A Thought for the Week
A Thought for the Week
I've been inspired by Daphne's post at Joyful Days (and she in turn was inspired by Giovanna) to write myself a letter from my older, wiser self. A letter that will help the me in this here and now to live more joyfully in each here and now as it presents itself. Here is is:
Be patient with yourself. Yes, you are a work in progress, but that is a process that will never be completed (at least not in this lifetime), so it doesn’t matter how long it takes. There is no race or competition in life, we all get to where we’re going according to our own personal schedules. All your life you will be evolving, even now I am still a “work in progress”.
You have no idea how little you will come to care about the many things you obsess over now. You have always aspired to “go with the flow”, yet you struggle too with the desire to control. Control is an illusion and so is the concept of security or certainty. Let it go. Embrace uncertainty. Enter each new day with a sense of curiosity as to what might unfold.
Yes it is true that you appreciate that life is more about the journey than the destination. BUT you’re still just a little bit picky about what the destintation might be. It’s ok to have preferences, but you need to be truly open to all possibilities. Maybe the destination will be nowhere as exotic as you currently hope for, but as soon as you truly open yourself up to all eventualities and accept whatever shows up for you, you will experience more joy in the journey than you can even anticipate right now. Trust me. I am you, I have been through it.
The best thing you can do for yourself, now and always, is to remember every day the advice you offer so freely to others: Live joyfully in the here and now – that is the only place where true happiness exists.
Always watching over you,
Love Hilda xx
This was a really nice exercise. Why not do it for youself? You will find yourself tapping into your innate wisdom that already exists. You don't have to wait till you've experienced more in life to feel and trust that wisdom - just step into an imaginary time capsule and let it come forth!
Last week I received an email from one of my ezine subscribers asking for advice on making a decision that might result in major upheaval and life changes. Now as a trained life coach, I would never advise somebody to take one path or the other, or even try to influence them on what I think would be the most sensible path for them to take. Instead of giving him my view of the pros and cons of either choice I outlined to him what I do when I have a difficult decision to make.
Photo by Joe Thorn
I believe that we all have all of the answers to all of our questions within us. And so all we need to do is let them come to the surface. But the more we think about what the best thing to do is, the harder it is for that inner knowledge to surface. The reason for this is that we're engaging our logical minds to make the decision. But the answer lies in a much deeper place than our logical minds can reach.
To make big life decisions, I tend to start off having a struggle with my logical mind, and then I get fed up of trying to satisfy all of its very demanding criteria. At this point I turn it over to my Higher Self. I have a very simple process for this:
I find this to be an easy and stress-free way to deal with major choices. Our intuition always knows what the best course of action is. All we have to do is allow it to speak to us in its own time, and when it does trust it!
It can be a scary thing to do though, to throw logic out of the window and just go with what feels right. But I have yet to regret a decision made in this way. ( But I have regretted plenty of decisions that satisfied my logical mind but were contrary to a little nagging intuitive nudge)
What about you? Would you endorse this decision-making process? What do you do when you're faced with a tough choice?
The Game of Life is a newsletter I send to subscribers by email. In the past I used to write one feature article and one book review per issue. This month I changed the format. I'm now choosing a theme each month and providing links to posts and articles around the web that I've come across and thought my readers would get value from. And I've decided to post those links here too. This month's theme is change/rebirth/renewal ~ inspired by Springtime
Clearing clutter can be a very powerful way to bring about a shift in your energy, not only at a physical level but also on the mental, spiritual and emotional levels. I posted on this subject last week: Spring has sprung: time to declutter.
And continuing on the decluttering theme, this article from O magazine walks you through every corner of your home, leaving you with no excuses: 12 Ways to Unclutter your Life
Nadia at Happy Lotus talks about how we can be happier having less rather than more in The Call to Simplify.
Craig Harper has many powerful questions for you in For my World to change, first I must change. And he has some serious tough love for those who want to get out of their own personal Ground Hog Day in Making the Same Mistakes - "Success or failure is not pre-determined, it's me-determined" - you have been warned ;-)
Postively Present talks about how difficult it can be dealing with change and suggests some ways to cope in Change your mind about change.
One Small Step Can Change Your Life: the Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer is reviewed by Anne Pyle on Joyful Jubilant Learning. I haven't read this yet but the review is very convincing and I'm waiting for my copy to arrive in the post...
Also on Joyful Jubilant Learning, Karen Wallace reviews The Age of Miracles: The New Midlife by Marianne Williamson. I am reading this book at the moment and although Williamson speaks to readers in their 50s and 60s I believe younger readers will find plenty of value in it too.
"Instead of feeling that it's all downhill from here (body and soul) Marianne conveys through her warmth and her love that midlife is the time to finally accept our true power. Now, more than ever before, we can change the world." Read the review here.
"Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever." - Keri Russell
I hope you'll take the time to check out some of these posts and will find them useful. And if you have come across any others on the theme of change/rebirth/renewal I'd love to know about them too ;-)
I was on a mind/body/spirit retreat over Easter and it's stirred up loads of stuff in me. I've been feeling really unsettled this week as a result.
At the end of this year I will be forty, and I am not living the life I want. I am dabbling a little in it, but in order to get tot a place where I do it for a living rather than a hobby, I need to give up the security of my three day week job.
And that's a bit scary at the best of times, but in the current climate to even contemplate it feels like madness! I do have some financial reserves in the bank to make it feasible to give it a go, but if it doesn't work out it won't be that easy to get a replacement job.
It's been bubbling away in me for the last couple of months, but I was trying to keep my feet on the ground. Focusing on the practicality of chipping away at my dream two days a week while earning the bread the rest of the time. But my dissatisfaction around this came to the surface after the retreat because I know that if I'm going to climb this mountain I need to really commit to it.
I have signed up for a 65km multisport event at the end of August which will be physically very grueling, and if I approached my training regime for that event the same way I'm approaching my dream for my work then I would be stretchered off about a third of the way in. But I'm putting the necessary amount of work in and I'm confident that I will complete that event - though it will still be very difficult. Surely my Big Dream deserves the same focused attention as this one-off event?
At the same time that I've been grappling with all this, I was also planning my next Thought for the Week around the theme of Finding the Hero Within (inspired by Joanna Young's post on the subject). And here I am struggling to find my own inner hero!
And then Neale Donald Walshe sent me this note:
On this day of your life, Hilda, I believe God wants you to know...
...that your fears have stopped you before, but they need not stop you now.
What's the worse that can happen? And if that happened, what would happen then? And if that happened, then what?
Now...if you give in to your fears, where will that leave you? Right where you are now? And if that's where you want to be, why is the other option even a little bit exciting to you?
My intuition works through signs a lot. Sometimes I get a very strong feeling about something, but usually it's signs in things I read, lyrics of songs or things people say in passing. To get a direct email that cuts to the hear of my issue is a very strong sign. There's a clear message here for me to release my fears and go for what I really want.
Yes, a very clear message indeed. But finding the courage to go for it is not the same as knowing it's what I need. I'd love if there was a magical potion I could drink that would dissolve all the fears... But then that wouldn't really be heroic, would it? I've got to feel the fear and do it anyway.
Still, if I could find a cheat's way I'd take it!
Anyone got any tips to share? How do you flex your courage muscles when the need arises?
This is a great question, and it didn’t take much pondering on my part, because I believe (I have experienced) that we learn our most valuable life lessons when we’re facing tough challenges. And I’ve learned some very valuable lessons: Adversity has a purpose Adversity doesn’t show up in my life just to cause me bother and upset. Bother and upset is usually the unwelcome side effect, but it’s not why it’s here. It’s here to teach me something. Something important. And I damn well better have a good look for what that lesson is. Because if I don’t, it’s going to come back, again and again, in different disguises, becoming more and more adversitous (I’m allowed to make up words on my own blog) each time, until I finally do get whatever it is I am meant to learn. Then and only then will that particular lesson pee off and leave me alone – making the way clear for another life lesson to come along ;-) So I’ve learned to stop cursing adversity and feeling sorry for myself. Instead I ask myself “what is this here to teach me?” As soon as I ask myself that question my perspective shifts a little, and I start to feel less hopeless, more hopeful even. Adversity is a gift And I do like gifts. But to be honest I like the ‘nice’ kind. Not the adversitous kind. If I had the choice I would opt for life without strife – who wouldn’t? BUT I do know that a 100% easy life isn’t for my highest good. Because (sadly) I usually forget to pay attention to the life lessons when I’m coasting along without a care in the world. It’s a bad habit of mine, but I generally only ask myself the big questions and learn the big lessons when things go pear-shaped. “Whenever you’re in the middle of a crisis, stop and say ‘Thank You’, because you know that something better is on the other side.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
This is a great question, and it didn’t take much pondering on my part, because I believe (I have experienced) that we learn our most valuable life lessons when we’re facing tough challenges.
And I’ve learned some very valuable lessons:
Adversity has a purpose
Adversity doesn’t show up in my life just to cause me bother and upset. Bother and upset is usually the unwelcome side effect, but it’s not why it’s here.
It’s here to teach me something. Something important. And I damn well better have a good look for what that lesson is. Because if I don’t, it’s going to come back, again and again, in different disguises, becoming more and more adversitous (I’m allowed to make up words on my own blog) each time, until I finally do get whatever it is I am meant to learn.
Then and only then will that particular lesson pee off and leave me alone – making the way clear for another life lesson to come along ;-)
So I’ve learned to stop cursing adversity and feeling sorry for myself. Instead I ask myself “what is this here to teach me?” As soon as I ask myself that question my perspective shifts a little, and I start to feel less hopeless, more hopeful even.
Adversity is a gift
And I do like gifts. But to be honest I like the ‘nice’ kind. Not the adversitous kind. If I had the choice I would opt for life without strife – who wouldn’t? BUT I do know that a 100% easy life isn’t for my highest good. Because (sadly) I usually forget to pay attention to the life lessons when I’m coasting along without a care in the world. It’s a bad habit of mine, but I generally only ask myself the big questions and learn the big lessons when things go pear-shaped.
“Whenever you’re in the middle of a crisis, stop and say ‘Thank You’, because you know that something better is on the other side.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
It never feels like it in the moment, but adversity is a gift. I know it’s a cliché, but it truly is an opportunity to grow. It stretches my comfort zone so that going forward less things are as scary as before. As a result I’m willing to take more risks than before. And that enriches my life more.
Adversity is a gift because dealing with it strengthens my resilience and flexes courage muscles I didn’t even know were there. And once I stop resisting a tough situation, accepting that I have to deal with it, and stretching myself to do so, things do start to get better.
When I embrace the struggle, paths through it start to open up, and often I can get to where I wanted to be – or to an even better place – much more quickly. And all because of the cursed, unwanted strife. It often feels like magic, and it has helped me come to believe that everything does happen for a good reason. Just because it’s not working out according to my original plan doesn’t mean it’s not working out for my highest good.
Adversity fosters gratitude
Eventhough I don’t welcome the experience, I generally (though usually with alot of hindsight) appreciate the lessons.
But adversity also teaches me to appreciate what is undeniably good in my life.
Contrast is important. If I didn’t know tough times I would take the good times for granted. I can’t even imagine how I could appreciate my good fortune if good fortune was all I’d ever known. Consequently, I believe that it is the experience of adversity that makes the experience of gratitude possible (for me at least).
So, to all those adversitous experiences that I hope never to repeat, I thank you. If it wasn't for the various challenging situations in my life I would not now be:
That’s plenty to be grateful for!
Anybody else care to share? This post is part of a group writing project hosted by Robert. Click here to find out how to become involved.
I've also killed two birds with one stone here, as I'm taking part in Darren Rowse's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog project over on Problogger and he asked us to write a list post. So I reworked this one a little... The project just kicked off a couple of days ago, so plenty of time to get involved if you're interested.
The other day I got the following note from Neale Donald Walsch:
On this day of your life, Hilda, I believe God wants you to know...that it is okay to be at a place of struggle. Struggle is just another word for growth.
Even the most evolved beings find themselves in a place of struggle now and then. In fact, struggle is a sure sign to them that they are expanding; it is their indication of real and important progress.
The only one who doesn't struggle is the one who doesn't grow. So if you are struggling right now, see it as a terrific sign -- and celebrate your struggle.
Now typically, I really like all of NDW's notes, but this one stuck in my mind because I had also been reading Lance's post on Lessons from the Mountain, and I saw some corelations between the two. It got me to thinking about how our struggles are usually blessings in disguise. In fact, I believe they are always blessings in disguise. It's just we might not always remember to look for the blessing...
I believe that when things don't work out they way we hoped they would, it's for a good reason. It may be that the not getting what you were looking for leads you to getting something even better. Something that you would never have imagined for yourself, and only became possible because your original plan went awry. That happens alot (or so I hear), and it's wonderful when it does.
But even if it doesn't all turn out magically wonderful, there's still a blessing in the struggle. And that blessing is the lesson that you learned. And whether you choose to get it or not, there is always a lesson (or several) to be learned in every challenging experience. So the blessing is there for the taking - whether you accept that blessing is all up to you...
I suspect you neither want nor welcome struggle. I know I certainly don't. I want a life that is easy and struggle-free. But I accept that life will have ups and downs. And the rougher times build my character and my stamina. And they provide a contrast so that I fully recognise and appreciate the easier times.
So while it's probably too big an ask to say "welcome your struggles" - I wouldn't welcome any of my past struggles if they decided to show up again in another disguise - it is very important to celebrate them. They have contributed to who you are today, they have shaped you and your life as it is now, and they have made you stronger.
And the new struggles - current and to come - will continue that process. Your evolution will come out of them. Because we grow and stretch more when we are pinned to our collars than when we sail easily through life.
Plus, we appreciate the good times much more, giving us another great reason to celebrate them. When you celebrate your struggles, you won't forget to celebrate your fortunes. And then all of life is a reason to celebrate : )
(a Thought for the Week)
"Your joy is divine and so is your suffering. There's so much to be learned from both." ~ Wayne Dyer
"Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can - there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did." ~ Sarah Caldwell
"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from." ~ Elizabeth Kubler Ross
"You learn something every day if you pay attention." ~ Ray LeBlond
(a Thought for the Week)
"Learn to let your intuition-gut instinct-tell you when the food, the relationship, the job isn't good for you (and conversely, when what you're doing is just right)." ~ Oprah Winfrey
"Your soul - that inner quiet space - is yours to consult. It will always guide you in the right direction." ~ Wayne Dyer
"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why." ~ Albert Einstein
"Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way." ~ Florence Scovel Shinn