I don't often give examples of "what not to do" however here’s a well-known example and perhaps we can all be reminded of it..
When two people play at sarcasm no one wins
Sir Winston Churchill and Lady Astor could have benefited from R.J. Rehwinkel’s advice that, “The only people you should try to get even with are those who have helped you.” These two prominent British politicians experienced one of the most bitter relationships in history. Their interactions were constantly filled with sarcasm, conflict, and caustic remarks, each intending to get back at and outdo the other.
One day in parliament, Lady Astor became upset with a Churchill decision and shouted, “Sir Winston, if you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.”
Churchill quickly replied, “Lady Astor, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”
On another occasion Lady Astor encountered Churchill after he had spent the evening drinking. Seeing a marvellous opportunity to take advantage of the inebriated Churchill she snapped, :“Mr Prime Minister, I perceive that you are drunk.”
A wry smile appeared on Churchill’s face as he retorted with, “Yes I am, Lady Astor, and I perceive you are ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober.”
As in Churchill and Astor’s relationship, many people have traded building up one another for putting each other down. Positive, uplifting, and encouraging words have been traded for negative, piercing, and destructive ones.
Evaluate your relationships. Which direction have they taken? Be the first in your relationships to "get even" with only those who have helped you.
Now let’s look at an example that’s a lot more uplifting.
A Surprising Act of Kindness
“How far you go in life,” believes George Washington Carver, “depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because some day in your life you will have been all of these.”
Fiorello H. La Guardia, New York City’s mayor in 1935, must have held a comparable conviction. According to Our Daily Bread (April 4, 1992), he showed up in court one night in the poorest area of New York City and suggested the judge go home for the evening as he took over the bench.
La Guardia’s first case involved an elderly woman arrested for stealing bread. When asked whether she was innocent or guilty, this soft reply was offered, “I needed the bread, Your Honour, to feed my grandchildren.” “I’ve no option but to punish you,” the mayor responded. “Ten dollars or ten days in jail.”
Proclaiming the sentence, he simultaneously threw $10 into his hat. He then fined every person in the courtroom 50 cents for living in a city “where a grandmother has to steal food to feed her grandchildren.” Imagine the surprise of those in the room, who probably thought this was a black-and-white, open-and-shut case. When all had contributed their 50 cents, the woman paid her fine and left the courtroom with an additional $47.50.
It has been said that kindness is the oil that takes the friction out of life. So often it is easy to be grit, rather than oil, by judging, condemning, or berating those going through trials and tribulations. Yet, an act or word of kindness can cool the friction and help someone keep pressing on. Look around you! To whom will you show a kindness like that experienced by the grandmother?
Four heroes of the 20th century said this:
“Only a life lived for others is worth living.”
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun melts ice, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
“Lead the life that will make you kindly and friendly to everyone about you, and you will be surprised what a happy life you lead.”
Charles M. Schwab (Steel Magnate)
So, kindness can do much for our lives, and even teach us — How to Win Friends & Influence People. And I hope that encourages you to read or re-read the book by the same name, written by Dale Carnegie.
So, this was the next instalment - I hope you enjoyed it. Do you know that in the drop down menu on the calm website there is almot 100 previous newsletters at The Knowledge Centre - Mind Matters News.
All the best
"Your gift from God is your potential – Your gift to God is to use it."
Dear Sandy - I am typing this through somewhat blurred vision as I had cataract surgery on my left eye yesterday. I had the right eye done few years ago and in that surgery I told the anaesthetist that I wasn't sure I could keep my head still for the surgery.Of course movement at a crucial stage could be disastrous. He was sympathetic and gave me so much sedation that my head felt like a block of stone.I tried to move it but couldn't. So the surgery went well. Yesterday,to my surpise the pre-op briefing included a lecture about keeping my head still, not coughing,sneezing or talking. I took it all in but thought: I'll be ok-- I'd get plenty of sedation as before. But I didn't! When I entered the theatre I was able to move my head freely and I sure didn't feel sedated. When the surgeon approached I told him but his reply was a sharp "you must keep your head still!" None of this had occurred with him before.
So quickly I had to decide whether to fight or flee. I decided to fight and my only weapon was my Peaceful Place (and I hadn't been there for a while). It came up beautifully and gently and suddenly I was at peace--no worries about an involuntary movement (which I sometimes have) and I was lying there enjoying it (almost) and actually conscious in a distant way of all that was going on. It was over in a few minutes and the surgeon actually complimented me on the way I overcame my obvious anxiety. "What's your secret?" he asked. "Oh! I haff vays" I said and left it that. It still works, Sandy. Incidentally, I still have my cancer remember - the crab is dead) and am trundling along-- a few years beyond the point I think my host of medical attendants had set for me. H. R. Qld
"Be transformed by the renewing of your mind" … I read it a long time ago, but HOW to do it was the question? The great thing about Sandy MacGregor’s CALM "Life Skills" Seminar and "Creating Happiness Intentionally" seminar is it that it taught me HOW!
I learned how to meditate, picture and imagine by using the senses and creating in my mind what Sandy calls a “Peaceful Place”. I learned how to expand my comfort zone and release stress; how to respond instead of react; how to improve memory; achieve acceptance and forgiveness and how to identify any obstacles which may be obstructing me from achieving my goals. And the really big one for me was how to deflect obstructions such as negative self talk, worry and anxiousness, fears and doubt, resentment, envy, guilt, prejudice, blame, disbelief, non-forgiveness and hatred. So many negatives, which I quickly recognised were baggage and in meditation could be released and replaced with positives such as love, peace and harmony.
One practical example: While cycling in Sydney, I happened to pass by the War Memorial and two very helpful Veterans helped me to find information about my grandfather's WW1 history which I didn't previously know. On returning home, I got to thinking about the possibility of going to France and Belgium and locating his grave which I believe could help to bring closure to deep-seated grief in relation to my father and his father. With this in mind, in December 2010 at the suggestion of a friend who has also done Sandy’s Seminar, I completed Term 1 of Beginners French at U3A which I absolutely loved, intend to continue and which is helping me to stay focussed on my goal. A picture of the Eiffel Tower in my kitchen is also helping me to stay focussed!
The positive upliftment experienced from applying CALM techniques to all areas of my life cannot be understated … improvement in relationships – especially family – achieving clarity, identifying priorities, a better understanding of unconditional love, more self confidence are just a few. I know challenges of the future, seen and unforseen, will best be overcome using CALM methods.
Recently while cycling past a florist shop I saw a sign which read:
"we create our tomorrows by what we dream today"!
I returned and bought it as a constant reminder, believing the best way to "dream" is in meditation.
Thank you so much Sandy for the life-changing experience of, and your continuing commitment to, the extraordinary work of CALM. M.M. Tas