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Having a vision of what we want in life is important to our efforts of getting what we want, but we also must take action.
There is a popular misconception that we might be able to just wish our dreams into being. Maybe on some other level of consciousness this is the case, but here on earth what we need to do is take action in our lives. Vision is an important companion to our efforts, but it can't accomplish anything all by itself. When we focus on what we want and ask for what we want, we are initiating a conversation with the universe. Our desires, passionately defined and expressed, bring about valuable and relevant opportunities, which we then respond to by either taking or leaving them.
Many of us are afraid to step out into the world and make things happen, and so we hang back, dreaming and waiting and watching. There are times in life when this is the right thing to do, but this phase of inaction must eventually give way to its opposite if we are to build our dreams into a reality. This can be really scary, and we may fail and struggle, but that's okay because that's what we're supposed to do. Waiting for everything to be perfect before we act, or waiting for what we want to be handed to us, leaves us waiting forever. No one expects us to be perfect, so the best thing we can do for ourselves is to get out there and take action on our dreams.
One of the hardest parts about having a vision is that when we test it in the laboratory of life, it often comes out looking completely different than what we had in mind or, worse, it doesn't come out at all. If you read the life stories of people who have brought their dreams into reality, you will hear many stories about this experience. But you will also hear about hard work, taking action, perseverance, and, finally, the successful birthing of a dream.
True lasting success comes only with surrender, which is the opposite of control.
Most of us were raised and live in a culture that emphasizes the ideals of independence and control. The general idea is that we are on our own and we don't need any help from anyone else, and if we are really successful it's because we are in complete control. However, true lasting success comes only with surrender, which is the opposite of control. We cannot accomplish anything truly great on our own, without any help, and the idea that we can is an illusion that causes most of us a great deal of suffering. Surrender comes when we see that illusion and let go of trying to attain the impossible. Surrender can then be seen as a great strength rather than a weakness.
Even small moments of surrender are powerful indicators of how different our lives could be if we would only let go. We've all had the experience of extending huge amounts of effort and energy to reach a particular goal only to realize that we can't make it happen after all. At the moment of letting go, realizing that we need to ask for help or simply release our agenda entirely, a profound feeling of relief may rush over us. This warm, open sensation is the essence of surrender, and if we didn't feel that we didn't really let go. But it is never too late to let go, even of things in the past that didn't work out the way we wanted them to, because surrender is always an option in every moment of our lives.
When we finally do surrender, our goals actually become possible, because the act of surrender is, in essence, asking for the help we need. This help may come in the form of other human beings or unseen helpers such as angels or inner guides. It may also come in the form of shifting circumstances, the small miracles that we call grace.
When offering comfort to somebody, their only real need is to have you be in the present moment with them.
Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.
Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as "I care about you," or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them. Should we begin to feel the urge arise to offer advice or repair a situation, we can take a few deep breaths, let the impulse pass, and bring our attention back to the present. Even though we may want to do more, we do not have to do anything other than this to be a good friend.
The more we are attuned to what our loved ones are feeling, the more capable we are of truly giving what is best for them in their hour of need. Keeping things simple helps us give the part of ourselves that is capable of the greatest amount of compassion--open ears and an understanding heart.
When I first started my counseling and therapy work I resolved to trust my training to the Universe and trust the client to bring to me what they needed for me to help them with, and to trust myself that what I did would lead to the most benevolent outcome for all concerned. I cannot remember it ever not working.
Of course I doubted often, and still look to be aware of my ego, it is part of being human.
What I am saying is if you love and are open and trust yourself and that the other person will show you what they need to be reflected back to them, then there is absolutely no reason to be afraid of what you might say to anyone. You will always do the right thing by them even if they get peeved, slam the door in your face, break down and cry their heart out, or get up and hug you and fall in love with you.
The power of love works miracles even if a person goes away and you never see them again. I have seen time and again the result of these miracles even if it is 20-30 years later. Love is never ever wasted. It is the truth and the proof of free energy.
You are love incarnate and so you can do anything. No longer any need to be afraid of ego. You have learned well how to be aware. It is a most beautiful safeguard and keeps us awake.
Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have - and that is our attitude. Life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes."
Got those Thanksgiving blues? A sodden garden, overcast days and longer hours of darkness may lead to seasonal affective disorder. Can't get out of bed or off the couch? There are a few simple actions you can begin today to fight back and energize your life. They are totally free and can improve your relationship with the world and the people in your life.
Start a gratitude list. Everything seems to be going wrong -- can you think of one single thing to be grateful for, no matter how small? Shout it out to the world! A gratitude list is a powerful tool that can restart your life.
There are plenty of variations, but start with this one: Take a few minutes before bedtime to list at least three things you are grateful for. Begin it with "I am grateful for ..." Maybe you woke up in the morning after a good night's sleep; the day held the bluest sky, rolling clouds, a harvest moon; a hibernating ladybug; discovery of a great mystery writer with a long backlist; a daughter's laugh; a delicious dinner cooked by your husband; a purring cat. There are no rules -- be silly, be free. You think you are the glass half-empty; this is your time to be the glass half-full.
Do this every day for a while. Reread your lists if you feel down. Be patient: strange and almost magical things will start to happen. One day you thank someone you love for a thoughtful action; her face glows. One day you thank a co-worker for helping at your workplace; he pauses and smiles back.
Don't wait ... take a few minutes today -- smell autumn roses, ramble in the garden by yourself, take a walk with a friend you haven't seen for a while. Reach out and talk to a special someone you've lost touch with before he or she walks through the door of the next journey. We walk through a fall garden that lives in the eternal now that includes winter-blooming bulbs fed by summer sunlight whose roots draw nourishment from their leaves' decomposition.
And then there is the gratitude box. It's not a box you stand on but a box you can lean on to chase the blues away. Choose a small box and decorate the outside and inside -- or not. File gratitude lists or loving letters and cards from the people in your life inside your box for later reference. Give a homemade gratitude box to someone as a thank-you gift or to say I love you. Enclose a poem or keepsake, or include a list of "Reasons I'm grateful to you."
Keep a gratitude box as a family. Put little things inside that remind you of happy times. Write down favorite memories of shared moments, wishes and loving messages for one another.
A gratitude list is a celebration of the gifts already present in our lives that are often taken for granted or hidden. Like your garden -- once planted and established -- your gratitude gifts will grow.
All the situations in our lives, from the insignificant to the major, teach us exactly what we need to be learning.
Many of us long to find a spiritual teacher or guru. We may feel unsure of how to practice our spirituality without one, or we may long for someone who has attained a higher level of insight to lead the way for us. Some of us have been looking for years to no avail and feel frustrated and even lost. The good news is that the greatest teacher you could ever want is always with you˜that is your life.
The people and situations we encounter every day have much to teach us when we are open to receiving their wisdom. Often we don‚t recognize our teachers because they may not look or act like our idea of a guru, yet they may embody great wisdom. In addition, some people teach us by showing us what we don‚t want to do. All the situations in our lives, from the insignificant to the major, conspire to teach us exactly what we need to be learning at any given time. Patience, compassion, perseverance, honesty, letting go˜all these are covered in the classroom of the teacher that is your life.
We can help ourselves to remember this perfect teacher each day with a few simple words. Each morning we might find a moment to say, „I acknowledge and honor the teacher that is my life. May I be wise enough to recognize the teachers and lessons that I encounter today, and may I be open to receiving their wisdom.‰ We might also take some time each day to consider what our lives are trying to teach us at this time. A difficult phase in your relationship with your child may be teaching you to let go. The homeless person you see every day may be showing you the boundaries of your compassion and generosity. A spate of lost items may be asking you to be more present to physical reality. Trust your intuition on the nature of the lesson at hand, work at your own pace, and ask as many questions as you want. Your life has all the answers.
Maybe you feel jaded because your trust has been betrayed and you have built high walls of protection around your heart. Thats understandable. Life can be harsh, and people can be cruel. Now you have a choice. You can either let the betrayal define you and become closed and bitter, or you can rise above the hurt and become even more determined to do whatever you can to create a world of unconditional love. Trust without any guarantee that your trust will be respected. Love without any guarantee that your love will be returned. Be kind without any guarantee that your kindness will be appreciated. This is the dance of authenticity, the risk that being completely yourself will open you to the most satisfying of all relationships.
Learning to trust an unpredictable world changes your whole outlook on life. It makes the world a more open, inviting and friendly place. Don't give your trust recklessly. Give your trust mindfully; aware that there are no guarantees and there is always the chance you will be hurt again. In your calmest moments, you know that the risk to keep your heart closed is nothing in comparison to the joy of sharing love.
Are There Any Guarantees?
It seems backward, but the first step to building trust in relationships is to accept that there are no guarantees. Find your balance. Being jaded and being idealistic are equally dangerous when it comes to relationships. Be realistic. There are risks involved. But also believe. Believe that there is something stronger than the risk- that is the joy of dropping your guard with another person, letting that person into your private thoughts and dreams and making a commitment to love each other through thick and thin. Risk your trust in return for the adventure of being in love. Trust opens the gates to love.
Trust is more important than love. Saying to another person 'I trust you" is often more profound than saying "I love you." You may not always trust the person you love, but you can always love the person you trust. Trust is a gift. When you offer someone the gift of trust, you create an opening for something greater. Trust frees you from your fears and helps you give birth to love.
Building Trust in Relationships
Stephen Covey, son of Stephen Covey who wrote Seven Habits of a Highly Effective People, is the author of The Speed of Trust; The One Thing that Changes Everything. He offers the analogy that every relationship has a trust account. When you build trust, you make a deposit. When you break a trust, you make a withdrawal. The withdrawals are typically larger than the deposits. Therefore the fastest way to rebuild the trust account is to stop making withdrawals. The other way to rebuild trust is to make new deposits.
Here are 10 practical ways to build trust.
Practice with small and safe deposits first. There are big things to entrust to someone, and there are smaller things. How many people would you trust with your life savings? Probably very few. What about telling someone a secret, or starting a new business with someone? Again, very few. But would you be prepared to trust someone with a smile, or a kind word, even knowing that they might abuse your vulnerability? Start by making small deposits into your trust account and build confidence from there.
Gather information to get the greatest return on your investment. Trust, to a certain extent, is built on information. Instead of taking a blind leap of faith, take a calculated risk. Gather as much information as you can before you trust, but keep in mind that trust implies incomplete information. Wendell Berry said this- "Knowledge, like everything else, has its place, and... we need urgently now to put it in its place... Let us...abandon our superstitious beliefs about knowledge: that it is ever sufficient, that it can of itself solve problems... Let us give up our forlorn pursuit of the 'informed decision." Gather information, but also be prepared to take a leap with incomplete information.
Be transparent. Suspicions often emerge in relationships when people act in a way that is outside their character or routine. Even if you don't know why you are behaving the way you are, or if you don't know why you are pushing love away, just express that you are going through something and need some space. Transparency leaves less room for imagination that can easily create unnecessary drama.
Be consistent. Make sure your words match the way you live. Mean what you say and say what you mean. There is nothing that can devastate trust more quickly than inconsistency.
Believe in the strength of your partner. He/ she can deal with your feelings and doubts and questions. Express yourself as lovingly as you can, and trust your partner to stay with your honest thoughts and feelings.
Agree to boundaries with other family and friends. Your relationship has its own intimacy boundaries, and this has as much to do with sharing private information and personal feelings as sexual intimacy. If you are telling a friend something that you haven't or wouldn't tell your partner, you may have crossed a line into emotional infidelity. This can create major barriers to trust.
Don't confuse trust with forgiveness. They operate differently. You usually forgive people well before you trust them. You might forgive an apologetic jewel thief, but not leave him alone in a jewelry store. You might forgive people who have hurt you, but not leave them alone with your heart. If there has been a breach of trust, work at forgiveness as the first step towards trust.
Each person has their own trust account. People operate their trust accounts differently. You need to deposit into the other person's trust account in a way that speaks to that person. Garrison Keilor tells a story about a couple who had been married for many years. The woman wrote a sonnet to her husband that amongst all the things she loved about him it was when he was working on the broken washing machine that she gained a "trust for tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that." Be clear about how trust accrues, and ask direct questions to know how trust builds for others.
If you have breached a trust, don't make things worse by lying about it. Take responsibility quickly, and begin regaining broken trust. The more time that passes, the more tangled the web, the harder it is to come back from broken trust.
If in your situation the broken trust is too deep, then work at a healthy ending to the relationship. There is more at stake than the relationship (and kids if there are kids involved). Your ability to trust yourself and get back on a path with integrity is the biggest issue at stake. Work towards loving and leaving the relationship, giving thanks for what it has meant, forgiving life for disappointing your expectations and moving forward positively.
Trust - What Are You Ultimately Protecting?
A Zen Master lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening, while he was away, a thief sneaked into the hut only to find there was nothing in it to steal. The Zen Master returned and found him. "You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift." The thief was bewildered, but he took the clothes and ran away. The Master sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused," I wish I could give him this beautiful moon."
The beautiful thing about this story is that the Zen Master wasn't holding on too tightly, so trust was easier for him. Be generous in your relationships. The more freely you give, the less you will feel that you have to lose.
Life is generous, and always offers second chances. People are flawed, but there are always opportunities to rebuild trust. You have an inner courage to get back up after being hurt and keep loving anyway. Let go, trust the adventure of being alive and enjoy intimacy without defensiveness.
What if you could snap your fingers and all your blocks, anxiety, and fears where no longer there? What would you be doing? How would you be feeling and in what direction would your life be going?
This is an exercise I do with my clients to help them become aware of what they want in their life and what is stopping them for achieving their dreams and goals.
Imagine yourself there for a moment. Hold that vision. What would be different about your life, if you no longer had obstacles in your way?
Having what you want does not have to be a fantasy. It can be a reality. What do you want to know and what needs to change in your life to get there?
That's where I come in. To guide you, lead you, push you, and help you develop the skills and tools you need to start down that path.
To heal, to grow, and to make changes, we all need help, support, and guidance to succeed in our lives. Reach out and find your team. Do something today that starts you on that journey. Take one small step toward your new life.
Good luck on your journey.
When we take ownership of our thoughts we are less likely to project our issues or disowned qualities onto others.
We all have issues, as well as undesirable qualities or traits that we don‚t like about ourselves. Most of us realize that we are not perfect and that it is natural to have unpleasant thoughts, motivations, desires, or feelings. However, when a person does not acknowledge these, they may ascribe those characteristics to someone else, deeming other people instead as angry, jealous, or insecure. In psychological terms, such blaming and fault finding is called projection.
When we are the target of projections, it can be confusing and frustrating, not to mention maddening, particularly when we know that we are not the cause of another person‚s distress. Even people who are well aware of their issues may find that sensitive subjects can bring up unexpected projections. They may feel insecure about a lack of funds and thus view a friend as extravagant. Or, if they really want to get in shape, they may preach the benefits of exercise to anyone and everyone.
While we can try to avoid people we know who engage in projecting their stuff onto others, we can‚t always steer clear of such encounters. We can, however, deflect some projections through mindfulness and meditation. A useful visualization tool is to imagine wrapping ourselves in a protective light everyday. At other times, we may have to put up a protective shield when we feel a projection coming our way, reminding ourselves that someone else‚s issues are not ours. Although it‚s difficult not to react when we are the recipient of a projection, it is a good idea to try to remain calm and let the other person know if they are being unreasonable and disrespectful. We all know that it‚s not fun to be dumped on. Likewise, we should be mindful that we don‚t take our own frustrations out on others. When we take ownership of our thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings, we are less likely to project our issues or disowned qualities onto others.