Spring into Action

 

  There are signs of life out there.  The buds are starting to bloom.  Birds are chirping in the morning.  It is lighter

  out longer now that we changed the clocks to daylight savings time. This is the perfect time of year to spring

  into action and do some deep cleaning, de-cluttering and letting go! 

 

 Ready to roll up your sleeves, open your mind and do some work?  Alright! Get the cleaning supplies, trash bags

 and tissues ready.  The plan is to do this from the inside out.  There is a connection between a cluttered mind and a     cluttered home.  Let’s start with the inside de-cluttering of the mind.  How much stuff are you holding onto emotionally?  After some time, we don’t even realize what thoughts are taking up room in our minds.  Like dust, dirt and grime, things   like resentments, unhealthy relationships and old beliefs can be wiped away.  In turn, you will feel lighter, brighter and  refreshed.

 

  Just like the clothes from many seasons ago that still take up space in your closet, old emotional baggage needs

  to be packed up and given away.  If it doesn’t fit who you are today, take a deep breath and let it go.  Begin to

  feel the freedom from within.

 

  When we get rid of the emotional stuff holding us back, we make room for more energy and positive thoughts. 

  Remember some of the old dreams that you buried deep in the back of the storage container in your mind? 

  Was fear and negative thinking preventing you from following those dreams?  De-clutter those false beliefs

  and turn those dreams into reality.

 

  Finding it difficult to see what emotional baggage is packed away in your mind?  It might help to find a

  quiet space where you can sit, light a candle, close your eyes open your mind.  Take deep breaths in and

  out as well to relax.  Ask yourself, “What old beliefs, thoughts, resentments and emotional baggage am I

  still holding onto?”  As it is revealed to you, allow it to come up.  If it no longer servers you, let it go. 

 

  Now lets spring into action on the outside.  Your home environment usually reflects how we feel within. 

  Is your home out of control? Is it organized and inviting?  It is good to take an honest look at the state of

  your home.  Sometimes clutter is a physical type of to-do list.  However, it is not necessary.  Over time,

  it can end up becoming an unproductive way to remind us of what needs to be done.

 

  Start with one room in your home.  Take a look around and decide what stays and gets cleaned, gets thrown

  out or given away.  Those are the main choices.  By doing one room at a time, you can take steps towards

  going through your entire home.  It doesn’t feel like such a big task.  Do one room a day or a few rooms a

  weekend.  Whatever works best for you.  Be sure to make it an upbeat activity.  Turn up the music and get

  started!  Go through closets, reorganize the pantry, throw out expired items in the kitchen, put away the

  winter coats and gear, switch the furniture around, dust off the shelves, clean the windows, fix leaky faucets,

  and spring into action.  (You get the idea?)

  

  If you have things to give away, donate or sell, do it fast.  Don’t give yourself the option to change your mind. 

  This is about letting go of that stuff, remember?  As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s

  treasure.”

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!

Surrender

Don’t be attached to the outcome.
Continue with your efforts, and know that they are the right things for you to do at the moment, but surrender any attachment you have as to the outcome.
It’s the attachment to outcome, to things being a certain way, that brings us pain.
Peace comes with letting go, surrendering and acceptance.
It also makes us more open to learning from our experience, instead of resisting it.
~Michele J. Johnson

Is it the Problem or Perspective?

Author: Hiram Oconnor

More often than I care to admit, I bump into a problem that shakes the very core of my being and challenges the heart of my belief system. At such times, I feel the world closing in around me and a tendency toward desperation begins to raise its ugly head. My first impulse is to fight back, to attack the attacker, to react by either running from or toward the problem.

But I do not follow my first impulse any longer. I now stand back and look at the problem for a while. I observe it from different points of view, all the while realizing that I am not the problem but that the problem is just an indication of a small adjustment I have to make in my thinking.

No problem is bigger and more powerful than we are. We are all children of the Infinite. The Universe is biased on our side. We have within us untapped strength and wisdom to deal with all challenges that come our way.

All problems have within them the seeds of their solution. We must learn to listen to the Silence, to hear the instructions from within and to follow the “still small voice.” Life whispers to us all the time. It tells us to go this way or that, to take this road or the other. When we are frightened by what appears to be major problems, we block the “still, small voice” from our consciousness and only hear the howling winds and the thunder of the storm.

Find a quiet spot in the middle of the turbulence. Go to a quiet place within your soul and stay there for a short while. Do not rant and rave at the problem. Just go to this spot and let your fears be calmed, even for a moment. Don’t listen to the call of the problem but, rather, listen for a few seconds to the song of your soul.

I often say that it’s not what’s happening around you that causes anxiety, but what you think about what’s happening around you. Remove your thoughts from the problem for a short while. Don’t try NOT to think about the problem. That doesn’t work. Just remove your focus from the problem and think of something else. With a little practice, it becomes second nature.

Know that you’re bigger and stronger than anything that seems to annoy you. Look away, for a short while, from your problem and know that its solution is coming to you. Trust the force that created you and placed you in this part of the universe. Trust the process that has sustained you until now. Let go of the problem. Remember that it is not the problem that’s holding on to you, but that it’s you who are holding on to it.

Let it go. Don’t be like the man who was frantically rowing away from shore while his boat was firmly tied to the dock. If you want to get to the other side of the problem, you must cut the rope that’s holding you to the dock.

Soon you’ll begin to see signs that you’re on your way to success. Don’t stop what you’re doing and look around all day for such signs. You WILL see them. Ideas will come to you. You’ll have strange urges to take action by calling someone, writing a letter, sending an email. This is the “still, small voice” speaking to you.

Your problems are not more powerful than you are. You have the key to success. It is your birthright. No one can ever take it away from you. Be still and know who you are. Be calm and feel the countless tides of the centuries running through your mind. Know that you’re unique and that there is not another human being on this earth that has the combination of talents and abilities you have. You are as valid as the sun and the stars.

As Commander Spock would say…”Live long and prosper.”

Some Affirmations of Inspiration

Affirmations are mantras people use to impress the subconscious with a repetitive thought that can motivate, inspire and give the confidence needed to accomplish goals. When affirmations are practiced on a regular basis, they can be extremely powerful.  They have helped to change people’s thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors.  I hope you enjoy these affirmations randomly selected from “The Don’t Sweat Affirmations” by Richard Carlson.  Pick one that resonates with you and try to repeat it several times in the morning, night or throughout the entire day.

Problems as Opportunities:

When I feel that it’s all too much to handle, I lighten up and remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect.

I am flexible and accept changes in my plans with grace.

Abundance:

I have everything I need right now.

Money is only one of the currencies of life.

True Progress:

I improve the quality of my life with every positive thought.

I am grateful for every step on my life path that has led me to the deeper wisdom and understanding I enjoy today.

What are some of your favorite affirmations?  Please post in the comments section.

From Cancer Survivor to Life Coach

One of the gifts I got from being a cancer survivor is a new perspective on life.  Life is full of changes and we never know where one path might lead. I learned how to face my fears and in turn found a deeper level of strength from within.  Through the scans, biopsies, doctor visits, tests, surgery, treatment and more I was not only surviving cancer, but I was also becoming a Life Coach.  Through the journey, I found the courage, motivation and empowerment to move forward in many areas of my life both personal and professional, including a new career path.

My prayers were answered and I got another chance to live my life. I’m a survivor of more than cancer.  I’m a survivor of life! As a Life Coach, I am able to use my own life experience when working with clients to guide them forward.  All of us have the answers within, but some find them easier and with greater clarity by working with a life coach.

Moving forward

That is some of the history behind what motivated me to face my fears, dive in and become a Life Coach.  I also started a blog called Thyroid Cancer SURVIVOR to share my journey from the cancer diagnosis to the cancer-free results.  Now it focuses on LIFE beyond cancer with inspirational posts.

Possibilities are only limited by our minds!

Warmly,

Jennifer Bridge
Life Coach & Cancer SURVIVOR
Ready to Change Life Coaching
jenn@jenniferbridge.com
www.readytochangelifecoaching.com