Tag Archives: thought

The Pamela Positive: What We Can Learn from the Gentle, Observant Jain Religion

Jainism is a group that believes we should leave barely a footprint on this earth.  They believe in gentility, kindness, and care for every living creature.  It’s even to the extent of not eating root vegetables, because pulling up the roots makes the plant die.  Jains honor every living thing.

Founded in a similar time frame as Buddhism, Jainism primarily existed in Hindu parts of India.  In the present day it is a small but powerful minority among the world’s religions, with some 4 million followers in India and growing communities elsewhere in the world.  A few core beliefs of Jainism include that every living being has a soul; non-violence is the path to right thinking; attachment to possessions should be limited, and one’s life should be lived to be useful to others.

May we be gentle, respectful and observant of the preciousness of life in all its form.

The Pamela Positive: “Make of Your Life an Affirmation”

“Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of your capability then go beyond to a higher level.” –Alexander Haig

Alexander Haig was a four-star general in the United States Army, as well as Chief of Staff under President Nixon and President Ford, and Secretary of State under President Reagan.

How Can You Use, and Reuse, Paper?

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We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper.  When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side?  When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend?  Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list.  When you receive a box of a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts.  Let’s think creatively about our trees…

I Envision a World Without Salt Packets

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There are so many things that are packaged within paper, and the waste can be enormous.  I think about the time, manufacturing costs, the transport, and the packaging when I look at individual salt packets.  My guess is, forty granules of salt are contained within a tiny salt packet.  And we’ve got to enclose it with paper, and then put it in another big package to transport it.  There are so many ways that we use paper that are not allowing us to be effective stewards of our environment.

There was an interesting write-up of editorial letters in the Chronicle the other day.  In it, one might think people were against plastic bags, and they were.  But they were also against paper bags.  All of the letters pointed towards using canvas.  And many of them even stated we should feel guilty for using trees to transport our lunches, groceries, or other sundries.  We’re facing quite a revolution here in being thoughtful about how and when we use our natural resources.

We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper.  When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side?  When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend?  Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list.  When you receive a box containing a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts.  Let’s think creatively about our trees.

I remember my very astute four year old niece, when I took her to the restroom, after we had gotten brunch.  With two young nephews waiting in the restaurant, age 8 and 10, and as the sole aunt caretaker, I hurriedly pulled out two paper towels and dried my hands.  “Shame on you, Aunt Pamela.  They teach us in school that that’s a tree.  You’re not supposed to do that.”  Lindsey was absolutely right.

What if every time you picked up, or used a piece of paper, you envisioned a beautiful evergreen, redwood, or eucalyptus tree?  Would we then be so quick to crumple it up?  Would you crumple up a cherry blossom tree?

The Classic Pamela Positive: To Have a Positive Mindset, Build Your Mind as You Would Your Dream Home

When you build a home, you have to have a vision. A vision of what you would like to create.  If you have a negative vision of your home then it certainly is not going to become a beautiful home! So we need to maintain that vision, even when the going gets rough. Even if you run out of brick. Even if the paint color didn’t match the way you wanted it to. Even if you have to fumigate!  Hold the vision, and keep striving for it.

So what has helped me during tough times is not just to focus on the positive, but on gratitude. Even in tough times there is something to be grateful for.  If you are having a hard time in sales and partnerships, perhaps you can be grateful you uplifted that potential client’s day with a positive smile or sincere compliment…

On an entirely different level…if a natural disaster has occurred, you can still be grateful that the sun came out, as, in many countries pollution, blocks the sun. That a friend is near. That people are caring and helping. Even in a crisis, and often especially in a crisis, the greatest goodness of people comes out.  We can find the good even when we don’t seem ‘to have or own much.’    True wealth comes from qualities of being loving, kind, sincere, genuine, giving. And how wonderful — that that wealth is available to each one of us, every moment.

“Look Deeply and Recognize the Real Enemy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

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“If I can say anything to you, it is to invite you to look deeply and recognize the real enemy. The enemy is not a person. That enemy is a way of thinking that has brought a lot of suffering for everyone.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Anything negative — is not from a person.
Radical thinking?  It shouldn’t be. If we view the enemy as simply a thought and not a person, we depersonalize it. It’s temporary, changeable. And we allow the person to grow beyond it, rather than be it.

We can then eliminate personal offense, and work constructively towards a solution.

Look at the Why

If something seems to be negative, we can encourage ourselves to look at “the why.” Why might someone think, or take action, in this way? This offers us an opportunity to develop empathy. Perhaps this person—let’s call her Jeanine—came from a difficult circumstance or has been hurt.

It’s not Jeanine who is “bad,” but the experiences which occurred in her life which impacted her.  It’s those events that led to the thinking and action behind negativity.

So Jeanine’s identity is not “Prejudice”, “Anger” or “Hurt”:

It’s instead:

The most beautiful thing about this is the following.

She can change.

Allow her to do so. Wouldn’t we all wish to be forgiven for a past action?

Every day we can begin again. We can embrace a new experience, a fresh purity, allowing us and others to live to our fullest.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk and Zen master.  He is a well-known poet, writer and peace activist.  A native of Vietnam, during the Vietnam War he helped found the “engaged Buddhism” movement, combining the contemplative practice of the monastery with active ministry to victims of the conflict.  He founded the School of Youth Social Service, a Buddhist University, a publishing house, and a Vietnamese peace activist magazine.

During a trip to the United States, Thich Nhat Hanh persuaded Martin Luther King, Jr. to publicly oppose the Vietnam War; King subsequently nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize. Thich Nhat Hanh led the Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks.

Thich Nhat Hanh is the author of more than 85 books on mindfulness and peace. He founded the Plum Village community in France, a Buddhist community in exile. He continues to live and work at the Plum Village, and leads retreats worldwide on “the art of mindful living.”

The Classic Pamela Positive: “We Have Only This Moment, Sparkling Like a Star in Our Hand.”

“Begin now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.”

—Paula Best

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This is one of my favorite quotes… that “this moment… [is] sparkling like a star in our hand… and melting like a snowflake.”

Any moment that is sparkling like a star in our hand means that it is precious. And every moment is… find the joy, the sparkle, the love, the warmth of the moment…

And then… make sure you know it is precious, for Paula goes on to state that each moment is “melting like a snowflake.” That means it’s gone.

So was your last moment spent in joy or frustration? In gratitude or upset? Did it help resolve or move forward or cause more consternation? Even in the challenges, our moments can still be constructive. How I learn from this, striving to appreciate the “star and melting snow” of each moment myself.

                                                                              —✶—

Paula Best is a mixed-media artist out of New Mexico.  She owns PINK Blackbird and creates fun and whimsical designs for cards, rubber stamps, and charms.  Her art often includes inspiring and humorous messages.