Our little world is in a bit of trouble, and someone needs to do something effective to turn things around. But, who can we turn to? Who has the power to turn things around in a little world so seemingly large? World leaders? Politicians? Celebrities? The media? Who. Two thousand years ago, give or take a couple hundred years, someone had the idea it was the every day people who could make the biggest difference, because that is who he brought his message to. A message of love. Love your neighbor. He gave his message to you and to me, to our counterparts way back in those ancient times. Love. Many other religions, most I would think, have the same message at their root. Love is the key. And so, here we are in the season of love when we – as many of us as can muster it – generate and luxuriate in the feeling of true brotherly love or something close to it. Why can’t we do this on a more regular basis, why don’t we bring this sense of magical love to each other on a more routine basis each and every day of the year. It is strange really, because it feels so good to generate those feelings. When you regard someone else with that beautiful love of the Christmas season it makes you feel so good, very deep inside. It also does much good for the recipient of your love. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to feel that way more often, during other less auspicious months of the year? Wouldn’t it be great to feel that way often, no matter if it is holiday time or not. Then, at Christmas time we might celebrate the fact of that love being present year round and who knows, Christmas might be an even more powerful magical holiday. Who knows. I have thought quite a bit about love over the past year because I know I have work to do in getting it right, getting it right more often and on a broader basis. There are plenty of people that it is easy to love, you really don’t have to try at all with some people. With others, it is something you have to consciously set out to do, but it can be done. When I was in my early twenties, I started working at a company where my sister was also working. There was this other girl who worked there who was very different and kind of rubbed us and others the wrong way because her manner communicating and dealing with people seemed course and abrasive. My sister and I spoke about it and decided something needed to be done about that girl, so we reported our grievances to personnel. The person in charge of personnel very wisely rebuffed our. Upon reflection at the time I realized I should experiment with consciously creating a sense of love and friendship toward that other girl. My “natural” reaction to her was negative and I decided to create my feelings toward her, rather than to respond to my reactions toward her. I thought, why not try to purposely like someone who I didn’t feel as easy sense of friendship toward. I started treating her as if I liked her, and turning my mind toward the feelings I would have about someone I liked when I regarded her. The interesting thing was that very quickly I actually did start liking her. As I did this, I began to feel genuine stirrings a friendship and found I could appreciate her differences rather than being put off by them. My friendship with her became more refreshing and rewarding than the friendships I fell easily into, and it was a powerful life lesson I have carried with me and applied many times sense. Luckily for me it was a lesson I learned fairly early in my life There are those who it just feels right not to love because of things they have done that are so very, very wrong. I know there are some that my heart is hardened against loving other than on a very superficial level. It is important to me that I face that fact and be honest with myself about it. I believe that to the degree that I feel justified in loving some and not loving others, I am contributing to the unhappiness of the world at large. I also believe that when you have a few billion people withholding their love from others for what seem like perfectly legitimate reasons, you have then a world in trouble. And, it is not our world leaders or politicians or monarchy or those with money and power who can do the real work involved in changing that situation. The most powerful tool and resource, with the most abundant potential of all, is in the hands and minds of you and I – the people of the world. We are billions, they are few. We could love one another the way our various faiths remind us to, and we could do a better job of it than we have done so far. Something that occurred to me about this recently is that the key and the challenge is to love others because they exist, just because they “are”. Not to love another because he or she has done something that pleases you, but because that person is. Only that. I also believe one of our biggest barriers to loving each other is in judging one another. That is what causes the world so much pain. There is a feeling of righteousness people have when they can look at someone else and know that other person is in the wrong. It gives a person such a feeling of righteous rightness to know that someone else is wrong. The most righteous thing you can do, however, is to love someone else and in loving them not judge. Who are any of us to judge one another, anyway? I say, be your most righteous in how you love others, let that be your righteousness. Loving someone else is the most right way to be. Use this beautiful slang definition of righteous, “absolutely genuine or wonderful” (dictionary.com) in the way you love your “neighbor” and you will see just how right you can feel and be. I know it seems as if the world and the peace of the world is in the hands of the “leaders”, but if you look at the fact that world leaders have had countless opportunities, centuries, and unimaginable resources to bring healing to the world and they don’t ever get that job done. It is a logical conclusion that they are not going to ever be able to get that job done. But, you and I could actually do it – and all the you and I’s of the world – if we could ever get our own act together and do what we should have been doing all along. Loving each other, across all differences and boundaries, simply because we all exist and for no other reason. This we have the ability to do. It is within you and it is within me. It cannot be taxed away from us, it cannot be wasted away by power hungry politicians, it cannot be stolen from us by thieves in the night, it cannot hoarded by the rich and wealthy. It is ours, and we actually have it within us in a great overabundant supply that we never even begin to tap into. You could make a big difference in the world if you just picked ten to twenty people who you would not normally love or even like. Bend your mind toward the idea that you do love them, simply because they exist. Do not try to do all ten to twenty at once, just do this one at a time until it feels real to you. You might have to work at it, but it will be worthwhile, I can promise you that. And if you do that with ten to twenty people, and if another ten to twenty people do that, and then another ten to twenty people, and so forth … we could make an impact on the world. You could pass this suggestion along to others, and get them trying the experiment – an experiment in love. ~firefly P.S. Featured in the photo at the top of today's blog are the knucks I am knitting for myself, and yarns I have bought to make some coordinating items. I promised these photos a couple of weeks back but then I lost (or misplaced) the knitting bag I use for smaller projects. I just found it the other day, so was able to photograph the knitting progress and the yarn this morning. The knucks are going to go up my arm several inches, for extra warmth. I am knitting my knucks out of a very soft, alpaca fingering weight yarn from Berroco (Ultra Alpaca) in the Potting Soil color way. There will be fingerless gloves in Lavender Mix in a worsted weight of the same yarn to use for extra warmth on the coldest of winter days. The heavier weight yarns in a brown and purple color are for a hat and scarf that coordinate without totally matching. I will tell you more about my color choices in a future blog. Special Last Minute Offer on Knitter's Eye Charts and Fine Art Photographs Fine Art Photographs: Buy One Get one Free now through December 18th on any size Fine Art Photograph or print of a painting from my Fine Art Etsy store. However, photographs must be ordered by the 13th of December for Christmas deliverey. Mention "BOGO" in comments on order form at Etsy and tell me the print you choose for free. Offer includes prints of paintings as well, but these may be ordered through the 18th of December for Christmas delivery to lower 48 U.S. states. The BOGO offer is through the 18th of December, but photographs have to be ordered by the 13th for Christmas delivery For Knitter's Eye Charts: Buy One Get One Free all Knitter's Eye Charts (includes sets of three) and other fiber related prints now through December 18th. All orders placed by midnight on the 18th of December will ship out in time for Christmas delivery to lower 48 U.S. states. Please be sure to let me know if the print is shipping directly to the gift recipient so I can package it slightly differently as a gift. Mention "BOGO" in comments section of Etsy order form and tell me which print you choose for free. Flying Junction: My son over at Flying Junction is still taking orders for Christmas delivery as well on Subway Roll Signs and Bus Scroll Prints. He has added some new cities and prints recently (Seattle, Washington D.C., Atlantic City, and quite a few Los Angeles area signs) so if you need a beautiful quick idea for someone on your list, check out his selection too.