prescription

By Alan Delery

Whenever I still myself long enough to reflect on things, I usually get clarity on life. Past, present and future. It gives me a great sense of peace when I am able to celebrate my accomplishments, forgive myself for my mistakes, enjoy the moment and plan for the future.

When I am not intentional in my practice of reflection, I can easily spend the majority of my life stuck in the unproductive or even harmful thoughts in my head. I noticed this issue when I decided to spend extra time to reflect on and celebrate some accomplishments of my day. I decided to spend 1 minute during a mindfulness practice to simply treat myself by enjoying thinking about and celebrating one particular accomplishment.

While I had a sense of which accomplishment I would enjoy for one minute, I had a hard time naming it in my head. My mind continued to wander on other things. It was like I was determined to dwell on things that I still had to do rather than enjoy the moment of my accomplishment. I began to reflect on the moment that I first completed my task and realized, even then, I hadn’t given myself 1 minute to celebrate. I had done a mental check off the list and quickly moved on.

I got lost in the criticism of myself for not allowing myself to savor the moment. Our minds are good at that. They are always thinking and we have to train ourselves on what we will think on. I was determined not to judge myself and managed to settle on the target of my intention. I regained focus and tasted the satisfaction of my success. It may have only been a minute but it was more than I had allowed myself to do before.

This exercise should be a part of our mental health like lifting weights should be a part of our physical health. There is a physical exercise expression that says, “No pain, no gain” but I’d like to add another one that says, “When we don’t train, we feel pain.”

I am in physical therapy right now for pain that I had been experiencing and after just 2 sessions, I am noticing relief. I thought to myself that if I had simply been doing these exercises sooner, I would not have been in the pain that I was in for as long as I was in it. Some of us are in mental distress because we don’t practice mindfulness or take time to be aware of our thoughts as we think them.

Your mental therapy prescription for today comes from Philippians 4:8-9 and says,  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Stay Peaceful.

P.S. Don’t forget to read our previous post  “Cause for Dogs” and support our youth in their fundraising effort to provide heart-worm treatment for dogs that are eligible for adoption at the LA-SPCA.

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2017-18 Youth Service Learning Project

Identified Need – This year the youth decided to focus on a population that cannot speak for themselves — animals. They brainstormed lots of ideas on what they could do to help address the needs of vulnerable animals in their community and landed on raising funds for heartworm treatment for the adopt-a-dog program at the Louisiana SPCA.

Purpose – This plan will help 5 dogs that are in need of heartworm treatment, which is required before adoption.

Outcomes – We expect to raise enough money to treat 5 dogs. The cost per dog is approximately $350.

Deadline: March 1, 2018

Support our cause by making a  donation safely and securely online HERE.

Every Day​ is Game Day

Posted: January 22, 2018 in Positive Impact
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Some people don’t have a problem receiving instruction and discipline from an athletic coach but seem to have a problem with a pastor or life coach. Some have a problem with receiving any type of coaching and wonder why their life is a mess. May we each have someone we can follow who has experience in life and can give us some pointers and encouragement to pursue our calling.

Get off of the sidelines, find your position and discipline yourselves so that you can be the “Most Valuable Player” in your game of life. It’s only when we commit that we find opportunities presenting themselves for us to play and have success.

Finally, I hope you don’t mind me slightly contradicting my title. Don’t forget to take necessary rest and recovery days. This is an instruction from our heavenly life coach. Learn from Him and you will have good success.

Study Matthew 11:28-29 in the playbook.

Have a blessed day and stay peaceful.

Uh Oh!

Posted: January 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

I was sitting down working on the computer while my granddaughter was in the room.  She was getting into just about everything she could see and get her hands on. She would even try to climb up to things she couldn’t reach. I was continually redirecting her as things came down, were turned on, were handed to me or found resting on her head or around her neck.

Ever so often, I would hear her say “uh oh.” I would look over and see a new mess. I began to think how this is the story of some people’s life. Uh oh is a phrase used to express alarm, dismay or realization of a difficulty. This is one of the first expressions that a child learns. It’s a good thing to have a curious and exploring spirit throughout our lives but as we mature we should have fewer uh oh’s as we learn to think before we act.

If uh oh is the story of your life, maybe it’s time to grow up a bit. Be willing to be corrected and learn from your mistakes. Have fun, be adventurous, be willing to make mistakes; but to whatever extent possible, prepare, count the cost, and consider the impact of your actions on yourself and others. It makes life a lot easier for you and those around you.

Have a blessed day. I’m going help someone clean up their mess.

Misunderstanding the Word “As”

Posted: November 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

Guest Post by Bob Kuhn (Positive Impact Board Member)

Several years ago, I was preparing a sermon on a verse found in Matthew 22: 39, “… Love your neighbor as yourself.” This was the second part of Jesus’ response to a question about the greatest commandment of Jewish law. He claimed that the command to love your neighbor as yourself is only second to, and in many ways equal to, the command to love God. Being one of the two commands that Jesus ranked above all others, I knew that loving one’s neighbor as oneself was not to be taken lightly. In fact, I understood it to be at the very foundation of Christianity. Although I grasped its importance, my research soon made me realize that I missed its impact. It seems that the word “as” was being misunderstood.

My online search for commentaries on the all important commandment led me to a sermon by Methodist Bishop F. Gerald Ensley titled, “On Loving One’s Neighbor As One’s Self.” This was a keynote address delivered at the Second Methodist Conference on Human Relations held in Chicago during the high-point of the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. In his sermon, Bishop Ensley points out that the “separate-but-equal” philosophy, which was prevalent during that time, was not in accord with the type of love described by the commandment Jesus quoted. The Bishop explains that the type of love we are called to observe is more of a qualitative love than quantitative love. Quantitative love would mean that we love our neighbors “as-much-as” we love ourselves. In other words, we desire as much good for him or her as we do for ourselves, thus justifying the separate-but-equal idea of segregation. Qualitative love goes a step beyond. Loving your neighbor as yourself, according to the Bishop, is loving “not as much as yourself but as though he were yourself. It means tying my sensibilities to my neighbor’s nerve-endings so that I feel things as he does.” (Ensley)

Considering our neighbor to be our equal can be different from considering our neighbor to be one with us. Bishop Ensley feels that equal in quantity is a good concept for a mathematical formula, but when speaking of equality among human beings, we need to take a different approach. In fact, qualitative love totally avoids the question of equality. Although there are differences, the concept of equality should not be applied to human qualities since none are intrinsically superior to any other. (Ensley)

While we no longer face the same issues of the early 1960s, such as separate-but-equal laws, we still struggle with attitudes similar to those common at that time. Even our language betrays our attitudes towards others. We often speak of Christian “outreach” instead of Christian embrace. We sometimes find it easier to condescendingly “give” what we think others should have, rather than try to find out what they want. To again quote Bishop Ensley, “Christian love … means tuning in on the other man’s aspirations.” (Ensley) This would mean that instead of treating others the way we think they should be treated, we show them the same type of dignity we would want to be shown.

I am far from being able to say that I truly love my neighbor “as” myself, but I am praying that I come closer daily to obeying the heart of that command. It is my hope that you would pray for the same.

Work Cited

Ensley, Bishop F. Gerald. “On Loving One’s Neighbor As One’s Self.” The Florida Methodist,

ed.Jack Detweiler, Editorial Director O.B. Fanning, Volume 23, No.4, (Sept. 15 1963): p. 5. From digitized document of The Florida Methodist, Volume 23, July 1963 – June 1965, p. 58. Digitizing sponsor: University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries. Digitized by The Internet Archive 2016. Web. 23 November 2017. <https://archive.org/stream/floridamethodist2319flor#page/n57/mode/2up>

Dogs Included

Posted: November 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

PuppyI’ve begun working with a group of about 10 students on the development of a service learning project. It appears that this semester’s  identified cause will revolve around animal protection and care. This was not my selection but I thought, “Hey, it’s not about me.”  I was hoping they would choose a project around Peace, as the previous group had done. The world needs Peace (Inner peace, Non-violence, Equality, and Freedom). My attitude was that we don’t have time to focus on animals when people are hurting, dying on the streets, being treated unfairly and bound with all sorts of addictions. Once again I had to remind myself that it wasn’t about me.

Knowing that animal protection was not my specialty, I contacted the Louisiana SPCA and one of their community outreach coordinators came out and make a presentation. By the end of the presentation, I received a better appreciation for the importance of their work and my attitude about this project began to shift. Maybe our community could benefit from a little more attention to the needs of our four-legged friends.

I’ll leave it up to the students to develop their plan to make a difference in the plight of animal endangerment but I have to share one heart-wrenching statistic. Over 400 dogs are dropped off at the shelter in Algiers EVERY MONTH. Over a fourth of them don’t make it out.  If they could speak, they would have their own stories to share. The things that they witnessed and the human interactions they encountered are varied but they all find themselves in the same predicament.

It has been said that dogs are a man’s best friend. Would they say that about man. I believe the way a society treats animals is another reflection of the condition of its humanity. Dog’s can be a blessing to man when they are properly cared for. Let us all become more aware of the state of animal care and safety in our community. Maybe in doing so, we would notice a difference in our care for one another as well.

I will keep you informed of the development of the service project. Your help might be called upon in some way. Working together we can all make a difference in the symbiotic relationship between man and the rest of God’s creation. [Dogs included]

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Guest Post by Bob Kuhn (Positive Impact Board Member)

I’ve only been to jail once in my life. When I was 19 years old, I was arrested for disturbing the peace through fighting. The incident seems pretty funny now but wasn’t very funny at the time. It’s what resulted after a type of bar-room-brawl that broke out over a minor dispute. Let me explain.

It was a Friday night and I borrowed my sister’s car to go out on a date. I was with my then future wife, Jeanine, and we were double dating with two of our friends: my friend, Rusty, and a friend of Jeanine’s who would probably like to remain anonymous. This was our friends first date. Although exciting, it turned out to be their last.

The four of us went to a local bar and sat together at a table. Typical for bars in the 1970’s, there were bumper-pool tables situated around the floor. It cost 25 cents to play a game. There were unwritten rules of play that were widely known and always honored. One rule was that in order to play you needed to place a quarter on the table. This secured a game with a previous winner. Your turn to play was in direct correlation with the number of quarters already present; if there were four quarters on the table, you knew you would be the fifth to play.

Jeanine asked me to put up a quarter so she could play.  I did, and since there were no other quarters on the table, I anticipated she would be next. That’s where the trouble started. At the end of the game being played, I noticed the quarter gone. I wasn’t sure who took it but assumed it was one of two guys standing by the table arguing over the next turn. Wanting to show my girlfriend how chivalrous I was, I stood up to defend her right to the next play.

I walked over to the table and said, “Which one of you chumps took my quarter?” One of the guys was highly offended by either my tone or the word “chump” and he pushed me down. He then proceeded to come at me with his fist drawn back. In order to keep him from doing serious damage while I was on the floor, I tossed a chair at him to slow him down. It gave me enough time to stand up. We each threw a punch at each other. His connected with my head, making me woozy, and mine happened to break his nose, making blood gush onto his face. (In case you’re wondering, there is a nonviolent moral to this story. Please keep reading.)

The fight was immediately broken up by my friend Rusty and a barroom employee. Then someone yelled, “He hit Charlie (I think that was his name) in the face with a chair.” Several people in the bar heard the yell, looked at “Charlie’s” bloody face and decided to do me bodily harm. Being still a little woozy, I was grateful that each person was taking individual turns to hit or kick me and that the angry group didn’t coordinate its efforts. Somehow, Rusty was able to get me and our dates out of the barroom and back to my sister’s car. After we were in and ready to drive away, we noticed the car was blocked in the parking lot by other cars.

Several of the angry people from the barroom decided to come out looking for me. When they saw me in the car, they surrounded it and tried to kick in the windows. I backed up the car through the group, making people jump out of the way while hitting the cars that had us blocked in. We almost got away when someone shattered my window. That’s when the police showed up. They arrested me and “Charlie” for disturbing the peace through fighting.

We both went to Orleans Parish Central Lockup to be processed. Every guard and police officer that passed by commented on my pathetic looking swollen bruised face. I looked a mess. Charlie didn’t look too bad after the bleeding stopped. All you could see was a slight cut on a crooked nose. We started talking and almost became friends. In a short period of time, we were both bailed out by one of Charlie’s friends who obviously felt sorry for me. Rusty drove my sister’s car to the Central Lockup and picked me up. I went home and broke the news to my sister about the damage to her car. That was probably the worst part of the night.

That Monday at work I shared the weekend’s event with some of my warehouse coworkers. They were a pretty rough group. One coworker was a large man built like a wrestler. He said, “If that was me, I would have gone home, got my baseball bat and gone back to do some damage.” Another coworker, who was probably a member of some urban gang, said, “I would have grabbed my piece, went back and lit up those punks.” And yet another one, who was an athletic type, said, “I would have put a call in to my boys and we would have tore that place up.” Yet, the wisest statement came from my laid back “hippie” coworker. He simply said, “I would’ve just put up another quarter.” Wow! It’s amazing how profound it is to be made aware of the obvious. If I would have just given up my right to the next game and considered it a 25 cent loss, all would have remained peaceful.

(OK. Here comes the moral of the story.) In order to have peace, we often need to give up something. It might be a little bit of pride, some perceived right, or even something we own. That’s not to say we shouldn’t stand up for our rights or the rights of others when needed. It’s just that we should take the time to ask, “Is it worth it?” “Is that parking spot, that insult, or that place in line really worth ruining my peace?” I am convinced that my one-time-arrest record, the cost to repair my sister’s car, and the ruining of a very pleasant evening was not worth a quarter. Stay peaceful my friends.