Dealing with Tragedy

Keep busy. Focus on your projects. Research indicates keeping focused on day to day required tasks or routines helps mitigate the effects of stress.
Seek out persons who care for and support you. Share your reactions, thoughts and how the experience impacted you.
Know that the reactions to trauma described are normal responses to a very abnormal experience. They occur in varying degrees of severity and type for each person.
Nurture yourself – eat well, get your sleep, and do nurturing things.
Express your feelings with your art. Drawings, poetry etc. are all healthy ways to manage the feelings related to trauma.
Consider writing a journal of your experience or feelings.
Seek to gain perspective on the experience through meditation, reading, spiritual reflection, etc.
Consider sending cards or emails of support to those most impacted. Helping others often is the healthiest way to manage our own feelings of powerlessness.
You may experience some of the symptoms below – this is normal.
Shock: often the initial reaction to events like this. Shock is the person’s emotional protection from being too overwhelmed by the event. You may be stunned, numb, or in disbelief.
Suffering: this is the period of grief during which the person gradually comes to terms with the reality of the event/loss. Feelings that life is overwhelming and disorganized are common.
Sadness: The most common feeling found following traumatic events like this. It may become quite intense and be experienced as emptiness or despair.
Anger: Can be one of the most confusing feelings for the grieving person. Anger is a response to feeling powerless, frustrated, or even abandoned.
Anxiety: Ranges from mild insecurity to panic attacks. Grievers may become anxious about their ability to take care of themselves, or fear a similar event will happen to them or a loved one.

Reading Your Bible

1. Begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing — is to do it; and the way to read the Bible — is actually to read it! It is not merely meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it — which will advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read it to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears — the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.

2. Read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it. Do not think for a moment, that the great object is to turn over a certain quantity of printed paper, and that it matters nothing whether you understand it or not. Some ignorant people seem to imagine, that all is done if they advance so many chapters every day, though they may not have a notion what they are all about, and only know that they have pushed on their bookmark ahead so many pages. This is turning Bible reading into a mere ritual form. Settle it down in your mind as a general principle, that a Bible not understood — is a Bible that does no good! Say to yourself often as you read, “What is this all about?” Dig for the meaning like a man digging for gold.

3. Read the Bible with child-like faith and humility. Open your heart — as you open God’s book, and say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening!” Resolve to believe implicitly whatever you find there, however much it may run counter to your own desires and prejudices. Resolve to receive heartily every statement of truth — whether you like it or not. Beware of that miserable habit into which some readers of the Bible fall — they receive some doctrines because they like them; and they reject others because they are condemning to themselves, or to some relation, or friend. At this rate, the Bible is useless! Are we to be judges of what ought to be in God’s Word? Do we know better than God? Settle it down in your mind — that you will receive all and believe all, and that what you cannot understand — you will take on trust. Remember, when you pray — that you are speaking to God, and God hears you. But, remember, when you read Scripture — that God is speaking to you, and you are not to “dictate,” but to listen!

4. Read the Bible in a spirit of obedience and self-application. Sit down to the study of it with a daily determination that you will live by its rules, rest on its statements, and act on its commands. Consider, as you travel through every chapter, “How does this affect my thinking and daily conduct? What does this teach me?” It is poor work to read the Bible from mere curiosity, and for speculative purposes — in order to fill your head and store your mind with mere opinions; while you do not allow the book to influence your heart and life. That Bible is read best — which is practiced most!

5. Read the Bible daily. Make it a part of every day’s business to read and meditate on some portion of God’s Word. Private means of grace are just as needful every day for our souls — as food and clothing are for our bodies. Yesterday’s food will not feed the laborer today; and today’s food will not feed the laborer tomorrow. Do as the Israelites did in the wilderness. Gather your manna fresh every morning. Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst part of your time! But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and God’s Word every day.

6. Read all of the Bible — and read it in an orderly way. I fear there are many parts of the Word which some people never read at all. This is to say at the least, a very presumptuous habit. “All Scripture is profitable.” [2 Timothy 3:16]. To this habit may be traced that lack of well-proportioned views of truth, which is so common in this day. Some people’s Bible-reading is a system of perpetual ‘dipping and picking’. They do not seem to have an idea of regularly going through the whole book.

7. Read the Bible fairly and honestly. Determine to take everything in its plain, obvious meaning — and regard all forced interpretations with great suspicion. As a general rule, whatever a verse of the Bible seems to mean — it does mean! Cecil’s rule is a very valuable one, “The right way of interpreting Scripture is to take it as we find it, without any attempt to force it into any particular theological system.”

8. Read the Bible with Christ continually in view. The grand primary object of all Scripture, is to testify of Jesus! Old Testament ceremonies are shadows of Christ. Old Testament judges are types of Christ. Old Testament prophecies are full of Christ’s sufferings, and of Christ’s glory yet to come. The first coming and the second; the Lord’s humiliation and His glorious kingdom; His cross and the crown shine forth everywhere in the Bible. Keep fast hold on this clue, if you would read the Bible aright!

~ J.C. Ryle

Practical Religion, “Bible Reading”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1998], 131-134.

Five Stages of Grief

Also known as the ‘grief cycle’, it is important to bear in mind that Kübler-Ross did not intend this to be a rigid series of sequential or uniformly timed steps. It’s not a process as such, it’s a model or a framework. There is a subtle difference: a process implies something quite fixed and consistent; a model is less specific – more of a shape or guide. By way of example, people do not always experience all of the five ‘grief cycle’ stages. Some stages might be revisited. Some stages might not be experienced at all. Transition between stages can be more of an ebb and flow, rather than a progression. The five stages are not linear; neither are they equal in their experience. People’s grief, and other reactions to emotional trauma, are as individual as a fingerprint.

In this sense you might wonder what the purpose of the model is if it can vary so much from person to person. An answer is that the model acknowledges there to be an individual pattern of reactive emotional responses which people feel when coming to terms with death, bereavement, and great loss or trauma, etc. The model recognizes that people have to pass through their own individual journey of coming to terms with death and bereavement, etc., after which there is generally an acceptance of reality, which then enables the person to cope.

The model is perhaps a way of explaining how and why ‘time heals’, or how ‘life goes on’. And as with any aspect of our own or other people’s emotions, when we know more about what is happening, then dealing with it is usually made a little easier.

Again, while Kübler-Ross’ focus was on death and bereavement, the grief cycle model is a useful perspective for understanding our own and other people’s emotional reaction to personal trauma and change, irrespective of cause.

EKR stage: Interpretation
1 – Denial: Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It’s a defense mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.
2 – Anger: Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.
3 – Bargaining: Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example “Can we still be friends?..” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of life or death.
4 – Depression: Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it’s the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the ‘aftermath’ although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It’s a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.
5 – Acceptance: Again this stage definitely varies according to the person’s situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.

(Based on the Grief Cycle model first published in On Death & Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 1969. Interpretation by Alan Chapman 2006-2009.)

Is Your Life An Example?


What do people need? We live in a broken generation. Billy Graham has said that people attend his crusades for one or more of four unmet needs: loneliness, emptiness, guilt, and a fear of death. People are hurting, and they need a message from God. People need healing, encouragement, hope, salvation, and truth. They need someone who has been in contact with God and they need Christian role models. Is your life an example?
FIVE AREAS IN LIFE TO BE AN EXAMPLE
1. in word – speech; what you say and how you say it.
2. in conduct – behavior, how you live. This is your walk. Let your walk match your talk.
3. in love – agape love, the greatest Christian virtue. Christian love never allows itself to hate. Christian love never refuses to forgive. Christian love never holds grudges.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.(NIV)
John 13:34-35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV)
4. in spirit – describes the inner enthusiasm and excitement of a child of God; enthusiasm in knowing God and in serving God.
5. in faith – faithfulness, loyalty, consistency
Too many people have roller coaster Christianity. Always up and down, up and down. Many people have “Revival Religion.” They get all excited about living for Jesus at revival, but lose it before they get back to church the following Sunday.

The candles we hold up for others to see ought to be extensions of the light within ourselves. What we are shines more brightly than anything we say or do.

Setting Effective Goals in Addiction Recovery

Many if not most of the individuals who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are not happy with their lives and experience emotional disorders such as depression. Furthermore, many of those who suffer from drug and alcohol dependency say that they are not doing what they really want to do with their life. Learning and applying effective goal setting strategies from the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming can help to reduce drug and alcohol dependency and improve recovery rates by increasing the possibility of a person getting what they truly want from life and as a result being able to experience authentic happiness. Assisting a person in achieving what he or she really wants in life as well as in recovery is about a three stage process, effective planning, doing and accountability.

The first component of effective goal setting is about the planning stage. The planning stage is about creating a goal or a well-formed outcome, that which a person will go about achieving, first in treatment and then in life. In order to create a well formed outcome there are seven important and necessary criteria that need to be met. If these seven criteria are adhered to the goal or outcome is well formed and the possibility of success is greatly increased. Many people do not achieve the goals that they set for themselves because they are not well formed. For example, it is important for an individual to state his goal positively, that is, as something they want as opposed to what they do not want. To merely want to quit using drugs is not a positive goal as is something that the individual does not want.

The second component is about doing, about determining the specific actions or behaviors that will be necessary for the person to do or perform to achieve the goal that they created in the first part of the process. Part of the conditions for effective goal setting with addicts is that the individual’s chosen goal has to be such that it will require the person to do something everyday to achieve it. The goal cannot be completed in one day or even two. In addition, there has to be a specific time and place that the client must declare to do this part of the exercise. For example, to complete his or her goal of reading 70 pages from the NA text in one week, the client will have to read ten pages each evening from 6 to 7 pm in his bedroom.

The last component of effective goal setting is about accountability. Within this exercise, an individual must choose another person to hold them accountable for their chosen goal. The person that is selected to hold the individual accountable must also be of the same sex. It will be the responsibility of the individual chosen to check with the participant everyday to see if they are doing what he or she has said they would do to achieve their goal. The concept of integrity is very important throughout this exercise, both with the person achieving the goal and with the individual holing him accountable for his efforts. The importance and responsibilities of the person who is assisting is discussed, reinforced and reviewed each session. This part of the exercise will be generalized into the community through a conversation about gaining and communicating with a sponsor.

The well formed outcome exercise will give a person the opportunity to repeatedly practice creating and achieving a particular goal and will greatly assist them in their recovery process. The first part of the training assists a person in getting clear about what they truly want in life, about that which will assist them in being authentically happy. The second part of the exercise is about discovering and becoming clear as to what the individual has to do repeatedly to achieve what they want. And the last component is about gaining assistance in this creative process, assistance that will help to ensure the person’s eventual success. In addition, what makes this process especially powerful is that the individual also has the opportunity to confront and work through that which has been truly stopping them in life and that will attempt to stop them again in completing this exercise.

Harry Henshaw, Ed.D., LMHC
Enhanced Healing Through Music
http://www.enhancedhealing.com

Two Wolves

Two Wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence,
empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Kindness

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

– Saint Basil

Why Should You Practice Random Acts of Kindness?

Studies show that practicing random acts of kindness improves your overall mental health.

“When you are grateful and practicing random acts of kindness in your life, you end up feeling safe and connected to that which is good and true in this world and the result is inner calm, clarity of thinking and a heart full of love.”

According to scientific studies, some of the physiological benefits to this experience include:

  • Increased immune system
  • Improved Cognitive Performance
  • Increase in energy
  • Lower heart rate
  • Balanced cortisol levels which result in less internal stress
  • More likely to live a longer and more satisfied life
  • Laughter and inner joy resulting in decreased stress hormones; lower blood pressure; diminished pain

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is the heart of the kindness movement whose aim is to help everyone create a better world by spreading awareness and increasing engagement in kind actions.

Randomactsofkindness.org is a platform where media, education, community, social networking and entertainment connect people with inspiration, tools, resources, organizations and a larger support network to help them take action, get involved, harvest and share the benefits of kind actions in their daily lives and society. Randomactsofkindness.org is dedicated to providing users with dynamic means to teach, learn, collaborate, grow and communicate the kindness they care about in their unique ways.

All who join Randomactsofkindness.org can participate in and contribute to a thriving movement where members engaged in thinking, doing and sharing kindness are changing the world.

About The Foundation

Established in 1995 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a resource for people committed to spreading kindness. We provide a wide variety of materials on our website, including ideas  for kind actions, ideas for educators and schools, activities and lesson plans, inspirational quotations, videos and workplace resources—all free of charge.

The Foundation is privately held and funded. We accept no donations, grants or membership dues. We do not provide financial assistance to individuals or organizations. The Foundation has no religious or organizational affiliations; we encourage the practice of kindness in all sectors of society.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is the United States delegate to the World Kindness Movement. People in participating nations promote kindness within their countries’ borders and are creating a global network of kindness and compassion.

As people from different cultures and from all walks of life join to spread kindness, they are creating a powerful, synergistic action throughout the world. Please join us in bringing kindness and compassion to our local and global communities!

Our Mission

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation inspires people to practice kindness and to pass it on to others. We provide free educational and community ideas, guidance and other resources to kindness participants through our website.

Discarded Goals

Have those goals you set at the beginning of January been discarded? When you set a goal, make sure it stretches you. Easy-to-reach goals are more likely to be discarded because they do not challenge you enough. They almost imply that you can’t reach a difficult goal. Challenging goals inspire and motivate. Even if you don’t achieve all of your goals, you will accomplish a lot while working toward your goals.  So start today and set some challenging goals!  And don’t forget to let your accountability partner in on those new goals.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Maya Angelou

Kindness

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Ettiene De Grellet