Tag Archives: spiritual growth

Do you want to become a Buddhist – or the Buddha?

path

 Do not become the Buddhist – become the Buddha.

There. It is right there. I searched for it, chased it, tried to catch it and pin-point it since last night. Since the conversation about following a path.

I couldn’t see why. I couldn’t see why I would need to follow a path to myself. I am here after all, already here. Everything that I am — me, God, Buddha, everything. What path? What path is needed to take me to what I am?

But then, I thought, to realize it, to feel oneself, to find oneself among the noise, among the constant, overwhelming, imposing and dizzying hubbub of the mind — maybe there is a path there. Maybe there is something that has to be done, worked on, achieved, to see clearly. So what would I do? What did I do? What was the first step on my path? It was looking for someone who could help. It was to look outside. To look to others.

That was my first step on the path, on the journey to becoming a Buddhist, a student, a spiritual seeker.

Ceasing to look to others for help was the first step on the path to becoming myself.

Because it was myself I wanted to find. Not the Buddha. Not the enlightenment experienced, envisioned and described by others — but myself. I did not want to become a Buddhist. I did not want to become the follower of Buddha, or Christ or anyone else at all. I wanted to become myself and, to become myself, I had to follow myself.

And it was in that moment, in that very first moment of making the choice to follow myself, my own path, my own way, that my journey was finished for I reached my destination.

It did not require esoteric practices, twenty years of meditation, chanting, praying. All it took was the choice to be me. All it took for me to be me, was for me to listen to myself, to look into myself, to follow myself. Because I was already there.

All I needed to do

was to trust myself.

Why Real Life Will Always Be Better Than Social Media

CBR003159A recent study by the Public Library of Science shows that the more somebody uses Facebook, the more their satisfaction of life decreases. Apparently, many frequent Facebookers are scrolling through their newsfeeds feeling bad because they don’t think their own lives stack up to the fabulous accomplishments, vacations, and photo-shopped and filtered images they see plastered on their computer screens.

I love social media just as much as the next person, with the ability to easily stay in touch with long distance friends and family and to reach a broader audience with my blog posts. However, the dark side is it can cause some to experience negative feelings which can morph into criticism, judgement and competition with others or even depression and lowered feelings of self.

The deeper concern here is looking inward, not outward, for peace and adopting an “I am enough” mentality. We will never be happy when comparing ourselves to others. But, before taking that deep dive, it is important to scratch the surface and for people need to realize that social media is not even the real deal. It is simply a snapshot of a life — the very best moments that we all choose to share with our audience.

If I take a closer look at my own life and the lives of those in my social circle, there are many of us modern day ‘super-women’ types out there. We use our powers to do cool things like create beautiful babies, build a kick-ass career, leap tall hobbies and ambitions in a single bound, make the world a better place, and look darn good doing it all! Some run their households like a tight ship carting the kids to school and various extracurricular activities with ease, whipping up healthy & Pinterest-worthy meals without breaking a sweat, and a keeping spotless house.

While juggling such full plates with style and grace and making a difference in the world is certainly commendable, don’t you often wonder what is really going on behind the scenes?

Here’s a peek into my own life. Just last week, I was thanking my lucky stars for a busy day at the office as my tech company was finally picking up a little steam, after a very lackluster 2012. I was happily bouncing from customer call to PO processing to, oh crap! I was running late (again) in leaving to get my 5 year old daughter to dance class. Little twang of mommy-guilt ensues. Later, I was playing outside with my girls, when I realized “oh crap” (again), as it just dawned on me that I forgot to reply to an important client email that I had promised to deliver. Ugggh. Time to whip out the iPhone and sneak in a quickie one-handed email while bouncing the baby on one hip and pushing the five year old in the swing. People seem to get the impression that I totally have my sh*t together, but honestly it’s a never-ending quest for balance! I have to work really hard on it and often come up short.

And, sure, if I invite you over for dinner, my house is going to be squeaky clean, smelling divine, and I will be fresh-faced and greet you with a big smile, ready to be your hostess with the mostest. But, if you show up at my house unannounced, expect to find me in yoga pants, no makeup, possibly un-showered, frazzled, with kids and animals running around, toys strewn all about, and a possibly a mystery smell in the air. It could be the cat box, dirty diapers, garbage that needs to go out, or a smelly dog. Hopefully, it’s not me!

What is my point with all this? I’m just keeping it real. It gets messy behind the scenes. People usually post the happy and photogenic moments to share with their virtual followings, and I’m not going to judge that. I mostly do the same. Frankly, nobody wants to see photos of me un-showered, in my yoga pants and with regurgitated baby food stains on my shirt. Nor do I want to share every gut-wrenching decision I have to make or twang of mommy guilt that comes my way. And, I cringe anytime I see people post all their dirty laundry on social media. (I’m so not going there!) But, that doesn’t mean there is not a deeper story going on. The same applies to everyone online.

Think about an iceberg and how the majority of it is underwater and out of site to the naked eye. What people choose to share on social is just the tip of their iceberg. While social media can be a great way to keep in touch, it is no substitute for in-person interaction and you have to realize that you are only getting a small glimpse into people’s lives – usually the highlights reel.

To have your social media and your happiness too, the lessons to take from this are:

  1. Limit your social media browsing. Study after study continues to bring its dark side to light. Like all good things, moderation is key. If you are slightly obsessed (and, yes, it can be highly addicting), try setting time limits or even take a little time off. Enjoy your new-found happiness!

  2. Spend time doing what you love. What are you super passionate about? What works in your life for you and your family? If you invest all of your time and energy diving deeply into whatever passion burns inside of you, then you will simply not have the time or energy to aimlessly peruse the internet all day. Fall in love with you and chase your dreams. You are amazing and have much to offer the world.

  3. Remember all that glitters is not gold. Behind every shiny and polished exterior, there is most definitely a deeper story sure to include some struggle and sacrifice that has gone on behind-the-scenes. Remind yourself that what you are seeing is only one snapshot of reality. Don’t do the comparison thing! Just don’t. You are enough.

  4. Take notice & log off. If you notice yourself feeling a little down or upset when browsing Facebook, then that is a major sign its time to log off for a bit. There was life before social media – remember? Sometimes less is more. Get yourself out into the real world and live it up! And no need to post all about it, either. Spend that time actually enjoying and savoring each moment.

  5. Spend more time face-to-face. This same study associated spending more time interacting with real people with an increase in life satisfaction. Go figure. You get much more of the real enchilada in-the-flesh than on the computer screen, anyway. Spending more time being “real” social makes for both healthier relationships and better self-image. Get some friends together and leave your iPhone off. (Just for an hour or two. The world won’t end – I promise!)

  6. Don’t hate, elevate! Remember, the life you are currently living is a by-product of the thoughts and choices you have made along the way. If you are feeling a little down or even a little envious, don’t beat yourself up about it. It is just a gentle nudge for you to look deeper inside and figure out what direction you want or need to go with your own life. So, choose wisely how you react. Don’t let those feelings turn toxic. Instead, bless and congratulate others. Then take that positive energy and use it towards working on elevating your own existence. You have infinite potential!

Hopefully we can all learn to take social media for what it is and not allow it to become a negative component in our lives. In the meantime, maybe we can all start a ‘keep it real’ movement where we start posting “real life “pictures, like  when we first roll out of bed, pre-coffee (or green juice) and make-up. And, no editing or filters! Go ahead … you go first. 😉

What about you? Are you addicted to social? Are you one to “put it all out there” or just the highlights like most people? Have you witnessed or experienced a correlation with too much social and a decline in happiness? Sound off in the comments below!

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For more from Dawn Gluskin, join her inspiring Facebook community & sign up for her weekly love letters and receive a complimentary digital copy of her new ebook, “Make it Happen! Guide to Manifesting”.

Why Competition is an Old Model of Living

UnityCompetition is an outdated model of living. There is a strong calling for us all to begin recognizing our unity and working together, instead. Easier said then done, I know. We have all been taught from birth that we are separate from each other with every man or woman fighting for themselves in this so-called ‘dog eat dog’ world. We compete to get into the best schools and then to get the best jobs so we can buy the best things and everybody will think we are cool. But, is that really why we are here? So that other people think we are cool?? Prettiest, smartest, funniest? You get the point. Surely, there has to be something more! So much more.

While it is true that, as individuals, we need to create our own destiny, putting others down or feeling bad about ourselves in the process should never be a part of the equation. But, those are the exact things that manifest when we feel separate and the need to compete or prove ourselves. With everything going on in the world today, we really need to ban together. The power of collective consciousness is the only way to trump many of the serious challenges that we are facing and will continue to face. We need to respect each other and work together.

Competition is rooted in fear – fear that you are not good enough, smart enough, special enough or unique enough. This is the ego’s way of keeping us separate and small. It’s also a huge distraction from our life’s mission — to spreading all the goodness we can possibly spread. When you are taken over by feelings of jealousy, anger, animosity, and lack on one end of the spectrum, or vanity, superiority and self-righteousness on the other end, then how can you possibly be at your best performance to help the world?

And, believe me, I know. I am far from perfect and have to continually work as I grow along my own spiritual path. For instance, it used to really bother me when somebody would come to me and say, “I think so and so is copying you. Didn’t you just post something similar or doesn’t this sound way too familiar?” It has happened in both my business and personal life. It used to really bug me, as my ego desperately tried to cling to my perceived specialness and uniqueness. It was my own immaturity and insecurities coming out that made me feel like I needed to get the credit or the pat on the back. It has taken much work and shining the light on this weakness of mine, but I’ve learned to just be happy to see how far the ripple effect can go. Ideas and inspiration are supposed to be shared (as long as actual copyright or intellectual property is not being trampled on in the process), and we’re all so much better off when they are shared.. Who am I (or anyone else) to try to hoard them?

We’re all unique, like snowflakes. While we may have some similarities, there is nobody else in this entire world that is just like you or me. We all have our own very unique journey, life experiences, and perceptions. And, the world needs more of the special gift that each of us has inside. We should all feel encouraged and free to put our own unique spin on similar ideas and offer them to the world. There is plenty of space for all of us to do so! Instead of concerning yourself with what others are doing and how you compare, focus on what you love and what lights you up. Everything else will naturally fall into place!

Take me, for example. Sure, there are a million other self-help blogs, life coaches, and female entrepreneurs out there, but that doesn’t stop me from spreading my own perspective on common ideas. People need to hear these same concepts in many different ways! We each have our own unique light to shine and impact to make. I don’t spend my time worrying about how I compare to others because I don’t give my heart and soul for the pats on the back and recognition. I do it out of love and to hopefully make a difference to someone. It’s all about intention. When intent is rooted in pure love, you dreams will grown and manifest faster than you could ever imagine.

“When you want only love you will see nothing else” is a teaching from A course in Miracles. I find this very true in my own practice. Stay focused on offering your gifts and love to the world, in service, and any need to be “the best” or “the first” or “the coolest” will just fade away into the darkness, where it belongs. Instead, you will feel only love.  That’s what it’s about. Now, go out there and make your impact! Namaste.

To download a free copy of Dawn’s ebook “Make it Happen – Guide to Manifesting” – click here.  And, be sure to follow on Facebook as well for more inspiration & support!

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist – Top 10 Reasons to Chill Out

Not That PerfectionistIt was the end of a typical weekday at my house: a moving and shaking day at the office, home for some giggles and play with my young daughters, dinner, baths and bed. Finally, I get some time to myself – hooray! Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a massive pile of clean laundry that has been waiting to be put away for a whole week now. Momentarily, I consider putting it away, but … naah! Instead, I decide to grab my laptop, prop my feet up and work on some writing. I giggled to myself realizing that previously in my life I would have never been able to do that. That tiny bit of clutter would have gnawed away at me, making me super-uneasy and totally unable to relax in-the-moment.

You see, I am a recovering perfectionist. And, boy, I had it bad! Aside from my obsession with cleanliness and everything in its place, I would usually have multiple projects going on at any given point in time, agonizing over every detail, which, of course, needed to be executed juuuust right. Upon completion I would say in one long breath, “Woo-hoo, that was great, finally did it, okay, what’s next?” I used to pour over blog posts editing and re-editing them in the quest for perfect arrangement of the exact right words until they were finally worthy to be released (maybe). I used to work out 6 or 7 days a week and it would take an act of God for me to actually skip a workout!

For years, I would brush my neurosis off as, “I am just built that way. It’s in my DNA.” And, to some extent, this is true. I have a lot of passion and energy eager to pour out. But, what is different these days is my self-talk around this energy. The story I tell myself. I am enough, already. I still have high ambition and put tremendous amounts of love in what I do, but I give myself a break. I have loosened my grasp on expected outcomes and value peace and harmony waaaay more than flawlessness.

So, what was the wake-up call that helped me make the switch from high-strung to mellowed-out? These are the top 10 realizations that I made about perfectionism that helped me along in my journey to become easy like Sunday morning:

  1. “Perfect” is an illusion. It’s striving for the impossible. Even if this high-level of excellence can be met in a particular moment, don’t blink because it is a fleeting ideal. Perfection has an insatiable appetite, and the constant expectation of it sets you up for a whole lot of disappointment, stress, and unhappiness. All the while, the fun of life whizzes right by.

  2. Perfectionism stifles creativity and blocks the birth of fresh ideas. Sometimes we just need to throw the paint on the canvas, allow the notes to be strummed, or let the words pour out. When you mix intense worry into the equation, self-confidence erodes and the artistic flow becomes suppressed. Is everything just right? How it will be perceived by others? This type of thinking takes us out of alignment with our creative source and smothers the flames of imagination into submission.

  3. The ever-present quest for perfection is merely a shield from vulnerability. When we do everything perfectly, then we cannot be judged or criticized. It’s an excuse not to be vulnerable. Just as staying busy in the process of constantly trying to achieve the unachievable is a good way to avoid having to look at and deal with our “stuff.” (And we all have “stuff”). Unfortunately, the only way to heal is to deal (as in facing things head on). The shielding of perfectionism is merely a coping mechanism, which works temporarily, but meanwhile, whatever we’re suppressing only continues to gain more power over us.

  4. Vulnerability shielding inhibits connection. For me, I realized that if I really wanted to be a great writer, coach, mother, and friend who really connects with others then I’d have no other choice but to let down my shield and allow my authentic self to be fully exposed. This means being perfectly imperfect at times, owning it, and granting others permission to do the same.

  5. There is a big difference between striving for excellence and perfectionism. It’s called actually enjoying what you are doing! It’s okay (great, even) to have high aspirations. Shoot for the stars. Go nuts! But, go easy on yourself along the way. Enjoy the journey. Don’t get so tripped up in the outcome that it sucks every ounce of joy out of the process

  6. Perfection is to life what those plastic covers are too a really nice sofa.  Sure, it keeps the dirt off, but what’s the point?? The guitar whose notes are strum slightly off at times is better than the untouched guitar collecting dust on the wall. The laughed in, played in, loved in, house is better than the spotlessly clean one where you can eat off the kitchen floor. The published, yet slightly imperfect, blog or book that allows somebody else to have an “a-ha” moment or inspiration is way better than the “almost perfect” one that is still hiding away, never to be experienced by another soul. Don’t miss the point of life in pursuit of way-too-high standards.

  7. Self-worth is not determined by any outward measurement. This goes for any number on a scale, how clean the house is, how many feathers are in our cap, etc. It’s what’s on the inside that matters most. And, it starts with loving self-talk, not the “I’m not good enough’s” associated with striving for perfect.

  8. It’s even scarier. Yes, it can be scary sharing your passion with the world (whatever the medium). But, what’s even scarier is not sharing your passion with the world because you felt it didn’t meet your own ridiculously high standards. The reality is that nobody’s opinion of your work is going to be quite as critical as your own, anyway. And, even if it is. So what? It’s just somebody else’s opinion. Be passionate, create, love, share — this is living!

  9. Because what perfectionism really is: Throwing an amazing party and forgetting to have a good time because you are worried about some silly little details that nobody else even noticed or actually cares about! (Yes, I might have actually done this before *whistles*).

  10. Perfectionist parents create perfectionist kids. And, I want my girls to grow up knowing unconditional self-love, acceptance of what it is, and enjoyment of life. ‘Nuff said.

Perfectionism is a way of closing off and controlling things. It may look pretty on the outside but in reality it’s cold, isolated and dark. It’s the cracks that let the light in, anyway. So, go on and ease up a bit. Let some light in and shine on!

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If You Want To Be Happy, Do Happy Things

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Happiness is our choice because we each have the power to bring our mind to happy thoughts. That’s the primary power in happiness. It’s a state of mind. It’s the way we choose to look at things and how we relate to things.  So we can set our minds free in our ongoing pursuit of happiness.

John-Roger, the founder of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA), once said, “If you want to be happy, do happy things. ” Although that may sound simple or you might think you don’t know how to do happy things, you can experience happi­ness   in your mind by having happy thoughts.  So regardless of what we’re doing or what’s happened, we can choose to be happy.  By opening up to the happiness within, we each have a greater opportunity to bless the world with our happiness. In truth, we are so blessed that we can feel happy no matter what.

Through our trust and faith in God, we can know the blessings of happiness.  Through that trust, we can realize that everything that ever takes place, in all of Creation, is never against anyone.  God sustains good, all the time, every time.  When we are consciously in accordance with that knowing, we have trust in God.   We can trust that what is being done, what has been done, and what will be done is ultimately useful for greater good. There’s no point in fighting with it. There’s no point in judging it. There’s no point in being unhappy with what is.

Real, lasting happiness doesn’t come at the detriment of others or through againstness or denial of reality.  When we’re attached and trapped by demanding against the world in some way, we can assign ourselves to misery like a ball and chain. We can become imprisoned by our disturbances, frustrations, irritations, or dissatisfactions. The more you can learn how to accept and get along with whatever you’re involved in, the more peace and happiness you can know in whatever you’re doing. When we have doubts or fears or when we judge ourselves or others, we can always let go and choose into the blessings of happiness because those blessings already are. So choose to be happy rather than in conflict with others or situations, regardless of what’s going on.

Others may not agree with your happiness. They may think you’re responding inappropriately. Clearly, there’s so much pain, suffering, and misery in the world, that there’s no need for us to add to it.  If your choice for happiness is misunderstood or judged by others, you can turn to peace, understand­ing, and compassion by choosing to be happy regardless. You can feel happy simply because you experi­ence happiness as your true nature.

When we choose happiness, we’re spontaneous and open to participate. We allow our creativity, that happy energy, to move out into the world and touch others.  If you find yourself being serious or worrying, allow your true nature to lift you so you’re more aware of your joy and the happiness in others and situ­ations.  If you keep finding it difficult to be happy with what you’re doing, then consider you need to change whatever it is that you are doing.  Even if you choose to be happy, what you’re doing may not be working.  So sometimes a shift in attitude isn’t enough.  At those times, let your happiness be your guide, and ask yourself, “What would make me happy here?”

Take a moment to let your true happiness show you what’s best. It might be as simple as asking for what you want and then being open to receiving it. Perhaps that takes courage. If it does, then choose to be courageous, especially when your happiness is on the line.

Remember that the source of your happiness is within you, not out in the world in what happens or what others do. God is happy.  So choose to be happy because you can — because happiness is your nature and the truth of who you are. Then you can share the blessings of the true happiness that you know inside.

Baruch Bashan (the blessings already are)

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John Morton, D.S.S. is the author of the inspiring books The Blessings Already Are and You Are the Blessings: Meditations and Reflections on Life, God and Us.  Learn more about John’s works at www.johnmortonministries.org.  Contact John at goto@johnmortonministries.org

Originally published in 2010

Making Time For Reflection: Going On Retreat

Giving ourselves time to reflect and heal can be a powerful way to process the things that are happening in our lives, and one of the best approaches to do this is by going on a retreat. Going on a retreat means that we have set the intention to heal and learn more about our spirit, and doing this is a decision that we make for ourselves.

Since everyone sees and experiences the world differently, it is important to choose a type of retreat that works best for us. Even though a friend or loved one may recommend something, we have to trust our intuition and select a path that really connects with what our soul needs most at the time. The most essential thing is to be willing to respect our unique stage of development and to be patient with ourselves since any thoughts or issues that arise are simply part of the process of healing. Just remembering that a retreat is an intense period of time where serious soul searching takes place can help us allow whatever may happen to us to fully unfold. Going on retreat may sound like a vacation, but most retreat experiences ask you to look deep inside of yourself, and sometimes this can be uncomfortable or stir the pot of our soul.

Putting our trust in the retreat process will make space for the necessary work we have to do, making it easier for our hearts and minds to explore wholly the innermost reaches of our soul. By paying attention to these messages, we pave the way for greater healing and transformation, since spending time in contemplation at a retreat will give us the gift of insight and understanding that we can use in all aspects of our daily lives.

Originally published November 2010

photo by: williamcho

Lost & Found

As much as I hate to admit it, I have been known to lose a material “thing” now and then—a diamond earring (lost twice and found twice), all of my earrings for that matter (well, usually one so the pair is no longer), a watch, a leather jacket, my wallet (a few times, and returned each time)….The list goes on.  Most recently, I lost my IPad2. 

Mind you, I have worked quite hard on being mindful, grounded and in charge of my belongings.  But this time, my watchfulness was overrun by my exhaustion, having just lectured in Montreal, sleep deprived, I was now traveling on to Germany.  Somehow and somewhere between the London and Dusseldorf airports, I lost my beloved computer gadget.  Perhaps I left it on my seat; perhaps in the waiting area; perhaps…..I was sure I had left it on my seat, but the airline staff swore that an Ipad was not found.  They were actually quite rude, if I might add.  “Are they telling the truth?” I wondered.   

My thoughts spiraled into negativity– berating myself for losing an expensive item (again); hurt that anyone could be so mean to me, especially those in the service field; and angry at the person who stole my Ipad (how could they!).  I thought, “How can people be so mean? Can anyone be trusted? ” Just as the thought, “People suck,” started to form, I stopped myself. After all, I am a spiritual teacher, and spiritual people aren’t supposed to hate people.    

Truthfully, I stopped myself because I couldn’t help noticing that my friend was speaking to the airline and “lost property” staff on my behalf in German, and lovingly consoling me.  I stopped because when we arrived at her home, her family and our friends empathized and supported me.  I stopped because in response to hearing my news, my father wrote me an email reminding me that the Ipad was only a material possession, not the people in my life who love me. 

And when I stopped, I noticed that without my Ipad, I could not withdraw into my world of journal reading and scrabble playing.  Instead, I happily engaged with people and enjoyed walks in nature.   How strange, I contemplated, that even though I had only possessed the gadget for a couple of months, I had quickly acquired an attachment to it. How often did I choose the computer over people?

Is it true for you?

What are you attached to?  How much do you appreciate those you love?  How often do you experience the magic of nature?  And how long can you wait before you pick up your smart phone, laptop or other fancy computer “thing?”  Would you feel withdrawal if you had to be without your gadgets?

For me, I lost my property, but I found love and a lot of meaning.

In these difficult economic times, when material “things” have questionable worth, perhaps you can take a moment to be present in your life. Love. Breathe. Laugh.  Not forever…just for a moment every now and again.

PHOTO (cc); Flickr / Josh Liba

Spiritual Growth

Following is a quote of The Mother, one of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Society in Pondicherry, India. Her words help me to understand that everything we do in life can only be accomplished at the level of spiritual perfection to which we have evolved.

 

QUOTE OF THE MOTHER

An aimless life is always a miserable life. Every one of you should have an aim. But do not forget that on the quality of your aim will depend the quality of your life.

Your aim should be high and wide, generous and disinterested; this will make your life precious to yourself and to others.

But whatever your ideal, it cannot be perfectly realised unless you have realised perfection in yourself.

– The Mother [CWMCE, 12:3]

Psychic Medium and Inspirational Author Carole Lynne

www.carolelynne.com

www.carolelynnecosmicconnection.com

A Bad Day for the Ego is a Good Day for the Soul

 (For this week’s audio podcast, click here.) 


A few weeks ago I listened to a radio interview with Michael Beckwith, author of Spiritual Liberation, and he said, "A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul."  When I heard this I laughed out loud.  The wisdom of his statement resonated with me deeply.  I thought about a number of experiences in my life which have been quite "bad" for my ego (i.e. embarrassing, disappointing, and even painful), but in hindsight have been great for my own growth and development. 

Over this past week, I’ve had two specific situations, one in the middle of a seminar with one of my clients and another in a personal conversation, where I felt embarrassed – things didn’t turn out at all how I wanted them to and it seemed like I messed up.  As I experienced these situations and have been reflecting on them, although I didn’t like how they unfolded, I recognize that the discomfort involved in both instances was about me protecting my ego (in other words – wanting to look good or at least not to look bad).

In retrospect, I’m grateful that both of these things happened exactly as they did.  They were and continue to be good opportunities for me to learn, grow, and evolve – both in my work and my life.

Too often our desire to protect our ego – to avoid failure and embarrassment – causes us to sell out on ourselves, not go for what we truly want, or hold back in a variety of detrimental ways.  When we remember that even if things don’t turn out the way we think we want them to, not only will we survive, we can grow in the process.  As the saying goes, "if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger."

This is not to say that the only way to grow, evolve, and transform in life is through suffering, disappointment, or pain.  However, when we do experience difficulties, failures, and challenges – all of which are normal and natural aspects of life and growth – we have the capacity to turn these "bad" things into incredible opportunities for healing and transformation.  While it may not seem that way to us (or our ego) initially, the deeper part of who we are (our soul) knows that everything happens for a reason and there are always important lessons for us to learn in each situation and experience in life.

Think of some of the things that have happened in your life that seemed "awful" to you at the time, but in hindsight are things you’re incredibly grateful for now.

The most elegant, pleasurable, and self-loving way for us to grow and evolve is through joy, success, and gratitude. However, due to the fact that difficulties do occur in life and that we often give away our power to the "bad" stuff (through resistance, judgment, or worry), learning to relate to our challenges in a more positive and conscious way is a crucial part of our growth journey.

Remembering that what’s usually at risk in life when we get scared is just our ego, can remind us, with compassion, that we don’t have nearly as much to lose as we think we do. Embodying this insight (that a bad day for our ego is a good day for our soul) with empathy and perspective, allows us to live our lives with a deeper sense of forgiveness, faith, and authenticity.

Where are you letting your ego get in the way of your growth and fulfillment?  How can you transform your fear of embarrassment into motivation for change, authenticity, and true success? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my blog here.

 

Walking with the Wound

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful and fulfilling 2011 and I very much look for forward to our continued work together. I decided to write a longer newsletter than usual as I wanted to share some valuable insights about our wounds and our relationship to them.


From the depths of our deepest wounds emerge our greatest gifts. Similarly, contained within the fate we were given, emerges a destiny when we choose to work with the fate. However, destiny cannot emerge until our fate is submitted to. That means standing back and looking at everything that was given and has happened and asking ourselves where the opportunities for self development and self healing lie. If we come from lack, then discovering the fullness of our being lies as an opportunity before us, if we come from conflict, then peace and reconciliation lies before us, if we come from abandonment and despair, then connection to all life lies before us. Whatever the lack, its opposite awaits us. Therefore the difficult and challenging aspects of our fate give us the opportunity to springboard towards a destiny of our own choosing instead of bemoaning that which is less than desirable.


In submitting to fate, we receive this life and all of its circumstances as a gift and we get on with the task of digging for the gold that awaits us.


So many of my clients come to me saying ‘I have this issue, this wound, this problem, and I want it to go away’. Experience tells me that when we most want something to ‘go away’ or we want to ‘get rid’ of it, it tends to stick to us like proverbial mud.  I tell my clients that the objective is not rid ourselves of the wound, but to change our relationship to it.  When a parent loses a child, that wound never goes away, it remains for life, however, over time, the nature of the wound can change and how it operates in the parent’s life also transforms. This is also true four our own deeper wounds. Our wounds exist in three states: Burden, Teacher, Companion.


Burden


We can know when our wound is a burden as we are often still stuck in blame, self pity and invariably allow ourselves to be triggered by others and we invariably view the world through the veil that the wound had placed on our vision of other people and the world at large. When our wound is a burden we take less responsibility for ourselves, our reactions and frequently go either into conflict or withdrawal. We interpret the actions of others through the lens of our wound and we frequently re-create the same circumstances over and over again, often with different people. However, when we step back and look through the eyes of our greater self, the occurrences often have more to do with our reactions that actually what happened. Neutral bystanders will invariably see things differently to our own wounded self.


We become stuck in burden when we need others to change, to give us what we didn’t get.  We remain stuck in burden until the moment we decide to simply give up the need to get what we didn’t get from others and start to focus on self-care and fulfilling our own needs. We remain stuck in burden when we stubbornly refuse to accept that we simply didn’t get what we need – when the fear of facing that painful truth seems far too much for us to bear or to integrate.  We remain stuck in burden when we allow our suffering to continue as a way of demonstrating to others ‘Look what you did to me!’.


Teacher


This is the next stage of living and working with our wounds. At this stage we are still reacting, projecting, blaming and falling into self-pity, but we have simply become more aware of what we are doing. At this stage we are able to retrospectively view what happened, our reaction, our masks, our defences and reactions with a little more neutrality and honesty. We have become much more self aware and with this awareness we are able to make much more self responsibility and begin to truly address the wound and its workings in our lives.  One of the challenges at this stage is to be gentle with ourselves. If we have come from a family in which children were guided and disciplined through a lot of criticism, then we are likely to beat ourselves up a lot at this stage – which simply piles even more negative energy onto our wound, making it more difficult to reach a solution. Gentle self awareness is what is required here and a reminder that if you have a question concerning your self-healing, the answer is always love.


Companion


At this stage our wounds become our friends. In every situation in which we can find ourselves triggered into defence, we become gently aware of our own wounding in the background and we gently make the choice not to go into defence. If we do go into defence or have a reaction, we start to take immediate responsibility for it and gently take ourselves off into more gentle self-healing work that feeds and nourishes our soul.  Whilst it is true that others can hurt us in the present and that our reaction is not always from a place of being triggered by an event in the present that stimulates an old wound, when our wounds are our companions, we react with less voracity. When our wound is our friend, our compassion increases and we are much more easily able to see other beyond the veils of their own wounds and defences. We recognise them for who they truly are and how they are feeling in the moment. When our wound is our friend we no longer blame or push back, but stand with both feet firmly on the ground with an open heart – feeling no need to be forgiven or to forgive, but simply to be in the present moment with what is presenting itself.  When our wound is our friend, we don’t make the other wrong and we can choose to withdraw peacefully until a better opportunity presents itself to deal with the matter at hand in a more constructive manner.


As we embrace our wounds, firstly as teachers, then as companions through life, it is at this stage we begin to submit to our destiny – our childhood and other circumstances are what they are and are unchangeable – with the exception of our feelings and reactions.  In submitting to our fate be begin to see the opportunities for growth inherent within the wound and we start seeing the many opportunities that have been presented to us.  For many of us, it is the very seeking for solutions to our pain that leads us onto a path of encountering our own soul and the much greater part of ourselves – even to the Divine.


www.johnlpayne.com

 


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