Change and Creativity

“Change is not something that we should fear.  Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.”  ~Unknown

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Why do so many people fear change instead of welcoming it?  We tend to get into a routine and become quite comfortable with things.  After a while, it is easy to develop a false sense of security.  It feels safe because we know we to expect.  It’s easy to become comfortably numb.  We resist change and close out creativity.

If we are not changing, we are not creating our lives.  Imagine if nothing changed in your life from this day forward.  Everything would remain the same.  Creativity would seize.  In a sense, we would be alive, but not living.  Would you be satisfied?  Would you have any regrets?  What comes up for you?

Whether you realize it or not, you play a part in creating each day.  It begins with creating an intention, attitude or outlook.  Conscious or subconscious, it’s there.  It could be based in fear or love.  Be mindful of your thoughts.

What are you creating? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Take Heartfelt Action

img_7165This week has felt like a wild roller coaster ride.  Emotions were running high with unforeseen twists and turns. It’s time to recenter. Let go of all negativity, dark energy, emotional walls and thoughts that do not serve the greater good.

Join in embracing our democracy. May we all come together and stand united to lift one another up. May our hearts remain open and filled with love, light, peace and hope. Let’s focus on what part each of us can play to make our home, community, state, country and world a better place.

The election is over, the reflection can begin.  Give yourself permission to be right where you are. Connect with your feelings. What have you learned about yourself and others through this experience?

Thoughts become things. Focus on the positive ones.  It takes practice. It’s a mindful choice. Each one of us can look within to determine if what we are putting out into the world is coming from a place of love or fear.  Are your words helpful or hurtful?

Take heartfelt action.  What can you do today to contribute towards the solution?  It can be on a small scale.  A random act of kindness goes a long way.  Listen to a friend who needs to be heard.  Smile at a stranger.  Check on an elderly neighbor.  Let a car in front of you during rush hour.  Hold the door for someone.  Let your loved ones know how much you love them.  Give a compliment.  Pay it forward.

Remind yourself that it’s okay not to be perfect

30873_398430362186_242742832186_4726216_3049295_nSo many of us strive for perfection.  The bar can be raised quite high.  Often, we are the ones setting the standards.  It’s important to be reminded that it’s okay not to be perfect.  While we’re at it, here are a few more reminders:

  • You can start your day over at any time.
  • The answers are within.  Listen.
  • Life is a series of choices.  The “wrong” ones become lessons.
  • If you don’t learn from lessons, you will get another chance.
  • Give yourself a break.
  • You are loved.
  • You are worthy.
  • You are beautiful.
  • You matter.
  • There is so much to be grateful for in your life.
  • At this moment, all is well.
  • You are making a difference in the world.
  • Thoughts become things.  Focus on the good ones.
  • Limit time with friends who are energy vampires
  • Speak your truth.
  • You are perfectly imperfect.

7 Steps to Forgiveness

by Mark Linden O Meara

Much has been written about forgiveness. Everywhere you turn people are saying you have to forgive, yet few people likely understand the process of true forgiving. For true healing, forgiveness is essential. The same holds true for the idea of compassion. Yet I have learned that going from anger straight to compassion does not bring about true forgiveness. It only creates a sense of pseudo forgiveness. Many people try to go from hurt or anger straight to compassion.  It most often fails unless they fully understand the deeper process. In most cases the shortcut backfires or they have only repressed their anger. While you maintain an air of forgiveness, you may find yourself easily triggered when speaking of the original event, or you find yourself reacting emotionally when the issue is raised. I have found that the following steps bring about lasting forgiveness when implemented and practiced on a daily basis. I’ve had many things to forgive, so I’ve had practice. I’ve noticed that it is easy to fall back into a trap of non-forgiveness and resentment unless you make it a daily habit to forgive. Why forgive? You forgive so that you can stop harming yourself through resentment and begin to move into a state of happiness and gratitude.

Stage 1- Admit You Are Angry!  Many of us will echo the thoughts “What? I’m not supposed to get angry! I’ve done all this healing work!” I’ve learned that it is harmful to get angry but it is more harmful to be angry and not admit it! The way to check if you are angry is to observe your inner dialogue about how you are relating to yourself and others. Are you finding yourself being negative, critical or frustrated? Do you find yourself being impatient with people and critical of how things are done? Are you constantly blaming others for your troubles, wishing that others would change? If so, then it is likely you are angry. Try to recognize what you are angry about. It may not be the little things, but something that happened months ago. Look back in time to what might have triggered your anger and where your expression has been blocked. Bitterness is anger with no outlet to be heard or feeling that you can not change anything. It is a form of helplessness. Try to discover what you are bitter about. Make a list of resentments. Don’t hold back or edit your thoughts. Being honest with yourself is the first step in healing anger.

Stage 2- Acknowledge the Loss and Consequences  In order to fully forgive, you need to look at the consequences of the event. By consequences, I do not mean just emotional pain. Look at the past and the present, and honestly note any changes. Were you physically injured? Were you emotionally hurt? Did you suffer financial loss? What other types of losses occurred? Was there harm to other relationships? To achieve lasting forgiveness it is important to acknowledge all the losses, otherwise forgiveness will have to be revisited. When listing the losses and consequences, try to look objectively at the incident without investing in the emotions around the losses at this time.

Stage 3 – Submit to a Feeling of Vulnerability The next stage in forgiveness is to open your self up to change and dissonance. You can not spread butter when it is hard and cold. Forgiveness does not come easily when your ideas, thoughts of revenge or justice are hardened. You must retreat and re-examine your approach. Just like a pound of butter, if you want to forgive and heal, you need to let your ideas thaw and be molded into a new perspective, combined with other ideas and views. You need to admit that to harbor anger and resentments violates the laws of kindness and compassion both for yourself and other people. You must realize that in not forgiving, you are now betraying the person at whom you are angry. This is not an easy step. It can be painful to realize that it is you who needs to change, and that it is you who has the poison of anger and resentment. It is easy to build up a wall of justification around your thoughts, actions and feelings regarding the harm done to you. In order to heal and forgive, you need to break through the wall and tear it down completely!  This stage of forgiveness also requires you look at whether there was any responsibility on your part. In some cases there was none, in some cases, you may have taken action which contributed to the decision. In this case, it may be hard for you to admit that you caused part of your own suffering as it is easier to blame others than to take any responsibility. This stage requires an honest, fearless, kind and moral inventory of your own actions and behavior. Sometimes you may not like what you find, but facing your shadow can be one of the most powerful healing experiences. See if you can find some common ground.

Stage 4 – Stop Punishing One of the common behaviors of people is to try to punish those who have harmed us. Most studies have shown that punishment rarely teaches anything other than to resent the person doing the punishing! Some of the ways you may punish are by withholding companionship, giving someone the silent treatment, or even giving compliments but then taking it back with an insult. You may try to go further with legal action, or you may try to damage things that the other person prizes. Another method of punishment is gossiping about the other person. In order to truly forgive, you need to give up the expectation that the other person will be punished. You can ask that the other person make amends for their harm, but if they refuse or are unable to make amends, then releasing them from the idea of punishment frees you from lingering resentment.  There is great wisdom in the following Buddhist teaching – “Should one person ignorantly do wrong, and another ignorantly becomes angry with him, who would be at fault? And who would be without fault?” It is far better to try to forgive, and reintegrate your friends back into community than to ostracize and alienate them through punishment. Try to practice compassion, work at developing a deeper understanding of how and why people behave. It seems that we prefer a simple explanation of things, yet you need to understand that human beings and the relationships between each other are complex. Understanding the ways of the world and the people in the world requires wisdom and self control. Use the opportunity to forgive as a means of growth!

Stage 5 – Identify Some Good in the Other Person This step, finding some good in the other person is probably the most crucial step in bringing about lasting forgiveness. It can also be the hardest depending on the severity of the event you are trying to forgive.  According to Francis Bacon, the key to forgiveness is in “not expecting the other to change, to give love, to be kind and develop the ability to see that in everyone else’s eyes and heart there is some good.” In forgiving, you try not to think of yourself as being good and the other person bad. You can find it easier to forgive if you can understand that the other person has difficulties too, or was harmed in the past. If you do not practice this step, then forgiveness will be futile because it will be done with a sense of contempt for the other person. If you can not find good in the other person, then at least pray for them. A wonderful technique for developing your vision of good in another is to imagine a seed of goodness in their heart, and in prayer imagine that both you and God are watering it to make it grow stronger. Better yet is to image that each person already has this great flower of goodness in them already. Admit that it has been obscured from your view because of your anger, resentment and justifications. Learn to look for the good. At first, like developing any skill, it is challenging. You will become better at it with practice!

Stage 6 – Develop Genuine Neutrality  Hopefully in the process of forgiveness you will come to resolve any negative emotions and thoughts about yourself and the other person or organization. To do so requires that you do not expect or demand any payment or restitution after forgiveness. You must assume that there is no debt owed to you. Mother Theresa once said “it is between God and myself, it was never between me and them anyway.” This must be practiced daily. It is easy to slip into anger and resentment if you do not cultivate a practice of neutrality. Depending on the severity of the event, you may choose to not have any further contact with the person, but if you meet them by chance, you want to have a sense of neutrality and a sense of calmness instead of avoidance.

Stage 7 – Stay in the Present “Bury the hatchet” is a phrase you may have heard many times. There is wisdom to this phrase if you understand its original meaning. The phrase comes from spiritual traditions of North American Indians who would put all weapons out of site while smoking a peace pipe. For your own forgiveness work, you must keep the original wound out of sight, or out of present mind. It is necessary to acknowledge what happened, to not forget it, but also not drag it up again as a fresh wound. Resurrecting the event and bringing it up again with the person who harmed you will cause you to feel the associated feelings again. Balance your memory of the event with your memory of the forgiveness work you have done. Practice loving those you don’t feel warmth towards.  All of your forgiveness work can be undone, and the resentment rekindled if you begin to dwell on the event again. If you begin to rerun your mind’s movie of the harm, then you may find yourself in an angry and hurt state again. It is the nature of your mind to ruminate, and therefore you must develop self-discipline and remind yourself that you have completed forgiveness work around this issue. Thank your mind for the intrusive thought, and send it off into the far reaches of the universe! Refuse to bring the past into the present again, as it will re-trigger you back into hurt and anger. Continually rise above the injury! Practice compassion and unconditional love towards all people!

Instructions for Life by The Dalai Lama

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Love or Fear?

“Non-resistance, non-judgement and non-attachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.” ~Echart Tolle

What a powerful quote! When I first read this in A New Earth, I had to put the book down because it really struck me.  It has been said that we either come from a place of fear or love. When I come from a place of fear, I resist, judge and attach. It is so limiting and dark. Coming from a place of love allows me to open up my heart and see the unlimited possibilities all around. This is where the shift to awareness occurs and creation begins.

Are you coming from a place of love or fear?