Are you living your values?

 Engaging eye-to-eye

This morning, I listened to a Conservative Christian State Senator from Utah explain how he had changed his position on the rights of LGBT people. He had moved from disregarding their rights to respecting them.

Interestingly, he said that he hadn’t actually changed his Christian values. He had simply realised that he wasn’t living the values he was espousing, and that allowed him to see the rights of LGBT people differently.

His insight came when he remembered that Jesus had said ‘love your neighbour’ – without qualification.

That meant that as a Christian, although he might not agree with his neighbour’s behaviour, beliefs or sexual orientation, he was obliged to love them and respect their rights.

Are you living your values or just pushing them in the interests of your group of like-minded friends?

Something to think about, no matter what set of values you might have.


IMG_0156Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic and The New Girlfriend. He has also published colouring books and journals under the Sharing the Journey banner.

Who do you think you are?

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‘Who do you think you are? is a popular BBC TV genealogy program that has spread to other countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United States.

In Australia, its screening is sponsored by Ancestry where you can explore your own family history.

It seems we’re all interested in finding out about the family histories of so called famous people, going by the popularity of the program.

The success of family history sites like Ancestry suggests we’re interested in our own family histories as well. The question is – why?

Is who you are determined by your position in your family tree? 

If you know the stories of the families you belong to – does that actually tell you who you are?

Or does it merely give you the context into which you were born?

After all, you are not your grandfather – no matter what amazing things he did in his lifetime.

Maybe you’ve benefited from the material success of the people who make up your bloodline – maybe you haven’t.

What difference does it make to know that your great-great-grandmother was a slave? Look back far enough, if the records exist, and we all have a slave or two in our genealogies – that was the lot of most people in most parts of the world at one time or another. Rome might have been ruled by Caesar but it was built and operated by slaves.

Delving into your family history is entertaining, and it can reveal glimpses of the lives people lived in previous eras. We can all learn something about the story of life on earth from such research. If you have the time, the inclination and the cash, go ahead and have fun.

While you’re enjoying yourself, keep in mind that you are no more defined by your genealogy than you are by your nationality – they are both just stories.

You can choose to believe that you are defined by the stories of other people – your choice – by why limit yourself?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

How do you survive a long flight?

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When you live in Australia, flying anywhere is a long flight. Take my recent trip to New York, for example. It started with a two hour flight from Adelaide to Sydney. By the time I arrived in New York, strangely on the same day I left Adelaide, I had spent another nineteen hours in the sky, inside a metal tube with several hundred other people. Fortunately, they let us out to stretch our legs and chat with the Border Protection people in Los Angeles, before the final four and a half hour flight to the Big Apple.

It’s a long time to be sitting in the one chair, especially if, like me, you travel in ‘cattle class’. So how do you fill in those hours?

On this last trip I basically did four things. I read The Long Way Home by Louise Penny ( I like the way she tells her stories); I listened to relaxation and meditation music (I use noise cancelling headphones ,otherwise all you hear is aeroplane noise); I snoozed and maybe I got a couple of hours of sleep (who knows? I find it almost impossible to sleep in the upright position); and I got up and walked around to stretch my legs and use the facilities.

What do you do to get through a long flight without going stir crazy?