Monthly Archives: August 2013

So Much To Do

The title of this article is my life story these days.  I’ve over-committed myself lately to the point of exhaustion.  So, as I continue to do what has always worked for me to stay centered – exercise, meditate and eat as healthy as I can MOST days,  🙂  I also am using the stress-management tool of setting priorities and putting more energy into those things that have deadlines – or that are really more important (like my family).

This blog has always been a priority for me because it keeps me in touch with people I haven’t seen for a while and others I’ve never met, but find interesting and like-minded.  Each week as I ponder what I should write about, I think to myself, “I don’t have time to write a blog this week!”  Then I sit down & just start writing what’s going on inside.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to let myself be overwhelmed by all I have to do.  I stop thinking about how much there is to do, and start getting it done!  Feeling overwhelmed is just a state of mind that I choose.  Or I can choose to let it go.

The older I get, the faster time speeds by.  But rather than panic when I feel deadlines creep up on me, I can make each moment meaningful.  Each moment that comes is an opportunity to experience something fully.  That experience isn’t always positive – but if I allow myself to feel it instead of turn it into anxiety, it is always authentic.

That’s how things get done; moment by moment, step by step, one day at a time.  Small tasks added to one another build into larger, more fulfilling accomplishments.  And those accomplishments build into a life of fulfillment.

Taking things a step at a time, resting between the steps and asking for guidance before I move on to each next step keeps life from feeling so overwhelming.  Before I know it, I’m able to look back at the task that originally felt so overwhelming with pride and gratitude for the opportunity.

 

 

Forgive Yourself and Others

For those of you who read my blogs on a regular basis, it might seem like I share a lot about forgiveness.  I do . . . because resentments are one of the most common mechanisms that we use to keep ourselves invested in being “right.”   We often feel threatened by someone who does not believe as we do, or who might think beyond our own realm of understanding, or who did something to hurt us or a loved one.  When we feel threatened, it just keeps us tied to our fears, anger and powerlessness – hence to the extra weight or the effects of whatever compulsive behavior we use.  And we do whatever we need to in order to feel in control.

The following is an excerpt form the book, A COURSE IN WEIGHT LOSS: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering your Weight Forever (by Marianne Williamson).  If food is not your “addiction”, feel free to substitute whatever has meaning for you.  It works the same for all:

Forgiveness in hugely powerful yet often resisted fiercely.  A young man I knew in an AIDS support group years ago once asked me, “Do I really have to forgive EVERYBODY?” to which I responded, “Well, I don’t know .  .  . do you have the flu, or do you have AIDS?  Because if you only have the flu, then, heck, just forgive a few people. . . but if you have AIDS, then yes try to forgive everybody!”

You certainly wouldn’t ask a doctor, “Do I really have to take ALL the medicine?  Take the ENTIRE ROUND of chemo? Can’t I just so SOME of it?”  Nor would you say, “Doc can I just take the medicine when I feel bad?”  No, medicine is medicine.  And you respect it enough to take the amount you need.

Forgiveness is more than just a good thing.  It is key to right living and thus to your healing — not just to be applied every once in a while, but to be aimed for as a constant. . . .the effort keeps the arrows of attack at bay.  Holding on to judgment, blame, attack, defense, victimization and so forth are absolutely attacks on yourself.  And you attack yourself with food.

As you forgive others, you begin to forgive yourself.  As you stop focusing on their mistakes, you will stop punishing yourself for your own.  Your ability to release what you think of as the sins of others will free you to release yourself, putting down that particular weapon with which you punish yourself so savagely.

Forgiveness releases the past . . . and the future to new possibilities  Whatever it was that happened to you, it is OVER.  It happened in the past; in the present, it does not exist unless you bring it with you.  Nothing anyone has ever done to you has permanent effects unless you hold on to it permanently.

Forgiving is letting go of that need to control and be right.  It is allowing ourselves and others to live in the flow of life as it comes.

Have a mind that’s open to everything – and attached to nothing.
-Tilopa

What I’ve Learned

This is one of those posts that I repeat every few months – partly because I receive feedback that it helps others, and partly because I need to remind myself of these lessons.  I also change and add to it each time, because I keep learning my lessons!

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Like many of you, there is someone in my life that challenges me in just about every way possible. That person is someone I love very much. I’ve spent lots of energy trying to understand, help this person, and at times, to realign my side of the relationship so that it feels better to me.

The realization I’ve finally come to is that this person has been and continues to be my greatest teacher. I now believe that we are joined together in a spiritual path through which both of us are meant to learn.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned (and often am even able to practice :)) so far:

-To enjoy the moment. Yesterday may have sucked and so may tomorrow, so when it’s good, I relish in it. Even if today is the one that sucks, I’m learning to appreciate the lesson and the fact that if nothing else, it will propel me upward eventually.
-To love unconditionally, with no strings attached, is the only true love. Anything other form is either obsession or some other form of self indulgence.
-To allow the other to live their life in their way, even though it feels very wrong or unsafe to me.
-To want the peace that I want for myself even more for the other person.
-To send that person love every day (at LEAST once a day) – and those days when I’m not feeling the love to ask God to make me an instrument of the loving energy that comes from the Universe.
-I’ve learned and practiced a meditation where you breathe in the pain of another and breathe out the healing energy of Love.                                                                                                                  -We don’t have to be in each other’s lives every day.  Sometimes the best we can do is love them from a distance.
-To honor the other’s perspective on life and understand that we each see our environment through the lense of our own experiences in life. Based on that person’s belief system, I can respect their choices.
-I can’t hurt enough for the other person to make them better. All that does is double the amount of hurt – It doesn’t help the other, and it certainly doesn’t help me.

Finally, in order to do ANY of the above, I have to allow space in my life to let something new in.  If I keep myself obsessively busy trying to understand it, control it, fix it, or just continuously feeling the other person’s pain, I will never have the space in my life to allow anything else to come in.  Peace, true understanding or love will not be able to squeeze in.  And I will  have drained myself dry of any energy I had to be of help if and when the opportunity comes.

I’m not saying I can practice all of this all the time. Life isn’t all or nothing, and sometimes, even though we learn, it takes several reminders before it becomes a part of us. But each time I get pulled back down, a new light eventually comes on and I’m that much further ahead than I was before.

Forgiveness is the Greatest Healer of All

I have so many clients who have been victimized, either as a child, or currently.  They find it difficult to get away from identifying themselves as a victim (even though many refuse to use that word).  Any time we feel like someone else has done us wrong, and that it has changed our lives for the worse – kept us stuck in any way – then we are identifying as a victim.  I’ve heard stories from “old-timers” in AA who used to say, “go by that guy’s house at 3:00 in the morning and see if HE’S up losing sleep over what he did to you”.  In other words, very often the other person doesn’t even know – or remember – that (s)he did anything to you.  If you are still ruminating over it and stuck in dysfunctional patterns, then YOU are the one who is keeping yourself a victim.  It doesn’t let him/her off the hook to be forgiven.  It only releases you of the pain.

The following is from LOVING EACH OTHER by Leo Buscalglia:

Of course, forgiving is not an easy process. . . . Rather than deal with it, we blame, we accuse, we condemn, we exclude, we damn.  Forgiveness can never be realized in an atmosphere of accusation, condemnation, anger and fault finding.

We will only begin to forgive when we can look upon the wrongdoers as ourselves, neither better nor worse.  We need to remember that we coexist as mortals in the world, together, the wronged and the wrongdoer; and that, in our common humanity, the situation could readily be reversed.

Emotional and psychological pain are at least as debilitating as physical pain.  Few of us will escape these pains in our lifetime.  It cannot be avoided.  It can only be dealt with. . . .

As David Augberger puts it, “Forgiveness is letting what was, be gone; what will be, come; what is now, be.”  It is a freeing of self from the past and facing the future wiser, with renewed hope and faith.  Forgiveness is often called an unconditional gift of love.  This implies not that, “I will forgive you if or when,” but, “I will forgive you because I must, if I ever hope to continue to live fully.”