Monday, October 8, 2018

A Shift of Perspective Brings Unity

Have you ever looked at a picture of the Earth taken from far out in space and considered how beautiful our Earth is and how from that wider perspective there are no territorial boundaries and no differentiation between religions, color of skin, ethnicity, country, government, or any other dividing label we place on ourselves and against others every day?

From way up high, implementing an expansive God's eye view of the Earth, we see that we are all one human race living on one beautiful planet. We are one people. We are us. I think if we were to regularly take some time to admire and thoughtfully consider that more expansive view within our thoughts and actions, we could become more united instead of continuing on so divided.

Considering the number of catastrophic events that have occurred all over the world in the past few weeks, many can't help but ask God why they are going through such tribulations involving immense destruction, chaos, and loss. Yet, it is through those very tragedies we clearly see that we are all truly equal and through which we find ourselves brought together with our fellow man. It is in the midst of catastrophe that man-created divisions fall down and become insignificant and unimportant. Tragedy gives birth to compassion and empathy and to truly caring, helpful hands. Through all these events, we discover that unity with other human beings is forged through the fire of suffering.

"Taking a “God’s-eye perspective,” as the Archbishop might say, allows us to transcend our limited identity and limited self-interest. One does not have to believe in God to experience this mind-altering shift in perspective. The famous Overview Effect is perhaps the most profound example. Many astronauts have reported that once they glimpsed Earth from space—a small blue ball floating in the vast expanse, lacking our human-made borders—they never looked at their personal or national interests in quite the same way again. They saw the oneness of terrestrial life and the preciousness of our planetary home. Fundamentally, the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop were trying to shift our perspective from focusing on I and me and mine to we and us and ours." -- The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

Monday, July 23, 2018

Being an Empath Requires Coping Tools

A year ago, a new friend told me about the book The Empath’s Survival Guide by Judith Orloff, MD.  I glanced at the book at the time but was too busy to dig into it.  Fast forward a year, after having spent it all in heavy duty yoga teacher training, and I was in much need of some me time, self-introspection, soul renewal and personal in-depth growth.  Something I saw or read a few weeks ago triggered my memory of the book, and I was ready to delve deeper.

I chuckled at myself taking the questionnaire in the book because I already knew the answer.  But of course, it doesn’t hurt to confirm it with a questionnaire, right?! 

Yes, the questionnaire shows me as a full blown introverted empath. 

I’m not sure at what point in my life I was able to put the word “empath” to my emotional and relational characteristics.  It’s only been in the past 3-4 years that I have understood the power (pleasant and unpleasant) this personal characteristic has had over me, my life, and my well-being.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Our Differences Really Don't Matter So Much

Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

In being with faced with heart-pounding moments hanging between life or death and the sacrifices that come with those moments, we are given the perfect opportunity to starkly realize that our human similarities are way more important than our differences.

In life or death moments, we are faced with the blunt truth that the color of our skin, the language of our words, the things we hold true or false, the God we worship or don't, and the way we regularly live day to day absolutely matter not one iota under the desire of staying alive or being swallowed up by death. Therefore, those differences should not matter even more so in light of the gift of life that we are given today.

We are given the gift of today that we may make our own and someone else's life a little better and brighter. Be kind, always.

These Thai boys have been given a life gift through the many who fought so hard to rescue them and through the ultimate sacrifice of the man who, in doing so, gave up his own life. That man's love and kindness have now been passed on to these boys, and they will, in turn, know how to offer their heart to others.

Give to others what you wish to receive yourself. Everything comes full circle.

Excerpt from The Guardian article which includes the above photo:
"Perhaps because human beings are at their best when they are truly tested. Perhaps also because the darkness and isolation of being far underground in a rocky world forces a sense of our shared existence as a species. Only the courage and love of strangers who stopped being strangers could light up that darkness."

Sunday, July 1, 2018

POEMS - Light Within

Light Within

Open your eyes to see
The wonders of even the darkest skies
For beyond the stormiest clouds
Radiates an infinite light
It cannot be extinguished
And does not die out

Continue to persistently seek it
With an adventurous heart
Though the storms may cloud your sky
Do not walk away in defeat
And altogether miss
The miraculous revealing
Of this vibrant light down deep

© MaryAnn Broussard
July 1, 2018

Monday, July 31, 2017

Learning Opportunity at the Poudre River

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience 
in which you really stop to look fear in the face."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Reflections from an ever learning sojourner...

I believe that some of the greatest life lessons with the most growth potential initially come wrapped in not so pretty and very messy packages that we would prefer not be gifted to us.  A few days ago, I was given one of these learning opportunities.  

Two of my children, Braden and Madison, were home for a few days' visit and Braden's fiancĂ©, Alyssa, was also here with him.  We thought it would be a fun adventure to buy some intertubes from Big O Tires and tube down the Poudre River in the Poudre Canyon.  My husband, Michael, and I had seen people doing this last summer and it looked like so much fun!  We even scoped out the river the day before to decide the furthest possible point of entry to avoid the spillways and take a look at the speed of the current.  At that time, I made mental notes that there were a couple of areas where the rocks were too abundant and jagged creating turbulent rapids, and that I preferred not to tube through those.  I also made a point to express to the family that we had to have good shoes on to protect our feet from the rocks.  My expressed concerns about the rapids and jagged rocks and the importance for shoes were a little poo pooed at first as if I was being overly cautious, but I paid no mind to the skeptical looks I received from some of my family members.  I'm a mom, and it's in my nature to protect those I love and to be wisely prepared for the unknown, especially because in the Poudre Canyon there is no cell phone service whatsoever (with any provider).  So unless you find that rare call box somewhere along the long stretch there is no ability to call for emergency personnel in case of an emergency.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Life Happens in the Now

Reflections from an ever learning sojourner...

Life happens in the now.  

Though we can find joy and sorrow and gain valuable wisdom from our memories, there is no active life in what has already passed.  That life has come and gone and cannot be undone.

Vibrant life cannot be found in daydreaming about or dreading the future.  We know nothing about that future, near or far, because it is not guaranteed and not yet a reality.  Dreams and ideas can be used to inspire our actions in the present, but that doesn't change the fact that the future is still simply a fantasy in our mind.  

Dynamic living occurs by engaging in this very moment, with this very breath, and in the current circumstances of life.   It is in how we wholeheartedly live this moment that redeems the past and in which the future is forged.

What will I make of my life right now?
© MaryAnn Broussard

Friday, April 28, 2017

Why Don't You Fly a Little Higher

This post is dedicated to and written for my beloved daughter. 

When the storms of life feel overwhelming and invincible, I am often reminded of these words of scripture and the ones at the end of this post:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?  The Everlasting God…the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.  30 Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly,31 those who]wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will develop wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”  (Isaiah 40-28-31)

The eagle signifies power, freedom, and transcendence.  It freely soars high above valley lows, mountain highs, raging rivers, and peaceful lakes.  As it spreads its mighty wings and flies high, it has the ability to see the whole of the earth while also being able to focus on even the tiniest movement and shape of its necessary nourishment.  It prefers soaring with wings spread wide rather than exerting unnecessary energy flapping repeatedly.