Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Time To Forgive

All forgiveness is a gift to yourself. A Course In Miracles

This is a dynamic year of change. The earth's energy is pushing us to break out of the old and embrace the new--to be different. Our whole life we've accumulated energy from our experiences, some good for us and some not so good. We spend years dealing with the same painful feelings. It's like chewing the same food over and over, and each time we do it, we get heartburn (literally).

Unforgiveness could involve other people, situations, or your own self-reproach. Forgiving doesn't mean that you condone anything. It just means that you're tired of carrying the pain, and you're ready to release it from your life. You can't go back and change anything, but you can heal the scars with forgiveness.

Painful episodes in life happen in 4 stages: action--response--feelings--pain. We may or may not have control over the action, but we're responsible for our responses, and therefore our feelings and our pain. When we forgive and release what's already there, and then learn to take responsibility for our responses in the future, our life changes.

1. First sit quietly, close your eyes, and know that you are always in the arms of your Creator. You have nothing to fear.
2. Bring into your mind the person, situation, or your own self-reproach to be forgiven, and allow painful feelings associated with them to surface. Allow yourself to experience your feelings. Move through them and accept them as part of the healing process.
3. Own your responsibility, without judgment, for your responses, feelings, and pain associated with whatever happened.
4. Speak to the person, situation, or to yourself with a kind heart--as much as you can at the time. Tell them you forgive and you're ready to release all painful feelings toward them. Say, "It is over."
5. Smile as you watch those painful feelings leaving you, rising into the air to be transformed.

Forgiveness may occur quickly, or it may take a while, but in time, diligent efforts will heal the hurt, and you'll be free to be you. Usually forgiving others is easier than forgiving yourself. It's hard to accept our own imperfection. How dare I forgive myself! But remember, you are not the pain. You are not the guilt, regret or any self-reproach. You are your true self.

Wash your hands, shake it off, shout hallelujah. And celebrate Being You.

Now doesn't that feel gooood?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Pet's Place

Recently a friend of mine was saddened by the loss of her pet. It's a difficult time. Our pets give us love, loyalty and companionship, and we miss them when they're gone. They seem to sense things that we humans overlook. Maybe we just lost the ability to see what they see.

A few years ago, Brandy, my greyhound mix dog, was near her passing, so my son and I put a blanket on the living room floor and sat next to her to be close until the end. At that time, Kera, my 21 year old Siamese cat was quite feeble and stayed on a chair in the bedroom, but as I looked up I saw her staggering out into the living room. She went over by Brandy and sat beside her to wait with us. When the end came, she staggered back into the bedroom. Three months later she joined Brandy. That's love and loyalty. When Kera passed, the vet gave me a story about a bridge. This story has comforted me, and I'd like to share it with you.

The Rainbow Bridge

There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills, and valleys with lush green grass. When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The old and frail are made young again. Those who are maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other. There is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth. So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up! The nose twitches! The eyes are staring! And this one suddenly runs from the group! You have been seen and when you and your special friend meet, you take him or her into your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.

Losing a pet is one of those painful bumps in the road on our journey through life. We may get through it, but we never forget.

Hug your pets often.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Unconditional Meaning

When I worked in the mental health field in a jail setting, I discovered a book entitled, "Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. This book is now on my shelf with memories of the many times it circulated around the jail, read by hundreds of inmates. Each time I sent it out it came back to my office a little more tattered and worn--a testimony to those searching for meaning in their lives.

We long to understand the world we live in, so we apply meaning to everything. Assigning meaning to people, situations and conditions in our life is our way of defining what we believe they are, so they make sense to us and we can relate to them. No two people see anything exactly the same, so we each create our own world, but rarely aware of our own involvement in our creation. While we tend to focus on the world outside of ourselves, there's another world inside--the place where we put meaning, or lack of meaning, on our own life as a person.

According to Frankl, "The striving to find a meaning in one's life is the primary motivational force in man. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone: only then does it achieve a significance that will satisfy his own will to meaning." Your life can only be lived by you, and you must see its meaning.

Those who have a "why" to live, can bear with almost any "how." Friedrich Nietsche

You may ask yourself, Does my life count for anything? Do I matter? Am I of any importance in the world? Would I be missed if I disappeared? You may believe you don't matter because you haven't done anything that you believe merits greatness. Or you may focus on your failures rather than your successes, and the picture looks grey. But take another look at your life--how you express in your work, with family and friends, with strangers, with things you love to do, in your spiritual life. Only you can be you, and that in itself has meaning.

Whether you know it or not, you have touched lives. And you can't erase that. You have come through your own suffering, and no one else could have carried your load. It was yours. And there is meaning even in the suffering. Your life cannot be repeated or replaced. You cannot be replaced.

Each flower petal, each cloud in the sky, or each drop of water is unique unto itself, a divine creation with its own mission to express its unique self. This has meaning, and as with your life, this meaning is unconditional, unqualified, absolute.

You are beautiful, and the world needs you.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

getting to know You

Getting in touch with your true self must be your first priority. Tom Hopkins

Ideally the ego self and true self will function together in harmony and peace, and the ego will express in our material world who we truly are. However, the ego gathers some false beliefs from our environment and creates its own reality and personality, different from our true self. Many people believe their personality is who they are, and this is who they identify with. Even those who know better sometimes have difficulty living from their true self. But if we want to live authentically, we must gradually transform our reality. This transformation is our spiritual journey back to our spiritual source.

What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself. Abraham H. Maslow

You experience both selves, but you must pay attention and become aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions in order to distinguish one self from the other. Step back and become the observer. When you feel any kind of emotional pain, your ego self is talking to you loud and clear. At first, just practice observing and learn to recognize your ego's voice. With this awareness, you can learn ways to replace false beliefs with truth and then express as your true self. When you see the bigger picture, you see with the eyes of your soul.

To be authentic is literally to be your own author..., to discover your own native energies and desires, and then to find your own way of acting on them. Warren G. Bennis
1. Go inside to your quiet place and seek to understand any confusing parts of yourself. Explore with questions. Why am I...? Why do I...?
2. When you feel trapped in a problem, ask What does my soul want me to know? Awareness brings understanding and courage.
3. Identify patterns in your life that hold you back. Then make a conscious effort to replace them with beneficial ones.
4. When you have a painful feeling, identify it and use denials and affirmations. I feel fear. I deny that this fear has any power over me. I am a divine creation and I have nothing to fear. This replaces the false belief with truth.
5. Don't listen to your inner critic. Believe in yourself and know that your true self is always with you in love, compassion and guidance.
6. Use gratitude daily.

Don't tackle everything at once. Develop self-awareness, and catch whatever comes up. Transformation is a lifetime endeavor, but as we begin to know ourselves as souls, we gradually release attachment to our false identity, and we embrace unity and wholeness. The more our ego self and true self function together in harmony, the more life will have deeper meaning and will reflect the love and peace we long for.

Be happy with both of you.