Tag Archives: Awareness

Meanies and How They Ruin a Perfectly Good Day

Congratulations, person who wanted to be mean and hurt my feelings.

You were successful.

Big_Fat_Meanie

Your comment about me to my boss not only hurt my feelings, but made me question myself.  And made me cry.  Not the Ugly Cry but tears, nonetheless.

You took a day that was going better than average and turned it on its ear.

I’ve been doing what I do for a really long time.  To say that I’m comfortable in my abilities and social skills, would be an understatement.  But when I receive out of the blue comments about my less than great attitude or my unwillingness to be helpful, it throws me off my game for a bit.  To my benefit (and the benefit of those around me), my age and the spiritual work I’ve done allows me to bounce back pretty quickly.

There is a musing I heard quoted (I don’t have the original quote) about if you are going to suffer, then SUFFER.  The inference is that you need to really feel the hurt and the pain and move on.  Don’t dip your toes in the suffering pool a little bit at a time and prolong the agony.  Jump in, feel the feelings and get the heck out!

We’ve all heard the Buddhist proverb “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”  I think we’ve even used it several times in this blog.  Living life hurts, but you don’t have to suffer the hurts longer than you want to.

From BUDDHIST SANGHA OF SOUTH JERSEY

First Noble Truth – Right Understanding

The Path begins with the Right Understanding of the Four Noble Truths:

· There is suffering in life.

· Suffering comes from ignorance which leads to craving, grasping and clinging.

· We can become free from suffering and achieve happiness.

· The way to become free from suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path

I like the first point a lot.  Because as much as I would like to claim that I am above choosing to suffer the pains in my life, I’m not.  Sometimes I sit back and lick those wounds over and over.  Was there something I could have done differently, better, that would have let me escape the sting?  The first point clearly states — there is suffering in life.  It happens.  Denying the suffering doesn’t help anyone.

Point 2 – suffering comes from ignorance which leads to craving, grasping and clinging.  Oh!  Sound familiar?  If I’m suffering from words spoken, then I’m the only one suffering.  The person who spoke them has moved on.  They are not suffering.  I’m in ignorance of the motives and standing in conscious ignorance to my own higher beliefs.   I’m left craving answers, grasping at the what-if’s and clinging to my injured ego.

Wounded people, wound others.  Angry people share anger.  Misery loves company.  For some reason, humans try to hurt each other but it is my REACTION to the pain which creates my suffering, not the event itself.  When I rise above my emotions and clearly see the other person in this situation,  I can see that they are unhappy in their world and desperately trying to defend their actions by putting the blame on someone else.  I’m not discounting their comment– maybe I was snippy to them once — but why wait YEARS to provide this feedback?  If you want to be helpful in providing feedback, it should be timely and clear.  By waiting so long, they are now evidence gathering as to why they are “right” in making the decisions that they are making.

Point 3 – we can become free from suffering and achieve happiness.  I could choose to carry the hurt for the rest of the day, week or month.  There is a high likelihood that I will see this person again.  How long do I feel justified in carrying my hurt?  I could be cold in our next encounter — but doesn’t that just confirm their opinion of me?  They will probably have forgotten their words and only  remember the feelings.  My being hurt and miffed in their presence isn’t going to clear up the situation one bit.

John & I were just talking about the analogy of suffering being like someone throwing garbage in your car and you refusing to clean it out.  You drive around with this smelly, awful mess — suffering the whole way — and they don’t even remember throwing trash in there.  I choose to release the suffering and thereby free my energies up to be happy.  Ultimately, this person has nothing to do with my everyday life and I should not make their opinion so important that it colors my world into gray.

Point 4 – I know nothing of the Noble Eightfold Path but I do know that choosing not to suffer and learning the skills to live in a non-suffering way is a journey!  You pick up one skill at a time and practice that until it feels less hard and then you are ready for another one.  Each time you practice a higher thought process you learn something about yourself and the process.  And you trust the process a bit more.  Berating yourself for not handling the process better does not help.  You must accept that you chose only to suffer a day this time and that is better than the three days you suffered last time.

So, in the midst of my suffering, while I was wiping away the tears of hurt, indignation and pride, I remembered to breathe.  I say that a lot — breathe, breathe.

The very act of taking a conscious deep breath connects my mind and body.  By taking another one, I feel my body settle into that place I know is safe and firm.  The anxiety leaves me and my feet start to feel very planted in Spirit/God.  Another breath, and I feel connected to my higher self.  From this higher place, in the calm state that simply breathing deeply has provided, I am able to see/claim that this hurt is not mine to carry.  I am able to have perspective and even understanding.  I feel the suffering slipping away as quickly as it came to me.

My father says “forgive but never forget!”  I always laugh at him when he says this because I couldn’t possibly carry around all the perceived slights in my lifetime — nor do I want to.  But there is some truth here.  It is our work to discern what comments/feedback are said to help us wake up and realize that we’re not showing up as we want to, versus the ones that are just thrown out there to wound.  Besides, forgiving is a much harder requirement.  Forgiving means no chip on your shoulder, no what ifs, no plans for future action.  Forgiveness is that I understand that you are human making your way on your path and our paths intersected and that I’m not going to knock you down just because I can.

Meanies are just part of this earthly experience.   Take a moment to recognize that the experience of a meanie hurt — temporarily.  You don’t need to suffer it over and over and over again.  Move on.  Claim the higher perspective.  Wipe away your tears and breathe.  Claim the joy in a good day.  Because they all are good days, even if there are meanies in them.

Dinner Schminner — Life’s Ruts

joyofcooking

I’m in a dinner rut.

It’s ugly.

I don’t want to make dinner.  I’m uninspired and not motivated.  Cereal sounds too good (and easy) to go through the effort of thinking of, prepping for, cooking and cleaning up.  Bleh.

I actually like to cook.  I like taking care of my family and being creative with recipes and ideas.  I have a fully stocked freezer, pantry and utensil drawer.  I have a bunch of cookbooks with various lilts and several websites bookmarked which are filled with many other recipes to tempt me.  My pots and pans sit at the ready to be heated and filled.  I HAVE everything I need to create a meal.

And yet….

My kitchen is quiet.

<sigh>

Newton’s First Law:  An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it.

Hence, those pots and pans aren’t moving themselves.

As I  contemplate this dilemma, I am struck with how similar this is to our journey.

We HAVE everything we need to live a better life.  And if we don’t, there are millions of books, websites, spiritual leaders, and classes to help move us in the direction we imagine.

Are you like me…..stuck in a rut?

Your prayers have become more rote, less heart centered.  Meditation time, while time well spent, just isn’t as inspiring as you think it could be.  You look at the stack of books you couldn’t wait to read and sigh the sigh of disinterest.  The projects that used to move your heart aren’t moving anywhere and feel heavy to complete.

It’s kind of like going to my fully stocked pantry and declaring that there isn’t anything to eat.

It’s not about what’s available to us, it’s about our inner motivation.  Or lack therein.

So, what can we do to reclaim that spark of interest in nurturing our spiritual selves?

Perhaps you have a friend with whom you can talk about spiritual stuff.  What are they reading?  What awareness have come to them lately?  You might find that your friend is so excited about learning something that you catch a bit of their fire of excitement.

Think out of the norm.  Go to a bookstore — brick & mortar or virtual — and browse through the spiritual/religious area.  Is there something there that catches your eye — especially if it’s something you wouldn’t normally pick up — check it out.  I’m often amazed how reading one thing makes me think that I need to explore the author more, then that leads to something different and all of a sudden, I’m caught up in the learning.

Go to trusted public mentors’ websites.  Fan of Oprah?  She is a wealth of different inspiring books, quotes, practices.  I’m loving Brene Brown right now.  Joel Olsteen’s I Declare is one of my favorite go to books for a pick-me-up.   Have you seen Who Have You Come Here To Be?  I use this book so often it’s falling apart.

Go for a walk without the music in your ears.  Connect with nature and your surroundings.  Plant something, tend something.  Fully engage with your pet.  Throw the ball for your dog until your arm hurts and then sit back and really look at his face.  He’s all in.  He’s fully with you right now.  Sit in the sunshine and soak in that warmth and energy.

Mostly the answer is move your feet.  It’s doing something even though you don’t feel like doing it.

It’s stepping forward in faith knowing that if you do your work, Spirit meets you there with more inspiration.  And when you get that sweet taste of accomplishment and relight the fire of curiosity, you will feel better and more motivated.

Newton’s first law doesn’t apply well to humans.  Yes, you can apply an external force to a human to make us do something or refrain from something.  However, it’s only when the motivation comes from within that we change our lives.  We don’t have to wait for an external force.  We can find the spark within us and move to claim who we want to be.

Just sharing these ideas and my cooking rut has energized me!  I’m feeling connected and motivated.

Now, if I could only figure out what we’re having for dinner………

 

Why Are We Here?

Starting off with an easy question today………

Hands touching a globe

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is?  Why are you here?  Why did you have to experience that awful time in your life?

Sometimes the answers to really big questions fall in your lap and you have a moment of clarity so strong that it takes your breath away.

It happened to me today.

A number of years ago, I was in a really hard part of my life.  Broken first marriage, beginnings of a new relationship, a shattered child who took on many other issues, a full time job with heavy responsibilities and a household to keep up with.  There were days when it took all of my strength just to put one foot in front of the other — and it never seemed like I was in balance or had it all together or even was close to enjoying it.  I don’t actually remember asking “why me” but I’m not saying it didn’t cross my mind.

It was SUCH a hard time.  There weren’t any instruction books — just lots and lots of opinions freely offered, of course, by well intentioned people in my life.  I made decisions that others didn’t like and that I wasn’t 100% sure of, but I made them because I was following that voice of internal guidance that I kept praying for.  I listened to all the advice and took away bits and pieces, followed threads that lead to new schools, new ways, new thoughts, and new practices.  We did more than survive those years, all of us have grown and now thrive in our lives.

So WHY did it have to be so hard?

Today, I was talking with someone who I’ve known casually for 17 years.  We connect because of our sons.  While he is experiencing different issues with different players, the emotional toll it is taking on him feels incredibly familiar to me.  I see the sadness in his eyes.  I feel the heaviness in his parental heart as he has to make really hard decisions about his son’s future.  I hear the words he’s using to distance himself from those hurtful opinions of others.  I know his internal battle well.

And then clarity hit.

With one breath in, my world came into focus so clearly that I thought he could hear the snap.  My back straightened, my heart oozed support, and I heard myself calling him out of his darkness.  I heard my voice telling him that he must take care of himself so that he can care for others.  I felt the power within me, borne of the fire of trials, surge towards him.  You are not in this world alone.  I hear you.  I see you.  I give you my strength and my knowledge and my understanding.

Why are we here?

We are here to claim what has happened to us and to turn it into reasons to understand another.

We are here to listen and really hear.

We are here to lift up, encourage and shine as examples of triumph.

We are here to connect, heart to heart.

Do that.

Be that person.

Shine a light in someone else’s darkness.  Lift your light high enough that it shines upon another’s path and makes their next step more visible.

You have everything within you right here and right now.

 

The Story of the Two Cats

I’m fighting the urge to call this The Tale of Two Kitties.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times……. Tao1

We currently have two cats and a dog.  We lost a cat earlier this year and recently decided that the time was right to get another cat.  Tao, our existing cat, is a lovely little creature who never learned to be a lap kitty.  She was originally a stray and still maintains that “I can fend for myself” air about her.  She used to like to run the hallway and stalk the other cat but since losing him, she’s not done much of the running and obviously, no stalking.

We thought maybe a new cat would be a bit more cuddly to us and would give her a playmate.

Well, it hasn’t worked out quite as we had imagined.

We found a seven month old cat whose family turned up allergic to him.  He’s very sweet.  He wants to sit with us and be in the same room with us.  He’s very social and misses us greatly when we’re not around.  And Tao does not like him.

Tao is the princess cat.  She has that air of royalty that is entitled but doesn’t get her hands dirty.  And she’s always been the Alpha animal.  Since the day we brought her home, she’s been the ruling animal personality in this home.

Stitch, the new cat, doesn’t understand that she’s the Alpha and he’s making a serious play for the position.

The position isn’t open and neither one of them can make the other understand that.

But here’s what has struck me:  In a very real way, Stitch has claimed the dominant role.

Stitch doesn’t realize it yet.  He’s still trying to engage her in a battle.  He spends a great deal of time looking for her and watching her and then plotting his attack.  He waits until we’re out of sight before making his move.  It’s difficult to reconcile the very sweet, wants to be loved cat with the mastermind who has figured out how to get to the other cat.

Meanwhile, Tao spends her time growling at his intrusion into her world.  She spends a lot of time under the bed, or under the table, huddled into a pissed off ball of fur.  When engaged by Stitch, she lets out this unholy scream of indignation that lets everyone know that not only has her bubble been breached but she’s not going to stand for it.

It’s a very interesting dynamic that has become all consuming.   If they are in the same area together, they are stuck in this drama and thus, so are we.  If Tao would concede her authority, she’d figure out how to play with him and would have a companion.  If Stitch would stop trying to take the authority, he’d find himself with a friend and someone to share the toys with.  For all intents and purposes, Stitch is dictating the relationship right now and with that, has gained the upper hand.  But he doesn’t see it.  And so the cycle continues.

Neither one of the cats is fully happy.  Even though they have a nice home, with clean litter boxes and good food that they didn’t have to buy, open or catch, they are not happy.  They are consumed by the other one’s presence.  It’s blocking their ability to see and appreciate all the wonderful things in their world.  And it’s blocking us from being able to give them even more love because we feel apprehensive and divided.  Which, of course, they pick up on and are quick to act on.  It’s a really vicious cycle.

If either of them realized that that their world would not change no matter who “has the power” , maybe the title wouldn’t matter so much.  They both will still be fed at the same time by the same hand in the same house.  The toys, beds, cat perches are all still available to them.  They are safe and warm and tended  to.  But they cannot see it because they are so busy suffering their positions.

This situation has made me wonder what similar situations could be in my life.  Where am I stuck in a dramatic power play that is taking over my thoughts and energy?  What relationships have I decided should go a certain way?  And if that relationship doesn’t fit 100% into what I think it should look like, am I plotting and harassing my way through it? Or am I screaming with indignation?

If I were to realize that power is an illusion and claim the reality that my world doesn’t really change if I change my stance, what could my relationships be?

Something to ponder.

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

 

Stitch

 

Struggling

I want you to know that everyone struggles with something in their life.  Everyone, no matter how serene their outside facade, has inner demons and struggles.

I am reminded of that anytime a couple who I thought had it all splits up.  Or when some gorgeous, young, vibrant person takes their own life.  Or when a family is shattered by unseen forces.

I think one of the hardest things in this life is the inner voice that is so hard on us.  It knows the secret thoughts of doubt, anger, self recrimination, unworthiness, and the times when you know you didn’t live up to who you want to be.  That voice’s world is dark and cold.  And it usually surfaces when we’re tired and stretched leaving us more vulnerable to accepting that voice as the voice of truth.

I find myself working through some deep thoughts in the middle of the night.  It may seem like the best time, the outside world is quiet, there are no distractions, but it’s actually when my defenses are down and that negative voice seems its loudest.  I know I’ve hit the wall of Out of Control when I worry about when the last time the kitchen floor was mopped.  But I don’t always hit that well recognized wall.  Most of the time, I stop short and just wallow at the base of the wall, unable to sleep and unable to work through the issue with my sleep deprived reasoning skills.

In the morning light, my fears and worries are put back into perspective.  They shrink back and are replaced with my life’s missions and obligations and by the affirmations of those around me who find me valuable and worthy.  Yes, there are days when the shadows sneak in but in the daylight, those shadows are not overwhelming.

So, what do you do when the shadows seem to be overtaking you?

My simple answer is pray.  Pray to your Higher Power, God, Allah, Jesus, Messiah, All That Is, and surrender the fear and the doubts and the worries that are swirling around.  Imagine gathering all the darkness and putting it in a basket or a box and handing it over to the Great Light of the Universe.  Imagine this basket/box being lifted from your hands and feel the weight of it being removed from your being.  Feel your fingers releasing the basket/box.  Let it go.  Don’t reach for it again.

Feel that sense that you are safe and that your biggest worries are being handled by someone who has more knowledge than you do.  It’s safe here.  You are safe.

Close your eyes and imagine a great sunrise on all those shadow thoughts.  Blasted in the light of knowingness and centeredness, they are gone.  Shadow thoughts cannot stand in the light.

You have the power within you to raise the light of your being any time of day.  As I sit here at 3:32 AM, I know that my light and my God rise inside of me and banish all those shadows thoughts.  I am an expression of God, full of worthiness, confidence, wisdom, power, zeal.  There is no situation here that can overtake the light of who I am.

Grounded in this wisdom, I sleep.

Silence

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“In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.”

     -Henry David Thoreau

 

You’ve heard about “going into the silence” but I’m not going to talk about this.

Silence.  It’s a tool we use to help us discern but it can also be a weapon used against our relationships.  Just like a hoe is a wonderful tool in the garden, it’s not so good to the snake that surprises us in that same garden.

We all have some relationship in our lives (and it’s very likely there’s more than one) that has gone silent.  Nothing happened to sever the connection, no great fight or disagreement, but just a passage of time with no communication.  I have several of these and they break my heart.

Through modern technology and social media, I have begun to Un-Silence some of these relationships.  While not the most intimate of communication styles, it opens the door to communication where once there was not even a window.  A friend of mine from college asked me about why our relationship had gone quiet….neither one of us could come up with a why.  She looked me in the eye with a touch of sadness and said “effort.  It takes effort and energy to keep relationships.”  She is right.

It also takes mindfulness and awareness and compassion.  Sometimes relationships need to go quiet for a while because your lives just don’t mesh.  Sometimes they go quiet because we are all just too busy to lift up our heads and commit some time and effort to keeping up the connection.  Whatever the cause, do something this week to Un-Silence a relationship you wish you had back in your life.  Make a choice to reconnect with someone and then move you feet (or your fingers) and make it happen.

Let’s talk about the silences in your love life.  Do you have silences?  Do you have places that are silent because of anger or fear or hurt?  Are there topics that you are silent on?  Come on, we all have things that we just don’t talk about with our partner……

And if it’s just a silence, then, so be it.  However, if it’s a silence with feeling, then it could be a problem.

Silence from a partner can trigger deep stories in our own head.  The other person may not (and probably does not) know about the story we’ve created around the silence.  Have you ever played the “well, if he says this, I’ll say that” game?  You work out the entire conversation and/or argument and you haven’t heard a word from the other person yet.

You can’t make someone talk about anything (Thank You, God, that I finally got that message) but you can control the story you tell yourself.  Don’t feed the what ifs without hearing what the other person has to say.

Silences in relationships are natural occurrences, it’s not about labeling them good or bad.  They happen and we get to choose how we react or create from them.

So, let’s check in on those silences.  Are you carrying sorrow around them, if so, do something!  You have everything you need to reconnect.

Peace out!

 

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.

6 Incredibly Useful Ways to Stop Making Mountains out of Molehills

Dartmoor Diary St Olaves D200 Apr 2013 099Over inflating our responses can become such a distraction, we fail to see the truth of the situation.  When we step away and allow ourselves to see conditions from heightened clarity, we are in a much better place to make good decisions from an empowered space. Here are six useful ways to stop making mountains out of those molehills.

1) It’s only big if you make it big, so stop making it bigger than it really is: One man’s hill-side is another man’s mountain-side. The difference is perception. If one had only lived on flat ground, then a 300 ft. high hill might appear mountainous. On the other hand, growing up in the Andes on a 14,00o ft. peak, a man might think of a 5,000 ft. peak as a simple hill. In neither case did the size of the hill change, only the perception of it’s size, and perception is a creation of the human imagination. Change the way you think and you change size of the obstacle. Even the largest mountain is traversed one step at a time.

2) Stop stacking it on: When we see a small obstacle as a large one, we sometimes begin piling new obstacles right on top that give us “excuses” for not moving forward.

  • Fear leads to inaction
  • Lazyness leads to inaction
  • We gather evidence that “excuses us from action”
  • Guilt develops for not dealing with it right away
  • Frustration as deadlines loom
  • More Guilt – for lack of action
  • More Fear – now that it’s bigger
  • More Frustration – “Now how will I EVER deal with this?”

3) Commit to stop seeing obstacles as problems and begin viewing them as “projects”: Any obstacle can be overcome when steps are taken — just like it takes a series of steps required to complete a project. When we label something as a ” problem” we put an imaginary burdening weight on it that can freeze us in our tracks like a deer in the headlights. Start viewing it as a project and the freezing oppression is allowed to fall away. Then our thoughts and efforts are available for motion.

4) Take action in a constructive direction – any action. Just MOVE: Don’t wait for the perfect plan to fall into place. If there was such a thing as a perfect plan, it wouldn’t stay perfect for long anyhow. As we move through the “plan” unforeseen changes are going to arise and alter our course. Knowing this allows us to expect change and this tells us we must remain flexible. And knowing we must be flexible allows space for us to stay out of panic when changes arise. Anticipate change and you have nothing to fear. So stop nit picking a plan and just move! As long as you have forward motion, it will work it’s way out however it needs to regardless of any “planning” you might do. Cease motion however, and the molehill will continue to expand.

5) Stop the whining. Complaining serves only to tell yourself and those around you that you are too weak to change the situation. After all, if you actually had the power to change things, wouldn’t you be putting your efforts into actually changing it? Complaining does nothing but deepen your conviction that something is not going your way and you are powerless to effect change. You DO have the power to change, so empower yourself! Stop complaining and put your mental and physical resources towards a constructive outcome. Constructive behavior leads to smaller hills. Destructive behavior just makes bigger mountains that YOU eventually get to traverse.

6) Multitasking is a myth. We can only focus on one thing at a time. “Multi-tasking” or what I am coining in this very post as: Scatter-Braining™ is merely shifting focus from one task to another and back again – never really putting your best efforts into either one. It’s like trying to run up two hills at the same time, only you have to run back and forth between them to make progress. Just wasted effort. Pick the hill that requires your attention and focus focus focus. When your mind gets going, the mental momentum will build and tasks will get accomplished faster with greater efficacy. Keep flinging your focus around like a sloppy mop and if things do get accomplished, you may find that the efforts don’t meet expectation and you have to revisit them to clean up the spatter. This just means more work and that equals a bigger hill.

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.