Kindness

36. LIVING IN THE MOMENT

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Life is about appreciation of the moment before it becomes a memory.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

35. PLEASE STOP BY…..

open

Welcome!

I write a blog dedicated to the subject of ground-floor self-help topics. My introduction says a lot about where I come from and who I am. Further subjects address different areas of interest. I’m looking for new subscribers and will respond to all who care to leave a message.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

34. A LIFE OF PEACE

peace and tolerance

“There is no serenity, no joy, no grace without embracing the attitude of tolerance.”

tol·er·ance

/ˈtɒlərəns/ Show Spelled [tol-er-uhns]

noun

a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

 (this definition was pasted from Dictionary.com)
Freedom from bigotry. It sounds so simple and yet its influence can be as subtle as a reference to a single childhood memory. It’s impossible to move forward and take action without some sort of reference to the past. We equate what once happened with what might happen and make choices based on comparing the scenarios. Simple enough? Nope. We also do the same thing with emotional states. What has previously made us happy  will serve as motivation to seek out similar situations later in life; and what once frightened us we’ll remember, thus avoiding what might scare us in the future. In other words most of us (yes, including myself) pre-judge almost everything.
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To be honest I think in order to survive we have to pre-judge, but its usage must be limited. I’m willing to bet this food or diet will improve my health.  It looks like a storm is coming so I’ll bring an umbrella. The trip may be long, so I should fill up the gas tank. All well and fine as long as this attitude doesn’t cross over into the world of people. Not only is tolerance the  gift of being free from equating yourself with others, but equating yourself with who you used to be. Without these judgments we are able to take much more action. So much energy  and time is wasted on staying ahead of  those we think we must while trying to catch up with who we want to pass. The closest I come to continued competition in my life is to consciously work at becoming better than I was. That’s it. I do not, will not, equate myself with who I used to be. Just because I was slacking in one area yesterday is no indication I’m going to repeat the action. Who I was it not who I am. The same goes for you. I also do not consider myself better or worse than anyone I know. There is no doubt I do “play” to win, but not because my goal is to beat someone else. My goal is to prove to myself that I’m becoming better. Any outcome that is ego based has no appeal to me. Bragging rights, awards, fame, etc. are opposite examples of practicing tolerance.
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Do I have knee-jerk reactions to situations that bring up stereotypical perceptions and examples? Yes, all the time. A life of outside influences has programmed them into my hard drive. My salvation is that is I am to recognize these one-dimensional images of the world and send them on their way. I let them pass through without meaning and embrace a more nourishing, open-minded approach to those with differences. As far as I’m concerned everyone has some sort of gift to share, and if my defenses (or God forbid my offences) are in play, then I have blinded myself to whatever they have to offer. There are of course people I don’t want to associate with. Those with doubt, negativity, complaint without solution, and hostile attitudes need not bother trying to leverage me to their point of view. I honor their stand, but that does not mean I must incorporate these beliefs into my ethics. Were I to do that I would eventually become a completely unfocused, unproductive individual. I have my own set of goals and do my best to surround myself with those who support and encourage me. I’m willing to listen to other ideas and paths as long as they do not attack my current course.
Keep in mind tolerance is the mortar that bonds the entire structure of mankind together, while intolerance is the battle cry for all the violence and hatred that has caused nothing separation and destruction.
In one of my first posts titled “My Favorite Bumper Sticker” I talk about another aspect of this topic. It ties in nicely with this entry and it’s rather funny if you would like to check it out. The symbol I’ve posted as a picture accompanying this article is called a tolerance button, and can be found on eBay.
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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

33. “In the house…

“In the house that is LOVE, chiseled into the floor of the basement, is the word forgiveness.”

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I welcome you to visit my blog. Please follow me and feel free to comment as much as you would like, I will acknowledge all.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

32. “The right …

“The right lived life does its greatest work in the final hour.”

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

30. COME ON IN AND REST A WHILE……

Please make yourself at home and know that here there is understanding, acceptance, and kindness. I have nothing to sell but a lot to give and share. Check my topics and see if anything resonates. I welcome you to please follow my blog. Feel free to comment, feel free to share, I will acknowledge all.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

28. A CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE

Homeless person

I drive a lot these days and have since my early twenties. Some take the same familiar route daily while mine has always been all over the map. Years ago, in the early nineties, I drove from Port Angeles to Wenatchee, and from Olympia to Bellingham while living south of Seattle. From there I moved to Des Moines  and continued my travels in a larger  area that stretched from Kansas City to Lincoln to Cedar Rapids and sometimes beyond. Here in Denver I often commute up to one thousand miles in a week. While most of the country looks different wherever I go, some of the scenery sadly remains the same. It seems that no matter where I end up, there among the population is the face of our fellow man that suffers. Those in desperation eventually stand on the street corners of every city asking for a handout. They are more ignored than assisted, and they have lost the outlook that life is a gift, not a burden.

I must admit there was a time when I looked upon these “vagrants, bums, tramps, or beggars” with an attitude of indifference. I wished them no ill will, but I also felt there were places other than the local intersection that could be of benefit to someone with the fortitude to brave the elements and take an obvious daily dose of  verbal abuse. My thoughts would always go in the same direction, “If these people could just focus the same energy on a slightly different life, then abundance would be forthcoming in ways they had only dreamed.” This opinion was coming from a man who was drinking constantly and had little to show for his efforts other than a messy apartment.

As time, and eventually sobriety strode on, my attitude toward this population softened, but for the most part it basically remained the same; that is until one day when I was listening to an audio program in my truck by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. He was narrating a time when he and some colleagues were walking through New Orléans and happened across a homeless girl. Dr. Dyer gave her a hundred dollars and offered further assistance which she declined. His friends had tried to talk him out of giving her anything to begin with, stating that he was enabling her by handing over something that would most likely be used for self-destructive purposes. Up to this point had I agreed with his opposition, and then he said something very significant; something that changed my life in an instant. What he said was basically this, “This act of giving, without judging who is asking for it, is not between me and them, it’s between me and God. What they do with this gift is none of my business.” This struck a chord with me and it made sense. All of the sudden I was turned completely around in my attitude.

That particular day I was stuck in traffic approaching a corner where a regular guy had stood for more than a year asking for handouts. He greeted his potential source of income with  a daily dose of positive energy; broadly smiling while waving  and flashing the peace sign at everyone as they passed by. I moved over to his side of the road and rolled down my window to hand him some money. This was the first time in my life I had actually felt like giving to a total stranger.

“What’s your name?” I said as I handed him a five.

“Brian!….Thanks!”

“You make me smile every time I see you. You may not believe this but a few years ago I was damn near in the same boat you’re in, so please don’t give up hope; I’m glad I didn’t.”

On my way home I stopped at a convenience store and bought some junk food along with a one dollar scratch ticket. It turned out to be a hundred dollar winner. I couldn’t stop laughing because the five I had given away was nothing to me, scrap paper in my pocket that, knowing my habits, would probably end up in the washing machine. Fast karma and a fast lesson. I carry one dollar bills with me now to spread the wealth, but the police are cracking down on panhandling more than they used to so my opportunities are much less than they were.

Over time I would talk to Brian and encourage without criticizing or preaching, but the day came when  he simply wasn’t there; and I waited. Six months went by and someone else eventually took over his spot. Finally I worked up the courage to ask the girl, whom I had gotten to know a little, if she knew what happened to him.

“Why yes! He’s off the streets now. Brian cleaned himself up and is working full-time.” As positive as I am, I was still stunned; flabbergasted actually. Wow! One in a thousand, maybe more. This news made my week. I was relieved he was ok. I’m sure he never knew but his resolve served to inspire me even further. If the opportunity to thank him in person ever arises I will do so with great enthusiasm.

When I look at these faces now all I see is a person of potential and someone who has misplaced a connection to the ability of re-creating and improving upon their best moment. Was it on some forgotten playground, as an innocent child lost in mindless play? Maybe it was their first kiss? Perhaps it was the time they first hugged their puppy knowing that this love would never go away? Maybe it was something as simple as watching a sunset. All of us have these types memories and most attempt to build on them, but some lose their way. If someone is standing on the street corner and asking for help, do they need help? The answer is ALWAYS yes. It’s never no. DO NOT ask yourself if you think they did it to themselves or not, it does not matter. As far as I’m concerned this observation is an inarguable point. Granted, the help they need may not be what they want, but they do need help. It’s sad that in a country like the United States, where there is more abundance in our gutters than there is in many other parts of the world, that there are people who are completely blind to what literally lies at their feet.

If we all come from the same place and are destined to end eventually up where we started, why must we insist on separating ourselves between these two events? Is it our duty of the spirit to bridge this gap and repair the rift that breeds selfishness and greed? It is at least for me, and I plan to continue proving by example that our connection to each other is the secret to a life of fulfillment and peace. What good is a life of prosperity if I never share it or at the very least, show others how I got there?

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

20. APPROACHING LIFE POLITELY

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When I was in second grade our teacher, Mrs. Larson, spent an entire day on manners. It made a great impression on me. I learned to open doors not just for girls, but anyone. I learned to say “Mr.” and “Miss or Mrs.” to those I approached (especially strangers) as a way of acknowledging someone with dignity. I learned to show a graceful respect for everyone no matter their appearance or age.  I’ve often wondered how far and to whom her influence has carried itself. Forty years later the ripples in my pond are still there.

I learned very quickly how important politeness is. Some think of it as an attempt at being self-centered or above reproach using such words as snotty, conceited, pretentious, or arrogant to describe this attitude.  I do indeed see how it  might be played as leverage to try and rise above others.  This is not the proper definition nor execution of what I’ve come to understand. Courtesy is the act of putting even the smallest needs for others first; always. This is easily understood when its opposite is realized. Those we know who are the most rude and cocky constantly put themselves first in every situation. They are unkind and impolite. Their self-perceived priorities take precedence. They are extremely unreliable in every situation because when the need for help arises, it’s given only when it benefits them as well.

Putting the needs of others first isn’t just the entire picture. I suppose one could do this outwardly while hiding feelings resentment and jealousy. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve done this, especially in traffic, but I’m also happy to announce that these incidents are becoming exceedingly rare. Being polite isn’t about how I want others to see me, it’s about how I want to see myself. If someone else benefits from something I’ve done, it’s a side-effect, not the goal. I used to become frustrated when my attempts at being civilized weren’t being returned. Someone would yell at me until I finally sunk to their level and yelled back. Not anymore. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of times where I will step up and be a MAN, raising my voice appropriately when the situation calls for it, but I will never be a jerk or insulting.

Do not think that politeness is equal with weakness. It’s not an invitation  to those seeking to take advantage of a peaceful situation. Upon the contrary, keeping a calm and patient exterior (as well as interior) lets nothing unwanted influence you.  Remember, frustration always commits suicide. It cannot survive without a captive audience so it self-destructs. As soon as its given attention it has a reason to re-assert itself which is why the followers of a great many historical blowhards are just as annoying as their leaders.

At the very least ask yourself these questions. Why not be kind? Why not be patient? Why not be empathetic? Why not be generous? Besides, who really does want to become rude, impatient, indifferent, and selfish anyway?

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

19. WHAT I REFUSE TO BELIEVE

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Some time ago I posted an entry designed to better introduce myself called “WHAT I BELIEVE”.  It was only half of where I stand; this completes the circle. There are common convictions many endorse that I refuse to. They hinder advancement and are useless. I choose to embrace only those philosophies which lead me away from chaos and destruction.  My goal is to live a life of peaceful constructiveness. This is NOT a path of religious sentiment nor is it the result of following a singular teaching; it’s a journey of being faithful to my spirit. I trust in guidance from an inner place. I’m not referring to that loud obnoxious voice, the one wanting nothing but pleasures of the body, known as the ego. No, I speak of an almost silent whisper coming from the deep chambers of my soul. There is where I listen, getting what I need without asking for direction. This connection has served me well and I look forward to seeing where it will eventually take me.

I refuse to blame

I refuse to believe there is never a choice.

I refuse to believe in luck.

I refuse to believe the world is getting worse.

I refuse to believe I am a victim.

I refuse to believe in seduction.

I refuse to believe the past equals the future.

I refuse to believe that there’s somewhere where God is not.

I refuse to believe that there are those beyond hope.

I refuse to believe in ugliness.

I refuse to believe I am separate from God.

I refuse to believe in impossibilities.

I refuse to believe good guys finish last.

I refuse to believe in death.

I refuse to believe first impressions.

I refuse to believe that I can’t make a difference.

I refuse to believe  negativity.

I refuse to believe I’m given more than I can handle.

I refuse to believe I cannot change.

I refuse to believe in fear.

I refuse to believe in imperfection.

I refuse to believe violence is an answer.

I refuse to fight against anything. (I will fight for something though)

I refuse to be offended.

I refuse to be late.

I refuse to stop being just a bit juvenile sometimes.

I refuse to let a day go by without trying to make someone laugh.

I refuse to be an example of what not to do.

I refuse to sell myself short.

I refuse to complain.

I refuse to do something I know I’ll regret.

I refuse to leave this world wondering what I could have done better.

I refuse to not check for toilet paper before I sit down.

I refuse to try to impress people.

I refuse to let other people’s opinions change my opinion about me.

I refuse to ever stop growing.

I refuse to ignore my feelings.

I refuse to think I’m always right.

I refuse to hate.

I refuse to ignore a cry for help.

I refuse to be unkind.

I refuse to be lazy.

I know what I don’t want because at some point I used to practice these, and they almost destroyed me. As time goes on I’m sure I’ll purge more beliefs and habits. Humble pie tastes terrible but it sure does a good job of cleaning me out.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

16. A HOLIDAY STORY

bell 4

Once upon a time…..

This is a little out of season, but I suppose it is Christmas in July. It’s one of my favorite stories, and it’s as true as I can tell it.

In 1983, I was a teenager working at a local mall in the Denver metro area, Southglenn; for those of you old and close enough to remember. In any case, my minimum wage duties included a lot of cleaning, so as a result I walked the entire circuit several times a night. The holiday season was upon us, and the parking lots were full, as was every store.  Although we were in the middle of a bitter cold snap (the temperature had been dropping to 20 below for two weeks and had never risen above zero), this didn’t deter the bustling crowds. The place was as packed as I had ever seen. The frozen conditions outside didn’t seem to be keeping the shoppers from being cheerful and courteous. Their good mood served to elevate mine.

As usual for this time of year there was a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army standing by the main entrance to the mall. His efforts at collecting weren’t meeting with much success, and I’m sure this, along with the temperature, served to dampen his resolve.  It’s not that people weren’t in the spirit of giving, it’s just that they wanted to get inside and away from the weather as quickly as possible. As the day progressed he decided to move his operation indoors. I didn’t blame him. There was, however, an unexpected reaction to his new location. The part of the mall where he had relocated was two stories high and wide open, so in essence it was a large chamber; an echo chamber if you get where I’m going with this. The poor fella went from being cold and ignored to center stage and annoying. Frustrated that his new location was even less profitable, he packed up and left.

Later that day, as I was completing yet another lap around the mall, I happened to be upstairs on the balcony over where the man had previously been standing. He was back and all set-up, bucket and Santa outfit, but no bell. He was waving something around, and most people were dropping money as they passed by. I was too far away to clearly see what exactly was going on, so I decided to take a closer look.

When I got downstairs it became obvious that this man came up with an ingenious solution to the predicaments of the day. Across from where he was standing was a toy store. Apparently he had gone in and bought one of those annoying paddle games; the one where there’s a rubber ball attached to an elastic cord. It’s singular function was to bounce it back and forth on itself like a sideways yo-yo.  Well, he definitely changed its purpose, and he vastly improved upon it in my opinion. After removing the ball and cord, he had taken the paddle itself and written on it in black marker “DING DONG.” He was joyously waving this around for all to see, much to the delight of those passing by. I couldn’t stop smiling. The bucket was packed full of money.

Every Christmas when I see those persistent bell ringers, I always think of the one man who seemed to please both the crowd and his purpose. If I ever see the act repeated, I’m going to have a genuine urge to drop in my paycheck. I’ve been convinced since then that without a doubt, silence truly is golden.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood