Inspiring Stories of Love, Healing, & Empowerment
Issue Number 31
Welcome to Inspirations! Global Community For All sends out this e-zine filled with short, inspiring stories of love, healing, and empowerment once every three months. We share these wonderfully inspiring stories to encourage and inspire each other to be the best we can be each day of our lives. Thanks for joining us, and may these words inspire us to ever deepen our commitment to love, heal, and empower; to open to divine guidance; and to choose what's best for all.
The four inspiring stories for this issue are:
Magical Moment with a Manta Ray
– Jennifer Anderson
Transform Your Core Challenges – Fred Burks & Friends
Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover – Jim Hullihan
Installing Love on the Human Computer – Inspiration Line
Magical Moment With a Manta Ray
– Jennifer Anderson
It was like many Maui mornings, the sun rising over Haleakala as we greeted our divers for the day's charter. I slid through the briefing, then prompted my divers to gear up, careful to do everything right so the divers would feel confident with me, the dive leader.
The dive went pretty close to how I had described it: The garden eels performed their underwater ballet, the parrot fish grazed on the coral, and the ever-elusive male flame wrasse flared their colors to defend their territory. Near the last level of the dive, two couples in my group signaled they were going to ascend. As luck would have it, the remaining divers were two European brothers, who were obviously troubled by the idea of a "woman" dive master and had ignored me for the entire dive.
The three of us caught the current and drifted along the outside of the reef, slowly beginning our ascent until, far below, something caught my eye. After a few moments, I made out the white shoulder patches of a manta ray in about one hundred and twenty feet of water. Manta rays are one of my greatest loves, but very little is known about them. They feed on plankton, which makes them more delicate than an aquarium can handle. They travel the oceans and are therefore a mystery. Mantas can be identified by the distinctive pattern on their belly, with no two rays alike.
So there I was: a beautiful, very large ray beneath me and my skeptical divers behind. I reminded myself that I was still trying to win their confidence, and a bounce to see this manta wouldn't help my case. So I started calling through my regulator, "Hey, come up and see me!" I had tried this before to attract the attention of whales and dolphins, who are very chatty underwater and will come sometimes just to see what the noise is about. I kept calling to the ray, and when she shifted in the water column, I took that as a sign that she was curious. So I started waving my arms, calling her up to me.
After a minute, she lifted away from where she had been riding the current and began to make a wide circular glide until she was closer to me. I kept watching as she slowly moved back and forth, rising higher, until she was directly beneath the two Europeans and me. I looked at them and was pleased to see them smiling. Now they liked me. After all, I could call up a manta ray!
Looking back to the ray, I realized she was much bigger than what we were used to - a good fifteen feet from wing tip to wing tip. There was something else odd about her. I saw deep V-shaped marks of her flesh missing from her backside. Other marks ran up and down her body. At first I thought a boat had hit her. As she came closer, I realized what was wrong. She had fishing hooks embedded in her head by her eye, with very thick fishing line running to her tail. She had rolled with the line and was wrapped head to tail five or six times. The line had torn into her body at the back, and those were the V-shaped chunks that were missing.
I felt sick and, for a moment, paralyzed. I knew wild animals in pain would never tolerate a human to inflict more pain. But I had to do something.
Forgetting about my air, my divers and where I was, I went to the manta. I moved very slowly and talked to her the whole time, like she was one of the horses I had grown up with. When I touched her, her whole body quivered, like my horse would. I put both of my hands on her, then my entire body, talking to her the whole time. I knew that she could knock me off at any time with one flick of her great wing. When she had steadied, I took out the knife that I carry on my inflator hose and lifted one of the lines. She shook, which told me to be gentle. It was obvious that the slightest pressure was painful.
As I cut through the first line, it pulled into her wounds. With one beat of her mighty wings, she dumped me and bolted away. I figured that she was gone and was amazed when she turned and came right back to me, gliding under my body. I went to work. She seemed to know it would hurt, and somehow, she also knew that I could help. I cut through one line and into the next until she had all she could take of me and would move away, only to return in a moment or two. I never chased her. I would never chase any animal. I never grabbed her. I allowed her to be in charge, and she always came back.
When all the lines were cut on top, on her next pass, I went under her to pull the lines through the wounds at the back of her body. The tissue had started to grow around them, and they were difficult to get loose. I held myself against her body, with my hand on her lower jaw. She held as motionless as she could. When it was all loose, I let her go and watched her swim in a circle. She could have gone then, and it would have all fallen away. She came back, and I went back on top of her.
The fishing hooks were still in her. One was barely hanging on, which I removed easily. The other was buried by her eye at least two inches past the barb. Carefully, I began to take it out, hoping I wasn't damaging anything. She did open and close her eye while I worked on her, and finally, it was out. I held the hooks in one hand, while I gathered the fishing line in the other hand, my weight on the manta.
I could have stayed there forever! I was totally oblivious to everything but that moment. I loved this manta. I was so moved that she would allow me to do this to her. But reality came screaming down on me. With my air running out, I reluctantly came to my senses and pushed myself away.
At first, she stayed below me. And then, when she realized that she was free, she came to life like I never would have imagined she could. I thought she was sick and weak, since her mouth had been tied closed, and she hadn't been able to feed for however long the lines had been on her. I thought wrong! With two beats of those powerful wings, she rocketed directly out to sea! I lost view of her and, remembering my divers, turned to look for them.
Remarkably, we hadn't traveled very far. My divers were right above me and had witnessed the whole event, thankfully! No one would have believed me alone. It seemed too amazing to have really happened. I kicked in the direction of my divers, whose eyes were still wide from the encounter, only to have them signal me to stop and turn around. Until this moment, the whole experience had been phenomenal, but I could explain it. Now, the moment turned magical.
I turned and saw her slowly gliding toward me. With barely an effort, she approached me and stopped, her wing just touching my head. I looked into her round, dark eye, and she looked deeply into me. I felt a rush of something that so overpowered me, I have yet to find the words to describe it, except a warm and loving flow of energy from her into me. She stayed with me for a moment. I don't know if it was a second or an hour. Then, as sweetly as she came back, she lifted her wing over my head and was gone. A manta thank-you.
I hung in midwater and tried to make sense of what I had experienced. Eventually, collecting myself, I surfaced and was greeted by an ecstatic group of divers. They all gave me time to get my heart started and to begin to breathe.
Sadly, I have not seen her since that day, and I am still looking. For the longest time, though my wetsuit was tattered and torn, I would not change it because I thought she wouldn't recognize me. I call to every manta I see, and they almost always acknowledge me in some way. One day, though, it will be her. She'll hear me and pause, remembering how she trusted me to relieve her pain, and she'll come. At least that is how it happens in my dreams.
Original Title: This Magic Moment
Fear Through Core Issue Work–Fred Burks and friends
Most of us have one or more core challenges which surface repeatedly over the course of our lives. These issues are usually rooted in deep, unexpressed fears. Depending on your perspective, core challenges either cause all sorts of problems, or present many opportunities for transformation. When you choose to look at your core challenges as an opportunity, you are much more likely to transform your fears into learning tools which can lead to a better life. Below are a few examples of the most common core issues, their related fears, and suggestions for dealing with them.
Examples of Common Core Challenges and Associated Fears
- Abandonment – Nobody likes me. Nobody understands me. I don't matter. I'm alone.
- Arrogance – I'm better than all of you. I'm too much. I'm right and you're wrong.
- Damaged – Something is wrong with me. I'm a failure. I'm needy.
- Inferiority – I'm not good enough. I'm stupid. I'm worthless. I'm boring. I'm hopeless.
- Negative self-image – I'm bad. I'm evil. I'm a mistake. I'm guilty.
- Rejection – I'm a burden. I'm unwanted. Nobody wants to spend time with me.
Note that some people are over-compensators. If you are one of these people, you will do everything you can to make it appear as if you are anything but your core issue. For instance, someone with inferiority as a core fear might outwardly appear very macho or domineering. Yet deep inside, this is covering up a fear of being inferior. A person who is overly nice and giving may be covering up a fear that they are really bad. Particularly if you are having trouble finding a core issue, notice if any of your behavior is opposite of the common core challenges above.
Often these core challenges originate from childhood family issues. Sometimes they were negative messages repeated many times to us by our parents or other significant people in our lives. Though you may find that you have more than one core issue, generally one will be more prominent than the others. Particularly if this is new to you, we highly recommend you focus on exploring your most prominent core issue. To deal with this core issue, you can design intentions to gradually shift this deeply ingrained fear.
Suggested Intentions for Transforming Fears and Core Challenges
- Abandonment – I am worthy of love. I can find ways to safely share myself with others.
- Arrogance – I can learn from all around me. I can see goodness in everyone I meet.
- Damaged – I am whole and complete just as I am. I can choose to love all of me.
- Inferiority – I am a good, valuable person. I can find meaningful ways to meet my needs.
- Negative self image – I am a good person with only the best intentions deep in my heart.
- Rejection – I am an attractive, interesting person. People enjoy getting to know me.
The above intentions are merely suggestions which you may or may not choose to use. By developing statements that resonate more strongly with you personally, you can transform your fears on a deeper level. Set aside time to explore these issues. Change the wording any time you find something more appropriate. You might also invite close friends or family members to give suggestions. Writing down your intentions is highly recommended. Consider writing a set of life intentions, and review them frequently to help keep you on track.
Once you have developed your intentions, cultivate an awareness of how and when your core issue is triggered. Notice when you are telling yourself that same old story. Each time this happens, remind yourself of your deeper intention and open to shifting from your old, disempowering self-image into a new, fuller way of being.
This is not to suggest that you avoid or suppress your fears and core challenges. Working to accept and understand all parts of yourself, including your core challenges, opens the door to transformation and allows you more easily and naturally to access your beautiful deeper essence. This, in turn, can help you to live a much fuller and richer life. For empowering ideas on developing acceptance and understanding, see https://www.weboflove.org/keystolife#acceptance.
Don't be surprised if after having a significant breakthrough in transforming a core issue, you later find the same issue then rearing its ugly head again in a different form. Most people find that transforming fear through working with their core issue is like peeling away layers of an onion. You make a significant breakthrough, only to eventually find the same issue manifesting in another, more subtle form. Yet as each layer is peeled away, you will very likely find your life to be richer, more meaningful, and more enjoyable than it was before.
By identifying and choosing to deal with our core challenges, we transform our deepest fears and end up feeling more alive, and more available to the people around us. This then inspires us to participate more fully and effectively in building a brighter future for all of us.
If you are interested in more on core challenges, there are many books, therapists, and workshops which explore this fertile topic. We particularly recommend a book titled Undefended Love by Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons. Though the languaging in this book is heavily new age, the ideas and tools given for identifying and dealing with core challenges can very helpful. You can also search on your favorite search engine for "transform fears" and "core challenges" to find more. Feel free to contact us, as well, for more suggestions.
Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover – Jim Hullihan
Some people are just doomed to be failures. That's the way some adults look at troubled kids. Maybe you've heard the saying, "A bird with a broken wing will never fly as high." I'm sure that T. J. Ware was made to feel this way almost every day in school.
By high school, T. J. was the most celebrated troublemaker in his town. Teachers literally cringed when they saw his name posted on their classroom lists for the next semester. He wasn't very talkative, didn't answer questions and got into lots of fights. He had flunked almost every class by the time he entered his senior year, yet was being passed on each year to a higher grade level. Teachers didn't want to have him again the following year. T. J. was moving on, but definitely not moving up.
I met T. J. for the first time at a weekend leadership retreat. All the students at school had been invited to sign up for ACE training, a program designed to have students become more involved in their communities. T. J. was one of 405 students who signed up. When I showed up to lead their first retreat, the community leaders gave me this overview of the attending students: "We have a total spectrum represented today, from the student body president to T. J. Ware, the boy with the longest arrest record in the history of town." Somehow, I knew that I wasn't the first to hear about T. J.'s darker side as the first words of introduction.
At the start of the retreat, T. J. was literally standing outside the circle of students, against the back wall, with that "go ahead, impress me" look on his face. He didn't readily join the discussion groups, didn't seem to have much to say. But slowly, the interactive games drew him in. The ice really melted when the groups started building a list of positive and negative things that had occurred at school that year. T. J. had some definite thoughts on those situations. The other students in T. Js group welcomed his comments. All of a sudden T. J. felt like a part of the group, and before long he was being treated like a leader. He was saying things that made a lot of sense, and everyone was listening. T. J. was a smart guy with some great ideas.
The next day, T. J. was very active in all the sessions. By the end of the retreat, he had joined the Homeless Project team. He knew something about poverty, hunger and hopelessness. The other students on the team were impressed with his passionate concern and ideas. They elected T. J. co-chairman of the team. The student council president would be taking his instruction from T. J. Ware.
When T. J. showed up at school on Monday morning, he arrived to a firestorm. A group of teachers were protesting to the school principal about his being elected co-chairman. The very first community-wide service project was to be a giant food drive, organized by the Homeless Project team. These teachers couldn't believe that the principal would allow this crucial beginning to a prestigious, three-year action plan to stay in the incapable hands of T. J. Ware.
They reminded the principal, "He has an arrest record as long as your arm. He'll probably steal half the food." Mr. Coggshall reminded them that the purpose of the ACE program was to uncover any positive passion that a student had and reinforce its practice until true change can take place. The teachers left the meeting shaking their heads in disgust, firmly convinced that failure was imminent.
Two weeks later, T. J. and his friends led a group of 70 students in a drive to collect food. They collected a school record: 2,854 cans of food in just two hours. It was enough to fill the empty shelves in two neighborhood centers, and the food took care of needy families in the area for 75 days. The local newspaper covered the event with a full-page article the next day. That newspaper story was posted on the main bulletin board at school, where everyone could see it. T. Js picture was up there for doing something great, for leading a record-setting food drive. Every day he was reminded about what he did. He was being acknowledged as leadership material.
T. J. started showing up at school every day and answered questions from teachers for the first time. He led a second project, collecting 300 blankets and 1,000 pairs of shoes for the homeless shelter. The event he started now yields 9,000 cans of food in one day, taking care of 70 percent of the need for food for one year. T. J. reminds us that a bird with a broken wing only needs mending. But once it has healed, it can fly higher than the rest. T. J. got a job. He became productive. He is flying quite nicely these days.
Love on the Human Computer–Inspiration Line Ezine
Customer: I really need some help. After much consideration, I've decided to install LOVE. Can you guide me through the process?
Tech Support: Yes, I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?
Customer: Well, I'm not very technical, but I think I'm ready to install it now. What do I do?
Tech Support: The first step is to open your HEART. Have you located your HEART?
Customer: Yes, I have, but there are several other programs running right now. Is it okay to install while they are running?
Tech Support: What programs are running?
Customer: Let's see... I have PAST-HURT.EXE, LOW-ESTEEM.EXE, GRUDGE.EXE, and RESENTMENT.EXE running now.
Tech Support: No problem. LOVE will gradually erase PAST-HURT.EXE from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory, but it will no longer disrupt other programs. LOVE will eventually overwrite LOW-ESTEEM.EXE with a module of its own called HIGH-ESTEEM.EXE. However, you have to completely turn off GRUDGE.EXE and RESENTMENT.EXE. Those programs prevent LOVE from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?
Customer: I don't know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?
Tech Support: My pleasure. Go to your Start menu and invoke FORGIVENESS.EXE. Do this as many times as necessary until it's erased the programs you don't want.
Customer: Okay, now LOVE has started installing itself automatically. Is that normal?
Tech Support: Yes. You should receive a message that says it will stay installed for the life of your HEART. Do you see that message?
Customer: Yes, I do. Is it completely installed?
Tech Support: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other HEARTs in order to get the upgrades.
Customer: Oops. I have an error message already. What should I do?
Tech Support: What does the message say?
Customer: It says, "ERROR 412-PROGRAM NOT RUN ON INTERNAL COMPONENTS." What does that mean?
Tech Support: Don't worry, that's a common problem. It means that the LOVE program is set up to run on external Hearts but has not yet been run on your HEART. It is one of those complicated programming things, but in non-technical terms it means you have to "LOVE" your own machine before it can "LOVE" others.
Customer: So what should I do?
Tech Support: Can you pull down the directory called "SELF-ACCEPTANCE"?
Customer: Yes, I have it.
Tech Support: Excellent. You're getting good at this. Now, click on the following files and then copy them to the "MYHEART" directory: FORGIVE-SELF.DOC, REALIZE-WORTH.TXT, and ACKNOWLEDGE-LIMITATIONS.DOC. The system will overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching any faulty programming. Also, you need to delete SELF-CRITICISM.EXE from all directories, and then empty your recycle bin afterwards to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.
Customer: Got it. Hey! My HEART is filling up with new files. SMILE.MP3 is playing on my monitor right now and it shows that PEACE.EXE, and CONTENTMENT.EXE are copying themselves all over my HEART. Is this normal?
Tech Support: Sometimes. For others it takes a while, but eventually everything gets downloaded at the proper time. So, LOVE is installed and running. You should be able to handle it from here. Ah, one more thing.
Tech Support: LOVE is freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everybody you meet. They will in turn share it with other people and they will return some similarly cool modules back to you.
Customer: I will! Thanks for your help!
All the darkness of the world cannot put out the light of a single candle.
Thanks for sharing in these inspiring stories with us. We wish you lots of love, inspiration, and all the very best in the months ahead.
Explore the mind and heart expanding websites managed by the nonprofit PEERS network:
www.peerservice.org - PEERS websites: Spreading inspiration, education, & empowerment
www.momentoflove.org - Every person in the world has a heart
www.personalgrowthcourses.net - Dynamic online courses powerfully expand your horizons
www.WantToKnow.info - Reliable, verifiable information on major cover-ups
www.weboflove.org - Strengthening the Web of Love that interconnects us all