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Hello!! I was gone last week on vacation and Heather manned the fort. Huge thanks to her - especially with all she has going on!
My last week was on a vacation that I take and look forward to every year. I went to Cape May, New Jersey. I won't bore you with the details because I remember blogging on it last year, but it's a very special and important trip to me, because it is where I see my extended family. My father took the same trip growing up and continued the tradition with his own kids. As a child, my father and his five brothers and sisters made the trip with their kids and it is a week devoted to spending time with family and in turn, learning about yourself. These years, my cousins have kids also, so my kids meet their extended family and hear the same stories that I grew up with. It's just a wonderful time and very important in building the tapestry of who I am and where I come from....and every year we all laugh about just how similar we all are. We celebrate upcoming births, special days, birthdays and even people who are no longer with us.
Although it is something I look forward to every year, it has its own frustrations. As Ram Dass once said, "If you think you are truly enlightened, go spend a weekend with your parents." Not that I think I am enlightened in any way, but it's a funny way of talking about making extended time work with your family. We actually stay in the beach house with my parents, as well as my sister and her boyfriend, and my uncle as well. Most years, there is at least one situation that comes up that aggravates someone for at least a moment. This year, though, I was determined not to let that happen. I was determined to treat and respond in love....
Before I left, I had stumbled upon a quote that I've thought about and mulled over many times. I have no idea the author, but it is, "Love is always the appropriate reaction." When I initially read it, I knew it to be true, but it is so hard to put in to place in every situation...Sooo - I hung it up on my fridge and made a point to think about it as I saw it.
A few days later, I stumbled upon a short story about Buddha.
Another day Buddha was walking through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him. "You have no right teaching others," he shouted. "You are as stupid as everyone else. You are nothing but a fake."Buddha was not upset by these insults. Instead, he asked the young man, "tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong ?" The man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, "it would belong to me because I bought the gift."Buddha smiled and said " that is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger. If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you. You are then the only one who becomes unhappy, not me. All you have done is hurt yourself. "If you want to stop hurting yourself, you must get rid of your anger and become loving instead. When you hate others, yourself become unhappy. But when you love others, everyone is happy."The young man listened closely to these wise words of the Buddha. "You are right, O Blessed one," he said, "please teach me the path of love. I wish to become your follower." And Buddha answered, "Of course, I shall teach anyone who truly wants to learn. Come with me."
My family is so important to me, and after a little bit of reflection on these two thoughts, I found myself able to easily put aside any anger that normally would have resulted out of aggravation. They are my family, and I love them dearly so it should be easy to respond to them with love and kindness. But this is much harder when we are dealing outside our families. We should be reacting with love to everyone we come in contact with. And that's where the real work begins. Those that are angry, bitter, selfish, rude - we need to watch our reactions and respond from a place of love. Anger is poison that cannot create anything positive, it only destroys. Besides that, your reaction to someone's anger says more about you, then it truly does about them.
It is easier said than done, but challenge yourself for the next week to respond to frustrations and problems from love.
In love and kindness,
Email Elizabeth & Heather
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We are an online community of kind-hearted individuals who directly donate gently loved children's clothes to mothers who could use a little kindness. The wonderful donating mothers lovingly box up the clothes that they once loved their own kiddos in and send them for another mother to love on her children via the US Mail - Parcel Post. If you are in need, know someone in need or want to help by donating, please contact us at email@example.com. If you can't do any of these but would like to spread our message - thank you kindly! ~ Elizabeth & Heather