . . . We become confidantes – literally, those who come together in faith.  And it is not through this faith – – the faith of creeds and dogmas – – but the simple ‘animal faith’ of resting in communion with each other and with the natural world of soil and sunlight that we touch the divine.  ~ Gary Kowalski. UU Minister.  The Souls of Animals.

Last night a group of friends gathered at my house for an Open Circle I host every month.  Our discussion revolved around connections with the animal kingdom and how we think we fit in.  Part of the lesson was the above quote.  The discussion centered around several questions, but the one that sticks in my mind is this:  How would you describe your place (or humanity’s place) in the family of things?  Does your understanding of that place require or request anything of you?

Part of the conversation wrapped around how our animal friends are much more capable of just “being” than we are.  The human race has been both blessed and cursed with the ability to “think” at a much higher level than most animals creatures.  While this blessing allows us to analyze and plan, it also curses us with the ability to obsess over the past and worry about the future.  We are scurrying around in our heads so much we don’t pay much attention to where we are and who we are with in the moment.  Animals, on the other hand, behave and act from who they are.  When loved and cared for, they bless us with unconditional love and are ready to just “be” with us at any moment in time. 

Don’t worry, I will get somewhere with this.  Over the last several years, I have been actively living a life of heart connection rather than living in my head so very much of the time.  Now, I don’t always succeed in stepping out of my head quickly enough, but I’m getting better and better all the time. (Practice does make perfect.)  It occurs to me that because of this, my divine path is opening up before me and that the more I open myself to my heart, and the act of being in heartfelt communion with whomever I am with, the path will grow wider and wider as I move forward.  My place in the family of things requests this of me; this is my purpose:  Creating connections

My circle of friends is growing exponentially, both on a face to face level and through the time/space continuum (what I call the Internet and the telephone).  My friends bless me with their presence daily.  They include me in their life experiences – in joy and in sorrow.  We help each other and we share the energy of life with each other. 

Today, I say thank you for being my friend and send you unconditional love, the very best gift I can give when I am being who I am.

Warmly,

Georgia