The Math of Useful Beliefs

by Susan Robinson on March 4, 2015

When our daughter was little and learning basic math, she used a variety of devices to represent the quantities associated with numbers.  She used objects, an abacus, and tapping her pencil to count.

Her grandmother was delighted when our little girl finally settled on using her fingers as counting aids.  When I asked Grandma why, she smiled, wiggled her fingers in the air, and said, “Her fingers are always available.”

Useful beliefs are a lot like using your fingers as counting aids.  They are always available.  They keep you self-reliant, because you don’t need anyone else’s help to be able to use them.  They don’t require any special technical skills.  You can take them for granted and only pull them out when you need them.

You might ask, “Isn’t there some objective truth?  You can’t argue facts.”

Often times we don’t know all the facts.  We may have limited information.  Most things are open to interpretation.  We respond primarily to our particular view of the facts, rather than to the facts themselves.  We respond to the meaning that the events or facts hold for us. Sometimes, you have to look at facts in context of the bigger picture.

Abraham-Hicks uses a charming analogy to illustrate this point:  If men broke into your home with axes and hoses and broke up your furniture and flooded the interior of your home with water, you’d be outraged.  Unless those were firemen saving your home from flames.

A useful belief is a thought that feels better.  But don’t go looking for somebody else to do the math for you.  Dogma is blind belief, adopting a system of beliefs prescribed by someone else.

Beliefs are only useful when they are true to you, and when they feel good to you.   You can learn from other people but ultimately you decide.  You just have to ask yourself: does this thought feel good?  And if the answer is no, reach for another point of view.  A single thought can make all the difference.

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What Charles does when no one is watching

by Susan Robinson on February 28, 2015

Caught on video.

Play with Chi.  It’s good for the planet.

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Family, Friendship and Love

by Susan Robinson on February 3, 2015

This is a transcript of a speech our daughter Shanti gave to a class at St Petersburg College last week.  So many beautiful insights.  family friendship and loveMeet Shanti Robinson:

Hi everyone! I’ve brought an enormous paper sculpture that is important to me and is also symbolic. You may be wondering how to maintain a happy life. I’m still learning too, but these are some of the things I’ve learned and maybe they will apply to you.

My name is Shanti Robinson and I’m going to talk about some of the most precious aspects of life: family, friendship, and love.

Connection is one of the most important things in any relationship. Like this paper sculpture.  It’s connected to make this unified globe. And if you were to take one piece out, the whole thing would fall apart.

I’m really grateful for my family because we trust and respect each other completely. Trust enables us to share our deepest thoughts and feelings with one another. So our discussions consider everyone’s feelings and disagreements often end in compromise.

My mom and I are both very strong-willed individuals so sometimes we argue. But we learn from each other. One of the things I’ve learned from my mom is to think before I speak. I treasure this insight because it has helped me in all areas of life, particularly in friendships.
 
I calculate everything I plan to say. What I mean by that is before I respond, I predict how a person’s going to react and I edit in my mind until I can visualize a positive outcome.

People are multi-dimensional like this 3D sculpture, so people will react differently to what you say. The perception of kindness is relative. So in order to be compassionate with everyone, I learn about that person and adjust to better communicate with them.

My best friends are kind and we connect on a very deep level.  Although I love all people, through experience I’ve learned that there are some people I can’t be friends with.  These are people who take more than they give.  That can be really draining.  I learned that lesson when I fell in love.

The person that made this sculpture for me was the first person I ever loved.

Even though love is always magical, our relationship didn’t end well and I realized that there are two different kinds of love: incompatible and compatible.

Incompatible magic was what I experienced. It was magical because our connection and the moments we shared were intense and inexplainable and we wanted to spend all our time together. But it was incompatible because our needs conflicted. He wanted an undefinable romance and I wanted him to be known as my boyfriend.

Compatible magic is what I believe everyone desires. It’s the type of love where everything is mutual. Both people’s wants and needs are met. Compatible magic lasts forever. It’s beautiful and sometimes complex but there’s always a happily ever after.

So again, I’m Shanti Robinson.  And these are my deep thoughts on family, friendship, and love.

 

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Celebrating our love for the world

by Susan Robinson on November 26, 2014

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Happy Thanksgiving Dear Friends!2014-11-18_1140_002

Something I am grateful for is…………

It’s a good way to start.  Something I am grateful for is….

The oneness in our family.  May all be so blessed.

How Charles sings off key.  May everyone know his gentle heart.

The warmth in our home and the abundance on our table.  May all be so blessed.

Shanti’s insights about people, life, souls, the universe, and Korean dramas.

The feeling of connection to all things.

Netflix.

The fireplace in our living room.  The hot tub on our porch.  Mountains.  Pinecones.   The fragrance of the desert.  Tangerines.   Amethyst geodes.  Inspirations in the shower.  Finding my balance when I wobble.  The moments when we sense heaven on Earth.  The moments when I disappear when I’m listening to someone.  The intimacy that happens when you ask and someone tells what their life is really like right now for them, when they say how they really feel, and you understand – just because you haven’t judged them, just because you are there in that moment, accepting, respecting, honoring, appreciating.

Things that comfort me…Charles’ voice.  Latex pillows. The kindness of friends.  Paid vacation.  The music of Nell.  The generosity of NemoThe Gentle Barn.  My reliable heart.  Hot cacao with agave. Puppies. Tina’s laugh.  Marty’s love cartoons.  Transformation.  The smell of baked apples with cinnamon.  Electric blankets.  Messages from the Divine, especially when they arrive on billboards and bumper stickers.  You, who lift us up with love.

May it be a year of abundant Blessings for you.

We appreciate you.

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Gratitude in a halo

by Susan Robinson on November 19, 2014

A while back Charles and I were going through a tough financial time – the kind of time where you sweat the mortgage and dread the credit card statement. I can still remember the feeling of constant anxiety.

And right in the midst of that, I woke one morning with a strange smile and a single thought:

“I have everything I want.”

You have to understand: Gratitude doesn’t come easily to me. Smiling doesn’t come easily to me. Focus, yes.  Smiling, no.  Charles is the peaceful one.  Unperturbable.  I’m the passionate one.  Fiery and impatient.

This was not a time when I had everything I want.  This was a time when gratitude was so far out of reach that making a list of “things that don’t suck” was a stretch. I was frustrated and angry and scared.

And yet here it was.  This pure and ridiculous thought.  This expansive contentment.

I’d been working the night before with a woman who was in chronic pain. She’d been through a series of spinal surgeries, one after the other. Putting metal hardware into her neck, hardware failing, neck collapsing, pulling hardware out.  And here she was, in a metal halo – drilled into her skull resembling some kind of medieval torture – here she was telling me how grateful she was to me.  And to God and to Life and to her husband and to her doctors and to…it was endless.  Her gratitude was endless.  And it wasn’t just words. It wasn’t a script, and she wasn’t reaching for anything. It was just glowing from her. Filling me.

I know what it’s like to come through a crisis and be so glad that the worst of the pain is behind you, and you survived it, that you praise all that’s holy.  But what does it mean when you’re still in the middle of it, still struggling, still in pain, and feel so blessed?  It’s winter but you feel so warm.  Where does that kind of gratitude come from?

It felt like love.

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