Archives for posts with tag: healing

 

LET GO…

 

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do if for someone else.

 

To “let go” is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization I can’t control another.

 

To “let go” is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

 

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

 

To “let go” is not to try to change or blame another it’s to make the most of myself.

 

To “let go” is not to care for, but to care about.

 

To “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive.

 

To “let go” is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

 

To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes but to allow others yo affect their destinies.

 

To “let go” is not be protective, it’s to permit another to face reality.

 

To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.

 

To “let go” is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

 

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.

 

To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody but to try to become what I dream I can be.

 

To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

 

To “let go” is to fear less, and love more.

 

Anonymous

 

 

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

 

www.mariahildapinon.com

The Gentlest Kindness… Self-Forgiveness.
So, none of us are perfect. In fact, we are perfectly imperfect. We have proclivities that can go awry. And we can do some damage to others and ourselves, thanks to our free will and our lack of insight and awareness. So what do we do now after our actions? We have to be humble enough to call it what it is….human error.
Welcome to the human race where none of us know it all or do it all right. But it is in the reflection of our offense that we have the opportunity to become the better person and grow to be the best we can be during our time on earth.
We all have a human debt list, with different items on it. Ours may not be the same as someone else’s, but you can be sure we all have one. How backlogged is yours?
But all is not lost if we can learn from the experience, rethink our actions, move through the uncomfortable feelings and resolve to increase in awareness before we venture out again and repeat the same action. And when appropriate, repair the damage to the relationships it impacted especially the relationship you have with yourself.
Most of us tend to lose a measure of trust, self-respect and self-esteem when our actions are hurtful to others and to ourselves. Without addressing the actions, it is easy to see how we can tie up emotional energy in the wrong direction…toward the hiding from ourselves and others into the darkness of guilt and shame rather than toward the light of inquiry, compassion, insight, resolve and awareness.
But what keeps us from wanting to release its painful grip on us. Perhaps it is because we do not do the work noted above and we think we deserve some kind of punishment. Those of us who have a belief in a punitive God or Higher power rather than a merciful God or Higher Power tend to have a more difficult time with self-forgiveness.
It is interesting that in America, according to a poll taken when America reached the 300 million population mark on Tuesday, October 17, 2006, the majority (close to 70%) believe in a punitive God or higher power. Some studies show it keeps you more honest and less likely to cheat if you believe in a punitive God/Higher Power.
I believe this reflects more our own level of moral development (see Kohlberg’s theory of moral development). The first level of moral development (pre-conventional) has us in obedience out of fear of punishment. If we have the highest level of moral development we would be honest as a practice stemming from value based living rather than rules or convention. But only we can move forward to higher moral development with inquiry, compassion, an understanding of humanity, insight, resolve and awareness.
Is it easy to forgive ourselves? If you have the courage to bear and tolerate discomfort and pain, you will succeed. If we tend to escape this task and hope it goes away by itself we will find ourselves building a dark pool of toxic emotions that keep us from embracing our whole self. It is a journey of many emotions and not all are pleasant but in the end with gained understanding, empathy and resolve we are the better. And this is the gentlest kindness of the gift of self-forgiveness, a better, more understanding and kinder you toward yourself and others.
Many want to take shortcuts and make it an intellectual experience sidestepping the varied emotions evoked. But self-forgiveness is largely emotional with appropriate self-talk and processing guiding the experience.
So think about where you stand in your ability to forgive yourself. Think about the higher power you believe in: punitive or merciful and think about your courage to face and live through uncomfortable emotions.
If you can learn the gentlest kindness: self-forgiveness and truly get to know a merciful Higher Being, you will want to be kind, compassionate and empathetic with everyone and live these qualities out daily with others for this relationship of love, not fear, with our higher being, inspires us to build the bridges of unity. It is in the recognition of our human condition that we can unite and empower each other to be the best human we can be so we can live in the most evolved state of being… a love consciousness that desires each to develop to our fullest in all our human dimensions.

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.
http://www.mariahildapinon.com

Forgiveness Sake… For Goodness Sake!

 

As the New Year begins, we take inventory of what we have. Hopefully we are not carrying debits on our energy.  If so then perhaps we need to let go of some burdens that are taking up energy we need to create other experiences that are life-giving and positive and not life-draining and negative. Forgiveness is an art and a practice.  It is for us, not for the wrongdoer, even though some of us might need to feel like generous benefactors to the culprits in order to create another debt they will owe us…and of course this is called a tit for tat… “I gave you forgiveness, now you owe me.!”

 The truth is that forgiveness is for us and only us.  We do not have to even let the wrongdoer know we are going to forgive them.  It is an act of self-love to release our energy and make it available for another worthwhile endeavor that offers a better gain. That is more life sustaining not draining.  IT is easier said than done, since most of us in theory want to forgive and let go, but few of us practice it to where we really gain back the energy. 

Forgiveness is not lip service, when our heart is still heavy. It truly is a release of the burden of the negative and hurt energy we have received as a result of someone’s actions that may or may not have been intentional.

For starters, if we have good will, or caring for a person, we usually give them the benefit of the doubt that they did not do it on purpose and it is easier to let it go. When we have good will and they do it on purpose it is harder, but our caring gets put to the test, do we have greater caring or do we keep count: each of these postures reflecting our level of moral development.  Love and caring, if you please, do not count the cost, yet, self-seeking ways look to gain and it is called being interested in a return such as one expects  in a business investment. And let’s face it, if we do not have good will whether it was done on purpose or not, it is the hardest act to perform.

Here are some information from the course by Joan Borysenko on Soul Care:

Robin Casarjian founder of the Lionheart  Foundation, wrote a book called: “Forgiveness: A bold choice for a Peaceful Heart.” From a program she developed, called Houses of Healing she describes what forgiveness is and what it is not.

Forgiveness is NOT:

1. Pretending or ignoring your feelings or acting as if everything is fine when it is not.

2. Acting like you have forgiven when deep down you are still resentful.

3. Handing over your power or showing weakness because true forgiveness strengthens us and frees us.

4. Condoning or accepting negative or hurtful behaviors of others

5. Telling someone you forgive them, that is a choice. You can forgive without contact with the other person

6. Trusting someone again who has hurt you because trust has to be earned.

7. Putting yourself in a situation where you can get victimized again.

8. Forgetting what happened.

9. A lofty ideal.

10. Reconciliation

 

Forgiveness is for us, it frees us, and it is not about the offender. P. Wong, psychologist, says that forgiveness is an act that is against our instincts of revenge and hate and the odds of getting hurt again.

Forgiveness takes time and it will often rivet. Sometimes you get closer and then you move backward. But studies show that when we choose to hang on and retell the story to ourselves as to why we do not want to let go or forgive, the retelling the story itself  “re-traumatizes”  us and the story gets bigger and stronger….(Stanford Forgiveness Project)

Check out www.forgiveforgood.com

From multiple evidenced based studies on forgiveness some general guidelines follow
to practice and live out forgiveness.

  1. 1.    Acknowledge exactly how you feel. Do not sugar coat or make more awful (awfulize), just feel what really is.
  2. 2.   Tell your story to someone you trust to get heard and validated and recognize what the price is to holding onto the grudge.
  3. 3.    Do not wait for an apology. TAKE action. Change your attitude.
  4. 4.   Measure what you gained in this situation of the transgression…insights to help you grow in self-understanding, empathy and compassion. We might discover our own negative self- talk, judgmental thoughts, anger and self-blame and can use this as an invitation to grow in self- awareness.
  5. 5.   Amend your grievance story after gaining your unique insights so that you can also appreciate your courageous choice as it is easier to stay depressed or angry.
  6. 6.   Make a positive plan to get what you need and want.  

 

 

Feel the light heartedness that comes when you let go and release the energy for other good things, “for goodness sake, forgiveness sake.”

 

Dare to think and act different this New Year, as you evolve to higher ways of being… forgiveness sake, for goodness sake!!!!

 

Maria Hilda Piñón, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

GRUDGE Report

There is nothing as refreshing and cleansing as to be able to report we have truly released a grudge, we have let go of a grievance, we have practiced the art of forgiveness for our own good.  As the year draws to a close it is prudent and wise to spend some time reflecting on the year that ends capturing its highlights of both the joys and the pains.

At the end of each year my daughters and sometimes friends join us for a beautiful ritual to close out the year. Perhaps you would like to start your own circle with friends or family.

Sit in a quiet place together, place a special cloth on a table or on the floor, place a candle on it, and bring symbols that are important to each person participating that represent highlights of the year and icons that may be special to you representing your spiritual guide to place on the cloth. Each person should have paper and a pencil or pen. We use spiral notebooks. Have chimes, bells, bowls, tuning forks, or any instrument that produces relaxing sounds or enhances relaxation.  Light your candle, and have everyone take a deep breath. Have one person use the sound instrument on each person (we ring the Tibetan chimes over each ones head as they continue to take cleansing breaths). Call on the highest guides to be present to the exercise (angels, saints, the Virgin Mary, God, ancestors, etc.).When everyone feels calm and centered, begin the writing exercise.

1. Make a list of all the things, situations, persons, that need to be released or forgiven. What we are still clinging to and hold a grudge against is the focus of this reflection.  Remember forgiveness and release is about us and not the transgressor.  It is to free our energy for higher goals.  Take as long as is needed to complete the inventory.  When it is completed, each person takes a turn reading their list.  All listen quietly and in support providing the encouragement and courage to share and explore as deeply as is needed to truly let go.

When all have taken a turn, take a deep breath and bless each story of pain.  You can take the list or inventory and burn it using the lit candle. Have an ashtray or similar dish close at hand to smudge it or a glass of water to drown it and extinguish the flame.

2.  Now make a list of all the things or events or people we are grateful for especially in the year the exercise are being done. When each one completes it each one reads it aloud to the group, witnessing the blessings of the year.  You will be surprised how after doing the release exercise, we will be grateful for all the transgressions as they have been our teachers of greater wisdom, for these grudges have the potential to help us grow deeply as we look inward. After all have read their list, everyone can take a deep breath and say a prayer of thanksgiving for all received.

3. Now make a list of the goals you have for the New Year and after that list is complete, read it aloud taking turns and identify how your friends or family can support you in the achievement of those goals.

When the ritual is completed, take a deep breath, celebrate and congratulate each other for the strengthening and deepening exercise undertaken and glow in the light of the end of one year as we transition to the beginning of the New Year. There is nothing as refreshing as beginning a year with a clean slate and letting the past go and stay in the past….

There will be a few more blogs following this one that will focus on the process of forgiveness both for others and of us. Stay tuned and thank you for being part of this experience and reading my blog.  I will be grateful for all the followers and hope you pass this GRUDGE report and the blog site to others.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

CLIFF NOTES

That this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”   President Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, address at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

If we forget the people, all the people and only focus on a select people, then the fiscal cliff deadlock and rhetoric of uncooperativeness, unrelenting postures, narrow visions and self-serving interests will contribute to more than an economic travesty, but to perishing from the earth a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

During this season of light, may our inner light see the light in others so that the blame, shame game of diminishment transforms us into our best selves to work for the good of all beings.

 

A Loving Kindness Dedication

(From Buddhist practice and Joan Borysenko)

 

“May all beings be free from harm and anger.

May all beings be free from mental sufferings.

May all beings be free from physical sufferings.

May all beings take care of themselves happily.

May all beings be well and happy.”

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

Dirty Laundry! Radical Honesty? Over Spiced?

Ever heard of radical honesty? In an age where “telling all” is a sign of courage to some individuals, an age where it is a “new power” as one stands naked in their truth and vulnerability or it is seen as a sign of being healthy, there seems to be an unintended consequence often overlooked…. “lowered morale”.  And in the “tell all” do we not often over spice the story with too many four letter words or graphic pictures in an effort to avoid being “boring”, that we miss the flavor of the real story.  This too can feed “lowered morale”, not to mention deteriorated language skills.

As “heroes” fall from their path of glory, unmasked often by individuals or groups who get a sense of vindication or gloat in self righteousness in doing this, our level of trust in people also falls.  Trust in the fabric of society as a whole is diminished as a result. No one believes anyone anymore…no one is surprised anymore when the next big person or institution falls down. And some conclude, “if they can do it and get away with it why can’t I?” And the slippery slope begins spiraling downward to the “why should I care?” (also often colored with four letter words)attitude.

In an age of transparency in business strategies and ethics, it has extended to transparency of all your life from birth to the present moment in your life, in the public and private arena, in the business and personal world…in any area where your mistakes, past poor judgments, etc, etc, lie and where someone can get you and tear you down if they have the information.  Those that want to know everything about you so that they can use it later if need be to smear you are alive and well. (This may be a possible reason why the President of the U.S. has said in the past that we be careful about what we post on social media about ourselves.) It is true we don’t know how any information can later be used against you in the world.

Does that mean we should not be telling our stories or being “honest”? Telling our stories can be healing and transforming, being honest is freeing at many levels, but to whom does this honesty belong?  If you are a private individual, it belongs only to you and those you wish to share it with. It does not have to be a media event. If you are a public individual, then your public life of service can be scrutinized as it is part of the domain. However it seems that the personal is often scrutinized mercilessly and has become part of the public domain!

“Dirty laundry should be washed at home” was an expression used when I was in formation to draw a line between creating public scandal, maintaining public dignity and respecting social norms (even if you had deviated from one, you and your confidants held the pact of silence and did not contribute to public scandal or demoralize others with your failures). Shame on you or the family was not just for the moment and for the transgression, it was for the rest of your life if it was aired in public. Caution was exercised when you sought out counsel.

Your dark moments (excluding criminal behaviors) and accumulated errors called experience were for you to learn something about yourself.  Honesty began with you to avoid self-delusion or denial of your behaviors.  In the act of telling someone who could guide you back to your sense of self, you became vulnerable and entered the realm of humility. Your possible arrogance faded and you moved closer to being real and authentic, a more genuine you. Healing for your transgression was the result. You were transformed. Honesty was the key to gain the gifts of courage, (the result of sharing your truth), humility (the result of becoming vulnerable and giving up your pride) integrity (the result of being back in the “whole of you”, not broken or fragmented or separated from yourself by self deception or in the denial of your transgression). Honesty, radical honesty, with you, with someone who could guide you, with those that had a right to the truth and with God was the virtue; the public exposition was not the virtue.)

And it ended there, with your new insights and realizations, arresting moral turpitude, and a new desire to contribute in better ways. The larger picture of societal norms remained the ideal to aspire to in your life. Public scandal and expose’s was an injury to the public morale, something to be avoided. But now we make money, get famous and rise in our ratings or sales from our dirty laundry and spicy language.

Individuals are far more tolerant and forgiving of transgressions more than ever before, which is a step toward unity…as we unite in our common ground of being human and not perfect. Yet should we not re-examine who and how we “tell all” to? Would not a few trusted individuals be enough?  Is the anything goes way of being “really healthy” for the social fabric of life that needs to be inspired and strive toward realizing ideals?

It is true that all stories of being healed are a true inspiration for many.  We all need the inspiration from other people’s journeys and stories that overcome trials and tribulations and smile on the other side of the experience full of hope, gratitude and wisdom. However, eloquence in telling stories is often replaced by crassness. If our dialogues or writings are not spiced with four letter words and graphic sex do we call it boring and no good?  Are we so hooked on the spice, that we miss the real flavor of the truths in the story?  Would it not be refreshing to taste real unadulterated flavor and not have the over spice of words change and adulterate the experience of the story? It indeed is a matter of taste.

As we move to higher consciousness, evolve toward a shift in consciousness, might we first awaken and examine our dirty laundry at home with radical honesty, only the necessary spice and inspire many to be more genuine, authentic, and whole?  If we desire to use more four letter words…LOVE added as the spice, flourishes best when we wash our dirty laundry (preferably at home) and commit to radical honesty to gain in the virtues of a more evolved world of higher consciousness. How can lowered morale, contribute to this shift, when rather than lifting ourselves and others in love, we toss so much garbage at each other? Dirty Laundry! Radical Honesty! Over Spiced?

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again. www.mariahildapinon.com

The Common Ground

 

Once upon a time, there were no stories about us.  Each of us came into being somewhere in the world. Life was breathed upon us at some point in our development.  And before our gender differentiated into male or female, we were generic human beings growing.  We then differentiated into respective males or females in the womb.  Alas some ready and some not, we were born somewhere in the world. 

Those before us had experience in the world and they had learned how to navigate it and survive to the best of their ability. They took on roles assigned or chosen in order to participate in life and meet its demands.  They formed groups of different interests to perform different functions for the good of all and they taught us how to be humans in that group.  They tried to understand life and human beings and the greater powers bigger than themselves. They gave us a legacy by teaching us how to express ourselves and get along with each other and understand the world through the eyes of their cultural story.

They celebrated and they cried. They laughed and worked. They rested and fought.  They had special foods and drinks, special music with unique instruments.  They utilized a language to communicate.  They loved each other and cared for each other.  They did not know about any other part of the world, only theirs. They had a cultural story they could identify with and become united at many levels. These were powerful cultural stories that gave each of us a unique formation that includes a belief system. But now we have arguments about who has a better story.  

All human beings have needs… anywhere in the world. No one is exempt. This is not unique to anyone being. We all have the need to eat, rest, breathe (physiological needs) and we all have the need to feel safe in the world. We want to feel good about ourselves and feel we belong.  When we are assured of all these, we become more aware of our need to transcend and go beyond ourselves and we can serve others and leave our mark in the world in selfless ways (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).  Some human beings never get past satisfying their physiological needs and they often are collectively in countries we deem as “third worlds” or a lesser designation. And those who know about transcendence do not forget those behind and fight for them so they too can know what it is like to transcend and be the most we can all be.

We were given intelligence and talents that are unique to us and not equal to each other. We saw how good it is to cultivate the intelligence and develop our talents to use not just for our benefit but for the service of all if we choose and thus advance the world forward at all levels. Our contributions are unique.

 The politics and economics of each country either support our development or can stymie the potential with either their short sighted vision or no vision at all for each of us. We are either valued or devalued. We are dehumanized or of human worth.

Suddenly our cultural story becomes the divide between us and we justify actions that widen the divide between us individually or as a country. We let the story get in the way, we hide behind the story and we forget our humanity.  We forget the common ground we are all on and we fight over whose story is right or better.  We lose respect for each other based on these cultural stories. We forget that we all were given the breath of life by the same being. In this we are one.

 We fail to get past all that is different and miss each other at the core of our being. We fail to meet on our common ground and the power struggles begin.  There are winners and losers, the weaker or stronger, richer or poorer, smarter or less bright, powerful or powerless, haves and have-nots, important or non grata, all designs to create divisions and justify the power brokers influence and delegate and designate lots in life subject to the control of the powers that be.  We lose each other in the struggle; we lose ourselves in the struggle and forget our own origin…before our time on earth. 

We have a world divided, we have countries divided pitted against each other. How will we ever evolve when we choose to be polarized? The universe is ready to lift off and rise to higher consciousness and only those who can see beyond themselves, those who can get past the politics and economics of our times, those who can see beyond the differences and the divides will transform from within to rise to higher consciousness.

Martin Buber (1878-1965) Jewish philosopher and theologian once said in his book, I and Thou (Ich und Du) that human existence may be defined by the way in which we engage in dialogue with each other, with the world and with God (highest being, power). We are all part of the whole and we enter relationships of reciprocity and mutuality. Each relationship opens up a window to the ultimate and eternal Thou.

We are in this world together and our actions do impact each other. Let us meet on the common ground of our humanity infused first with the spirit that gave us life and that unites us all. Let us meet on common ground.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta always greeted each person with hands folded and a bow and would say NAMSTE, a deep spiritual greeting that means: the divine spirit in me recognizes the divine spirit in you.

Let us meet on the common ground….NAMASTE.

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

 

Do I Really Count?

 

How many times do we feel discounted?  We say something and are ignored. We write something and are ignored. We do something and are ignored. It is human to want recognition and to feel counted.  The truth is that speaking up assertively is a statement that says to everyone “I Count” independent of what words are spoken by us. The very act itself is empowering.

No change can ever happen unless we take action in some direction.  Many of us taking the same action can create momentum. If you want to feel the power of really counting… use the opportunity given to you to cast your ballot. Every time you cast your ballot, you will feel empowered and really appreciate all the freedom most of us have if we are living in free countries. 

When one thinks about how many do not have this privilege and often go to extremes to be heard in their displeasure of the leadership in place, one can only become more sensitized to the great gift we have to cast our ballots. Yet, so many take this for granted and do not cast their ballots. There are institutions such as many religious ones, where our voice is not included in selecting leadership. We are not invited to vote for the leadership. But in our free countries where there is democracy in practice, we have a standing invitation to participate in the process.

Despite all the ills of our often imbalanced systems, through casting a ballot corrections can be made. Feel the power of your gift and privilege. Exercise your right to cast a ballot free from duress. We do count. We really do count.

Whatever the outcome is of any voting, the winner may or may not be our choice. It may feel disappointing, but what always matters is that YOU count and YOU took action and did YOUR part in the process. YOU voiced your opinion when YOU cast your ballot. That is power.  USE IT. No great change can come about unless we take action. If we are to heal the world, if we are to move and evolve it to higher consciousness, then the discipline of participation and speaking up to count is an exercise we must not take for granted.

It was a great sense of pride that I felt when I cast my first ballot at 18. It was no different today as a seasoned voter. I also felt great admiration for the many who volunteer their time in an often thankless and tedious labor at the polls; I felt great respect for all those who dare to want to serve as leaders for they get subjected to merciless scrutiny and ridicule. I felt great appreciation for the process that allows my vote to be counted, maybe an imperfect process, but yet, we are free to improve it. I felt sad that so many in the world do not know this joy.  Most of all I felt so proud to exercise my right to vote in the most influential country in the world. If you can vote, exercise your power. You will not regret it. Do I really count?  You know I do and so do you. 

I

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

 

Perceptions…all OURS  (Part Two)

Perceptions…all OURS. Isn’t there a reality we all can agree on?  We obviously have perceptions that color reality and unless we all have the same one, there will be differences. Whether you are the only one with a perception or a million share your perception it is still a perception.

By definition, perception is our conception of our internal or external world. There are many definitions that also include giving meaning, interpreting and understanding as part of how perception is defined.  But I will limit the definition to the conceptions we have, for starters.  The meaning and interpretation of what we perceive are a separate aspect and these can change and do comprise our understanding of things, but our perceptions will always begin and be limited by the apparatus/equipment doing the intake of information and that we cannot structurally change although we do make functional adaptations.

For example, a dog’s ear can hear pitches the human ear cannot and we do not have a dogs ear so we will not be able to hear what a dog hears and thus perceive sound differently than the dog. The fruit fly’s vision is different to human vision due to the kind of eye it has and we cannot see how the fruit fly sees.  So if we stick to our human apparatus/equipment as the one that ultimately limits our perception, then we can begin to appreciate what we can control and what we cannot control in our perceptions. We have been clever enough to make adaptations to our apparatus to enhance functional capacity, such as eyeglasses or microscopes to improve eyesight or hearing aids for heightened auditory capacity and microphones to make our voice louder, but our natural apparatus has limits.

Our brain apparatus has the capacity to only pay proper attention to a certain number of stimulus (we do not control this aspect)  and the rest get put on the back burner. For instance if you notice your surroundings, you cannot grasp it all at once.  You will see there are more things to note than you can note.  This has to do with how our brain functions and the structural and functional aspects of the senses we are using (we cannot control) not our intelligence. I do not have eyes behind my back so I cannot see the entire scope of what surrounds me. Thus the intake begins with the capacity of the apparatus.

So clear on the limitations of our apparatus, then let us move forward to the other aspects we can change and control.

The next thing that greatly impacts how and what we perceive is our attention. This willful act of attention is often  overlooked when people talk about perceptions.   Whereas, I have five senses physically, I may or may not engage all of them and may or may not engage them to full capacity and that will impact what I perceive.  Our perception range is greater than our ability to what we can pay attention.  What WE pay attention to in the vast selection of stimulus WE can control.  So we know there are sounds out there, that we tune out, things behind us we cannot see etc. etc. and we get to pick what we tune in or out.

The attention, meaning and interpretation we give to what we perceive, is the changeable part.  It is in this arena where conflicts or problems are brewing and why they can be negotiated or illuminated with more information and education and best yet solved.  We though, have to own this part of perception and call it totally our own.

So now between our human apparatus form to glean perception and our attention that selects, we begin to see how perception is so unique to us.  Then our human need to make sense of all this stimulus interprets based on past knowledge or experience and further gives meaning to it all also based on knowledge or experience which all come from the PAST.

If we begin to understand this, we can really be better ambassadors in this world and practice more respect and diplomacy toward other beings when we feel threatened by differences. It is indeed another view, we all have one and no one has the total view on anything.  We can begin to let go of the need to be right and argue our way through things, let go of our defensiveness, we can learn from each other, teach each other.  We can actually begin to understand this inevitable difference as functioning human beings and improve how we communicate to avoid misunderstandings and conflict and build better relationships in the world. And everything is about relationship in this life, our relationship to others, ourselves, things, and the highest power (God).

If there is anything we can change is our perceptions and isn’t this a powerful gift and tool we own?  PERCEPTION…ALL OURS.

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

One Event, Two Stories, Facts, PERCEPTION, all ours.

Part One

Sunday afternoon, two women come into Harrods of Knightsbridge for afternoon tea.  They find their way to the Georgian Room on the fourth floor.

Seated, after waiting for a few minutes, one woman gets up to go the ladies room. The other woman orders two Earl Grey pots of tea and the high tea selections of food. The Crystal chandelier, the floral arrangement mid room and the automatic piano add to the ambiance.

Shortly, the waiter brings the tea and food and they begin to chat. Within a few minutes two women dressed in long black attire with their heads covered with black veils pass by and get seated. They have dark eyes, olive skin. Four dressed like them are waiting for a table. A table behind the two women has eight seated around the table. They begin to notice more arrivals and more tables with the women dressed in black. They all have dark eyes, olive skin, some are tall, others are younger, some with more makeup. They also notice over three tables with only men seated around them. Each table seats eight. They all have dark eyes, olive skin, some are tall, others younger, some with moustaches.  They continue to observe and count the tables with individuals dressed like the women and resembling the looks of the men.  Over 14 tables are occupied by these individuals, 10 tables are empty and 3-4 tables have other guests with different nationalities, non Arab of course.

Four light colored skin men dressed in beige suits pass by turning to all sides. Each has a coiled wire behind their left ear. Soon another suited man passes by with the same coil behind the left ear and also looking in all directions.

There is one woman dressed in the same long attire and veil but hers is lilac in color.

Fewer tables with individuals dressed in attire that does not call attention are occupied.  The faces of all the individuals have unique and changing expressions. There is movement of people around the restaurant including the waiters, guests, and men dressed in suits with coiled wires behind their left ears.

The waiter comes to the table and one of the women asks “What is going on?” The waiter replies.

What do you think is going on?

STORY ONE

It was a cloudy Sunday afternoon, a bit ominous with a chill announcing a change in the autumn season fast approaching. A visitor to London takes the resident daughter to High Tea at the famous Queen’s store, Harrods of Knightsbridge. It is perfect for this kind of fare.  The Georgian room on the fourth floor is opened later than usual. Today it is opened and serving tea until 7 p.m. They are asked to wait until a table is secured for them. They are escorted to their table.

The mother leaves to go the Ladies Room, while the daughter orders Earl Grey tea to go with the tea service. When the mother returns, the tea service has been set at the table with fine linen cloth. They begin to delight in conversation and the beautiful array of tea sandwiches, scones and sweets. Rose petal  and raspberry jam sit alongside the dish with the clotted cream.

Suddenly as the mother looks up to notice the grandness of the room, two Arab women dressed in their traditional black long gowns and veils pass by.  They have dark eyes who do not make eye contact, olive skin and dark black demarcated brows and lipstick on their lips.

She takes note that there are four others waiting to be seated. She turns to look behind her and notices a table of eight women all dressed in the same black robes and veil.  They all have dark eyes and do not make eye contact, olive skin, and dark brows They comment about the Arab lifestyle and how women are treated and how harems and multiple wives are acceptable if given the same lifestyle.  They comment on whether they are related.

The mother notices that there are three other tables with Arab men sitting around also having High Tea fare, but with other drinks on the table.   None are eating out of the tiered tea food service. All have dark eyes and hair, with olive skin, some taller than others, some younger, some with moustaches.  Some are texting on their cell phones and looking beyond those at their own table.

More tables are noted with women dressed in black attire with veils. There is one woman dressed in the same attire with a veil but her color is lilac.  There are more tables with Arabs than with non Arabs at the restaurant. It is noteworthy that there are a total of 14 tables filled with Arabs, 10 tables are empty and about 3 0r 4 have other nationalities. None smile or have eye contact with the rest. The tables ,now empty, reflect it is getting later in the afternoon past high tea time.

The crystal chandelier, the huge fresh floral arrangement mid room and the backdrop of piano music, pale against the signs of possible tensions.

Four English or American men dressed in beige suits with the coiled ear piece that guards or secret service men use pass by slowly, each looking in all directions without moving their heads. Another security man dressed the same follows and does the same thing.  He is talking into a mouthpiece that is barely visible.

The women start getting preoccupied.  They notice other non Arab guests looking preoccupied but pretending not to be.  Immediately, the mother and daughter try to have nonchalant conversations of an exit plan of safety. They talk about the recent uprisings in the Arab world and how social media and texting supported the success of the takeovers. The mother talks about her new phone and the new alarm that goes off when there are weather warnings and the phone becomes unusable until one confirms and accepts the “alert signal.”  They talk about government tracking for security reasons. The resident daughter states she is unaware of the new technology in the phones.

The two try to smile at the women who do not respond.  The Arab women take their purses and some get up. The waiter finally comes to the table and the mother asks.  “Is something going on, we just saw security pass by and things feel tense.” The waiter replies.

What do you thinks is going on?

STORY TWO

It was a perfect afternoon for High Tea in London. The weather was a bit chilly even though the sun was still out. The feel of autumn was in the air.

The young daughter knew her mother who was visiting London loved High Tea at Harrods. They walked in with confidence, having been there each year for the past twenty years, knowing they would go to the Georgian room on the fourth floor.  Having no reservations, they were thrilled they were seated in less than five minutes.

The young waiter from Guadalajara, took the order of Earl Grey and tea sandwiches, scones and sweets from the young daughter,  while the mother went to the recently renovated powder room.  There was an excitement about being at Harrods again.  The crystal chandelier sparkled, the immense fresh floral arrangement of hydrangeas and iris’s in a stunning pewter vase  sat on a table mid room adding to the elegance of the room and the invisible piano man tickling the ivories in lieu of the traditional harpist complemented the not forgotten charm of High Tea at the Queen’s Store.

Two beautiful women dressed in traditional Arabian clothes, the abaya and shayla, passed elegantly by in their long black gowns. The veil wrapping their head made their dark round eyes and stunning black brows stand out against their olive skin.  Their lips were colored in red.  They looked around the room and noticed there were four more women equally beautiful waiting to be seated, while a table of eight behind them was graced with more of the beauties. There were three other tables with men only.  The black, stunning eyes and hair with their olive skin reminded the mother of Omar Sharif. Some were older and taller, perhaps all related. They sat apart from the women true to their traditions they thought. They looked past their table as far as their eyes could see  There were 14 tables filled with these lovelies and their counterparts and about 10 now empty and about 3-4 with other nationalities. One dressed in a noticeably different color than the rest. Her color of clothes was lilac.  She had never seen so many beautiful Arabian women all in the same room.

There were other tables with non-Arabian guests, including theirs. They were non distinctive by comparison. They noticed how the men had Perrier at their tables and had very trendy mobile phones on hand. The men were not eating the tea fare, but were chatting among themselves while the women drank their tea. They wondered if High Tea was something they too had in their country with all the globalization and diversity of cultures everywhere.

Four mid age white, men dressed in beige suits walked through the dining room, each wearing a communication device behind their left ear as when they are trying to coordinate security. They all looked around with their eyes without much head movement trying to be discreet.  After the four left the dining area another man, looking like the chief of security came through and did the same thing.  Other guests were looking around the room.  Something of importance was to happen.

Both the mother and the daughter looked at each other with excitement. The waiter came to the table and the mother asked. “What is going on?” He replied.

What do you thinks is going on?

Here are the facts:

The waiter replied, “This is an annual affair.  Many from the Arab countries who are of course wealthy come to spend Ramadan in London.  It is over now and they will return back to their countries soon. But, they all come to High Tea and this is why we stay open even later than usual serving High Teas.  Today, though the Prince of the Arab country is here in the room with us.  You see he is sitting over there.

These are his security guards not Harrods security guards. Things are monitored from cameras for the store.  You rarely see security walking around the restaurant.  These families come every year for a change of weather and pace. The women are beautiful aren’t they?”

to be continued:

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com