Steel and Velvet

Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday. That’s the inherent principle of Steel and Velvet: easy is hard; hard is easy.

Steel and VelvetTwo Sides of Same Coin

Life is experienced on a tightrope.

Fine lines of distinction separate This from That.

As an example, the short riddle below, comprised of two sentences, is deserving of being solved.

It will be our segue into the Thought Du Jour.

Each sentence is accurate.

Together, they become powerful in thought and deed.

Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.

Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.

While appearing contradictory, the Secret is within each of us, at our core. If we know who we are and are generous of spirit, the ‘answer’ becomes obvious:

We refuse to follow a foolish person down rabbit trails — and, we boldly share our beliefs with them.

Men of Steel and Velvet

By now, you might ask, “What does this have to do with men of Steel and Velvet?”

The answer, “They can be firm and soft — at the same time.”

In fact, they are who they are — yet, they generously share of themselves. The perceived differences become reality when interacting with the individuals who approach them. For example — these men of Steel and Velvet have the patience of a Saint. Some people will recognize the character trait as a virtue — others will perceive the same trait as weakness.

The first group will experience the softness flowing from mutual respect — the second group will experience the hardness resulting from a rude awakening — as they are jolted from their ill-conceived perception to the harsh reality of a definitive limit. While giving the benefit of the doubt, these men of Steel and Velvet will defend their boundaries — for the benefit of those who seek protection there.

Boundaries are simply ‘fine lines of distinction‘. One of these fine lines separates forgiveness from flaccidity. Forgiveness is hard (to do) — flaccidity is (by its very definition) soft. Forgiveness lets us enjoy the present moment — while moving forward into a future of opportunities. Flaccidity is for those who allow themselves to be a doormat for the feet of their enemies — while remaining tethered to the past.

Lambs to the Wolves

Lambs

Is it possible for lambs to move through a pack of wolves? What is the Secret to that?! Answer: “We are to be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Wisdom is the forerunner to success. In fact, a four letter word is the pun intended to create a new beginning in our lives — Fore.

Yes — that which comes before. Have you ever wondered how generous people got to be that way? They give here, there, and everywhere. What came first? What is at the very beginning of their current efforts?

Answer, “Fore-give” — and, in the vernacular, Forgive.

Forgiveness

One of the best definitions of forgiveness was received in a place far removed from a religious setting. Yet, it dovetails with a belief in a Higher Power and summarizes the distinct black and white choice we will each make in our, individual, lives.

Forgiveness: Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

Simple enough. Yet, check your thoughts. Where are they? Dwelling on an episode, conversation, mistake, hurt, offense, etc. of the Past? If so, look again at the definition above.

“But”, you might say, “I have tried to forgive and that person does not deserve it, will not accept it, continues to do it, etc.” (the excuses continue on ad infinitum and ad nauseam)

DovesFore-giving is not about anyone else. It is about us and totally within our control.

Does it mean we condone the actions of another? No.

Does it mean we continue to allow another to use and abuse us? Heck, no!

Does it mean we forget, for now, with hopes of revenge, later? Again, the answer is — No.

We, simply — Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

Then, we assuage ourselves with, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive!”

The Offended

Many will choose to be offended. They will be envious of the peace and tranquility in our lives. The pathologically challenged will remain tethered to their past, while we move forward.

Each new day will bring the tightropes for us to walk boldly and in balance. Through it all, we retain our innocence by being able and willing to, quickly, ask for forgiveness when we are wrong and offering it freely to erase the foibles of others. By doing so we achieve —

The Reward

We ignore the foolish arguments — while sharing our core beliefs.

We wisely chart our course through danger — while being careful to remain harmless.

We forgive ourselves and others — while receiving an invitation to the future.

We, eventually, learn the inherent principle of Steel and Velvet —
Easy is hard and Hard is easy.

www.kimfoard.com

Greatest of These

When our faith is shaken and our hope is tattered, the road back to both is paved with love.

Faith, Hope, and Love

Some days we’re the windshield; some days we’re the bug. The roller-coaster of life can take its toll on our psyches. As a CPA, for the last thirty years, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity, and privilege, of guiding others toward the destinations of their choice. My focus has always been on that word in the center of Certified Public Accountant; I believe “It’s all about the people.”

The “it” is life itself; abundant, fruitful, rich and vibrant life.

Faith is “The substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” Gravity is a prime example for us to consider. Each morning, we awake to find ourselves firmly anchored to the bed; some mornings more so than others. As we roll ourselves out, our feet touch the floor with complete confidence that we can journey successfully through the day.

Hope is “The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” Many tease that accountants have no feelings. While words can express logic, they are inadequate in the expression of feelings. As children, we all made wishes. Many times, adults tempered our hopes with, “If wishes were horses, we’d all have a ride.”

Love is “The greatest gift; and, is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.”

Since faith and hope are intangibles outside of our control, let’s focus on what is within our sphere of influence. While we can think Faith, and feel Hope; we can do Love.

Love is patient, Love is kind, Rejoices with the truth, Always protects, Always trusts, Always hopes, Always perseveres.

Question: Can we be patient, kind, happy, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful and perseverant? Answer: Yes. Even beyond the simple affirmative, we can do that for ourselves, if all alone; and, for others, when given the opportunity. The secret is in the four-letter word: give.

When our faith is shaken and our hope is tattered, the road back to both is paved with love. We can begin immediately to offer it to ourselves, first; and, then, to others. As we do, we will find that love “Always hopes” and through that discovery, our hope is restored. Then, because of that hope, we find the substance of faith making it, all, possible!

Since perfect love casts out fear, we can boldly proclaim, “Now, these three remain: faith, hope and love; the greatest of these is Love.”

www.kimfoard.com

Alpha and Omega

Unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes.

Thoughts to Destiny

An oft quoted slogan is, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” There are two sides to that coin, I know. Yet, there is merit, in consideration of love being defined as “Love is patient, Love is kind, It rejoices with the truth, Always protects, Always trusts, Always hopes, Always perseveres.” None of that needs an apology.

What needs a little thought, though, is the question, “Where do we begin and end?”

One day when Lindsey and Ryan were grade school age, we were in Billings at the Applebees in the heights for lunch. As we were waiting for a table, we were also enjoying the signage. I’d seen it several times, before. Yet, it must have put the exclamation point behind the lesson for the day: “Unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes.”

Maybe, that’s just another way of saying, “We get what we allow.” Many will try to feed us the crumbs of their time and affection. The result is a loss of energy and eventually the loss of our freedoms. How much better to sit at the banquet table of life and enjoy our God given right to be nourished.

In the animal kingdom, there is the Alpha Male, who struts his stuff and makes more noise than the competition. He tends to forget that there will always be a meaner gorilla, somewhere, who will grind him into dust and, eventually, be taken down by an even meaner gorilla, and so on, ad infinitum.

Refreshing is an Omega Male character like Bruce Willis, who, in his movies, is the epitome of the “Last Boy Scout”. He isn’t necessarily the strongest physically; yet, he simply refuses to accept defeat. Even when beaten until he’s bloody, he doggedly pursues the enemy; when tempted to take the easy way, he refuses to compromise; and, when we beg him to quit, he reminds us that the alternative to success is worse than death. He wins because he is the toughest: mentally and emotionally.

The years horseback taught a lesson that I use to guide others to destinations of their choice. A cowboy guides his herd by riding at the rear, moving up and along the sides, offering course corrections at the appropriate pace. Since cows never go in a straight line, the cowboy is alternating from one side, back across the rear of the herd, around to the other side, and so on, until the journey ends. Some of the cows offer appreciation for greener pastures; others give the impression it was their idea.

A shepherd, although different in philosophy from a cowboy, is also found behind those in his care. Rather than approach his flock with the intent of driving them, he comes prepared with a dog and a hook. Once noses are pointed in the direction of the day’s destination, sheep will be sheep, and the adventure begins. Wasting no time in thinking, they just do, as they rush to play “follow-the-leader”. They have implicit trust in the shepherd’s ability to rescue them from any misfortune.

Beginning to end, this is true: Thoughts lead to words; Words lead to actions; Actions lead to habits; Habits lead to character; and, Character leads to our Destiny.

www.kimfoard.com