You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.
It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.
And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.
Seems like the last couple of weeks have featured some sad goodbyes for family and some of my friends. I felt January had been an abysmal month, and so March has proved similar so far. A relative of mine after a long life and normal ending if ever there is one, and now two friends, one a mother and one a sister dying of cancer. None of these deaths was unexpected.
Yet we are always taken aback and the shock of a death in the family has devastating effects on our feelings and our outlook. Whatever the circumstances, there really is no way to prepare for those final moments and the ending of a life. It is a profound shock no matter what our reaction on the outside is. What goes on inside us is a turmoil of feelings. And we are not good at sorting them out on our own usually.
Grief and Loss
No one knows how to grieve a loss of a loved one until it really happens and it hurts. A pain profound, and depending on our stoicism and our denial, we can blot some feelings out, and suppress them. It really may not do us much good, and we are better to let our feelings be expressed however we can.
I saw one of my friends earlier and they are coping to an extent and understanding what is going on. I shared my experience, and some things which helped me. Always careful though to see where someone is and how they are as explanations how we grieve when a person is not ready, is as useful as a hole in the head.
So we pick our moments and we can be there as we may.
You know we cannot get away from this British fascination with humour even at the worst of times we can laugh and be joyful. And indeed its really quite astonishing how we can be sad one moment and in tears and then the next moment be ready to take on anything again and help one another.
When my friend emailed me from the café at the end of the road I felt my tears well up as he shared his sadness. And then in seconds I wanted to know what he needed. And was out and there is a few minutes.
Thank goodness they have friends close and around. He was with two other friends and they were doing a brilliant job, just being there and as we do, talk a load of good sense and complete nonsense.
Humour is always with my friend and he was in good form, a part of him, keeping a brave face on this very sad occasion. But the mask was dishevelled and he is a passionate person about living and life. So he was just holding on.
So we can be there when needed and on the phone. But keep distance as required as grief takes us on a journey we have no control over. And this is profound for us all.
So tonight even though all this has been going on, I got to my meeting.
On the Way
Not for me, but the person coming to do the share, they got run down in the Kings Rd and rang up to say they could not make the meeting! Odd for us fellows when say we will turn up, we do normally and so ringing up from hospital to say sorry cannot make it just typical of us!
So another stepped in and shared instead. It was a perfect meeting. I remained silent and just listened tonight. Hearing good shares and some wisdom to keep my balance as these times can trip any of us up when helping friends through hardest of times.
I am grateful to be home, to be able to write a few words and to have been of a little bit of use during the day. I really do appreciate every day being sober these days. And it is just a day programme, nothing fancy, nothing complicated and just turning up for life.
As a loner and "isolater" all my life, I cannot recommend enough the virtues of contact and fellowship.
I wonder how much of my isolation over the years was fear of life. And then to find life was passing me by so quickly and me urging my own end through drink. Grief for everyone who knew me during those hard times. I need not urge those days back. A day at a time, fellowship and nothing to hide. Turning up for life and reality.
Someone made me smile tonight as they described spiritual connection and our spiritual path. Just simply living in the day without filters or denials, being open honest and willing. How hard was that? It near took a lifetime for me to find out. And very gratified I am today.
So as I stop for tonight it strikes me a profound change is occurring where truth helps and denial hinders. Denials and brave faces help no one, in the end the truth will out always.
The Twopenny Budget: Brown cuts tax and prepares for a poll March 22 2007
Philip Webster, Political Editor, and Gary Duncan, Economics Editor
Gordon Brown the Chancellor yesterday gave Gordon Brown the future prime minister a platform to call an early election provided he reaches No 10.
In a “give with one hand, take with the other” Budget he lopped 2p off the basic rate of income tax, with a similar cut in corporation tax from 30p to 28p. The cuts will come next April, nine or ten months after Mr Brown’s expected arrival in Downing Street, helping him to boost the “feelgood factor” if he decides to seek his own mandate from the voters in the summer or autumn of 2008. Ministers admit that this would only happen if Mr Brown secured a substantial “bounce” from the polls after his election.
He also gave himself the power to take key decisions — as future Prime Minister — about health and defence spending by delaying the publication of the three-year Comprehensive Spending Review until the autumn. In an openly political performance the Chancellor tried to outflank David Cameron by ridiculing his plans to increase tax on air travel and restore the married couples allowance.
But Mr Brown faced accusations of employing “smoke and mirrors” as he and his officials admitted that the cut in the basic rate to 20 per cent would be largely financed by abolishing the 10p starting rate of income tax — thus hitting low-earners — raising green taxes and ending the £950 million tax reliefs for empty properties. George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, called it a “tax con, not a tax cut”, and the Liberal Democrats said that he was in effect doubling income tax for two million of the lowest-earners.
Brown into the limelight with a budget aimed at Cameron March 22 2007
Basic rate of income tax cut 2p to 20p
Most families will gain says Treasury
It's a tax con not a tax cut say Tories
Larry Elliott and Patrick Wintour 'The Guardian'
Gordon Brown cut the basic rate of income tax by 2p to its lowest level in 75 years yesterday as he used the climax to his 11th and final budget to prepare the ground for the political battle with the Conservatives at the next election.
Wrong-footing David Cameron for the first time since he became opposition leader, the chancellor sought to nullify middle England criticism of previous Labour stealth taxes by streamlining the tax system and using the £8bn raised from abolishing the 10p tax band to fund the £8bn cost of cutting the basic rate to 20p.
Brown opens way for early election with unexpected cut in income tax
March 22 2007
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
Gordon Brown announced tax cuts for Labour's heartlands and Middle England as he gave himself the option of calling a general election in the autumn of next year.
In his 11th and final Budget, the Chancellor unveiled a dramatic cut in the basic rate of income tax from 22p to 20p in the pound, the lowest for 75 years. But the Tories accused him of a "tax con" because his give-and-take package also abolished the 10p in the pound bottom rate of tax, currently paid on the first £2,150 of taxable income.
His surprise tax shake-up will take effect in April next year, providing a possible platform for Mr Brown, who is expected to become Prime Minister this summer, to call an election in the autumn of 2008 rather than wait until 2009. Labour MPs welcomed his targeted tax cuts, saying they would boost the party's election prospects.
Mr Brown also used his last Budget to draw the election battle lines between himself and David Cameron on the environment and marriage. He increased road tax for 4x4 vehicles and petrol duty but ridiculed Tory plans to tax frequent flyers more. He also ruled out Tory proposals to reward marriage in the tax system, saying his strategy would benefit six of the seven million families with children.
A war of words broke out over the winners and losers from the tax changes. Labour claimed four out of five households would be better or no worse off but admitted that people without children would lose. It said a single-earner couple with two children on median earnings of £27,000 a year would be £500 a year better off, while the same family earning £35,900 would gain £320 a year. The Tories claimed that people earning between £5,000 and £18,000 annually would be hit by a tax rise because of the scrapping of the 10p rate. They said a single person with no children earning £13,000 a year would pay £112 more in tax.
There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.
A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.
You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.
For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.
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