A Path to Peace – Forgiveness

How to forgiveDistrust, anger, frustration, depression, restlessness and others are forms of being that restrict peace in our lives. It’s amazing how many physical symptoms manifest from lack of motion in areas of our life that are crying out for change. And few areas scream for change and healing like forgiveness. Forgiveness healing is not about releasing yourself or the other person from accountability, but about allowing yourself to move on from the transgression. Choosing not to forgive is playing the victim and as we have stated before, being the victim is surrendering your power to change your condition.

Yes, there may be some things in your past that you still carry anger for, and perhaps you feel justified in this anger, but carrying that anger toxifies your life, not the life of the other person. I once heard a metaphor that choosing to not forgive is like driving your car around on a hot day with the windows rolled up and filled with other peoples rotting garbage. You are living with their stink and all you need to do is pull over and get out.

Three Steps to Forgiveness

The first step is to be willing to let it go. If you unwilling to release the transgression, then peace will not come. If all you can see is your “correct-ness”  or their “wrong-ness” in the situation, or your need for vengeance, then you have not reached a place where you are ready to let it go.  If you are tired of living with it, saddened by the loss of a friend or simply over being upset about it, then you are ready to find a release.  Sometimes we just want to be angry because we want to be angry, and that is okay. Just do your best not to splash your attitude on and around others while you sit in your pity-party.  It’s your party and you can sit there a long as you like, but know the longer you sit, the more you live with the pain and the stress and the less you move on. Be very aware that there are those around you who will gleefully help you stew in your pain, affirm your “correctness” and generally keep you from healing under the guise of supporting you.  These people are rarely thinking from their highest realm of being and will do their best to keep you thinking on a lower plane.

 

The second step is to become aware that none of us know the full picture. There is always more to any event than we are allowed to see.  I like to say that there are three sides to a story, your side, their side and the truth.  Knowing that neither of you know the full truth can go a long way to helping you release. Perhaps you don’t know what the other person had going on in their life at the time. Or maybe they had a traumatic experience in their past that this event reminded them of and they lashed out. Or perhaps, your actions were actually out of line and you just could not see it.  Regardless, know that you don’t know the entire story, and neither do they. The past cannot be undone, but present conditions can be healed.

 

The third step in finding forgiveness is seeking to find what buttons have been pushed in you. What was triggered and why was it triggered?  Find the button , then look for the source of why the button is there in the first place.  Peace work is about repairing YOU, not about attempting to fix others.

When you are ready for step three, here is an exercise you can try:

Find a quite place, perhaps your favorite meditation or reading space,  sit in a calm stillness and breath, just breath. Focus only on your breath until you feel calmed.  Now the work can begin.  Let’s look at how you could have handled tins differently. We will look at what your part was in the situation and what you could have done differently. Remember, we can only change our own reactions, our own mindset and our own actions. We cannot change the thoughts and actions of others.  That is up to them and them only.

Go back to where you think things began to go awry. What was said or done by the other person that you reacted to in a harsh manner? Why did you react that way? What caused those emotions to boil up inside you?  Bear in mind that our reactions today are a result of our past experiences – your present reactions often have little to do with the current situation and everything to do with something that happened in your past. You have been “trained” to react a certain way and if we can uncover this, we can release it to a new and better truth of who you are.  Now go through that scene in your head again and look for ways you could have handled it differently. from a place of higher wisdom rather than pure instinctual reaction. What might the other person have said if you had phrased things differently?  Move through the situation in your head using these steps of discovery.  I am not asking you to take full responsibility, as I believe that all persons involved will have some level of contribution, but please don’t look for what the other person did wrong, just look for how you could have handled it better. Remember we are looking to empower YOU to become better.

These confrontations are an opportunity for us to remember our true nature – that of a loving spirit having a human experience.  Sometimes our humanness just steps in the way.

As you discover ways that you could have reacted differently, you naturally begin to heal your heart. You begin to understand that you can choose to see it as the other person and the event have shown up in your life as a teacher.  You can choose to learn from it. You can choose to grow from it. You can choose to see higher potential for your life in how you react in future events. You can choose to come out of this a better person!

You may have an amazing healing the first time around, or your healing may require several “sessions” before you get there.  Just know that you WILL get there. The bonus: as you work through your forgiveness, you will find you need to forgive less often. There will naturally be fewer transgressions in your life, in part because you no longer look for them in your life, and in part because you see how minor most transgressions really are and they no longer trigger you.

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
~Catherine Ponder

Fell free to share your paths to find forgiveness with our readers in the comments below.

Growing up.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
― Anne Frank

Our son came home this last weekend.  He hasn’t been home in 6 months and for 5 months before that.  It was incredibly normal to have him home, as if, he’d never really left.  I tried to remind myself that this is not the new normal around here, this is special time, to be spent together and enjoyed and cherished.

He’s turning into a grown up.

There were days, years even, when I didn’t know if that would happen.  I’d like to take credit for it but I can’t.  I’ve guided and yelled and listened and pushed with all my might.  It took him choosing to want to make his life better.  And now I see him making decisions based on how much sleep he can get and how much money it costs.  And I’m in awe of the fact that I don’t have to reason with him about it.

About a month and a half ago, I decided that I was really ready to change my ways.  I’m the clutterer in my house.  I come home, drop my purse, my keys, my sunglasses, the mail, etc, wherever there is a spot for them.  About a month and a half ago, I thought, geez, really?  When are you going to grow up and realize that it takes more energy and more time to clean up after yourself than to just deal with it right away.  So I cleaned out a basket and now I have a place to put the OPENED bills and stuff I need to deal with.  I sort the mail right when I bring it in — open every envelope, put the important stuff in my basket or file it, throw out the envelopes that won’t go in the compost, and put the rest of the junk mail or stuff to be shredded in the shred bucket.  Amazing what this one thing has done in my life.

You can see the top of my kitchen table.  There’s not one pile on it.  And there hasn’t been one for a couple of weeks now.

This urge to just deal with stuff has spread to the laundry.  You see, I don’t mind sorting it or washing it or even folding it out of the dryer, but I really don’t like putting it away.

Other than the load that is in the washer right now — my clothes are all hung up and put away.

I even double vacuumed yesterday AND mopped the floor.

(I may need to be checked out by a doctor because this is just not my usual self.)

Guess what.  I’m growing up.

Most of the time, I’m a take it on, put it behind you kind of person.  I always put my lack of enthusiasm for housework under the “I don’t have time to care” column.  With my son officially on the grown up side of life, I’m ready to finally care.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be the A1 housekeeper but I’m okay with that.

Growing up is all about claiming the power to change your mind, your circumstances and your life.  Kids can’t wait to be a grown up because they see how much power grown ups wield.  Grown ups wish they hadn’t grown up so fast because the “power” they thought they’d get, just isn’t what they thought it would be.

But the truth is we do have the power to create happiness and peacefulness and harmony and everything we’ve ever wanted.  We have the power to make someone else feel special, to make ourselves feel special, and to choose a different way in our lives.

It’s time to grow up.  It’s time to choose a better way.  It’s time to do that which you have been putting off, delaying action or just flat out avoiding.

Becoming a grown up is hard to do.  It feels hard to choose a different way.  But it also feels amazing when you know you pushed through some difficulty or some obstacle or some habit you’ve created.  The rewards for growing up far outweigh any pain or angst.  You feel empowered, bold and incredibly encouraged.

Do you have a dream?  What is keeping you from achieving it?  Money, time, circumstances?  What was the last step you took towards that dream?  It’s time to get moving.  Every step you take toward that dream gets you that much closer.  And with every step, you’ll find the enthusiasm and the motivation to take another.  Don’t worry about the side trips.  They are part of the journey to your dream.  Just keep faithfully and diligently taking those steps.

So be encouraged!  Be empowered!  Be a grown up in your life.  Take responsibility, take action, move your feet.  Who you become is in your hands now.

As Glinda, The Good Witch, says in the Wizard of Oz:

“You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power….”

dale and me – Melissa

 

Who else wants God to stop testing them? – A Path to Peace.

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The good news is that the Divine One does not test us – at least that’s my take. Allow me to explain.

God is Love. Love has no need to test — it believes in you completely. God does not lead anyone into temptation, into failure nor into something you are not prepared to handle.

Our master teacher Jesus tells us that God does not judge.

We are all equal in the eyes of the divine. There are no favorites.

God granted us free will. Not kinda-free will, not sorta-free will, not partial-or-when-I-feel-like-it-free will. To say that God has put us in a situation goes against what I understand the Christian Scriptures tell us. Feel free to comment on this or any part of this post below if you have a different interpretation or understanding you would like to share.

The only one testing you is… well, you. Testing is a human concept for the demonstration of understanding. If you believe that the Divine is capable of knowing what is in your heart, then would any test be unnecessary to satisfy God? The actions of Jesus do not appear to support the idea that God tests us. His example appears to be to the opposite. When one or more of the disciples were unsteady in principles, his comments were more around: “Have you no faith?”, “Where is your faith?” The tests were always about them and by them. It was seemingly about their perception of the events combined with their personal faith. Did Jesus say, “this is The Father’s test for you”

We come into alignment with new Truths when we are ready, and if it feels to you like a test, it could be that you are still in a stage where conscious effort is required to apply the new understandings. If it’s not second nature to you yet, don’t sweat it. Be grateful for the opportunity to practice and move through it with grace using the fullest expression of the Truth that you can at that moment.

We may think of it as a test merely because the new awakening or the condition is something that is freshly in our awareness. The opportunities have been there all along, we are just now awake enough to see them. We might think of it as a test because we lack faith in our own understandings. If we doubt ourselves, there is room for some false perception of failure. With the idea of failure in our consciousness, we may unconsciously go looking for opportunities to practice our new understandings. Perhaps ego may be at the heart of this — putting us into situations where we can fail in our growth so ego can survive.

We live truths to the extent of our willingness to do so. Sometimes, for whatever reasoning, we are not willing to step fully into a principle. So we step into a situation where that Truth is to be expressed, we embrace it halfheartedly and the outcome isn’t as wonderful as we would like. Much like when we were a child and were asked to clean our bedrooms. If you weren’t into doing it, and how many of us really had a ‘passion’ for cleaning our rooms, the end result my have been “okay” on the surface but we knew in our hearts we could have done more. We just wanted to get on with it and get back to play time.

To my way of thinking, “test” is merely a label we apply to events in our lives where we feel unsteady. Events where we have a chance to practice understandings that we feel are not our strongest. Have you noticed, when applying a principle becomes second nature, you gradually stop calling it a test? What changed? Well you did, at the very least, your point of view changed. You decided to stop applying the label. If we get to make the call on when it stops being a test, then is it really God submitting the test?

 

So here is your take away:

We here at Empower-Yourself.com always honor your perceptions on your path. It is YOUR path and you are your own best guide and you certainly get to chose how to walk it. Regardless of your views on life’s “tests”, the ideas below may assist you in bringing personal empowerment and peace into your life.

To live more fully empowered: Stop labeling events as a test. If you are seeing it as a test and have the mindset of “this is for a grade, I better do good”, then you are coming from a place un-empowered – perhaps even a place of fear. If you “do the right thing” because you have chosen to, now you are living empowered. I suspect we all understand how much we prefer to do what we want to do over what we have to do. Feel the difference? Coming from the empowering space makes room for joy, passion and a life of happiness in everything you are doing.

To live more fully in peace: release the idea that events are some test that was manufactured for you and see it for what it is. Just another event in the continuous, unbroken and overlapping string of events we call life. Work through it with the integrity you have and all the Love you can, and you will come through the other side with the highest and best outcome possible to you at that moment.

Stop Resisting Resistance! The Wind In Your Hair is Natural

Chapel At Red Rocks - Unity Spiritual CenterToday’s post is a transcript of our talk delivered to the Chapel at Red Rocks, Denver Colorado on June 09, 2013.

 

Let’s talk wind.

What comes to your mind when we say “wind?”

Does wind bring up good feelings or bad feelings? Why? Did you have an experience that colored the way you think or feel about wind?

**Melissa**

When I was 10, we moved to Omaha, NE……. and any of you who have ever visited or passed through Nebraska know about the prairie wind. I loved the wind. I would stand, or attempt to stand, out in the wide open fields with my arms stretched out and sing in my loudest voice. The wind carried my voice away and I only heard the rush of the air by my ears and not my own voice. I would lean way into the wind – just to see how far I could lean and not fall over. It was pretty far! Until, of course, the wind stopped for just a moment and I met the turned up earth in that field.

But the Nebraska wind brought scary moments too. Tornados were not something I’d ever even thought about. Paying attention to the color of the sky, or the sounds in the air, or all the other grown up ways that tell of the potential of danger was not in my awareness. But at 10, I learned quickly to grab cushions and the dogs and head to the basement. But I still loved the wind on the sunny days…… out in the field, singing at the top of my lungs.

 

When I was 18, I lived in Boulder in an old dorm room with windows on three sides. Any of you who have ever visited or passed through Boulder know about the wind….. smile……..

 

I hated that wind! It messed up my hair (it was the 80’s – you remember how much time we all took on our hair in the 80’s),it blew my clothes all around, and howled at all hours of the night. And this is the idea of wind I carry with me now, not the delight of my youth but of the howling, destructive force that has come into my adult understanding.

 

And yet, it just is. The wind is just something that is in this world we share. Not something to fight against or get angry with or think of as a personal tormentor.

 

**John**

When we move – either by walking, running, riding a bike, motorcycle, car, horse, boat or roller coaster – we experience our own personal “wind.” Even on the stillest of days, when we move, we perceive a breeze, don’t we? Even now, if you take your bulletin and fan yourself, you feel the rush of air. But it took you doing something, some movement from you, to create this personal wind experience.

 

Einstein said — Nothing happens in the universe until something moves. And this applies not only to mass but all forms of energy. Stuff doesn’t randomly start moving in an unknown direction. It takes a force, an idea, a pull, or a push to make motion happen.

 

In 1665 Sir Isaac Newton proposed three Laws of Motion.

The first law says — in layman’s terms: If an object is not moving, it will not start moving by itself. If an object is moving, it will not stop or change direction unless something pushes against it.

 

**Melissa**

There’s nothing personal about this law. Like gravity, it just is. If you are stuck in something, a bad job, a bad mindset, a bad relationship, a repetitive thought process or a mud puddle, it’s going to take force – or an action – from you to get going again. Depending on the weight of the situation and your resistance to change, it may take a great force. There are external forces that create movement and internal forces that create movement and both of them can meet resistance. Think of one situation in your own life where you knew there was a better way and you moved to change your own circumstances.

 

**John**

When we walk, run or ride that roller coaster, we meet some resistance on our face in the form of the wind, as we move from one point to another. Let’s say for this moment that the wind is a metaphor for the resistance to change. So when you started to change your situation, what resistance did you feel?

 

Coined by Maria Nemeth, the term “Trouble at the border” describes the resistance WE create in our own lives. The actions we take as a result of the inner voices of doubt – what the Buddhists call “Monkey Mind”. The sabotage can be as subtle as an inner nagging that creates doubt and slows us, or as upfront and obvious as the fear that stops us in our tracks. Sometimes this saboteur shows up like a sneaky little spy that encourages us to go into “evidence gathering mode” where we collect supporting evidence or false intelligence that tries to convince us monkey mind was indeed right all along.

 

**Melissa**

Have you ever said “The universe OBVIOUSLY doesn’t want me to do this because look at all this resistance to my attempts.” Did it feel like the resistance was personal? Like God just didn’t want you to walk this path?….

 

Really? Do you think that the universe/God has nothing better to do than to test you this very minute? There is nothing personal about the resistance or the wind. It just is.

**John**

Now, we’re not suggesting that you ignore the wind or the resistance…….. because that would be like asking you to ignore the sunshine or the rain – impossible right?

It’s unwise not to prepare for the wind. It’s unwise not to evaluate the next step and possibly make adjustments to the “plan.” Do you need to take a coat or do you need to change your way of getting there? Is the end goal something worth pushing through or redirecting around the resistance or does the goal itself need an adjustment?

**Melissa**

We all label things and events, real or imagined. Most of the time, labels serve us properly: Peas versus corn, cars versus trucks, green versus blue.

**John**

However , at times our labels are merely the sneaky side of monkey-mind tricking us into limiting thought. Right versus wrong, bad versus good, positive or negative, should have, could have, success, failure – all are limiting judgements

**Melissa**

The resistance, and the labels, and the thoughts, and the woulda, shoulda, might haves swirl in our heads creating chaos and stress. In Mark 4:35-40, Jesus and the disciples were in the midst of a storm crossing a lake in a boat. The disciples were frightened by the turmoil and what appeared to be their impending demise.

**John**

Remember that Unity teaches us that each person, place and event in the Bible represents some part of us or our story. The disciples represent all of our faculties – Faith | Strength | Wisdom | Love | Power | Imagination | Understanding | Will | Order | Zeal | Elimination | Life — These 12 faculties, the “disciples” were in an uproar, because they fully claimed the reality of the storm (the resistance in getting from one place to another) they were deeply in the chaos of their own struggle. Jesus knowing the Truth, not only was unshaken but was so unconcerned that He was sleeping on the bow! Awakened by the fearful voices of the disciples, Jesus (higher thinking) calmed the storm (or struggle) by simply stating “Peace, be still.” Scripture states that they made this journey with other boats – which can be viewed as other people. The storm can be seen as a creation of the culmination of thoughts from all on the journey – or tribal thought. Higher thinking stills the waters not just for one boat, but for all.

**Melissa**

When Jesus stated peace be still, the winds stopped and the waves calmed and *everyone* was able to think clearly again. Jesus is our example, not our exception. What He has done, we too can do [John 14:12]. So when the winds of resistance threaten to swamp your boat, remind yourself — Peace, Be Still and allow the Divine Peace to calm your fears and your worries. The disciples labeled the resistance as bad, Jesus made it neither good nor bad.

**John**

So can we release the good/bad labels and just see events for what they are: Just a connected series of happenings that are part of a long string of events that we label life. Release the judgment, and our thoughts formally pre-occupied on limited thinking, are now freed to remember with genuine clarity.

**Melissa**

Resistance is often thought of in a negative way, but like everything we encounter on our journey, it is there to serve us if we remain awake and aware.

**John**

Knowing that resistance *is* inevitable empowers us to watch for it and use it to our benefit. Resistance can be embraced rather than challenged.

**Melissa**

When resistance is encountered and noticed, take the opportunity to pause, look around and reassess. Where might I be moving too fast? Where might I be moving too slow? Where can I put greater or more mindful effort toward improving this particular path?” Understand that resistance is the Divine throttle helping us avoid moving into territory that we are not yet prepared for.

**John**

Knowing that resistance is inevitable should free us from the surprise when it shows up. So if we are no longer surprised by it, can we give ourselves permission release the need to create stress around it? We know it’s coming, we can stop being alarmed by it.

**Melissa**

And for the Star Trek Fans: Resistance to Resistance is not only futile, it might just be downright silly.

**John**

When we release the need to resist resistance we discover there is no “bad” in it. There is only good, there is only God and God is only Good.

**Melissa**

Every event in life *can* hold a learning opportunity, but it’s not necessarily there *AS* a lesson. We can *choose* to learn from it, but it’s not a class requirement. John & I have come to believe that it’s not about learning the lesson but about *remembering* and reclaiming the Truth.

**John**

We believe that the Universe has better things to do than micro-manage our remembering and our lives. Our master teacher Jesus tells us that God does not dole out favors, nor dole out punishment nor does God give out grades.

Resistance is not a result of wrong-doing or right-doing or missed “lessons” but a positive serving attribute of the Divine. We are all the same in the eyes of God so resistance is neither greater nor lesser for any individuals. We ALL experience resistance and we ALL have the choice to allow it to serve us. The difference is what we each choose to do with it.

**Melissa**

So the next time you feel wind (resistance) blowing through your hair see it as an indication of your forward movement. It’s a gentle reminder to continue your mindful motion. It’s a gentle reminder to apply mindful energy to any situation. And a gentle reminder to enjoy the experience, lean into the wind and sing at the top of your lungs!

So our assignment for you this week is to be on the lookout for resistance, and when you find it, turn your thoughts to your advantage rather than seeing a limiting force.

**John**

Be-Do-Have Part 3 (aka, how not to get stuck in your stuff)

So you want to change the way you are, the way you think, the way you show up in life…..  Congratulations!!!  Now the real work starts…..

We talked in Part 2 (be do, be do) about how “challenges” arise when you try to make a change.  Unfortunately, many times we label these as “tests” from some higher power to our will power.  I know I am guilty of claiming that the Universe is really testing me today!  Really?  Do I not believe the Universe has bigger things to accomplish today than to “test” me?

I told you about our going off of sugar and how everywhere we looked, there were ads, promotions and flat out temptations.  But they were there before we changed our eating habits.  The stores and the manufacturers didn’t put them up overnight just to trip us up.  It was us that changed.  Our awareness became acute, and sometimes painful, as we navigated onto the new way of being.

Because this is a making a change in your spiritual outlook, it’s less tangible and seemingly “harder” to keep on track.  What can you do to keep from getting stuck or staying stuck in your own story/excuses/drama?  Such a good question!

Let’s take the intention that you are going to be a kinder person to everyone, and that really means E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E, not just the people you like or get along with.  You can just about guarantee that within the first week, you’re going to get cut-off in traffic, someone is going to make several outrageous demands of your time, someone is not going to understand your side, you’re going to be pushed for time, and you’re going to have to do something you don’t want to do.

Will these things happen to you because you are trying to be kinder?  Nope, the examples happen ALL THE TIME, probably multiple times a week.  So, the fact that you’re changing your mindset didn’t bring more situations to you, it just opened up your awareness to these opportunities to be a better person.

Someone cuts you off in traffic — again.  What’s your first reaction?  Okay, probably not something we can print here.  Is there something else you could do?  I realize that non-reaction would be the best but let’s pretend that we’re not all to that place yet, shall we?  Here’s just one suggestion:  Take a deep breath, hold up your hand – palm to the person who just cut you off, and say “I bless you on your journey.”

The first time I tried this, I negated my blessing with an eye roll.  It’s a process, I tell you!  Not going to tell you that I’m a first class practitioner but I’m much better than I was!  And it relieves my stress to realize that something is going on in their life that is creating an urgency that I don’t want to carry for them.  If I don’t need to add to their burden, then that’s better for them AND for me!  I don’t need their anger, fear, stress.  I have plenty to deal with myself, thank you very much.

Outrageous demand of your time?  I am constantly amazed that when I feel that I don’t have the time to do one more thing, several more, unrelenting things are dumped on me (things that only I can do) — just to prove that not only was there time for the original list, but time to take care of the additional list.  I’m learning to not say “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” for there is plenty of time to do all that is mine to do.  The first thing to do is to realize that either this is really yours to do or it’s not.  If it’s not yours to do, take a deep breath and firmly relay that belief to the person asking/demanding.  If it is yours to do, freaking out is not going to help anyone.  Take a deep breath, and another one, and realize that  you can do whatever is necessary.  Sometimes when things fall off of our proverbial plate, it helps us realize that maybe it wasn’t as important as we thought it was.

Have you seen a pattern starting to emerge?  That “taking a deep breath” is what is known as a pattern interrupt.  Pattern interrupt is exactly as it sounds, something that helps you break a pattern or habit in your life.  They are as easy as taking a deep breath or as complicated as repeating a mantra (which isn’t very complicated) or moving a plastic bracelet from one wrist to another.

Will Bowen wrote a book A Complaint Free World .  The goal is to go 30 days without complaining and when you catch yourself complaining, you move a purple plastic bracelet from one wrist to the other.  That process raises your awareness of how often you complain or gossip.  One of the points in the book is that our mouths are the buyers of what our brains are manufacturing.  When the mouth stops buying what the brain is manufacturing, the brain will stop manufacturing crap.  It is a fabulous process to work through!  And it’s more difficult than you think.  Most of us complain without conscious thought and gossiping is just out of control.

So, the first step to changing your ways is to be aware of what you are doing and saying.  The second step is to have a check-in with yourself — is this how I want to show up in this situation?  The potential third step (if the answer to the second step is “no”) is a pattern interrupt.  Here are a few examples:

– Deep breath (or three)

– Say  “Cancel-Clear” (I cancel those words and clear my intention)

– Move a bracelet or rubber band from wrist to wrist (I don’t recommend snapping the rubber band)

– Hand to heart, deep breath, connect with breath and heartbeat

– Say “I choose Love in this situation”

– Close your eyes for a moment and imagine water washing away the stress, the disappointments, the worries

Once you’ve interrupted your patterned response, you have a “do-over” to choose a better/higher way.  This isn’t about how the other person will respond, because you can’t control them, this is only about your response.  I tell you from personal experiences — when you change your reactions, people around you seem to change.  Crazy, I know.  When you break bad communication styles and poor-me routines, not only do you feel better, more grounded and centered, but you start creating better relationships and boundaries.

I hope this gives you a few tools to help you on your journey.  Remember, the more you practice your higher way of thinking, the easier it gets — but there may be days when you want to chuck it all in.  That’s okay….. take a deep breath, now another one…… and one more……….  try again.

Be-Do-Have Part 2 (be do, be do)

Okay, so we chatted about how you have to BE something before you can HAVE it.  We received a response requesting some ideas as to how to handle the challenges.  I’m going to go there in a future post but for now, let’s really dissect the trouble, okay?

Sometimes, I think, we make spiritual stuff harder than it needs to be and we get frustrated with it because there’s not an end point we can shoot for.  (Okay, full enlightenment is great, but I would be happy with making it through the day without thinking bad thoughts about someone else.)  It’s really easy to think “my goal is to be nice to everybody, all the time” than it is to live it.  And when it gets too hard or too frustrating to try and think in an enlightened way, we use the guilt and shame as whips against our souls.  Then we affirm that OBVIOUSLY we’re not worthy of the good in our lives, so why try.  Okay, I shortened the process here for the sake of space, but I think you get the gist.

I’m going to liken spiritual learning with something that most of us know a lot about — changing our diet and/or eating habits.pea on fork

When you first decided that you were going to “change your ways” as far as the food you put in your body, do you remember how you felt?  Excited, ready to learn, eager to seek support and more information, and maybe a little apprehensive.  There was so much to read and learn and think about that thinking about food/snacks/can have’s/can’t have’s became all consuming.  It’s all you thought about and all you talked about.  If you’re not eating, you’re thinking about the what and the when of your next snack.

I remember when John and I went off of sugar.  The first days were terrible!  My head hurt, my body hurt and I was just generally cranky.  Going out of the house was a true test.  I remember clearly standing in line at the grocery store shocked by all the walls and shelves lined with brightly colored ads for sugary items.  So, did the grocery chain find out that John and I were off of sugar and put all of those items in front of us to tempt us or to trip us up? (John says, yes, they did.)  No!  Those things were already there.  I just had not ever noticed them to that degree before.

So, let’s go through my analogy a bit more:

My head hurting — Total entrainment with my previous thought pattern.  My human mind was trying to help me to see the error of my ways and convince me that I would feel better if I’d just give up these highfalutin ideas.  Eating had come easy all of the previous years of my life, why give that ease up now?  This new path is hard and I’m tired.

My body hurting — If the mind can’t get you back, the pressure of the many will!  I’m going to equate my body to the tribal teachings (societal agreements) that we’ve all bought into as truth.  My body didn’t agree with the mind’s choices and was willing to take some low blows to make me come back into the pack.  That’s how tribal teachings work — you go against the flow and you pay the price.

And the crankiness, oh, let’s not forget the crankiness —  It’s HARD changing your ways.  It’s hard going against everything you understand.  It’s hard and everyone should understand how hard it is!!!  It’s time consuming and frustrating and …. oh you get the picture.

Now, here’s the part that gives you hope.  While the first few days were horrible, the horribleness didn’t last.  Eventually, the steps became easier to follow and we weren’t fighting against this new way of being.

Here’s where you ask yourself if we’re still off of sugar……….  I’d like to say yes, but I’d be lying.  However, we did learn a lot about ourselves and what to eat and what not to eat during that stint.  Some of the habits we have today stem directly from that particular diet.  So, did we “fail” in our attempt to enlighten ourselves?

I say, no.  Enlightenment can come to some in an instant (or so I’ve read) but I believe it’s more of a journey.  Are we eating better because we went through this diet process?  Yes.  Did we learn a few things that we’ll always remember?  You betcha!  For us, the learning is cumulative.  Each time we change our eating habits, more ideas make sense and are easier to follow.  Spiritual learning is the same way.

The more you study, the more willing you are to look at, practice and TRY to learn a better way, then more sticks with you and makes more sense to you.  One point from a book connects with a talk from a spiritual leader connects with something you hear from an unlikely source.  It starts settling into your understanding and you find that you’re not fighting against this new thought process as much.

So, understand that the challenges don’t come up because there’s a “test” or a lesson from the Universe.  The things we label as challenges were already there — we were either blind to them or we stepped into them without notice.  By deciding that you are going to think in another way and act in a higher way only sheds light on the things in your life that no longer fit in your new mindset.  They must be dealt with and released before the “new” way of thinking becomes easier.

In the meantime, enjoy learning something new, stay in the excitement of possibilities and let go of the apprehension.

Make sense?  Okay, next time — how not to get stuck in your stuff……..

You Improving Your Life