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5 Ways I Like to Be Treated

The Golden Rule states, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” I cannot expect people to treat me the way I’d like but I can treat others that way.

1. I like being seen and heard, when people respectfully reflect what I’ve stated and ask questions, giving me more time to develop my thoughts.

2. I like when people support my creative idea and help make it happen, being excited about them as if they were their own.

3. I like when people smile, say hello and appear happy or excited to see me. Hugs are an additional response that warms my soul.

4. I like when people aren’t in a rush but rather take a moment to get an update about my life and share from theirs, connecting in a real and authentic way.

5. I like when people empower me to solve my own problems by offering insight or wisdom they’ve gained from their own life experiences.

I can listen, support, smile, slow down and offer insight. Empathy is the basic practice of the Golden Rule, how would I feel? How would I want to be treated if it were me? 4/10/20 EMPATHY

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This is me: Kendra Ruth

For the past 8 years I have been on a journey to develop a new character within myself, a complete 180. As an undergraduate at ASU, I became an intern with Arizona Interfaith Movement. This opened the door to aiding in the development of an non-profit educational program called AGREE.

AGREE stands for Arizona Golden Rule Educational Experiences. I had, up to that point, had no true connection with the Golden Rule and had no former awareness of AGREE. When I first met Sue Lynn Stiner, I had no idea how my life would change, for the better. She outlined the program up to that point and invited my input. So the story goes, I said “I can write a song for that,” in reference to the AGREE collection of fables.

This led to the following developments and successes:

  • The writing, composing, and recording of 12 original songs, teaching the Golden Rule through cultural lenses, entitles “Stars Shine Brightly” (Itunes/Youtube).
  • Traveling to the UN as a representative of AGREE, connecting the message of the Golden Rule with current leaders and organ supervisors.
  • Receiving and acting in the current job title AGREE Program Developer, as we aim to further this program in schools all over the state of Arizona.

So how did the Golden Rule change me? In increments. In small, droplets of life giving messages as I developed the arts experiences and taught in classrooms. The Golden Rule is a simple statement that takes you for a loop when you really dive into it.

For example, think about the following Golden Rule teachings from AGREE experiences:

  • Do you like it when others take the time to listen to you? Then create that same time for others to express too.
  • Do you appreciate having time and space to develop your own ideas, judgement-free? Then begin to help others experience that same feeling, helping them develop their ideas.
  • Do you want close friendships and meaningful connection? Find ways to create meaningful connections with others and explore how you can be a true friend.

It’s not about the way others choose to be, its about how you choose to be. Take responsibility for your own actions and from that stand point create the good you want to see all around you.

So, why do I write? Well, it occurred to me that there are good things happening all around me, everyday that I I’d like to pay attention to. Its easy to focus on the negative but powerful to search for the positive. So in the process of creating my own Golden Lens, I decided to keep a journal, a blog, that records those Golden moments I witness and honor the people who helped create them.

In conclusion, I hope to open more room for the positive, good things that are happening everyday and continue to develop this new Golden character within myself. I’M LEARNING EVERYDAY. GROWING EVERYDAY. SEEING MORE CLEARLY, EVERYDAY. PRACTICING THE GOLDEN RULE EVERYDAY.

Golden Grand Canyon

The canyon was pretty empty compared to the last time I’d visited with people crowding everyone. Not only were people scare, but visitor centers were closed and large signs directed visitors to the vista. At the Grand Canyon, you have the opportunity to walk the rim, a beautiful experience I’d recommend to anyone. Wheelchair accessible. As I returned from the walk, about an hour later, people were gathering at several viewpoints along the path and slowly everyone began falling silent. The sun was setting. Families, couples, tour groups, children. We all joined together to reverence the setting sun. It was remarkable. Without a word being spoken, we showed due respect to this glorious creation The Grand Canyon. RESPECT 7/11/20

Golden Rule Smile in Globe

Her smile was apparent, even behind the mask. I stood in line for the ladies room, a line that was surprisingly long, which gave me the opportunity to watch her interact with customers. Her smile seemed to be a permanent feature on his happy face. I’m not one to leave a question unasked, so I said, “It seems a smile never leaves your face, why is that?”, to which she replied, “I smile because it prevents me from letting life consume me.” She described how she chooses happiness every day, describing this to me with his happy eye “crinkles” and genuinely kind gaze. I would have continued the conversation to learn more but the line did move and she had customers to help. Maybe another trip to Globe is called for, just to talk to this kind hearted person about smiling, even behind the mask. 7/5/20 KINDNESS

Mysterious Mask

I was standing there holding my make-shift mask, a pillow case that I’d cut up…a last minute resort to enter the store. I was holding it to my mouth and nose while maneuvering my wallet with one hand. Though difficult, I quickly became impressed at my developing one hand skills. When suddenly a mask landed in front of me, packaged and hygienic. Literally, out of thin air. By the time I looked up, the deliverer was gone. I smiled behind my pillow case mask and basked in joy, knowing someone saw me in my silly situation, and responded by doing something to help me out…in a silly way. Stop the “spread” and spread empathy instead. 7/3/20 EMPATHY

Passport Office…at home.

Travelers be aware: passport offices are currently closed. I called the passport office today about an expired passport that replaced a passport I thought I lost, but found ands it’s valid till 2023. So of course I’m wondering, can I use my original passport in lieu of offices being closed? The gold I found today was partially of my own making and it involved empathy. I spoke with a woman who repeated a “rehearsed statement” about the offices being closed and passports not being issued. I thanked her and shared my passport situation. We ended up finding our way to laughter. She then proceeded to share how angry people have been and the challenge it is doing her work from home. I asked her about the challenges she’s facing, and she shared how the hostility from callers does affect her home life. After hearing this, I expressed a sincere hope that my call was a bright spot in her work day. She said it was and the call ended on a mutually happy note. I feel civility plays a role here too. The importance of assuming the best and seeking for understanding, especially when there are roadblocks to what you want. And, in case you are wondering, I cannot use my original passport and I’m hoping passport offices will open soon. For her and for me. EMPATHY/CIVILITY 6/23/20

Sedona Scavenger Hunt

Each list was lengthy and many of the items would be hard to find, but we were all determined to win. The winner of the Sedona scavenger hunt would receive a token of gratitude from each of the competitors. My list of 15 items included, a bottle cap necklace, a 10 year-old can of food and a 90’s gum ball machine. Sedona was bustling and packed with visitors. As I began my search I quickly realized: To find each of the items, I would need the help of others. I began asking storekeepers and shoppers for help finding items. In fact, I asked a young girl chewing gum to state, “I was born in the 90’s, I’m chewing gum, so I’m a 90’s bubble gum machine.” As I searched, I pondered how much help I was needing to succeed, I started thinking about the Golden Rule and how important it is to help those around me. That’s when I truly win. Then it started, like a ripple effect, a shop keeper needed help finding a customer who left without paying, a lone guitarist asked if I would sit and sing, a herbalist wanted to share about her creations and I ended up actually buying the bottle cap necklace (for another competitor). Although I was in a hurry, I decided to pause and return kindness for kindness. And miraculously, I still won. 6/8/20 KINDNESS

Working with Heart

During the lockdown, there are many stores that have remained open because they are considered essential. Grocery stores are the means by which we have been able to continue to eat and ease out of hoarding. The workers at these stores have been considered heroes and I highly agree. Amongst these workers are different ways of being. Some avoid even looking at the shoppers as they pass by. Some are excessively busy shopping for curbside and will give you a subtle smile but turn their eye quickly back to their task. Over at the checkout, however, I have encountered a Golden Rule employee who, though limited in expression by his face mask, manages to help each person feel like they matter. Even with social distancing, shoppers have needs. He actively addressed each one with a giant smile shinning through his eyes. The employees around him called him their favorite. The areas he was in at any given time were accompanied by laughter and joy. It’s not what you do but how you do it that matters. I would say he is a hearty example of kindness during this time of pandemic. 5/6/20 KINDNESS

What’s your name?

It was time for my routine oil change at Firestone. About this time last week, I had to have a major repair done on my vehicle. So when I entered I was met with, “Weren’t you just in here?” Pause. You know the moment when someone knows you and inwardly you are frantically trying to remember how? Well, this was one of those moments. I asked if he was the one who had worked on my vehicle, to which he responded no. So I decided to instigate an exchange of names to work through this semi-awkward moment. “My name is…”, moments later, “Your name is John, right?” “No, it’s Raul” “Oh right! And his name is Alex”. “No, it’s John.” At this point the tendency may be to give up, but I persisted, knowing that I’d be seeing these guys again and names are important. So as I left I tried one more time. “Thank you Raul! Bye John!” to which they replied, “Bye Kendra!” Sometimes you have to work through the awkwardness in order to establish respectful acquaintances. 3/26/20 RESPECT

COV Efforts I’ve Noticed: Grocery Store

Walking into the grocery store, stories of what the food stores look like now ran through my head with a sense of fear that there may be nothing left. On the contrary, though much was gone, the majority of what I like was still there: oriental noodles, fruits and veggies, health drinks, grain breads, almond milk and much more. Upon realizing this, I shopped with great joy and a small inclination to buy everything. I had to unload my cart a couple times to work with a still remaining budget. The limited employees were working hard, eliminating risk and taking precaution. That’s the first effort I noticed. The second embodied humanity. All cashier aisles were closed and everyone had to self serve. As the light above me started blinking (a discounted item that needed override) the employee came over with a smile. As I left they wished us all well. I watched as they vigorously scrubbed the machines with cleaning solutions in hopes to limit the spread. It’s efforts like these that are Golden: responsibility and still human kindness and respect. I’m so grateful and respect that grocery store in its efforts to remain open to the public. 3/23/20 RESPECT/KINDNESS