Category Archives: Be The Change

Your Legacy

There’s a theory- well, it’s actually a “law” (The Law of Thermodynamics, to be precise)- that claims energy can neither be created nor destroyed. The basic idea is that energy can only be transferred or transformed from one thing to another.

You’re probably thinking “WTH does this have to do with my legacy?“. Well, assuming this “law” is true, this means that the energy in and around us is always there. There isn’t ever a time or place with “no energy”. The energy is either neutral (conserved), positive, or negative. I’m definitely not a physicist, and for all I know what I’m saying is total nonsense… but if I’m happy I’m emitting positive energy. If I’m pissed, I am emitting negative energy. And there are sometimes when I’m just not happy or pissed, but I’m just kinda “there” (i.e., “neutral”).

When I’m mad, my “energy” or “vibes” tend to pour over into others around me. People can sense my mood. When I’m full of joy, people tend to reap the benefits of my joyful mood. We have the potential power to take our “energy” and affect those around us in a positive or negative way.

And THIS is where your legacy comes into play.

In thinking about our short time here on Earth, we don’t have a lot to leave behind. I know some people may think that living until 100 seems like a long time, but it really isn’t. We are born, we go through this awkward phase of learning how to walk, talk, and get along with others, and for most of us, we actually die still trying (or not trying…who knows…)

But the point is, in this short time, the only thing we think we leave behind is the memory of who we are and what we contributed to the world while we were alive, but memories can only go so far. On the other hand, if energy can neither be created nor destroyed, then what happens with our energy when we’re gone?

All the times we bestowed grace and love on those that carried negative energy… all those times, instead of adding to the fire of hate, we diluted the flames with kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and love (all of these towards ourselves and others)…

Feeling horrible sometimes is inevitable. Loss and pain (physical or emotional) is inevitable in life and it’s only natural to feel what we feel. But I don’t think that our feelings are “the energy”. The energy that is transferred and transformed by us and through us is in how we respond and process those feelings.

The key is not to turn off our humanness, our feelings, emotions, but rather take a step back, maybe even take a few breaths (or more) and really consider what kind of energy we are putting out there.

Even if we do nothing, energy, by the law of nature, will naturally spread out. It’s like a hot pot that has been removed from the stove: eventually it’s going to cool down. The energy spreads out of the pot and into the air.

So here I am thinking, we have 3 choices: we spew out negative energy, positive energy, or somehow try to find a way to conserve our energy or at least keep it neutral, because it’s here to stay, and it’s indestructible.

This, I believe, is where your legacy is. It can’t be seen with our eyes, and sometimes it isn’t directly or automatically felt, but if the law is true, I believe we are always leaving our mark and establishing an unforgettable legacy.

Make it a good one.

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(Photo found on trinity Roselle foundation; no copyright infringement intended)

Growing Up and Being a Mature Person

Some may argue that maturity comes with age. Some argue it comes with experience. I don’t know which one is right, but maybe it’s both. What I have learned at my ripe age, is that maturity isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being real. It’s about being honest, and it’s about not letting the desire for pleasure or fear of pain be the motivation for the decisions we make in our life.

Immature people speak and behave based on their current emotions and personal feelings. This behavior is based on their understanding of rules, trade-offs, and the social order around them.

For an immature person, everything is seen as a trade-off. These children (and a shocking number of adults) approach life as an endless series of bargains. I will do what my boss says so I can get money. I will call my mother so I don’t get yelled at. I will do my homework so I don’t fuck up my future. I will lie and pretend to be nice so I don’t have to deal with conflict.

Nothing is done for its own sake. Everything is a calculated trade-off, usually made out of fear of the negative repercussions.

You can’t live your life this way, otherwise, you’re never actually living your life. You’re merely living out an aggregation of the desires of the people around you. In a sense, you’re a slave. To become a mature and emotionally healthy individual, you gotta break out of this bargaining and calculating way of thinking, and realize the higher guiding principles.

“Ideally, after some time, we will begin to realize that the world cannot always be bargained with, nor should we subject every aspect of our life to a series of transactions. You don’t want to bargain with your father for love, or your friends for companionship, or your boss for respect. Why? Because feeling like you have to manipulate people into loving or respecting you feels shitty. It undermines the whole project. If you have to convince someone to love you, then they don’t love you. If you have to cajole someone into respecting you, then they don’t respect you. The most precious and important things in life cannot be bargained with. To try to do so destroys them.”

You cannot manipulate happiness.

While people who navigate the world through bargaining and rules can get far in the material world, they remain crippled and alone in their emotional world. This is because transactional values create toxic relationships — relationships that are built on manipulation.

A mature adult gives without expectation, without seeking anything in return, because to do so defeats the purpose of a gift in the first place.
Life is far more complicated than simply pursuing one’s pleasure and avoiding pain.

As children grow up, they experience the shocking realization that the world does not cater to their whims, and that the only things in life of real value and meaning are achieved without conditions, and without transactions.

As a mature adult, you sit and think critically about yourself and about what you’ve chosen to care about, not through word, but through deed.

What level of maturity are you actually operating on?

Sit down, get honest with yourself, and really pick apart whether or not your interpretations of your actions actually make sense. Are you just deluding yourself? Do your actions reflect what you think is important? If not, where is the disconnect?

Happiness and health come when there is no disconnect with your virtues and your thoughts and behaviors.

Don’t get me wrong: The problem is not you. The problem is what you’re choosing to value, how you’re choosing to see the world and the way in which it operates.
You didn’t fuck up because you caused pain. You fucked up because you caused pain for bad reasons.

Sometimes we think we are the mature ones, so we go around trying to make others “mature like us”. But you can’t go from a child to an adult without being an adolescent in between.

Maturity happens when we realize that it’s better to suffer for the right reasons than to feel pleasure for the wrong reasons. Adulthood occurs when we realize that it’s better to love fully and unconditionally and lose, than to never know what it means to really love, and what LOVE is really about.

Eventually you learn what pain is worthwhile, and what pain is just kicking you further from inner peace and joy. Choose wisely.

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(NOTE: This is a summary and interpretation of one of my all-time favorite authors, Mark Manson, in his article “How to Grow the Fuck Up: A Guide to Humans”; a VERY long, but VERY WORTH TAKING THE TIME TO READ piece I absolutely LOVE.)

The Magic of Faith & Showing Up As Our Best Version

There’s a fascinating magic that happens when we trust the Universe. This magic works best when we place our energy onto showing up in every moment as the best version of ourselves. When we diligently commit to this (even when were crushed, beat, and have zero hope or motivation) we start to see an inspiring progress in our mind, bodies, and souls, that just makes us feel good about who we are and what we’ve become. Each time we do this, our heart muscles grow stronger, making each new challenge in life a little less overwhelming or scary.

This grace lovingly prepares us for what’s to come. Many of us have been broken and bruised so badly that we have zero faith in the beginning; all we have is this strong desire to feel better, and sometimes it is only this desperation that gets us to actually do the work. At least that’s how it worked for me.

After trying various methods of “life management” including some truly shameful and horrendous techniques like trying to manipulate, lie to, or control other people, the Universe had a special gift for me: crush that belief by taking everything away until I was completely lost, alone, and powerless. You see, it turns out, people don’t like being manipulated, lied to, or controlled by anyone. People like being loved, accepted, and valued. It took me way too long to figure that out…

Being a control freak was all I knew. It was the tool I used to protect myself from abuse and emotional traumas as a child. Giving up this sense of power felt like a threat to my existence. Only now can I laughingly admit that I used to think that I knew what was best for myself (and others). But as I slowly let go and surrendered to the Universe, I was pleasantly surprised at how my life unfolded in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined, and in so many positive ways. Life was actually starting to feel “free” and lighter for the first time; and that required letting go of my desire to control the outcome.

Ironically, the only way to get this faith, is by taking that one step forward. One step at a time. One day at a time. Eventually, we make a little progress, which builds upon our faith: faith that we can trust the Universe, and faith that without grasping and clinging and attaching to our need to control the outcome of our inevitably changing, uncertain life, everything is going to work out just fine.

As we courageously move forward, our faith becomes equivalent to unwavering confidence, and this confidence is priceless. What we come to see is that focusing on just showing up as the best version of ourselves in every moment and trusting the Universe  life doesn’t get better; WE get better at living it.

Of course when we are in a state of anxiety, or worry, we cannot see or think clearly. But when we remain focused on just being and doing the best we can in each moment, we begin to see more clearly. We think more clearly. But we never forget that we will always have more to learn, and that our vision is never going to be 100%. We begin to love more boldly. We are braver and more courageous. We become curious about these mysterious gifts (i.e., learning opportunities). We have unwavering faith and confidence in ourselves and our ability to overcome and pull through.

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We begin to understand that it’s about being grateful for, and finding meaning in ALL of it. We know very well that life is NOT about being perfect. We learn to embrace and love ourselves completely, and in turn we learn to embrace and love others completely as well. Through this new-found clarity and love, we understand and trust that everything in our life is unfolding exactly as it is meant to be, exactly when it is meant to be.

This brings a sense of calmness and peace, even when our life is inevitably experiencing ups and downs, and because of this faith and peace, we have so much more energy to put into the more important things in life, like truly loving another person, and being of service, helping others, bringing hope, joy, and just living in the moment, because that is the only thing we actually have control over: how we are living right now in this moment. So make this moment a good one.

Transformation and Healing in Relationships

pexels-photo-326625.jpegRelationships are created to assist both souls learn their lessons and balance their misdirected energy. When the lesson is learned, the karma is cleared and the contract has been fulfilled. Choosing to stay in these relationships becomes a choice. If both souls are willing to retrieve their lessons, step into a place of healing, and shift their consciousness, the relationship will evolve from one based on karma to one infused with the new energy and transformation.

Unfortunately, some souls do not always choose to evolve and heal. Some souls will choose to stay in the old energy where they will continue to recreate the same lessons over and over again, keeping them stuck in drama, trauma, and chaos. It will be very important for those of us choosing to take the high road (e.g., love) to not get caught up into other’s despair, confusion, and denial. This can be very hard to do because we care about the other person. However, we must respect their freedom to choose.

Compassionate detachment and discernment are absolutely necessary if we plan on continuing with our own personal healing and transforming our energy from hate into love. The one rule of all living things is our freedom of will, and many of us have given our freedom of will away. We must learn to say “no” when we need to, and “yes” when we feel it is for our highest good. Each of us must learn to stand in our own power and learn to discern what is a good investment of our time and energy.

Staying involved in toxic relationships will deplete us and keep us from moving forward (ultimately, it will keep the other from moving forward as well!) on our own soul’s advancement. The only person we are responsible for is our self. Everything outside ourselves is merely a reflection of the relationships we are having with our own inner being.

We teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves, so when we make ourselves of equal value and stop sacrificing our energy in order to please others, we will build a sense of personal power, helping us to set up very strong boundaries. Keeping ourselves fully anchored on a love-based path by choosing not to get caught up in relationships that suck us dry and deplete our energy is not selfish; it actually serves the whole of humanity. We cannot be of service to humanity if we continue to allow others to pulls us down into the lower ego-based energies of confusion, chaos, denial, limited beliefs, addiction and drama. We need to pull ourselves out of denial and be really honest with ourselves and ask if our current relationships are based on Love or fear.

If they are based in fear, you will need to love yourself enough to disengage from anything that is disempowering and does not serve your highest good. Recognize your mistakes, bringing them into your awareness so you can transcend them. All mistakes should be immediately dealt with so the imbalanced energy will not be returned to you. The relationships here are the toxic ones where there is a split. One soul chooses to awaken and step into their empowerment, while the other soul chooses to stay in denial and refuses to change and accept responsibility for their unconscious creations. These souls will no longer be a good match, and will only create continued disharmony for each other. It will be up to you to listen to your heart when it tells you your contract with another soul is complete.

The only person who can decide this is you. You have total free will to choose which relationships serve you and which ones deplete you. If this relationship is meant to be a part of your life, give it the space it needs to heal. Release it with Love knowing that it will be returned to you if it is for your highest good. The highest way we can be of service to others is to stay in the higher vibrations of love, joy, peace, compassion, forgiveness and understanding, setting an example for others to follow.

On person holding their mastery core and radiating their energy can transmute the fear energy of hundreds of people who choose to keep themselves in limitation and fear. Set an example that others will want to follow. When we remain in the higher frequencies we lift each other up!

Each of us will need to stay in alignment with our spirit, listen to our heart, and choose not to allow other people’s unconscious behaviors, motivated by their ego, throw us out of alignment with our core. Stepping into a place of detachment, surrender, and allowance for others is absolutely necessary. They have free will and every right to choose to stay stagnant in their soul’s evolution. It will become imperative to look at everything from a bigger perspective, instead of from a human perspective and know that there is always divine order and a bigger picture in every event that occurs.

We are all on different consciousness levels with the free will to choose whether we want to move towards the higher energy of Love or stay stuck in the lower energy realms of limitation. Sometimes it takes others more time and many more lives before they will finally surrender their ego and move forward into enlightenment.

The best way to live, is to always ask yourself:
Is this relationship, activity, thought, or belief:
1) For my highest good?
2) A wise energy investment?
3) Going to enhance or deplete my light?
4) In line with my being?
5) Contracting my energy through fear or expanding my energy with love?

*Disclaimer: I found this in my diary from way back. It must be from some class I took, and I don’t remember which one it was or who it was by. Possibly Abraham Hicks?

The Courage to Feel Pain

Deep inside of us lies a pain that continues to mask itself as anger. And whenever something triggers this pain, we put our mask on and lash out in anger. We seek revenge to the person who reminded us of that pain. We demand revenge, or justice, not realizing that what’s really going on is a pain that’s been hiding deep inside of us. When awoken, it is simply asking for us to release it, to free it from its mask and let it come out just as it is. As pain. As tears. But we deny it’s freedom. We refuse to cry. It is far too scary for us to feel pain than to feel anger.

For so many years, the mask of anger has protected us all too well, so well that in fact, we have forgotten what it really was. Anger becomes our mighty shield, and we turn to that shield as a default, because it always works. It deflects any accountability and keeps us a victim. We continue to blame all our problems and discomforts on everything and everyone but ourselves. We get to shift all responsibility onto that which is causing us discomfort and this makes us feel in control. We believe that if they were not in our way, we would have what we need, and what we want. We make life, peace, and happiness conditional on external forces changing for our comfort and pleasure. And this keeps us a victim. And when we continue to hold this belief, and continue to allow our mask of anger to cover our truth, we get nothing but more anger. And we imprison ourselves and give our keys of freedom to those that continue to disappoint and anger us. Because after all, if it weren’t for them, life would be perfect… right?

But what if they weren’t there to blame? And what if, even in their absence, life wasn’t perfect? Then who is to blame?

So long as we are human, we will always experience disappointment and betrayal, and as much as we prefer differently, we don’t get to choose what disappointment and betrayal we get to experience. And to those who have hurt us, we don’t get to choose what type of justice is served, or even if it is served at all. But what we do get to choose is our attitude and response to the disappointment. Do we hold tight to our suffering, hold it as a weapon, and hide behind our disappointment with the mask of anger? Do we draw our sword and inflict pain on those who have hurt us? Tempting? Yes… But it does not solve the problem.

Healing is always an option and unfortunately, the only way out of our pain is through it. The first step to healing is to accept that the pain is there, it is real, and to actually feel it. That means to feel pretty crappy for a bit. And then you move on. Most of us aren’t comfortable with feeling crappy for even a short period of time.  When we can put the blame on something outside of ourselves, it somehow makes the suffering less intense- because we have suddenly relieves ourselves from having to feel any responsibility in dealing with the pain that came as a result of experiencing the disappointment.

Sadly, we spend the most energy on maintaining our victimhood. We want the person who disappointed us to feel as bad, if not worse, than we do. We demand that pain be spread evenly, and that all the world go blind in our effort to honor our sacred belief of “an eye for an eye”. Never once do we stop and think, “Maybe it is not just “me” that is suffering, but that the whole world is suffering”.

Not one person on this earth is immune to pain, suffering, disappointment, grief and loss. Rather than see outside our own immediate frustrations, we ruminate. We hold hatred and anger deep in our heart. It is so difficult to see beyond ourselves. It is so difficult to see the pain in others when we are so focused on our own.

The truth of our humanity is that we all are hurting in so many ways, and more often than not, we have absolutely no control over it. Knowing this reality, where do we want to invest our energy? There are only two choices: contribute to the pain or to strive to alleviate it.

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings awaken to
the light of their true nature.
May all beings be free.

 

How To Make Others Change

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The majority of our suffering comes from thinking something or someone should be different. When it comes to people, we believe that if only they changed, things would be so much easier for us, and for them. Getting people to change is so difficult that the struggle in getting there, paradoxically, ends up ruining the relationship altogether. The result: everyone suffers. Suffering comes from a desire to fix, control, or change reality. So how do we get people to change without ruining relationships and driving ourselves mad?

It hurts seeing those we care about doing things that we know are bad for them. And while it may be completely true that they would benefit from making changes in their lives, what we don’t see is the energy and negativity that comes pouring out of us when we fixate on that inner desire of ours to get them to change to be more “easy for us to be around”.

What we don’t see is the excessive negative energy we put there, and the amount of energy that gets sucked out of us- so much that we have very little left to apply in our own lives, our own problems, and our own issues.

For the longest time, I was guilty of this.  To the point of being aggressive, emotional, and angry and hypervigilant, I would get overly involved in other people’s lives. I was completely blind to the extent it took away my inner peace. I was losing sleep, I was getting anxious, and started building up resentment toward the people I claimed to “love”.

This is a form of codependency. When we get involved in places that we have no power, neglecting our own personal health, well-being, growth, and independence. We make ourselves sick with bitterness and judgement about how someone behaved, thought, or spoke in a way that we didn’t agree with. Sadly, this only leads to a breakdown, and sometimes end to the relationship.

We meddle in other’s lives because we care, we worry, and we think we know what’s best for them. And perhaps that’s all justified and coming from good intention and a loving place. Then again, there are times when our own lives are so messed up that it just feels easier to focus on other’s problems instead of our own. But the truth is, wherever it comes from, and whatever reasons we have, we have no real or meaningful power over others behaviors, choices, thoughts, or beliefs. So how do you change them?

You can’t.

But you can influence them.

Trying to maintain our own inner calm is hard enough, but to try and make magic in someone else’s life by changing them into someone you think they should be only leads to trouble. The only meaningful power you have is to find that peace within yourself, juggle your own inner calamities, and love. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Love each other. Be kind to everyone. Because believe it or not, people are always watching. It may not feel like it but they are. Even when they are repeating over, and over, and over again, the behaviors that keep getting them into the same predicament, they are watching. They’re watching to see if it’s possible to be a kind, patient, loving human being. They are watching to see how to unconditionally love others and accept others and support each other on their journey in life. If you want to make people change, start there.

Am I Nice?

We all think we are a nice person, and when we act in an unloving way, we justify it by blaming the other person’s behavior. Sometimes we believe that by being “mean back” in those moments, we can teach them a lesson, or “inspire” them to change.

Mathematically, that equation simply doesn’t add up. It is impossible to use a negative action, like anger, to produce positive genuine actions, like love.

Maybe the other person’s behavior is intolerable, but when we use their behavior to justify being intolerable ourselves, we mold ourselves into that same ugliness we are trying to change.

To continue having a bad attitude because “someone did something you didn’t like” will only end up with us hating ourselves. We slowly become more and more like the person we despise. When we do not like ourselves, all we get is unhappiness, bitterness, loneliness, and neediness. So if you think about it, KINDNESS and LOVE always win.

When it hurts just enough…

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From birth to 15, my life was spent looking for acceptance. My father was a functioning alcoholic and my mother MIA. We were financially well off, but my clothes were worn, tattered, and filthy. As a child, I was abused both physically and emotionally. The pain of feeling neglected, abandoned by my mother, not having any parental affection, and so ashamed and embarrassed by my appearance and fear that people would find out about my situation at home, I kept my head down, stayed quiet, and rarely spoke unless spoken to. For 15 years I grew up thinking my voice was not important, my thoughts were worthless, and my life had no value to myself or anyone else. After a series of traumatic events, I attempted suicide twice and was hospitalized. I was diagnosed as depressed and put on medication. I hated that feeling of being on medication. I couldn’t have ups and downs. It was all just…blah…

There was this little spirit inside me that demanded I fight for my freedom, so I did. I decided that I didn’t want to feel blah. I wanted the opportunity to feel ups and downs and to deal with them. So I stopped my medication, did some research, and fought like hell to be free. I started an exercise program, changed my diet, changed my circle of friends to positive supporting people, and started doing things that inspired me. I have never needed medication after that. I’m not saying depressed people reliant on medications should stop their medications. All I am saying is that it was a personal choice that I was able to make and follow through with.

When I was 30, although I was no longer “depressed” I always felt a little anxiety when in social situations. The lack of self-esteem and fear of rejection from childhood was so strong that my tendency was to shut down and avoid social events at all costs. People called me “shy” and an “introvert”. I had liked those labels because it gave me an excuse to not have to get out of that comfort zone. Yet it was so lonely and I didn’t want to feel lonely. So I decided I was going to stop having this social anxiety and just start saying hi to people and make conversations and go to social events. Similar to when I was a teen, the transition was hard. It took so much work and determination (and a few rejections) but I was absolutely, positively committed to bettering my life. As a result, I made tons of friends, tried things I’d never do, and am free from social anxiety.

There are tons of examples of how I saw something I didn’t like about myself, or felt insecure about, and decided I didn’t want it anymore, and determined to change it. But the key to achieving it all was simply determination and a changed mindset.

Here’s a story (not sure of the author) that reiterates my point:

One day, a child was walking down the street and saw a dog on a porch that was just sitting there, whimpering, whining and moaning. The child was curious as to why he was whimpering, so he went and knocked on the door and an older woman came out and said, “Can I help you?” The child said, “what’s wrong with your dog?” The older woman replied, “What do you mean?” The boy went on,”he’s sitting here moaning and groaning.” The older woman said, “Well, he’s actually sitting on a nail.” The boy was startled, “What! Your dog is sitting on a nail!? Why doesn’t he get off?” The older woman replied, “Well, it just doesn’t hurt him enough.”

I loved this story and is one of the reasons why I was able to turn my life around. I was in pain. For years. I was in so much emotional pain I thought it was worth it to end my life. I hated that pain and I didn’t know what to do with it. I had no adult role models, and no one even noticed that I was suffering deeply inside. For years, I did all kinds of manipulative tactics to get people to notice me, give me attention, validate my existence, show me some affection. I wanted people to prove to me that I was lovable. I don’t say this because I was not lovable. I say this because I didn’t feel lovable and was always looking outside of me, desperately, for someone to take on that job of loving me. NEVER in all my years had I thought that I could be the first person to love me…

It hurt so bad, but I stayed on that nail for a long time. If I whimpered loud enough, someone would surely come to my rescue! If I moaned deep enough, someone would surely feel pity for me and give me the attention I wanted and needed. If I cried and whined about my sad, sad stories, someone would swoop me up and save me from my woes and loneliness… I had hoped.

And it never happened. And the pain just kept getting deeper and deeper.

There is a way out of suffering, and it isn’t through something outside of you. It isn’t found in others, it isn’t found in food, drugs, alcohol, sex, anger, fear, and violence. There is a way out of suffering, and it isn’t through preoccupation, distraction, social media, your cell phone, and definitely NOT located in simply working harder towards your goals (yeah, you read that right…).

The only way out is through
and because the problem is within,
you GOTTA GO WITHIN.

I spent years and years in therapy. I looked actively for positive and loving mentors, and I took their advice to heart. I tried things I didn’t think would work. I read things I didn’t fully agree with. I kept an open mind. I did things that made me feel like a fool (like meditation circles). I had to get immensely honest with myself, intimate with my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I had to learn to be humble and say sorry. I had to own my mistakes and make amends when possible. I had to get vulnerable… I did the work required to find what I needed to free myself from suffering and inner turmoil. I had to fight my inner demons, the ones that were screaming distraction, to take the easy way out and blame others or expect others to change.

You see, when I finally took personal responsibility for my life, my goals, my happiness, AND MY PAIN, I had found freedom. Being accountable for who you are, where you are, what you are, how you respond, what you think and feel… it’s an extremely empowering and positive place to be. You can be that dog sitting on the nail, complaining about how bad it hurts… or you can look deep inside yourself, and do whatever it takes to turn that inner turmoil into inner peace. BOTH of them are not easy. BOTH of those paths probably come with some discomfort. But if you wanna stop suffering… get off the nail.

After that is the healing process. Healing is hard work. Healing is NOT distraction and forgetting how bad it hurt. Healing is not “F*** him! I don’t care!” It means cleaning up the wound, so that it is not susceptible to future contamination or infection. It means figuring out why the hell you wanted to sit on that damned nail for so long anyway! Honestly! Why!? And then, CHANGE your thinking, your daily habits, and behavior.  Commit to it. Commit to yourself

The whole moral of the story is this: THIS is YOUR life. Literally, only YOU can decide how bad you want it to hurt and how much longer you want to suffer before you… (gulp)… gotta own it and change.

 

Everyone Can Be a Winner (Even the “Losers”)

The new audio book “The Book of Joy” about Desmund Tutu and the Dalai Lama (by Douglas Carlton) came out and I’ve been listening to it on my long commutes to and from work. This morning they spoke of the famous “Golden Rule” (treat others how you want to be treated) but expanded on it. The topic was about how suffering often leads to joy, and those that have little suffers, tend to complain more and not have much joy. They spoke of how those that suffer (and grow from it) tend to be more capable of maintaining calm in the midst of chaos, and it is this calmness that helps others find calm as well.

Then something clicked when they said, “You must LONG for the best of the other as you want the best for you…”

This meant that deep inside your heart, you had to genuinely wish for the other what you had genuinely wanted for yourself.

To clear myself from any resentment and negative feelings about the loss of my marriage, I have been praying every morning and night for my husband. Although he has left me, I pray that he gets everything he wants, and that he has lasting inner peace, profound joy, and an abundance of unconditional love. This thought did NOT come natural, and for the first few days, it was just “fake it till you make it”. My anger and hurt were too strong for me to actually feel that sincerely. Now, several weeks in, I can say I truly do wish that he receives everything he could possibly desire, and that he is head deep in inner peace, full of joy, and receiving true unconditional love. Why? Because he needs it!

Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman, in their book, “Love Your Enemies” explain it this way:

“Love wishes the real happiness of the beloved. It is a partner to compassion, which wishes the beloved not to suffer. If you think about it, it is highly rational to love our enemies, with LOVE defined as wanting them to be really happy. They are only our enemies because they think of us as preventing their happiness. If they become really happy without having to get us out of their way, then they will not bother being our enemies anymore. The more happiness they feel, they might actually come to love us….or at least leave us alone.”

Yes… This is what I wanted. If he couldn’t love me, at least I could hope that his happiness would be so overly abundant that he would no longer wish to hurt me, verbally attack me, and continue hurting himself and exposing our baby to his sex, alcohol, and gambling addictions (and the emotional negative repercussions that spew out of them). If he was truly happy, would he even want to have those dangerous and hurtful addictions? I bet he wouldn’t…

This thought process, connected with the “Golden Rule” got me thinking: If my husband saw me as the enemy, someone who had taken from him what was so important to him (to get a green card) was there some way I could some how get out of that “enemy spot light” he held me under? What in my behavior was contributing to his thinking that I had literally ruined his life? Granted, there are some things that just won’t change, like his narcissistic thinking that actually believes that me choosing divorce instead of staying in a sham marriage and accepting his cheating and lying was somehow an unloving thing for me to do. That aside, there had to be some way in which my choice of words, or my “method of communication” was coming off, to him, as insulting and offensive. Could there be a way in which we both were “winners”? I.e., can I say what needs to be said in a way that he doesn’t feel like I’m attacking him?

I’m not sure of the author, but I love the quote: ”

“I’m responsible for what I say, not for what you understand”

While this opens the door for me to say what is in my heart, it still remains a very hefty burden. We should always be mindful about what we say. Sometimes it’s not necessary. Sometimes it is not helpful. And sometimes, while we may believe it, it may not be absolutely true. Taking responsibility for our words, being honest with our intentions, and being able to identify what really needs to be said, and what can be left alone, we can then communicate with our best intentions and then leave the interpretation to the listener. If you get a “bad listener” (someone who is always defensive, deflective, or reactive) you have to just let it go. You did your best. If you get a good listener, even if they may take offense, the conversation opens up for a genuine understanding and hopefully, reconciliation.

Unfortunately, my husband is less than skillful in the listening department, but that only means that I can choose to be more skillful in the “delivering necessary messages” department.

Since our separation, my baby has come back from his father’s home sick 3 times. Once with the flu, once with Pneumonia, and once with a fever/cold. While my husband blamed it on everything but himself, my gut reaction was to blame him for not being more careful about where he took the baby, proper hygiene, his choice to refuse my baby my breast milk, and basic parental negligence. Is there a loving way of saying that? NOPE!

Instead of saying:

The baby got sick AGAIN. Every time he comes home from being with you he gets sick…you really need to pay attention to keeping him away from unhealthy places, people, and be mindful about proper hygiene…and for god’s sake, give him my breast milk! I worked hard at pumping all of that!

I could either say nothing and just take care of the baby, or if I really wanted to make it clear that the baby was sick, I could say:

Just wanted to let you know that the baby has a fever. I will take the weekend to let him rest and recover so that he will be healthy and ready to play the next time he sees you.

Here’s another quote I love:

“Since enemies engage our energies of anger and fear,
our main weapons against them are
wisdom, tolerance, compassion, and love.”
-Sharon Salzberg & Robert Thurman

In thinking about how much I long to feel respected, loved, and supported, what greater opportunity to show respect, love, and support!! I was always cringing when my phone went off, hoping, praying, begging the universe that it not be ANOTHER negative and hateful text from my husband… Yet, I too, was equally guilty of sending less than loving, self-victimizing messages. So there you have it.

“You must long for the best of the other as you want the best for you…”

WIN-WIN!

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The Little Soul & The Sun

Once upon no time, there was a little Soul who said to God, “I know who I am.”

And God said, “That’s wonderful! Who are you?”

And the Little Soul shouted, “I’m the Light!”

God smiled a big smile. “That’s right!” God exclaimed. “You are the Light.”

The Little Soul was so happy, for it had figured out what all the souls in the Kingdom were there to figure out.

“Wow,” said the Little Soul, “this is really cool!”

But soon, knowing who it was was not enough. The Little Soul felt stirrings inside, and now wanted to be who it was. And so the Little Soul went back to God (which is not a bad idea for all souls who want to be Who They Really Are) and said,

“Hi, God! Now that I know Who I am, is it okay for me to be it?”

And God said, “You mean you want to be Who You Already Are?”

“Well,” replied the Little Soul,” it’s one thing to know Who I Am, and another thing altogether to actually be it. I want to feel what it’s like to be the Light!”

“But you already are the Light,” God repeated, smiling again.

“Yes, but I want to see what that feels like!” cried the Little Soul.

“Well,” said God with a chuckle, “I suppose I should have known. You always were the adventuresome one.”

Then God’s expression changed. “There’s only one thing…”

“What?” asked the Little Soul.

“Well, there is nothing else but the Light. You see, I created nothing but what you are; and so, there is no easy way for you to experience yourself as Who You Are, since there is nothing that you are not.”

“Huh?” said the Little Soul, who was now a little confused.

“Think of it this way,” said God. “You are like a candle in the Sun. Oh, you’re there all right. Along with a million, gazillion other candles who make up the Sun. And the sun would not be the Sun without you. Nay, it would be a sun without one of its candles…and that would not be the Sun at all; for it would not shine as brightly. Yet, how to know yourself as the Light when you are amidst the Light -that is the question.”

“Well,” the Little Soul perked up, “you’re God. Think of something!”

Once more God smiled. “I already have,” God said. “Since you cannot see yourself as the Light when you are in the Light, we’ll surround you with darkness.”

“What’s darkness?” the Little Soul asked.

God replied, “It is that which you are not.”

“Will I be afraid of the dark?” cried the Little Soul.

“Only if you choose to be,” God answered. “There is nothing, really, to be afraid of, unless you decide that there is. You see, we are making it all up. We are pretending.”

“Oh,” said the Little Soul, and felt better already.

Then God explained that, in order to experience anything at all, the exact opposite of it will appear. “It is a great gift,” God said, “because without it, you could not know what anything is like. You could not know Warm without Cold, Up without Down, Fast without Slow. You could not know Left without Right, Here without There, Now without Then.”

“And so,” God concluded, “when you are surrounded with darkness, do not shake your fist and raise your voice and curse the darkness. Rather be a Light unto the darkness, and don’t be mad about it. Then you will know Who You Really Are, and all others will know, too. Let your Light shine so that everyone will know how special you are!”

“You mean it’s okay to let others see how special I am?” asked the Little Soul.

“Of course!” God chuckled. “It’s very okay! But remember,’special’ does not mean ‘better.’ Everybody is special, each in their own way! Yet many others have forgotten that. They will see that it is okay for them to be special only when you see that it is okay for you to be special.”

“Wow,” said the Little Soul, dancing and skipping and laughing and jumping with joy. “I can be as special as I want to be!”

“Yes, and you can start right now,” said God, who was dancing and skipping and laughing right along with the Little Soul.

“What part of special do you want to be?”

“What part of special?” the Little Soul repeated. “I don’t understand.”

“Well,” God explained, “being the Light is being special, and being special has a lot of parts to it. It is special to be kind. It is special to be gentle. It is special to be creative. It is special to be patient. Can you think of any other ways it is special to be?”

The Little Soul sat quietly for a moment. “I can think of lots of ways to be special!” the Little Soul then exclaimed. “It is special to be helpful. It is special to be sharing. It is special to be friendly. It is special to be considerate of others!”

“Yes!” God agreed, “and you can be all of those things, or any part of special you wish to be, at any moment. That’s what it means to be the Light.”

“I know what I want to be, I know what I want to be!” the Little Soul announced with great excitement. “I want to be the part of special called ‘forgiving’. Isn’t it special to be forgiving?”

“Oh, yes,” God assured the Little Soul. “That is very special.”

“Okay,” said the Little Soul. “That’s what I want to be. I want to be forgiving. I want to experience myself as that.”

“Good,” said God, “but there’s one thing you should know.”

The Little Soul was becoming a bit impatient now. It always seemed as though there were some complication.

“What is it?” the Little Soul sighed.

“There is no one to forgive.”

“No one?” The Little Soul could hardly believe what had been said.

“No one!” God repeated. “Everything I have made is perfect. There is not a single soul in all creation less perfect than you. Look around you.”

It was then that the Little Soul realized a large crowd had gathered. Souls had come from far and wide ~ from all over the Kingdom ~ for the word had gone forth that the Little Soul was having this extraordinary conversation with God, and everyone wanted to hear what they were saying. Looking at the countless other souls gathered there, the Little Soul had to agree. None appeared less wonderful, less magnificent, or less perfect than the Little Soul itself. Such was the wonder of the souls gathered around, and so bright was their Light, that the Little Soul could scarcely gaze upon them.

“Who, then, to forgive?” asked God.

“Boy, this is going to be no fun at all!” grumbled the Little Soul. “I wanted to experience myself as One Who Forgives. I wanted to know what that part of special felt like.”

And the Little Soul learned what it must feel like to be sad. But just then a Friendly Soul stepped forward from the crowd.

“Not to worry, Little Soul,” the Friendly Soul said, “I will help you.”

“You will?” the Little Soul brightened. “But what can you do?”

“Why, I can give you someone to forgive!”

“You can?”

“Certainly!” chirped the Friendly Soul. “I can come into your next lifetime and do something for you to forgive.”

“But why? Why would you do that?” the Little Soul asked. “You, who are a Being of such utter perfection! You, who vibrate with such a speed that it creates a Light so bright that I can hardly gaze upon you! What could cause you to want to slow down your vibration to such a speed that your bright Light would become dark and dense? What could cause you ~ who are so light that you dance upon the stars and move through the Kingdom with the speed of your thought–to come into my life and make yourself so heavy that you could do this bad thing?”

“Simple,” the Friendly Soul said. “I would do it because I love you.”

The Little Soul seemed surprised at the answer.

“Don’t be so amazed,” said the Friendly Soul, “you have done the same thing for me. Don’t you remember? Oh, we have danced together, you and I, many times. Through the eons and across all the ages have we danced. Across all time and in many places have we played together. You just don’t remember.”

“We have both been All Of It. We have been the Up and the Down of it, the Left and the Right of it. We have been the Here and the There of it, the Now and the Then of it. We have been the male and the female, the good and the bad; we have both been the victim and the villain of it.”

“Thus have we come together, you and I, many times before; each bringing to the other the exact and perfect opportunity to Express and to Experience Who We Really Are. And so,” the Friendly Soul explained further, “I will come into your next lifetime and be the ‘bad one’ this time. I will do something really terrible, and then you can experience yourself as the One Who Forgives.

“But what will you do?” the Little Soul asked, just a little nervously, “that will be so terrible?”

“Oh,” replied the Friendly Soul with a twinkle, “we’ll think of something.”

Then the Friendly Soul seemed to turn serious, and said in a quiet voice, “You are right about one thing, you know.”

“What is that?” the Little Soul wanted to know.

“I will have to slow down my vibration and become very heavy to do this not-so-nice thing. I will have to pretend to be something very unlike myself. And so, I have but one favour to ask of you in return.”

“Oh, anything, anything!” cried the Little Soul, and began to dance and sing, “I get to be forgiving, I get to be forgiving!”

Then the Little Soul saw that the Friendly Soul was remaining very quiet.

“What is it?” the Little Soul asked. “What can I do for you? You are such an angel to be willing to do this for me!”

“Of course this Friendly Soul is an angel!” God interrupted. “Everyone is! Always remember: I have sent you nothing but angels.”

And so the Little Soul wanted more than ever to grant the Friendly Soul’s request. “What can I do for you?” the Little Soul asked again.

“In the moment that I strike you and smite you,” the Friendly Soul replied, “in the moment that I do the worst to you that you could possible imagine ~ in that very moment…”

“Yes?” the Little Soul interrupted, “yes…?””Remember Who I Really Am.”

“Oh, I will!” cried the Little Soul, “I promise! I will always remember you as I see you right here, right now!”

“Good,” said the Friendly Soul, “because, you see, I will have been pretending so hard, I will have forgotten myself. And if you do not remember me as I really am, I may not be able to remember for a very long time. And if I forget Who I Am, you may even forget Who You Are, and we will both be lost. Then we will need another soul to come along and remind us both of Who We Are.”

“No, we won’t!” the Little Soul promised again. “I will remember you! And I will thank you for bringing me this gift ~ the chance to experience myself as Who I Am.

” And so, the agreement was made. And the Little Soul went forth into a new lifetime, excited to be the Light, which was very special, and excited to be that part of special called Forgiveness.

And the Little Soul waited anxiously to be able to experience itself as Forgiveness, and to thank whatever other soul made it possible. And at all the moments in that new lifetime, whenever a new soul appeared on the scene, whether that new soul brought joy or sadness–and especially if it brought sadness–the Little Soul thought of what God had said.

“Always remember,” God had smiled, “I have sent you nothing but angels.”

by Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations With God