THE COUNSELOR'S CORNER: Where are you going?

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I find myself listening to songs that inspired me many years ago: Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Linda Ronstadt, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter, Paul and Mary. I then look up how old they are and I say to myself. "They are really old." So am I. They inspired me with their idealism and dedication. As I listen to their songs in this present day, I am inspired by the messages and depths that were in these songs. It was like so many of these represented a dedication to something bigger than possessions, wealth and parties. These songs touched a deeper part of my heart and inspired me. They inspired me to look at life in a deeper manner.

I remember meeting with a group of people in Chicago in 1969. All of us had been in Cuernavaca, Mexico together for a summer studying Spanish at the Center for Intercultural Formation. There was such idealism, friendship and rapport among this group. The idealism of the 60s and 70s had influenced all of us as we were in Mexico together in 1968. We shared an ideal of making the world a better place for everyone by care and compassion. That evening, and the rapport we had, still inspires me today every time I hear Judy Collins sing. Her music filled the room that evening.

It is now a "few" years past those very idealistic years. I am a lot older and I hope wiser. But I am realizing that there is so much in life that can be very superficial. We are on this planet for a short time. What we do while we are here may not make us well known or famous. But the love and compassion we bring to others can be a beacon of love and light that can help another person discover something deeper in life.

Religion and politics can be very divisive. Many people make God into a condemning, judgmental God. This type of God becomes like a judgmental father or mother who seeks to condemn rather than love. Politics can do the same by causing such divisions. So can network news. It is part of the human situation and will always be with us.

I would like to suggest a positive alternative. We are all on the same journey. It is a journey to find Love. It is a journey to find a loving God who will always be there for us no matter what happens or what we do. But this journey needs to be received and accepted. It is received when we open our hearts and minds to kindness and compassion. It is received when we stop analyzing and become gently quiet to listen to the Divine speaking within us. These messages will never be condemning or judgmental.

People make God very small when God is put into the category of judgment and condemning and sending people to hell. Politicians become very narrow when hearts become closed to helping everyone. Religion becomes very narrow when the emphasis is on condemning and criticizing.

So where are you going in your life? Is your journey one of love and compassion or is it one of anger and judgements? Is your journey a journey of quiet receptivity to a God of Love and Compassion or is it a journey of hectic activity and an attempt to control everything and everyone?

Whenever I become preoccupied with how other people should be, I began to get off the road of a peaceful journey in this life. Whenever I stay simple, reflective and loving, I find that this journey in life becomes a journey into God where I become receptive and open to experiencing this very moment.

I would like to share a daily reflection. I write one every day but here is one that I wrote on January 16, 2017 which I think fits this article today.

"When we live unsettled and disturbed by what is happening outside of us and we have no control over those outcomes, we are wasting emotional and spiritual energy. The solution: 1) Become quiet and turn that anxiety and frustration into a surrendering into God's Presence through meditation and contemplation. 2) Be caring and compassionate to those around you and send prayerful energy toward anyone who frustrates you. Doing this brings a peace and wisdom into your life that is profound and peaceful. It also opens your heart up to bringing more love and compassion into the world. Your presence then becomes a beacon of a peaceful and loving light to all. It is how each of us can make this world a good place to be and dissipate the tension that might be happening around us."

I hope your journey through the rest of your life will be receptive, positive and loving. I think love surrounds us when we become loving. God is always loving toward everyone But I must make my journey a journey of humility, receptivity and open to love. This goes right to the heart of everyone and it helps each of us find the answer to WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and limited licensed psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Michigan. Cavaiani is associate editor and contributing writer for Human Development Magazine. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is FredsCounselorsCorner.com.