Category Archives: FYI

A Matter of Perspective

Liability or Asset?

The Lord is my strength and song…
Psalm 118:14

Sometimes, it only takes a slight alteration of perspective to change our lives entirely. We have all heard the old cliché, “You are what you think.” Many of us have things about our lives, about our personalities which we view as liabilities, but what if those liabilities were really assets? What if they were God’s gifts?

Over the years, I have heard numerous jazz musicians refer to Louis Armstrong as the musician’s musician, as their greatest inspiration. Recently, I heard the story about the name Satchmo and I was deeply inspired.

Louis Armstrong was gifted with a very generous mouth. It seems that when he was growing up, he was ridiculed for this and called “Satchel Mouth.” As the years went on, the name “Satchel Mouth” evolved into Satchmo, and as his success and fame grew, this was the fond nickname used by the millions who loved him! What better gift for a world-class trumpeter than a generous mouth!

For many years I have often said, “I wish I weren’t so sensitive!” Then at a Jean Houston seminar, she told me that from a larger perspective, my sensitivity is the very quality that gives birth to my compassion. I took a deep breath and said, “Oh!”

Are you critical of yourself at this very moment? Take a few minutes to be still, and open your heart to God’s Divine re-interpretation. Refocus. Take another look. Is there a gift in it? Notice how what you were deeming a liability, can all at once become a Divine Asset! Now, take a deep breath and say, “Oh!”

Today, I stop limiting my life. I look at my life with an open mind, and an open spirit, going forth with the joy of knowing that I am gifted to see the Divine Truth about myself, and it is good, very good!

Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson
ADAAP Outreach Minister

An Act of Kindness

Be kind to others. How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong.
Because someday in life, you will have been all of these.
George Washington CarverQuotes to Live By, Weinstein ed, Smashwords edition, 2009

A Kind Act

Yesterday, while riding the bus in Toronto, I watched a nanny board the bus, while maneuvering a rather large baby carriage (complete with youngster) & a little girl toddler.

As her nanny wrangled the baby carriage aboard & rummaged her purse for fare money, the little girl headed down the aisle, in search of a seat. Several passengers urged caution, advising her to hold on to the railing, so the toddler wouldn’t fall down.

As the toddler sat down, the driver suddenly called out, saying a fare must be paid for the three-year-old girl, as well. Realizing she lacked the exact change for the required 75¢ fare, the nanny reluctantly called the little girl off her seat, redeployed the baby carriage & prepared to leave the bus.

Suddenly, the lady seated next to me called out “Wait! I’ve got 30 cents.” I knew I didn’t have the proper change to help, only a two dollar coin & some bills. No matter. More ladies began calling out, offering to help pay. It was such a beautiful thing, to see total strangers offering concern & financial assistance. They were horrified that the driver was willing to force a nanny with young children off his bus for lack of a young child’s 75¢ fare.

It did my heart good to see this. The lady sitting next to me turned to me & said, “We are all human beings. We have to help each other”.
I totally agreed.

Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson
ADAAP Outreach Minister

Inner Strength

Powerful Beyond Measure

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson, in Return to Love

Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson
ADAAP Outreach Minister

Coping With Criticism

But none of these things move me …
– Acts 20:24

I Have Nothing to Say to That

I used to react deeply to criticism until I acquired a valuable tool. It is the phrase, “I have nothing to say to that!”

When someone “dumps on us,” criticizes us, or tears us to shreds with angry remarks, we can just look at them with equanimity, and say, “I have nothing to say to that.” This does not mean that we do not listen and take into consideration the ideas that are appropriate. It merely means that we do not allow another person’s feelings to affect us.

Several years ago, my daughter and I were going somewhere and having a friendly conversation. All of a sudden, she began complaining about how terrible I was as a parent, and criticizing everything I ever did, am doing now, or could contemplate doing in the future. Normally, I would be devastated by such an outburst and start defending myself, but this time I did not interrupt her. She finally paused. I asked, “Is there anything else?” She added a few more barbed remarks. I asked once again, “Is there anything else?” “No!” she exclaimed. I waited a moment and then I said, “I have nothing to say to that.” She looked astounded but did not speak again. We rode home in silence.

A few days later, she asked me to drive her to a friend’s house. We rode quite a while without saying anything. Then all at once she turned to me and said, “You are the most wonderful mother a girl could ever hope to have!”

Today, I listen with equanimity to whatever is said to me. If the statement is judgmental, I remind myself that criticism just represents the opinion of another person and may have very little to do with me. I accept what applies and let the rest go.

Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson
ADAAP Outreach Minister

Stop Those Negative Waves

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Proverbs 25:28

I Stopped!

How can a person be independent, autonomous, and in control of his or her own destiny? Several years ago, our two-year-old baby showed me the answer.

She didn’t want to go to bed and started to cry and fuss. I talked to her calmly and continued changing her into her pajamas. Her crying became louder and louder, rather like a Wagnerian opera. Then suddenly the crying stopped as though it had been cut off with a knife. She smiled through her tears and said, “Mommy, I stopped!”

“Is it possible,” I wondered, “to stop ourselves right in the middle of a self-destructive thought pattern?” Ernest Holmes tells us that our thoughts create our lives. I remembered reading that it is only possible to think one thought at a time. “So,” I silently told myself, “if our thoughts create our lives, and we can think only one thought at a time, if we deliberately change our thought, then our life situation has to change.”

The next day was Christmas and our daughter tripped over one of her toys and bumped her head on the bottom of the piano. She cried as though her heart would break. As I was holding her and kissing the red spot on her forehead, she said in the middle of her tears, “Mommy, remember how I stopped crying yesterday?” I nodded my head. “I stopped again!” And, indeed, she had stopped! The red spot disappeared in five minutes!

I am the master of my fate! I am the captain of my soul! At least once today I will stop when I am aware that a negative thought pattern is creeping in. I will deliberately affirm “God is Love” over and over until the negative thought pattern is forced to retire. And when I do so, I shall hear a small voice whispering gently in my ear, “I stopped!”

Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson
ADAAP Outreach Minister