Monday, October 24, 2016

Are You Really Free To Be Your True Self?

Life is a narrative that you have a hand in writing. Henriette Anne Klauser

Freedom doesn't mean being free from challenges in life. Freedom is the ability to make wise choices when challenges arise, whether internal or external. Our challenges are symptoms of what's going on inside--our belief systems, thought patterns, and how we deal with live situations. And there's power in understanding what's happening there so you can take control and work it your way. That's freedom.

On various levels, each of us suffers from negative messages about ourself, others, and the world. And inner turmoil runs the gamut from miner insecurities in particular situations to dysfunctional depression and/or anxiety. No one is left out. We're all works in progress on our own individual journey of self-discovery. But we forget who we are and what our journey is about.

"Addiction enters when self love is traded for self limiting and judgmental thoughts." Dr. Bill Tollefson

According the the World Book Encyclopedia, addiction is the condition of being a slave to a habit; strong inclination. And some of those habits may surprise you. We usually think of addiction as only involving substances, but it can be any number of thoughts, words, feelings, or actions we unknowingly slip into.

Sometimes a faulty belief system can lead to chronic focus on negative 'self-talk' about your life. And you feel lonely, insecure, unworthy, unimportant, going nowhere, inadequate, or even stupid, etc. And those behaviors become painful addictions.

When I grip the wheel too tight, I find I lose control. Steve Rapson

We either live with our faulty belief system or do something about it...and not always to our benefit. We seek ways to cope and relieve the pain, and some may grab onto food, alcohol, smoking, gambling, drugs, etc. But nothing works, and they become addicted to behaviors that add more pain to the original pain. But there must be a way out that leads to the freedom you long for.

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live. Goethe

You were born with courage and trust. So go within and ask your inner Voice to help you experience these qualities as you seek freedom. Then look within and begin working to uncover and change the core thoughts inside that led to bondage. Inner work is important, because those false messages about you that run around in your head cloud your self-image and you feel defeated. When you replace them with truth about you, you won't need a crutch to hold you up. Denounce false messages and embrace truth.

Inner Work: Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31,32.

1. Clarify and make a list of old false, negative messages that cause you pain...what you're running away from. Examples: 'You're not important', or 'You don't measure up', etc. Use details.

2. Make another list of positive statements to confront and replace each false message with truth, even if you don't yet believe the truth about you. Examples: 'I was created important, and my life counts', or 'I am my own unique, immeasurable self'.

3. There's much power in the words "I am". Every time a negative message runs through your mind, replace it with a positive statement using "I am." Example: "You can't do anything right." "I am usually successful in all that I do."

4. When you finish your negative and positive lists, find someone you trust to work with you on changing your inner negative thinking to positive. Call on your God-given courage and trust to move your mountains and rise out of the darkness.

Outer Work: Inside is where we shape outcomes in our life, and changing what goes on inside changes the severity and frequency of what goes on outside. So doing your inner work will strengthen you to deal with any behaviors you need to face in your outer world.

You know yourself better than anyone, and you know what is needed to release bondage and embrace your freedom. So summon your courage to get the help you need--friends, family, groups, counselors, clergy, medical--any resource that can help lead you to freedom. You were born a beautiful child, and that child is still within you. Allow that child part of you to laugh, sing, dance, play, and help you be your true self in peace and love. That's an expression of freedom.

One of the most powerful prayers I know is, "Change my life by changing me." There is no other way to freedom.

I wish you freedom to be your wonderful self.


Monday, October 17, 2016

When Those Hurricanes Hit Your Life, Find An Angel Moment

Last week a hurricane knocked out my computer, and I couldn't write. I'm so sorry for that. But we survived, sooo:

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. Willa Cather

I've just survived another hurricane, and sometimes I'm so focused on what's going on, I forget about what I call angel moments. Some call them coincidences. But I believe in angels, and some of those coincidences are so well orchestrated that angels must be responsible. I forgot about them again this time, but when it was over, they gave me a sound reminder.

Each hurricane has a personality of its own, and this giant took its time causing damage as far reaching as it could. Then it came crawling up my coast, getting closer and closer. I always prepare and ride them out, but I'm never really prepared...just on ready if I ever need to run.

This time I spent 3 days and 4 nights without power, carrying 2 small lanterns for light. I thought I'd prepared to keep my freezer cold, but I lost all the food in my fridge. I lived on bread, peanut butter, and fruit, but had a hot meal the last day when my sister-in-law got her power back.

When I finally got my TV on, I saw all the terrible devastation, not only far south, but in my own city. And I cried for all of those less fortunate than I was. My yard was covered with limbs, branches, and debris from old oak and pine trees, but my house and car remained in tact. You never know who will get hit and who will not.

The most incredible thing about angel miracles is that they happen. G. K. Chesterton

When the storm had passed this area, people were out clearing their yards, and that's when I received my angel moment. Many years ago, my climbing rose bush gave up blooming near the ground, and it put 2 shoots up into the palm tree next to it. So every spring beautiful white roses bloom in the top of that tree. Well, the hurricane blew both shoots onto the ground, and the little green leaves spread clear across my lawn. I loved that rose bush, and this was a loss for me.

But as I stood over my rose bush mourning its end, my angels jumped in, and just at the right time a van with 2 men passed my house, then backed up. They got out, and one said, "Excuse me, ma'am, can we cut that up for you and put it out for pick up?" I cringed. "Oh, no. I'm mourning the loss of my rose bush." And I told them about the roses in the palm tree. They looked at each other, thought a minute, and said, "We'll get it back up in the tree for you." Impossible, I thought. One shoot had died, but they worked until they actually got the other one back up secure in the tree to bloom again. That was a true angel moment. I offered to pay them, but all they would take was a hug. I thanked them from my heart, and I thanked my angels. Coincidence??

When difficult times come into your life, you may feel like you've been hit with a hurricane. Sometimes you see it coming. Sometimes you don't. And it's hard getting through. But call it what you will, angel moments are always there if you pay attention and look for them. They were probably there during the hurricane, but I forgot to pay attention. Next time I won't forget.

When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person that walked in. That's what the storm is all about. Haruki Murakami

Process to work through your storms:

1. Angels are already there. Ask them for help, even if you don't believe in them.
2. Clarify and understand the storm you're dealing with.
3. Don't resist. Accept what is and let it be.
4. Transfer your focus from problem to resolution, and do whatever you can to resolve it.

Important: Throughout this whole process, and beyond, watch for angel moments and listen for guidance. They will bring you help and the peace and comfort you need to get through. And always remember to thank them for their gifts.

I wish you many happy angel moments.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Heal Your Childhood Wounds And Find Joy In Your Family

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. Alex Haley

I recently spent time with my daughter, my son and his wife who is like a daughter to me, and another son. My children are scattered around the country, so this was the first time we've been together in many years. We looked different from the last time we were together, but the same eyes were there, the same smiles and mannerisms we remembered, and we recognized family. And the experience stirred new awareness...awareness about what it means to be family.

For some people, family is kind of a boring subject. They say, "Oh, So what? It's just something you're born with." You probably like some of your family, and maybe some you don't like. But they're yours. And they have a profound affect on your life journey. You can be nurtured into who you really are or misguided into who you're not.

There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. Graham Greene

We start out with genes, DNA, inherited talents and gifts. Then our experiences develop personality traits, habits, values, strengths and weaknesses, etc, until we believe we've become the finished product. But we're constantly unfolding, and it may not always be the way we want to unfold. So it's important to know and understand yourself and your family very well.

No family is perfect. They're all products of their families before them, flawed in some way from miner to major. And we reap whatever our own families are able to give us as we're growing up, both positive and negative. Even in the best families, no child escapes some childhood wounds. Think about what your own family is like. And maybe people who were like family but not blood related. They would also affect your life.

"Oh, yes, the past can hurt. But you can run from it, or learn from it. Rafiki, The Lion King

Take a good look at yourself, and think about issues you might like to change now. Are there parts of you, or all of you, that sometimes feel lonely, unhappy, inadequate, ugly, not as good as? Do you ever feel like you don't belong? Anything you wish were different? If so, you had to get these beliefs and feelings from somewhere. You were not born with them. In many cases, family was the source. But those beliefs and feelings can be released and replaced with the truth about you...and the truth about your family.

Most of the time families are loving, kind people, and don't realize the damage that can be done. They do their best as they know it. But now it's up to you to look at family issues; look at your own issues; and do what you can to create a better life without old wounds holding you back.

If you want to grow, you must learn to let go. Darren L. Johnson

First explore what you want to change in yourself. Be clear, precise, and determined. Then explore your childhood and see if you can identify what words or treatment might have caused whatever issue you want to change in you. You can't change what people did, but you can rewrite your response, therefore what you believe and feel about yourself now.

Create the childhood scenario in your mind, and then rewrite it in a different positive way, a new script, with  your response using denials and affirmations. Example: Suppose as a child you were made to feel that you didn't belong. In your new scenario, participate with a smile and say, (denial) "I deny that your treatment of me has any power over me...because (affirmation) in truth I was born with a very important place in this world which I now fulfill." And practice until you truly believe your affirmations, and your pain is gone.

Now about forgiveness. Forgiving whatever or whoever caused childhood wounds is vital to your peace and happiness. Don't minimize the importance of family. They build us into what we are, and they guide us on our journey. Not all families are safe havens, but they love us in their own way, and they teach us with their mistakes. Laugh with your family, cry with them, love them, and forgive them. And forgive and release what needs to go. You are blessed.

I wish you peace and love with your family