Monthly Archives: September 2018

Are You Making a Living, or Are You Making a Life?

Unfortunately, as humans, we tend to live on auto-pilot.  Many of us have to have a crisis to make ourselves stop and really look at our lives and where we’re going or to appreciate what we’ve had in our lives – sometimes only after we’ve lost whatever that is.

This past several years, things have been rough for everyone. The stress level appears to be at an all-time high for most of us.  We can tend to develop tunnel vision to try to get back on track, by working harder to get whatever we feel is lacking and focusing on the powerlessness we often feel when it doesn’t produce the outcome we were looking for.  We’re so focused on “making a living” that we might be ignoring the real purpose of our existence here.

Many  pray for God (or whatever they believe in) to give them more – a new job, more money, a new relationship . . . it’s like they see God as a Big Santa Claus in the Sky who brings them gifts if they’re good.  These people operate from the concept that they lack what they think will make them happy, and something or someone from the outside has to show up so they can get it.

Some also tend to believe that if they become more spiritual, life will become easier, and THEN they’ll find happiness.

That has not proven completely true for me.  What I’ve found is that the closer I get to a higher sense of spirituality, the more difficult my path becomes at times. The tests get harder. But that doesn’t mean I’m less happy.  As a quote by Wayne Dyer says, if I believe it will work out, I will see opportunities. If I believe it won’t work out, I will see obstacles.

If my years of studying the Afterlife has taught me anything, it’s how I want to live my life – here and now.  I want to live from love in the moment as much as I can, not be too attached to any specific outcome for what I’m dealing with in that moment, and to look for the miracles and the opportunities that might not have shown themselves if I hadn’t had my current crisis.

There’s such freedom in just allowing myself to be who and where I am right now; and doing what I can for now without looking too far into the future.  A part of being me is getting outside my own head as much as I can, and really being with others as they experience their own trauma.

The more energy I put into all the what-if’s and worry about how to handle something that hasn’t even happened yet, the less energy I’ll have to deal with what comes up in the moment.  The more I worry about whether I’ll get something I really want or the more I get upset about what I don’t have, the less I’ll even notice what I DO have.  I just want to live my life today.  It’s all any of us really have anyway.

When I can do those things – stay in the moment to experience my life and get outside my own head and focus on others occasionally, that’s where I find happiness.  It’s not “out there” somewhere.

I saw this quote from Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey a few years ago.  I’m sharing the parts of the quote that represent what I’m trying to say here:

Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people . . . teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors . . . I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.

I hope each of you is able to focus more on the life you have right here and now, than on what you lack. I won’t promise it will always be easy, but it IS a simple concept: the abundance of the Universe is unlimited. If we live in the consciousness of Love and the awareness of our gratitude or each little miracle in our lives, more will show up than we ever dreamed possible.

Giving and Receiving

We all know how important it is to give – it’s actually good for our health. When we’re in the energy of abundance and generosity, not only do we feel good emotionally, but our immune system is healthier. In another blog, I talked about studies where one person showed a kindness to another. The serotonin level of those involved increased, as did the serotonin level of anyone who witnessed the transaction. (Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is important in mood maintenance, and is found in some antidepressant medications).

To be able to offer a piece of ourselves in some way is truly a gift – not only to the other person, but to the giver. I personally believe one of the primary reasons we are on earth in the first place is to connect with others in this way.

A book I read a several years ago also confirmed the positive effects giving has on our emotional and physical health. It was written by a young woman who had MS, and eventually became healthier after practicing the art of giving. The book was called 29 Gifts.

I took the challenge to give something to someone every day for 29 days. (If you miss a day, you have to start over). It was difficult at first to try to be creative and find new ways to give, but eventually it becomes a way of life. Ways to give show up easily and often when that’s what you’re looking for.

Recently, a client began to share with me how she performs random acts of kindness, and the joy she receives from doing so. I feel elated just listening to her!

But there’s another side that is more difficult and most of us find less comfortable. Receiving!

Our cultural values lean toward independence. We each want to feel we can manage our lives without help. But what happens when we can’t do that – when we need help? Most of us think we’ll show weakness if we allow ourselves to be helped, and we don’t want to be a burden on others.

But what we fail to remember at times like this is that, if the tables were turned, we would WANT to help the other person because it just feels good and we all need to feel the connection to others. If we don’t ask for or accept help when we need it, we’re actually denying others of their opportunity to share their love with us – and to feel that connection for which we all yearn. (As an example, those in the 12 Step Program know that it’s difficult to call a sponsor at first. We often use the excuse that we don’t want to bother them. But anyone who has been a sponsor knows that they receive so much more than they give. They do it because it helps them work their program to “carry the message”).

My husband and I recently were in a situation where we had to reach out to others in ways that were not comfortable. We were in a place where we didn’t know a lot of people, and we just couldn’t do everything we needed by ourselves. We reached out to friends and family for emotional support and we reached out to people we barely knew for some very specific and significant help. As difficult as it was, it brought us much closer to those people, and we now have an even stronger bond with them than we ever would have before.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Vulnerability is NOT weakness – it’s the core of our humanness.  It’s what brings us closer to each other and reminds us that we are all connected – that we all have many more similarities than we do differences.

Giving and receiving are BOTH important skills to practice.