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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.
I am moved by world events and personal events. We are witness to news from around the world every day. And I feel part of what this world is all about as we are connected by the media to all sorts of events across the world.
In our own backyard, the tragedy and fears surrounding the missing little girl in Portugal, inexplicable and pulls our feelings as we empathise. At the same time in Northern Ireland a new era in politics as the population find some accommodation towards peace and maybe reconciliation. As we know so well peace in these times can be very transient.
In the USA our monarch, Queen Elizabeth is entertained by the President. And we hear the usual gaffs from Mr Bush and the sharing of amusement by the Queen. So itís a news day worthy of interest in a global and personal sense.
How do we Connect to News?
I feel the absolute and utter devastation of the family searching their little girl, I feel the elation of a peace of sorts in our time. I donít feel much for our Monarch away in the US and being a part of something I really am not sure about. Except maybe its good diplomacy. And of course I would be very concerned if anything happened to her, someone we have all known most our lives.
And yet itís the personal connection which impacts most. I am not a parent yet feel the anguish and torment parents have. I have nephews and would feel as any relation in the search for one missing. In all this we the people are viewers on tragedy, on history and so many elements of this world. We can hardly catch a breath before the next wave of news hits.
We cannot fail to be moved by historic events either.
I was caught out last night, I switched on the TV and found a programme on all about the second world war. The programme showed the campaign fighting the Japanese in 1945. It was an old documentary, yet in minutes as the true magnitude hit me, the horror and the absolute devastation filled me with deep sadness, that we humans can ever be so driven to fight to the death on a matters of politics and domination.
Life in this world has been shaped by ,mankindís rapacious nature and much of it is without merit. How we utilise and find ourselves drawn into conflicts.
Often the war on our doorstep, and often so far away we cannot make sense of it. Even through the decades its hard to make sense of any of these wars.
Yet we find in our own small world the nature of mankind is not far from the barbarism of previous centuries, and previous cultures and the wickedness we can encounter in everyday life. We are fractured in our living. And we cannot fail to be touched by the horrors that occur at the hands of criminal minds, and at the hands of nature too.
My world and my problems pale into insignificance as I look across history and across this world, I am never far away from that simple truth.
Yet its my Life and Living
Yes my life and living which is about living to the good of good conscience, to support and help and assist as I may. At the same time I need look after myself as best I can..
We who are touched by events, have our small and our good conscience to keep us safe as we may, yet we are never singly that important that we influence directly events over which we are powerless.
We tend to insulate and filter what we cannot cope with, deal with and offer a helping hand as we may and society enables. The problems of this world can like a burden if we donít find our daily path and influence gently towards a better world. So much conflict world wide and still as fierce and becoming more so as the voices of the many shout out outraged by atrocities. We would do well to find better ways to live and be as diverse as humanity is and still find room to be respectful and let this world work for us as we may.
This is an imperfect world which will cause as much pain as happiness as we find our way. It is the personal stories which we connect to most. And when we look back at our history of war, we cannot fail to see the absolute truth that conflicts so deadly have and continue simply because of dogma and doctrine. We are paving the way for bigger and more homogenous societies, yet it seems we are centuries away from a greater understanding of our humanity. It seems that Nature and Providence will provide much of the learning as we turn our climate to unfriendly and unbalanced as we reap the resources of this world and offer our future generations less of everything as we feed on our limited resources.
We risk burn out before we get close to a better understanding of ourselves and our potential. So gifted for self destruction, we need learn what we may as we may. And in truth it feels like in some respects we may be too late.
The big world over which we have no power, the smaller personal worlds we have, which also leave us pretty powerless too, itís the way we live, the truth of it quite astonishing as we meander along. Bigger minds and edicts and cultures have burned out as we too find endings rather than beginnings.
How am I feeling?
Ok today in my small world. But the big world impinged quite deeply as I watched history and saw it very much alive in our natures, where conflict rages as strongly as any intent to peace in our times.
Last night a request
To chair a meeting in AA, or rather share and tell my story of experience strength and hope.. My hopes these days, to be useful, to utilise and make a life again. To support and be a part of a fellowship which simply offers opportunity to do the right thing. And merely on a daily basis.
Maybe the lesson learned for me is to do local what I feel we need to do globally. Live well, conserve, be a part of life. Share my views and the best of intent to find peace and happiness. As someone said recently to me the truth is we all need to be loved. And we need love each enough to make life work, simply one day at a time.
Governments and societies amble towards change.
A phrase a bit old these days, yet I heard it on the news today, that step changes in outlook are required and quickly. The jargon from Consultanese.
My definition of consultanese is the language of thinkers and intellectuals. The language of theory and little understanding of practice. Theoretical blunderers hell bent on change without regard to the human condition. Consultanese is the tool of vanity and leadership, when a revolution is required as we break up structures and organisation to make way for new process and living.
Steps of AA, the twelve step programme of my fellowship, we have learned much about step change and human behaviour, and know more than most what its like to move from a life heading for early endings, to a life of new beginnings. Step changes indeed, won through new attitudes to life and living, only made possible through the impossible lives we have led. Maybe always its life threatening to be so driven to changes so necessary to make life work again.
As hard can be for an individual human, one wonders if in hindsight society recognises these revolutions as they happen. Some in tandem with the changes, many left floundering or washed up and left behind..
It has always been so. And just for today I will go with the flow as I may, or be lost again as this world turns and another natural revolution takes me where it will.
There may be trouble aheadÖ a song from the past, so appropriate as we so often dance to a new tune.
A laugh and a look into the future as old foes join forces at last to share power at Stormont May 9 2007
Owen Bowcott, Ireland correspondent
Ian Paisley, the Democratic Unionist party leader who spent decades denouncing republicans, and Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander, joined together yesterday to assume office as first and deputy first ministers at the head of a new power-sharing government.
With two prime ministers and a host of American political dignitaries in the gallery watching the ceremonial opening, the Northern Ireland assembly elected a speaker, three deputy speakers and an entire ministerial team without dissent.
The extraordinary display of cross-community unity at Stormont marked a symbolic end to the Troubles and opened an era of cooperation between former enemies. Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fťin, shook hands with William Hay, the DUP assembly member (MLA) who was elected as speaker. The only conflict of the day came at the gates of Stormont when police clashed with anti-Iraq war protesters objecting to Tony Blair's presence.
Algarve police target British paedophiles May 9 2007 2007
David Brown in Praia da Luz
Dozens of sex offenders who travelled to the Algarve in the month before the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are being hunted by police in Portugal and Britain, The Times has learnt.
Portuguese detectives have drawn up a description of a British man whom they want to question over Madeleineís disappearence. A computer-generated artistís impression of the suspect shows a white man, 5ft 8in (1.7m) tall, aged 35 to 40, with short, dark hair.
In response, British detectives have compiled a list of every person on the sex offenders register who told police that they were travelling to the country.
The list was compiled by Leicestershire Constabulary over the weekend from records kept by every police force. Portuguese officers have also examined records at every hotel in Praia da Luz and the nearby town of Lagos to gather information on every visitor from the Midlands.
After 40 years of hatred, the veteran Protestant demagogue and the ex-IRA commander pledge to share power in Northern Ireland
By David McKittrick
It is the closest thing to a miracle that Belfast has seen: the sight of the two veterans, Protestant patriarch and iconic republican, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to vow that they will leave the past behind.
It flew in the face of all history, all experience and all intuition to think of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness promising to run Northern Ireland together for the benefit of all its people.
Reporting in Belfast for many years, I had watched the pair at close quarters, but until recently never dreamt they could get together: they seemed to occupy different political planets. Yet it happened. Two warriors of the Troubles, whose natural habitat seemed to be conflict, stood side-by-side in Stormont and affirmed to the world that the war is over and that a new era of co-operation is at hand.
Another minor miracle was that they did so with every appearance of enthusiasm and mutual respect. Far from any hint of reluctance, they projected that they are looking forward to a new era with great relish. For a Belfast journalist this is all very confusing and disorientating. They were so far apart that they only rarely bothered to attack each other: they simply were hardly on each other's radar screens.
Over the years I heard them, repeatedly and routinely, send out the message that there would be no compromise, no sell-out, no surrender. But now there is a new rhetoric and all of the old certainties are disappearing.
Ian Paisley, now Northern Ireland's First Minister, spoke of "a time when hate will no longer rule". Martin McGuinness, ex-IRA and now his new deputy, spoke of peace and reconciliation. They both clearly meant it.
Few doubt these guys could have fought on forever, fortified by all the centuries of antagonism, yet the peace process came along to rescue them, and Northern Ireland. Among those who regard it all as a bit of a miracle was Mr Paisley himself, the one-time opponent of the peace process who was sworn in to head it yesterday.
In Stormont, the scene of so many failed initiatives which has finally become the scene of a spectacularly successful one, Mr Paisley began his speech by saying: "If you had told me some time ago that I would be standing here to take this office, I would have been totally unbelieving." Witnessing this were two prime ministers, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, basking yesterday in their status as those who stuck with the peace process against such odds and steered it through so many crises.
British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden has refused to reveal the details surrounding the disappearance of a naval diver during a goodwill visit by the Soviet leadership.
But he told a packed House of Commons "the appropriate disciplinary steps" were being taken - heightening speculation that Commander Lionel "Buster" Crabb was on a secret spying mission for which permission had not been granted.
Commander Crabb was reported missing, presumed dead, by the Admiralty on 29 April. The official statement said he had died following a test dive at Stokes Bay, near Portsmouth, on the Hampshire coast.
In fact, it is now known he was last seen on 19 April - the day after a Soviet cruiser carrying Soviet leaders Nikita Khruschev and Marshal Nikolai Bulganin arrived in Portsmouth harbour.
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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