World Trade Center "cross" 9/11/2001

Today we remember all those who lost their lives, and those families who lost loved ones in an attack on innocent lives. I recall that Tuesday morning in 2001 as if it were yesterday. My question now is the same as it was 15 years ago; how do I make sense from a senseless act?

I often write about the need for us to change our perspective, so I found this quote by Henri Nouwen, a renown spiritual author, quite enlightening:

"Many people live with the unconscious or conscious expectation that eventually things will get better; wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, and exploitation will vanish; and all people will live in harmony. Their lives and work are motivated by that expectation. When this does not happen in their lifetimes, they are often disillusioned and experience themselves as failures. But Jesus doesn't support such an optimistic outlook. He foresees not only the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem but also a world full of cruelty, violence, and conflict. For Jesus there is no happy ending in this world. The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world's problems before the end of time but to remain…

Read more: Learning from the 9/11 attacks

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Pain, whether it be physical or emotional, is unavoidable in life. We all try our best to avoid pain, almost at all costs. As a society, we make every effort imaginable to avoid, end, or numb, all pain in life. Yet, the more we try, I feel the more we end up still in pain and not feeling at peace or happy. According to the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, “In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills.” 

Talking about pain leads to many questions, both practical and philosophical/spiritual. In my life experience, I have found that the two main questions asked about pain are: “Why do I feel pain?” and “Why does a loving God allow pain?” For the purpose of this article, I would like to focus on the former question, why do we feel pain? Maybe if we understood the “why” we would better understand how best to cope with pain.

According to Barbara FinlayThe basic function of pain is the same for all vertebrates: it alerts an animal to potential damage and…

Read more: How to Stop Numbing the Pain

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Have you, like me, ever dreamt of becoming an Olympic athlete? As I watch the current Olympic Games the talents of the athletes never cease to amaze me! Knowing that I will never be a member of an Olympic team, yet I realize that I can still learn much from these Olympic champions. Their example of persistence and training encourages me to do the same in my daily life.

Jim Ochowicz, who competed in the 1972 Olympic Games and coached the 2000 and 2004 USA Olympic men’s professional road racing team, said in a 2008 Forbes interview: “People don’t know the process which [athletes] undertake in their individual sports to reach the Olympic level. You get there by sticking it out. There [are] a lot of people that try and give up.” This quote inspires me!

In life, here is what we can learn from Olympic athletes so that we can achieve greatness in our personal lives:

  • Focus on what matters.  One key principle every successful athlete learns early on in their career is to stay focused on the task. In training, practice, and on the field, focus on one’s task and goal takes precedence above all else. For…

Read more: learning life lessons from Olympians

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When I was a young child I was petrified of thunderstorms. Whenever a storm approached I would find a place to hide, plug my ears and pretend there was no storm. In fear I needed to stop reality. I was told by my parents that thunder couldn’t hurt me, but it sure sounded like it could. I was also told by my parents that the sound of the thunder was only the angels bowling in heaven, and although that conjured a comforting image, the next lightning bolt immediately stole away what little comfort I had. I am told, although I do not remember this happening, that I was nearly struck by lightning when I was quite young. The story goes that I opened our old metal refrigerator door just as a bolt of lightning entered the house. I was saved, but probably mentally scarred from the event. Was that experience the cause of my fear?

Fear is a normal reaction built deep within our brains to aid in survival. When we feel threatened we will either flee or fight. As a young child experiencing storms, I chose to flee. As I grew into my teen years, still afraid of storms,…

Read more: The Secret to Overcoming Fear

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Have you ever thought to yourself: “I’m on a round object which is spinning and flying through space.” A few evenings ago as I was sitting outside reflecting on life, I noticed the movement of the stars and constellations over the hours I was outside. Then a thought hit me; we're moving! I was sitting  in the same spot in my yard, and I know that stars don’t move, yet they seemingly were moving. The constellations weren’t in the same spot they were when I first sat down as they were a few hours later. Of course I know, intellectually, that the stars aren’t moving, although I have never reflected on the implication that if the stars aren't moving, yet they seem to be moving, then it must be me who is moving, even though I am sitting in the same spot! “I’m on a round object which is spinning and flying through space.”

According to my research, the earth is spinning, at the equator, at a speed of roughly 1,000mph!  While at the same time that we are spinning, we are moving forward at an estimated speed of 67,000mph! At all times, no matter what we are…

Read more: Kids Teach Us How to Find Peace

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