My favorite childhood memory is of my Dad reading bedtime stories to us. Whether he read them or made them up, they were uplifting and had a happy ending.
I realized recently that I make up stories all the time, usually in the middle of the night. My stories are not very uplifting – full of “what ifs” and “should haves.” Rather than happy endings, they inflict enough emotional pain and suffering to cause any self-respecting insomniac to run for cover!
My greatest anxiety comes from my expectations about outcomes. Expectation comes from the mind and has me hoping and wishing that what I want will show up. The difference between expectation and expectancy is attachment. Expectancy comes from the soul and – rather than forming an attachment to the outcome – motivates me to look for the good in life.
Making up stories that create expectations leaves no place for God to show up. Most of my intuitive answers come out of the silence of the question. If I can remember during stressful times, I write a question in my journal and resist the need to fill in the answer. God has many more possibilities to solve my problems than I can ever imagine! I have to be willing to sit in the silence and listen.
It comes down to having faith in God and trusting the process. Saying a prayer is far more productive than creating scary stories. God’s abilities are far more inspiring than my worries.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 )
It is always a joy to observe the transformative power of love!
My client Monica shared about her visit to a salon on her day off. The person scheduled to give her a pedicure was grumpy and out of sorts. Monica felt frustrated and resentful. She had looked forward to this simple luxury, and now it was ruined by the very person who was supposed to pamper her.
Monica remembered that she had the power to change her experience. She silently began beaming love to the pedicurist. Soon the pedicurist began to share about her day and what was on her mind. Monica listened and continued to send her love. She later reported it was the best foot massage and pedicure she ever received!
We interact with dozens of people throughout our day, barely acknowledging their impact on our lives. Taking the time to appreciate and acknowledge others makes the world a better place. Compassionate listening, kind words, and loving thoughts are the simplest acts that have the greatest power to change our lives.
I invite you to experiment with practicing random acts of loving kindness. Find something uplifting to say to your co-worker, spouse or friend. Take a few moments to listen to someone who is having a difficult day. Send loving thoughts to the person who serves your coffee or is sitting in the car next to you at the red light.
A life overflowing with happiness can appear to be an elusive dream. It is not. It begins with the smallest drop of thoughtfulness and expands into a stream of love. Each act of loving kindness radiates out from us to be magnified and multiplied by Spirit, and we are all lifted up. Love blesses us all.
A harsh word, a disapproving look or an offhand comment from another can catapult us into feelings of unworthiness. Whatever sense of self-worth we have can feel diminished in an instant because of another’s actions. The moment we relinquish our power to others, we feel both helpless and hopeless.
The need to be loved and accepted by others makes us vulnerable to feeling hurt, criticized, and judged. We tend to embrace these feelings as reflections of unworthiness. It is difficult to see beyond our own pain and distress to imagine the possibility of moving forward.
By consciously identifying victim thoughts and reframing them, we can begin to lift ourselves out of a victim mentality and reclaim our power. Wayne Dyer shares: “With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”
The power we are ultimately searching for cannot be found in the physical world. As we deepen in faith, we are empowered and allow God to work through us. There is less attention to reassuring our ego and more appreciation for God expressing through us. The light of God within is the power we are seeking and God’s power is love.
The power of love heals, forgives, and makes new. Turning to our divine self instead of our victim self, we are powerful. We know our worthiness, and we live in harmony and freedom.
I heard there is a sign with this slogan somewhere in Portland. That is so funny! It reminded me of our discussion about worry in last week’s study group. How on earth does a person not worry? I am an expert worrier. I can obsess on everything; global warming, world peace, the future of health care and those are just the big issues. There are dozens of personal worries that spin around and occupy space in my overworked brain.
I’ve learned that worrying does not prevent anything from happening, nor does it save anyone from suffering. Worry doesn’t add anything to life, it just detracts.
Spiritual principle states, whatever I put my attention on increases. If I worry about pain and suffering in the world, I notice more pain and suffering. But if I can shift my thinking to things I am grateful for, I see more of the good stuff of life; the sun shining, my healthy body, my loving friends.
Oh, I will most likely find something to worry about tomorrow. But somehow I will also remember to give thanks.
There you are taking a break, catching up on Facebook, when you see a post from that person that used to be your friend. The friend who said hurtful things and then forgot about you. They have the nerve to post a picture having fun. How can they be enjoying life when you are still reeling from their hurtful behavior?
Should you block them or bless them? You could block them but the hurt hasn’t gone away. It’s just suppressed. It’s still festering like an open sore. Because you can’t see it, you pretend it’s not there.
Bless them? Why? When you don’t let go, you are the one held prisoner to the past. You are kept in bondage by your resentment, bitterness and anger. When you don’t forgive, it is difficult to move forward in life. There is a wall that separates you from love.
How do you forgive? Let go. Gather up your courage and strength and let go. Stop obsessing over what happened. It’s done. Imagine pruning away dead branches that no longer serve. Breathe. Breathe in love, breathe out resentment. Let go. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes one step at a time.
Create the life you want, not the one you are hanging on to from the past. Focus on what is good. Be grateful for what is now.
Let the past go. You have dominion of your life now. Forgive and live in peace, freedom and most of all love.
I was cleaning out some files and found a letter from a co-worker from many years ago. I was manager of a project and she didn’t like the way I handled a conflict. She criticized the things I did wrong and what I said. She scolded me for not listening and not responding to the needs of others.
Now, my question is why did I save this letter? I have received stacks of notes, cards and letters over the years thanking me for something I shared or taught and for how clients were inspired from my work with them.
Isn’t that what we do? We remember the things gone wrong, the mistakes we made, and the people we hurt. We dwell on the negative hoping we will never make that mistake again.
I learned so much from working with that project. I discovered a lot about myself and how to communicate with others. I realized the power that love and forgiveness play in every interaction. Marianne Williamson reminds us, “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution in our healing of the world.”
The letter reminded me that making a mistake is only a regret if I didn’t learn from it. Then it’s time to let it go.
I forgave myself and the co-worker that wrote the letter. I let go of the past as I shredded the letter and gave thanks for the reminder. Praise God!