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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 we laugh, we give ourselves over to the immediacy of the present moment and transcend stress.
Many people might be surprised to think of laughter as a form of meditation. Yet not only is laughing meditation one of the simplest forms of meditation, but also it is a very powerful one. The physical act of laughing is one of the few actions involving the body, emotions, and the soul. When we laugh, we give ourselves over to the immediacy of the present moment. We also are able to momentarily transcend minor physical and mental stresses. Practiced in the morning, laughing meditation can lend a joyful quality to the entire day. Practiced in the evening, laughing meditation is a potent relaxant that has been known to inspire pleasant dreams. Laughter also can help open our eyes to previously unnoticed absurdities that can make life seem less serious.
There are three stages to mindful laughter. Each stage can last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. The first stage involves stretching your body like a cat and breathing deeply. Your stretch should start at the hands and feet before you move through the rest of your body. Stretch out the muscles in your face by yawning and making silly faces. The second stage of the meditation is pure laughter. Imagine a humorous situation, remember funny jokes, or think about how odd it is to be laughing by yourself. When the giggles start to rise, let them. Let the laughter ripple through your belly and down into the soles of your feet. Let the laughter lead to physical movement. Roll on the floor, if you have to, and keep on laughing until you stop. The final stage of the meditation is one of silence. Sit with your eyes closed and focus on your breath.
Laughter brings with it a host of positive effects that operate on both the physical and mental levels. It is also fun, expressive, and a way to release tension. Learn to laugh in the present moment, and you'll find that joy is always there.
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.
Life is painful and messed up. It gets complicated at the worst of times, and sometimes you have no idea where to go or what to do. Lots of times people just let themselves get lost, dropping into a wide open, huge abyss. But that's why we have to keep trying. We have to push through all that hurts us, work past all our memories that are haunting us. Sometimes the things that hurt us are the things that make us strongest. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. And that's why I tell everyone that, even when it hurts, never stop yourself from living.
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.
We do not need to suffer or live in poverty to be a spiritual person.
The idea that we have to suffer or live in poverty in order to be spiritual is an old one and can be found in the belief systems of many philosophies. Most of us carry this idea around subconsciously, and we may be holding ourselves back from financial or emotional well-being, believing that this is what we must do in order to be virtuous, spiritually awake, or feel less guilty for the suffering of others.
While it's true that there can be a spiritual purpose to experiencing a lack of material well-being, it is rarely intended to be a permanent or lifelong experience. What we are meant to find when material or emotional resources are in short supply is that there is more to our lives than the physical realm. Intense relationships and material abundance can distract us from the subtler realm of the spirit, so a time of deficiency can be spiritually awakening. However, once we recognize the realm of spirit, and remember to hold it at the center of our lives, there is no reason to dwell in poverty or emotional isolation. In fact, once our connection to spirit is fully intact, we feel so compelled to share our abundance that lack becomes a thing of the past.
If you find that you are experiencing suffering in some area of your physical life, perhaps your spirit is asking you to look deeper in your search for what you want. For example, if you want money so that you can experience the feeling of security but money keeps eluding you, your spirit may be asking you to understand that security is not to be found through money. Security comes from an unshakable connection to your soul. Once you make that connection, money will probably flow more easily into your life. If relationships elude you, your spirit may be calling you to recognize that the love you seek is not to be found in another person. And yet, ironically, once you find the love, your true love may very well appear. If you feel stuck in suffering to live a spiritual life, try to spend some time writing about it. The root of the problem will appear and it may not be what you expected. Remember, the Universe wants you to be happy.
Emerson wrote about people's fear of trusting themselves. He saw that so much failure and misery in the world was a result of people failing to trust their own judgment. Yet the ironic thing is: We are always making our own decisions.
Either that or we make our own indecisions, which often lead to worse consequences than active decisions. In a way, not making a decision is a decision, too.
If we let others decide for us--then we've decided to let others decide for us, and that's also our own decision. And while it's fine to delegate decisions to others when they have more information or experience than we do, often we simply do it out of habit or out of fear that our own decision wouldn't be good enough.
Have you ever had a thought or idea but kept it to yourself or not acted on it because you didn't trust its worthiness? Have you ever then heard the same idea come out of someone else's mouth and suddenly felt a wave of emotion--justification, gratification, or even humiliation or resentment because you knew it was your idea first? Your ideas are just as good as anyone's! I've heard it said that everybody has at least two million-dollar ideas in a lifetime. What do you think separates the people who make the million dollars from the rest of us?
Action! Those people rely on themselves, trust themselves, and act! The rest of us have plenty of excuses, reasons why we don't trust ourselves, justifications for not acting--but in the end, we don't even get the chance to turn those great ideas into reality. Self-reliance means trusting ourselves to know what's important, casting aside excuses, and going for it!
If you don't trust yourself to know what's best for you because you're afraid you might be wrong, then whom or what do you trust? It's good to know--they'll be running your life until you change your mind. They'll have all your power, and they'll be the ones to decide whether you do something worthwhile with your life, or whether you simply pace off the minutes from here to the end of the line. And if you don't feel you are trustworthy--if you're living your life based on some kind of weighted average of all the advice you've been given from kindergarten until now--well, whose decision was it to do that?
It was yours. At least, it's yours now. If you've never thought about this before and therefore never had a chance to make the decision to trust yourself--why not make that decision right now?
You're always trusting yourself anyway, on some level; the final decision, or lack of one, always comes down to you. Why not cut through the confusion; the distortion; the doubt, resentment, and fear? Why not trust directly in your own inner sense of what is right and wrong, good and bad, worthwhile and worthless? This is your life. Why not rely on yourself?
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.