Don’t Be Wrong with Wrong People

by Rick Hamlin

Have you ever been snubbed?

Has anyone ever looked right through you?

Has anyone walked the other way at the sight of you?

It’s really painful.  It can make you very angry.  It can make you as angry as the person who is angry at you.  But the only way you can make sure they don’t succeed at whatever they intend to pass on to you is to not get angry back.  Don’t be wrong with wrong people.  Don’t give them the pleasure.  Don’t let them rob you of your joy.

We have this neighbor who will not talk to us.  She feels that she was wronged by one of us and her response is to cut us dead.  She doesn’t speak when spoken to.  She doesn’t wave back.  She walks to the other side of the street if she has enough warning.

Whether she was truly wronged or not is not worth discussing and wouldn’t be terribly interesting if it were explained.  At this point I can’t explain it to myself but the sight of me or my wife pains her and the only way she can express it is by hoping to give some of that pain right back.

I find this hard.  I want to be liked.  I assume everybody will like me.  She doesn’t like me.  I can accept that she’s suffering.  If she’d like to talk about it, I’d be glad to talk about it, but that doesn’t seem to be an option.  She’d rather pretend that I am not here.

As a point of emotional growth, I find this helpful enough.  It’s given me some insight into the pain of racism.  To be a victim of prejudice can mean having someone look right through you, to not even acknowledge that you’re there.  To be totally ignored is to not be seen as another member of the human race.

Don't Be Wrong with Wrong People

I don’t go out of my way to be ignored, but the other day when I ran into her in the park on my morning jog I couldn’t swerve away.  “Be pleasant.  Treat her like you would anyone else,” I told myself.

“Good morning,” I said.

She turned the other way.

Just so you know that I’m hardly the nicest person on earth I will let you know that my next gesture was going to be a rude one.  My arm rose slowly to express it, my hand was ready.  Then I reminded myself, if I did that, who would have won?  She or me?  My hand swept up near my head.  The rude gesture turned into a sort of wave in my hair.  Something for a bird to decipher or an umpire.

“Pray for your enemies” was Jesus’ injunction.  That means not giving them back what they mean to give us.  No eye for an eye or tooth for a tooth.  No rudeness for rudeness, no wrong for wrong.

Anger with angry people only mushrooms into more anger.  I didn’t get angry, but I did come home and laugh.  I hope my “Good morning” didn’t come out sounding hostile.  It probably had some fear in it.  My gesture on the other hand was really dorky.  Too bad she was looking away.  We might have both laughed.

Next time maybe, next time.


Rick Hamlin is the executive editor of Guideposts magazine, where he has worked for more than 25 years. His spiritual memoir, Finding God on the A Train, was a Book of the Month Club alternate selection and a selection of One Spirit Book Club. He lives with his family in New York City.

9781571747419

Pray for Someone Else

by Rick Hamlin

It will probably come as no surprise to you that I think of myself all the time.  I worry about myself and my family.  I wonder when I’m going to die.  I wonder why I don’t find much peace of mind when I’m  working so hard at being responsible and good.  I become anxious about the future.  I start obsessing about some physical symptom, the slightest headache perhaps that probably hints at a life-threatening illness.  I fight against trusting in hope too much.  I try to imagine what it will be like when I accept the National Book Award or the Oscar for Best Screenplay or the Nobel Prize for Peace.  I become tiresome even to myself.

If I’m by myself I find the only recipe for this closed circuit of self absorption is to pray for someone else.  Lots of someone else’s.  “The person wrapped up in himself is a very small package indeed,” goes an old saying.  And if I were praying for myself it would be a prayer of becoming someone big and generous and whole-heartedly involved in the world and the concerns of others.  I’d like to be a big package.

Pray for Someone Else

I have learned to become very deliberate in my prayers for others.  There have been times when I’ve simply closed my eyes and waited for a name or need to come to me.  I’ve gone through letters of the alphabet, finding someone for each letter.  Or I’ve imagined myself going through space at the office and praying as my mind has passed by cubicles and offices and conference rooms.  I’ve even looked to pray for others by sending myself on a magic carpet ride across the planet, pausing at cities where I know someone and saying a prayer there.

The only danger with any of these methods is that I will forget someone whose need is particularly pressing.  I will sacrifice urgency for the imaginative freedom of traveling where my mind takes me.  That’s probably okay.  I must stress that I think prayer should be the freest of exercises.  To become too critical of your methods of prayer is to become too self-conscious which is to become simply un-prayerful.  To try to pray is to pray.  Any prayer is good.  All honest prayers are acceptable.  All prayers are right.

I don’t believe in that hoary let-it-all-hang-out line that “There are no dumb questions.”  There are some truly stupid questions.  But there are no stupid prayers.  Just look at the psalms for models.  If the psalmist could pray about smashing his enemies’ babies brains to bits, well, you can say anything in a prayer.  Say the worst if you have to.  God has probably heard much worse.  And he’s already heard you think it.

I have come to write down the names of people I’m praying for just because it helps me keep focused.  I don’t look at the list but I think of it.  And as I go through those names, I think of those people.  Many of them have trials much worse than ones I’ve ever faced.  Many of them have needs that far exceed mine.

Of course, I come back to “me” in my prayers.  I might even start with me.  Sometimes things are so pressing I can’t unload them fast enough.  But praying for others is my recipe for sanity.  If I am at all generous as a person and am able to think of others and quiet the inner tapes, it is through this wonderful method that we were given when we were given prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer is in the first person plural.  Plural.  Me and you.  Us.


Rick Hamlin is the executive editor of Guideposts magazine, where he has worked for more than 25 years. His spiritual memoir, Finding God on the A Train, was a Book of the Month Club alternate selection and a selection of One Spirit Book Club. He lives with his family in New York City.

9781571747419

 

Our March Titles Are Here!

Our March titles are now available! Happy reading!


Bigfoot, Yeti and the Last Neanderthal

by Bryan Sykes

“An intriguing book . . . It is this humanity, this cheerful readiness to travel out into the deepest pine forests of Washington State to interview a twitchy hunter in a Chewbacca T-shirt about something he thought he heard groaning in the woods that makes this book worth reading. If science does ever acknowledge the yeti, it will be thanks to somebody very much like Sykes.” —The Times (London)

9781938875151This is “The Big Book of Yetis.” What the reader gets here is a world-class
geneticist’s search for evidence for the existence of Big Foot, yeti, or the abominable snowman.

Along the way, he visits sites of alleged sightings of these strange creatures, attends meetings of cryptozoologists, recounts the stories of famous monster-hunting expeditions, and runs possible yeti DNA through his highly regarded lab in Oxford. Sykes introduces us to the crackpots, visionaries, and adventurers who have been involved in research into this possible scientific dead-end over the past 100 years. Sykes is a serious scientist who knows how to tell a story, and this is a credible and engaging account.

Almost, but not quite human, the yeti and its counterparts from wild regions of the world, still exert a powerful atavistic influence on us. Is the yeti just a phantasm of our imagination or a survivor from our own savage ancestry? Or is it a real creature? This is the mystery that Bryan Sykes set out to unlock.

(Disinformation Books)


The Woman’s Book of Joy

Eileen Campbell

“This book is full of bite-sized treasures. Grab a cup of tea and let the affirmations sink in and nurture your soul. A comforting and life-affirming read.” —Laura Berman Fortgang, author of The Little Book On Meaning and Living Your Best Life

9781573246705This is a book that encourages and inspires women to care more deeply for themselves and to face life’s challenges with courage and joy. It is a practical resource for accessing inner wisdom, enhancing self-esteem, overcoming sorrow, and deepening relationships.

Each of the 150 meditations in this volume begins with an inspirational quote, followed by a thoughtful meditation, and concluded with an affirmation. These meditations provide the opportunity to contemplate a wide range of topics, including,developing awareness, letting go, believing in your dreams, living in the now, trusting the universe and more.

This daily companion is a kind of spa for the soul. Here is a resource that will enable women to experience a little bit of daily serenity and embrace a life of lightness and hope.

(Conari Press)


The Dalai Lama’s Big Book of Happiness

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, edited by Renuka Singh

9781571747396How a person thinks, behaves, and feels ultimately impacts not only their own lives, but also the society in which they live. If you desire to attain happiness, you must understand that the journey begins with you. It is only then that you can reach out and touch the lives of others and change society.

In this anthology, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with characteristic wisdom, humor, and kindness, directs readers toward a happy, healthy, and peaceful life. Talking about universal themes such as compassion, peace, non-violence, secularism, and the pursuit of a healthy mind and body, he reminds us that the responsibility to change our thoughts, actions, and lives lies within our power.

This is a book for fans of His Holiness, for spiritual seekers, and for those interested in the spiritual and emotional health of individuals and societies.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Blame Your Planet

Stella Hyde

I also know enough about astrology to recognize that there’s a fair amount of expertise behind this tongue-in-cheek roasting. Laughing at our idiosyncrasies isn’t such a bad thing, especially when 11/12 of the book is wittily ‘dis-ing everybody else. There’s a good time to be had by all those who have even a little bit of a sense of humor.” —Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight (formerly New Age Retailer)

9781578635986Stella Hyde presents a hilarious exposé of the not-so-nice parts of astrological destiny with shocking conclusions supported by complete astrological research for all 12 signs. In Blame Your Planet, she exposes the hidden underside of the stars, and how they affect the dark side of everyone.

Blame Your Planet covers personalities, rising sign, ruling planet, Moon, qualities, and elements. It also details lifestyle choices (jobs, vacations, fashion, interior design, partners) all from a gripping, yet rarely discussed perspective. Blame Your Planet explores:

  • Your favorite deadly sin
  • Your annoying little ways
  • Your lunar nuisance that cramps your style
  • Your Opposite Sign that connects you to those born under it
  • Your favorite holiday to ruin for everybody
  • Your dream darkside job—spy, assassin, dictator, drug baron, jewel thief, evil genius

Fully illustrated, Blame Your Planet reveals the secret evil twin hidden in all of us. Welcome to the dark side.

Replaces previous edition, ISBN 9781578633104

(Weiser Books)


Communing with the Ancestors

Raven Grimassi

9781578635931This book demonstrates how to communicate and make contact with ancestral spirits, including practical methods for seeking their guidance.Raven Grimassi explores the realm of the ancestors and the role of reincarnation in the soul’s relationship to ancestral lineage. He explains the interactions between ancestors, the living, and the dead and examines how communication with the ancestors is strengthened through various techniques and ritual practices.

True to Raven’s style, the book includes folklore, legend, and superstition surrounding the topic. Shrines, altars, and offerings are discussed in detail. Ancient practices related to communing with the ancestors are revived, and new rituals are provided, including an exercise to lead readers into the “cavern of the ancestors” through guided imagery. Sacred sites, power places, special portals to the ancients, reincarnation, and the “restless dead who are still bound to the earth realm”—he covers it all.

(Weiser Books)


10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without 

Rick Hamlin

“Rick Hamlin, with openness and honesty, breathes fresh air into the subject of prayer.” —Debbie Macomber, New York Times bestselling novelist

“Rick Hamlin cuts through the fog that too often obscures the topic of prayer.” —Philip Yancey, author ofWhere Is God When It Hurts

9781571747419In this inspirational “how-to” book, Guideposts executive editor Rick Hamlin shares ten real-life ways of praying to God. He draws on the practical insight he has gained from the everyday men and women in the pages of Guideposts magazine and from his own lifelong journey in prayer.

He encourages readers to think of prayer as an ongoing conversation that God that should include everything. He expounds on the power of prayer. He discusses how to find a time and place for prayer every day, the importance of praying in times of crisis, of how to ask for forgiveness, and how to listen to the spiritual nudges God gives us.

This is a book filled with practical advice, insight, and inspirational stories; a book for anyone who wants to develop a rich and vibrant spiritual practice.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


The Soul Discovery Coloring Book

Janet Conner

“This astonishing little book unleashed my wildly joyous and deeply wise inner child. May she never return to captivity!” –Mirabai Starr, author of God of Love and Caravan of No Despair

“Janet and Christine offer such a delightful, whimsical, and soulful gift to the world. I love finding new pathways for the arts to lead me to Spirit and my own true voice, and this is such a delicious roadmap!” –Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, author of nine books including Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics

The Soul Discovery Coloring Book takes an adventurous and inspired approach to how to have fun connecting deeply with your soul. It is the ‘there is no box’ inspiration that makes this book truly captivating and delightful.” – Lisa Hagan, literary agent and publisher

9781573246859Structured around 22 key questions to ignite the imagination, such as “When I look out, what do I see?” “When I look in, what do I see?” and “If I could create the perfect gate to my extraordinary life, what would it look like?” The Soul Discovery Coloring Book invites readers to:

  • Noodle: use silence, reflection, staring off into space, allowing images to come
  • Doodle: not drawing to replicate, but allowing
  • Color: allowing the colors to choose you
  • Scribble or soul write: scribbling because when we soul write we write fast and messy to get ahead of our conscious mind

For each of the 22 key questions there are 4 pages: the first poses and explores the question and provides an image to color, the second provides an image to color plus space to scribble and doodle, the third offers a quote or small inspiration design for free drawing, and the fourth offers blank space to allow the reader to complete their exploration through writing or coloring.

Adult coloring books are all the rage and The Soul Discovery Coloring Book comes with the added benefit of helping readers to reach deep within themselves to connect with the divine. The result? The reader not only colors a beautiful picture, but also creates a beautiful life.

(Conari Press)


Mudras

Gertrud Hirschi

9781578631391Mudras – also playfully called the “finger power points” – are yoga positions for your hands and fingers. They can be practiced sitting, lying down, standing, or walking. They can be done at any time and place-while stuck in traffic, at the office, watching TV, or whenever you have to twiddle your thumbs waiting for someone. Hirschi shows you how these techniques can prevent illness, relieve stress, and heal emotional problems.