This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Creative Commons - BY
STORIES & POSTS
LOVE - THE GATEWAY TO SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS
This guest article was written by Owen Waters at http://www.InfiniteBeing.com. Â It is all about love as the gateway to spiritual consciousness.
Love is the saving grace of all of humanity. We contact this primal energy in our finest moments. From the moment a baby is born, it is enshrouded in the unselfish love of its mother. From the moment a person springs into action to protect others from peril, their own thoughts of survival are âoverlightedâ by the love and caring that shines from their heart. When a person looks back on their life, they see that one thing that mattered the most: Love. Pure, unadulterated, unconditional love. It is the source of compassion. It is the energy of caring for others. It is the binding force which holds together the entire universe, and it flows through you whenever you simply allow it. Love is the gateway to spiritual consciousness. It is through activation of the spiritual heart that we pass into a whole new world of expansion and joy. In the realms of spiritual consciousness, we find peace, bliss, and continual inspiration. In the realms of spiritual consciousness, we expand our view of life to see the issues that are important to the soul. We can then see how love can heal and how we can and should take the time to spread a little more love in the world every day, even if it is simply done in silent prayer for the well-being of others. Let your heart open to love each and every day. When you are attuned to the natural flow of love throughout the universe, you then feel the natural flow of energy within your own being. Your senses of insight and timing develop to help you achieve more and to succeed easily at the tasks that are important to you. The flow of love is critical to life. Without the all-pervasive love of the Creator which fills the universe, nothing would exist. For centuries, humankind has been playing a game where love and inner inspiration have been blocked off and ignored. Today, the tide is turning and people are opening up to this wonderful flow of natural energy. Remember the love within, especially when outer circumstances seem dark. Remember that love is the gateway to the higher realms of consciousness where answers can be found to meet every challenge that life presents. Tune into love. It will never let you down. Instead, it will set your spirit free to explore the realms of consciousness which offer greater vistas of awareness, greater peace of mind, and a sense of constant joy.
FUN RELATIONSHIP TIPS
The following blog on relationships was written by a friend who chooses to remain anonymous. I believe he has some valid points. Here are a few healthy relationship tips that I learned through my own experiences.Â They work well for me, hopefully they will work well for you.
Have enough self respect to never be used, abused or mistreated. Leave any relationship immediately and never look back if this is
Start everyday fresh. If at all possible deal with problems in the day in which they occur, once dealt with, let it go.Â Keeping score is bad news.Â
Try not to let the sun set on your anger or issues.
Space. Everybody needs their space, have interests outside of each other.Â Firstly this gives you space, secondly it give you fresh material to talk
about.Â If you are together all the time, pretty soon you are going to run out of new conversation.
Maintain old activities. Keep doing what made you fall in love.Â Avoid complacency.Â If you liked going out, donât stop when you get
comfortable with somebody.
Lighten up. Donât be to serious about everything, have some fun, enjoy life, people will enjoy your company more. Communicate. Most important, learn to speak your mind, but do learn to do it in a considerate, empathetic way.Â Donât bottle things up, this is a
recipe for disaster.
Be Kind. Pretty basic. Say you are sorry. Itâs amazing the power an authentic apology carries.Â Itâs not that hard once you get use to it! Turn the TV off. Best thing on the TV is the off button. Get away together as often as possible. Getting away from routine daily life can be great for a relationship. Take trips away individually. Give the other person the gift of missing you, itâs a fantastic gift.Â Itâs good to miss each other from time to time,
brings back a sense of appreciation.
No jealousy, ever. Jealousy is completely toxic to a relationship.Â If you canât trust, your with the wrong person or just not ready for a relationship.
Jealousy is bad, bad, bad.
Compliments. Everyone one loves a compliment, be generous with them so long as you are sincere. Surprise. Throw a surprise into the equation from time to time.Â It keeps it lively and interesting. Lastly, maintain your individuality. Try to avoid losing your own identity.Â Too often in a relationship we forget ourselves and start to take on the
identity of the other person, this is a mistake really.
PEAGREEN HUMAN UGLY
We all go through times when we are 40 or 50 going on 3.Â We know better, but we get our head twisted up and our panties in a wad and then we are off to the races.Â Even in the middle of all the drama, we know that we are dead wrong, and we still fight our way forward with such determination that everyone around us knows they had better just get out of the way.Â We say things that are curt, sharp, hurtful, sarcastic, and in that moment we really could not care less.Â Â Later we may feel like the worldâs biggest fool, but in the moment the juices are running wild and we are off to the races. We make assumptions about people and events that are true â at least they are our truth. It doesnât matter if they are the biggest lies in the world.Â We think our unreasonable logic is the way it is.Â Prove that we are not correct â I dare you! We canât calmly talk about the situation or maybe even approach the person we really need to talk to.Â Instead, we can vent to everyone else!Â After a while the steam stops hissing from our ears and hopefully we begin to see that maybe we went off the deep end.Â There may be reasons, like our trigger getting tripped one time too many. Maybe we are jealous, resentful, angry, feel abandoned, or just plain worn out.Â Sometimes situations or people just never change and it gets very wearing. Maybe we are tired of the drama that everyone else sends our way.Â Â Perhaps we just need someone to really listen, hug us andÂ provide a sanctuary â if only for a moment. If you are having or have recently had a peagreen human ugly day, week or month I want you to right now stop beating up on yourself.Â We are only human. These peagreen days are part of our existence.Â Maybe we would prefer not to feel this way, but sometimes we do. Â When these happen, letâs be honest about the gremlin that is running loose in our heart and head, own it as our gremlin and not take it out on others.Â Find something physical to do â anything to get that swirl of energy moving up and out of our bodies.Â Yell, scream, run, get really competitive in a game â but get the aggressive energy out. Once youâve done that, give yourself some time to chill, be quiet and do a little reflection on whatâs going on with you.Â What was the trigger?Â What is the anger?Â Remember, that our anger is really not so much at the other person or situation as it is our anger.Â What angers you about your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, patterns of living, or way of life?Â What have you not done that you are angry about? Peagreen human ugly is an opportunity to grow.Â All this slimy juice has been in there all along â it just got nudged out into the open.Â Is it pretty? No!Â Does it feel good? No! Are there lessons and insights to be learned? Yes!Â Understand that the human part of you is just shedding your peagreen ugly skin to discover a luminous, radiant spirit living inside you. So notice, listen to, be with and then let go of that peagreen ugly human tantrum.Â Congratulations on your spiritual growth!
THE REAL SURRENDER
The last two blogs have shared real stories of surrender.Â The people in these stories know that the journey has not always been an easy one. In some situations we can let go of the how, why, where or when. We can honestly say that we have let go of both the play and the ending. The curtain has closed on the stage and our attention has moved on to other things. However, sometimes we find ourselves surrendering over and over again. Have you ever wanted a relationship, marriage, or a child?Â Have you ever wanted a job, house, trip, or education?Â You plan, work and scheme to make this happen and it just isnât working out. So, you try harder! Finally you decide that you need to relax, de-stress and let go! You surrender the outcome!Â Then you take the surrender back as you find you mind ticking away with yet another idea of how you can make this happen. This see- saw effect of floating between letting go and taking back control can go on for some time. This is confusing, frustrating and feels very stuck. If it continues long enough, we often feel like just giving up. Remember that surrender means turning loose of control of all the twists and turns of a situation. It allows us to free ourselves of the obsession with the problem. The value is that when we do this, we are able to place our attention on the solution. Surrender requires a leap of faith and trust in spirit.Â Remember the phrase, âLet go and let God.âÂ Surrender is saying, âI donât know how or I canât do this myself. I know Iâm not alone in this. So, God, I ask for your help.âÂ This is both calming and terrifying for some of us.Â We have admitted that we were not able to control and manage so we get what we wanted.Â The kicker is that we expect ourselves to take charge and turning loose feels very vulnerable.Â However, if we want the problem solved and we donât have the resources to solve it ourselves, we can ask for help. Â That help comes from a higher power.Â As we do this, the fear and anxiety decreases, and we can see new ideas. Our attitude becomes more positive so our energy can go into being creative about solutions instead of being defensive about how we are going to bail ourselves out of this mess. Â Â When we can truly surrender to the higher power, we open your heart in ways that allow us to see opportunities not visible before. That is real surrender!
The prior blog posted talked about SURRENDER. For weeks now Iâve listened to a variety of people talk about this. It seems that all my friends are in the surrender mode. It is amazing that such a diverse group of people are on the same path.Â This blog shares some of the stories. My friend Sherryâs daughter was flying into the St. Louis airport. Sherry was going to pick her up and decided to make a day of it in the city. She wanted to do some shopping for lights and made a list of eight stores to visit. The first store didnât have anything like she wanted, so she traveled to the second, third, and fourth stores. Guess what? Nothing! So, she surrendered to the reality that today was not a day to buy lights. Instead, she
found a delightful little restaurant next to a wonderful store full of lamps – not lights, and enjoyed some time for herself before she picked up her daughter. Her comment was that she had a great day with herself and visiting with her daughter. Â She could have been angry and frustrated, instead through surrender the day was rewarding. Elaine is a supervisor of a large medical office. There are a number of employees who like to create drama by bringing their personal trauma into the workplace.Â Some walk in every day needing an attitude adjustment or with a huge chip on their shoulders. Elaine said that one in particular is difficult to work with, especially now when the organization is undergoing changes.Â As a supervisor, Elaine has surrendered to the reality that she canât force her employee to be happy. She can set expectations for work behavior and performance. The rest is not her deal. Surrender! Myra had an appointment in a city 1 Â¾ hours away. She gave herself 2 Â½ hours to get there.Â About halfway there she encountered a highway closing that forced her to take an alternate route.Â As she drove, it seemed that time was slipping away â like it was evaporating.Â There should have still been more than enough time to make the appointment â but there wasnât.Â She stopped the car, got a cup of coffee and sat still to listen to her intuition. This appointment was not going to happen today â it was not meant to be. She surrendered!Â So, she turned around and went back home. I know several people who are caregivers, either for parents or someone else in their family. It is a stressful role.Â Iâve watched all of them go through the process of giving, caring and doing. They have all stretched themselves to the point of breaking and then they surrender.Â Yesterday, a family member extended both arms in the air and shrugged her shoulders saying, âI take one day at a time. This is the journey of my Mother, and she has to play this out her way. Her illness is not my trip. I support, but also surrender the how, why, where or when.â
Recently, the word SURRENDER has been the topic of many one-on-one conversations as well as discussions in groups. On each occasion, the very mention of this word has been met with groans, rolling eyes and comments like, âNot that word again. It just keeps coming up.âÂ We have talked about it up, down and around, each of us knowing that this is an important concept to accept â¦..but! Letâs think of surrender in everyday terms.Â One morning you go out to start your car and it just grunts, but wonât start. What do you do? You could call in sick, go back to bed, and hope the car starts tomorrow. However, thatâs giving up! You could stomp your feet, cry, cuss and yell. Go ahead! Now thatâs out of your system! Â In this situation, surrender is accepting that this car is not taking you to work today. You canât make this car start. It is as it is! Now, instead of giving up or being upset, you can relax and look for other ways to get to work and get the car fixed.Â Maybe a friend or neighbor will take you. Can you walk or take public transportation? You can also call the mechanic and arrange for the car to be fixed. You can breathe, relax, and know that this situation will work out â you just donât know how at this moment. All is well! That is surrender! Surrender is a positive trait. It means turning loose of control of all the twists and turns of a situation. Instead, as you watch it play out, you know that whatever the final solution, it will be as it will be. There are reasons for this turn of events that we cannot see. Is this always easy?Â No! We want what we want when we want it. Â We manipulate to control people, time, and events â according to our plan. We get upset at inconvenience, unmet expectations, and not getting our way.Â This creates a lot of stress. Â When we can surrender the anxiety and drama, it immediately changes us.Â We see solutions that we couldnât see before.Â Instead of being focused on the issue, we can shift to being open to all of the available choices. So, how do we surrender?Â As you go through your day, watch what you are feeling and thinking.Â Every time you notice a negative or fearful attitude, belief or assumption —- choose to stop and change or shift to the positive. Check yourself!Â Am I so fixed, inflexible, stubborn, or negative that I am creating stress and anxiety about something I cannot change? How can I surrender the outcome?Â Surrender â let go â of how, why, where or when.Â âYou canât reset the winds, but you can adjust your sails.â German proverb.
I watched a mother and daughter share a âwrap your arms around me and hang onâ hug. They really loved each other and it showed in the warmth of their smiles. Another friend vacationed with her daughter and reported a sharing and closeness as if they were best friends.Â A third talks to her daughter for over two hours on the phone regularly and says she so enjoys the real conversations. I listened to 30+ and 40+ women affectionately refer to their mothers as Mommy. A lot of women are best friends with their mothers. The first bond that existed as a baby is still strong. One of my close friends has more than one mother. One is biological and the other is chosen.Â The birth mother and her daughter carry a control/rebellion pattern and the relationship is not nourishing for either.Â So, the daughter has a second mom.Â With this mom she shares quality time. They can laugh, have fun together, tell secrets, putter around, eat out, make silly jokes, and sit for hours to talk about anything or anybody.Â The hugs and kisses are real, warm, and full of love. While this is a blessing, it is also sad that the family relationship is so strained Women love their mom, but mom also drives them crazy. Relationships between mothers and daughters are complicated. Sadly enough, some of my friends can hardly stand to be around their mothers.Â Their time together is tense and strained, if they share time at all. There seems to be nothing in common. A bigger issue is that the old patterns of control and rebellion from childhood are still alive and active in the adult relationship. Â Being able to simply communicate with each other is difficult if not impossible because of these patterns. The triggers of judgment and criticism get pushed. It is as if there is a time warp and the daughter is 15 again, but in a 40-year old body. They donât want this, but donât know how to have a loving mother/daughter relationship. We understand that our mom is who she is because of the things that happened to her in her lifetime. Mom did the best she knew how to do in raising us. Most moms will tell you they made mistakes, but did their best at the time. With most there was no ill intent to do harm. Â Acceptance of this can help us understand that as moms we also did the best we could. At this point in time, it is our task to stop any patterns that we feel would be detrimental to our daughters as well as the generations to follow. I have friends who have very deliberately set out to do this. They have healed themselves first and set a new normal for their daughters. The mother-daughter relationship is something that’s handed down, like a fragile, lace heirloom, from mother to daughter, over and over again. It is a very significant in our lives.Â The use of the word âMommyâ in speaking about your own mother reflects this, especially when spoken by
someone who is also a mommy, or maybe a grand mommy.
In church on Sunday, the minister talked about HOMIES. They were defined as the people with whom we feel so comfortable that we are totally free to be ourselves â with all our warts, and dirty underwear hanging out.Â Whatever stinks, stinks and we know that we will still be accepted and loved.Â It is with these people that we can be real and authentic â truly ourselves.Â We donât have to filter what we say, do, feel or think. We are as we are and thatâs fine! These are our people.Â It is a relief to finally find people who can appreciate who or what we are and be grateful for our presence in their life. We can take off the mask, breathe, relax our stomach muscles and even let a burp slip out. No pretense and games here. We can tell the truth and know we will be accepted — however funky we feel, or crazy it sounds, we can still say it. We have a sanctuary where we can just be us â finally! What a gift to have this validation of our âus-nessâ. Having HOMIES brings a sense of aliveness and fullness to life. It gives us a freedom that adds a spark of energy, enjoyment and spontaneity. We can giggle together over the silliest little things and have serious talks about anything. Itâs the mutual giving and receiving, covering our backs, protection of the clan, kindness, compassion, good natured picking on and joking, laughing, and that our people know us â really know us â and love us. It doesnât matter what it is, just being with our people lights up our lives just like fireworks on the 4th of July.Â Just as we celebrate the nation being born each year, we are born again and again with our HOMIES. Many times it is through our people that we learn the most about ourselves.Â Those we love and are closest to often push our buttons.Â They can also be our greatest teachers.Â In fact, one of the biggest purposes for being in these relationships is for us to learn about ourselves and how we relate to others. In the best of times and in the worst of times, our HOMIES keep us growing, changing and moving toward that light of spirit that glows in each of us. Â So, appreciate and be grateful for the HOMIES in your life.
BUZZING LIKE A BEE!
On a recent hot day, a bee flew in the car window as we were stopped at a traffic light. In a panic, it began throwing its body against the windshield looking for an escape route. As we drove along, we opened the rest of the windows and tried to coax it out. Nothing worked so when we got home, we opened all the doors, but the bee buzzed even more angrily all around the interior of the car. So, we left the car parked next to a fragrant flowering bush and intentionally left the windows open, hoping that the bee would discover the way out.Â However, the next morning, the bee was dead on the dash, having failed to find the way out the open window. How often are we like this bee?Â How often do we panic and find it impossible to see a solution to an everyday problem? Â Do we ever get so fixed and inflexible in our ideas and actions that we cannot move off square one or home base?Â We are all creatures of habit, but sometimes our habitual ways of doing things get in the way of just living in the flow of the day. Â Instead, we just keep doing the same things over and over again â even if they are not working. Â Just like that bee, we keep banging our heads against the car window even though it does not offer a way out. What if there were other options? When we are in a panic, we just canât see them. We often run at a frantic pace, filled with anxiety, expectations of perfection and way too many demands. Â So, stop, breathe and quiet the string of thoughts rolling through your mind. Just relax a bit! Calm down enough to allow yourself to see other solutions to the situation. If that bee would have stopped he might have realized that he could just fly out an open window. We are often just like him. We canât see the window of opportunity even when it is open and the curtain is flapping as the wind blows through it. Just like that bee, we bang our heads against the same issue over and over, and fail to see that there might be other options. So, when you feel a buzz coming on, realize that you can choose to frantically whirl around or stop and take a different path.Â Sometimes when we stop, we realize that this is not the extreme emergency or the most urgent situation that we believed it to be.Â If we can just chill out, we might discover that no action is necessary at this time, we donât know the best next steps but we can ask questions until we do, or that we can sleep on it. In the stillness, we often immediately know exactly the right answer.
JUST DO IT!
Sometimes our animal friends offer us fascinating lessons in living.Â They are so real and natural. There are no apologies for being who they are as cats, dogs, horses, birds, etc. They are who they are â period! That is true of the two cats, Molly and Tuxie, currently living in this home.Â They are very different. One is a playful princess and the other is gentle good oleâ boy. They handle life very differently. One night last week a huge moth like creature came in the house as the back door was opened.Â As I was thinking about how to catch it and put it back out, the two cats immediately noticed it and began following it with their eyes. Â The moth buzzed around following the lights up, down and around, obviously wanting to escape back to the outdoors. Â So, Molly began running all over, chasing its every move. Tuxie was sitting in the middle of the floor just casually watching. Â This went on for some time and eventually the moth landed on the floor. I moved toward it with my towel as Molly began batting at it. Â Of course, the moth was scared and flew up, down and around some more as the dance continued. Â When it finally landed on the floor again Molly was on it, batting and playing with it.Â At this point, Tuxie casually got up, walked to Molly and the moth, and unceremoniously put his big foot on top of it, trapping it.Â He sniffed it, proceeded to crunch it in his mouth and eat it. Then he looked around as if to say, âI took care of that!â Molly, in the meantime, was looking like, âWhat happened here?â These two animals are not unlike us humans. Some of us are focused on the goal, eat the problems or issues as they appear and move on.Â Others of us play around making a choice or decision and in taking action.Â In all fairness, there are some situations in which it takes time to weigh all the options. We donât know the exact road to take and we have to explore each direction before moving forward.Â Â However, there comes a time to make a decision, put your foot on the gas petal and move it.Â So, stop and think about your life â is it time to play with it or just eat it? Â Maybe itâs time to just do it!
DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?
It is hard to let old beliefs go. They are familiar. We are comfortable with them and have spent years building systems and developing habits that depend on them. Like a man who has worn eyeglasses so long that he forgets he has them on, we forget that the world looks to us the way it does because we have become used to seeing it that way through a particular set of lenses. Today, however, we need new lenses. And we need to throw the old ones away. – Kenichi Ohmae
Itâs amazing how many everyday things we do,âbecause this is the way we do it.âÂ Itâs a system we may have adopted from when we were children and our father or mother taught us how to do mechanical work on a car or to cook dinner.Â How often do we have favorite family recipes that becomes the way to fix coleslaw or dressing for Thanksgiving dinner?Â How often do we work on a car just the way Dad would have done it?Â Thatâs okÂ to carry these patterns forward and many of them become beloved family traditions. However, we sometimes keep living out beliefs that just donât work for us any more.Â The issue is that we may feel uncomfortable, stale, or in need of a change and donât even realize that we can do it differently. Â We are stuck in the system from the past and weâre living in the present. A group of my friends were recently talking about this.Â The stories were both funny and sad.Â Charlotte had recently purchased a watermelon. It was just ok â not wonderfully ripe. She found herself eating all the red meat â even the barely pink next to core. Why? She learned that we always eat all of the red part of the watermelon, even if it doesnât taste wonderful. After the first half was gone, she had an epiphany. She didnât have to eat the watermelon like that. So, she got a big spoon and joyfully scooped out the center of the half, stopping when the meat no longer tasted good.Â Now, this is the way to enjoy watermelon! Some of the members of this group are very outgoing, others are very shy. A gigantic topic of discussion was how we had developed our social skills â or not! Two members had learned in childhood to be a quiet, invisible, very good child.Â They are still the ones reluctant to speak up freely in social settings.Â Both admitted that they are a work in process. As they see and understand this pattern, they are able to open up and act differently.Â Another member of the group is a wild woman. She has always acted spontaneously and never sees a stranger. Jokes just roll out of her. Her childhood lenses were entirely different than the others and that is reflected in her patterns of behavior. So as you move through life, check the lenses through which you see the world. Maybe you need to take off your glasses and allow yourself to see the world differently.Â Remember: âWe don’t see things as they are.Â We see things as we are.”Â (Anais Nin)
CAN I FORGIVE MYSELF?
I lost it again! I get soooo frustrated! The drama never ends! Itâs always the same negative, self-centered, irrational narrative. So once again, I let my trigger get pushed and found my mouth spewing out a string of words that would melt an iceberg. Later, I couldnât sleep. I kept beating up on myself for once again getting angry. How can I ever forgive myself? Letâs start by owning up to being human. Yep, Iâm just a person like everyone else.Â I am not perfect, and Iâm being honest about not handling this very well, again!Â I also know that this situation is a trigger for me and Iâll plan for handling it differently the next time, because it will happen again. Right now, Iâm going to take a deep breathe, stop nagging myself, and let this go. In doing this, I accept myself just as I am right now. This opens the door for some compassion for me, and that may be a new way of being.Â I know that it may take some time for me to totally let this go, but I also know that I can do that. Iâm not carrying this judgment of me forward. We often criticize ourselves for every little thing and see nothing good in ourselves.Â Do you continually cut yourself down?Â I know someone who regularly says, âIâm just stupid, I donât know anything,â and that is not the truth.Â It is important to understand this message may have been heard since we were very young and weâve carried it into this time.Â Itâs now a belief about who we are. However, that belief is a bold faced lie. So, if this line of nonsense is following you around like a ghost from the past, its time to change it. Make a decision to: notice and when you do yell, âSTOP that is a lie!âÂ It will take some time to change a pattern that has developed over time, but do it. The truth is that we are all valuable and precious, so begin to look for ways to compliment you.Â What wonderful traits does your best friend see in you? What do others love about you? What can you love about yourself? We often find it easier to forgive someone else, than to forgive ourselves. Thatâs because we are usually harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. Forgiving ourselves means facing all the shame, guilt, grudges and long-held beliefs we carry around. Since they are part of us, we canât banish the voices nagging in our heads. So, what does it mean to forgive yourself? Author Kathleen Griffin, The Forgiveness Formula, says thatÂ forgivingÂ ourselves means: 1) You will stop beatingÂ yourself up for not being good enough; 2) You will see yourself as precious in your own eyes; 3) You will treat yourself as well and gently as the dearest person in your life; 4) Those negative voices will lose their power. Many of you will remember the quote from Oprah on forgiveness: âForgiveness is giving up the hope that the past should have been different and moving on from here. It is not saying that what happened was ok, just that it was the past.âÂ Can you apply this wisdom in forgiving yourself?
ON THE EDGE
A frog is meant to be a frog. If he lives in a well in the middle of this country, he may never walk in the ocean even though he is a wonderful frog.Â A summer butterfly, no matter how beautiful, can never walk on the winter ice.Â Â They live in a limited world.Â The boundaries of their potential are set and they live within those.Â We, however, are privileged to walk through our imagined boundaries and peer over the edge to a life yet unseen.Â On the edge, we leave the comfort of the known and venture forth to discover more of whom we are and the new territory of our lives. I had great conversations today with three long-time friends â all of whom are pondering life on the edge. I want to share some of their stories. The first has had a history of being a workaholic, perfectionist, care giver, fixer, and continually busy person. He has also been a very unhappy person â for a very long time.Â He felt that he had no life of his own, and could find no pleasure with any aspect of his life — until now!Â After much reflection on personal values, he is noticing and shifting feelings, thoughts and actions. Â Old patterns of living are changing.Â He is finding that life is different.Â Before, everybody and everything else was most important. Now, he is most important. Â He has discovered that he must and can take
care of himself first.Â He cannot be happy, healthy and live a fulfilling life without valuing his own worth. This lets him live more in he present moment, such as enjoying lunch with me. Â He is on the edge of letting go of control and allowing life to play out as it will.Â His motto is: âIt is as it is!â The second person considers herself to be growing spiritually in leaps and bounds.Â She also talked about shifts in how she sees herself, others and what is really important. My friend counsels others and missed a distress phone call on Sunday morning.Â As a result, she did not respond in her usual, âWhat are you thinking?â authoritative manner. The time on Sunday gave her a chance to consider her role in this personâs life. As a result she discovered that she is being over responsible for the other person and under responsible for herself.Â This was not her deal â it was the other personâs decision about life.Â In being over involved, she was stressing herself out over something that she really could do nothing about. We are not responsible for the choices of others.Â They want us to be responsible for their fears, inadequacies and decisions, so they manipulate and play games. They want us to make their deals our deal. Sometimes we need to stop the cycle of dependency and take a look at what is healthy for everyone. Â For this friend the world looks different this week than last week.Â In walking to the edge, she is more self-responsible, relaxed, walks away from all the small drama, and is often heard to say, âThat is not my deal!.â A third person talked about how important it is to live on the edge.Â He is practicing this in his life. For him it means to get out of the box, to be open to change, and to look at thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or beliefs driving his life. What assumptions are you living by that are just not working for you? Â How outdated is your image and perception of yourself?Â What do you want for the rest of your life? How is that different than the present?Â Â What would energize you, be fulfilling and meaningful, fun and make a difference?Â Â How can you live more in love than in fear?Â Living on the edge means being brave enough to ask the questions and honestly look for the answers. For him it also means stretching out your hand and trusting Godâs universal love.Â It is saying, âI am open and willing to live on the edge â I know my hand will be in your hand.â
I DON'T KNOW WHO I AM
Did you ever hear or say something like the following?Â 1) I put on the dress I loved last year, and this year I really donât like it.Â 2) I canât believe I bought that car. What was I thinking?Â 3) I really donât want to do that again. I used to love movies like that, but I was really bored. 4) Cheese and crackers was my favorite snack, now it just doesnât taste good.Â 5) Something happened to me.Â Itâs as if overnight I changed.Â I donât know who I am any more.Â Last week Terry started talking about the healing work she had been doing. She meditates and works to heal and release old feelings and baggage she doesnât want to carry forward.Â She is a very spiritual individual, a musician, very creative, calm and centered.Â As we talked she related an experience from earlier in the week. After a meditation, she had a very definite shift in awareness and energy. She was surprised and amazed with the experience. So amazed that it has made a dramatic difference in how she sees the world around her.Â Â He words to me were, âI donât know who I am anymore.Â There is such a change.â Iâm writing about this because Terry also said that we donât know how many people are working and experiencing life changes, because none of us talk about it. We are afraid to tell others, because they might not understand.Â I personally know someone who would totally discount this sharing with a stubborn attitude of, âI donât believe it.âÂ On the other hand, for those light travelers, sharing some of the bizarre shifts and changes will help all of us to know that we are not alone in this journey of change. Many of us are changing rapidly.Â I have another friend who calls it -â blossoming.â When we let go of old ways of thinking and feeling, we feel a void or vacancy because we have released an imprint, image, long held attitude or experience and the replacement has not settled in yet. The initial shift takes place, but there are follow-up changes that then occur. Sort like an earthquake with the after shocks.Â I may take days or even weeks for all this to settle in as it works through the various aspects and energy fields that surround us. So for a while, we will feel shaky and uncertain.Â However, if we understand that this is part of the process, it is less frightening and it allows us to be more open to this gradual change. Change can be both an exciting and scary trip.Â This is especially the case when you choose to open up to guidance of spirit.Â It requires surrendering to that divine energy in faith and trust, without trying to control every step along the way.Â Each one of us has control issues whether we see this or not. Our ego has been in control for a very long time. When we make these kinds of fundamental changes, the ego is very threatened.Â So, watch carefully as it gets creative with ways to stay in control.Â The ego is very crafty. Some of you will experience more mind chatter as the ego tries to intellectualize or rationalize you back into submission. Other will experience terror, as the ego tries to scare you back into the fold. Another friend of mine has an ego that counts from 1 to 8. When threatened, the counting becomes louder and faster so that he is distracted. His advice on handling this was to first thank the ego and ask for peace.Â With his ego this did not stop the counting, so he finally let it count and ignored it â letting the ego chatter until it got tired. Expect the unexpected!Â When we release, we have no way of knowing what layers of issues have now been opened up. Some of these have been building for many lives and once the door is open, the prisoners are free to move from the dungeon and come to the light. Remember this is a process and this work occurs in spirit time, not our time.Â Â So, be patient, kind to yourself and allow the layers to unravel. You may uncover issues like: abandonment â betrayal â defeat – rejection â worthiness. These are common to all of us and we all go through a release process.Â The key is to let the layers work their way through and let them go. Â Â You are never alone â spirit is always with you.
VALIDATION OF OUR WORTHINESS
Many of you listened to or read the words that Oprah shared on her last show.Â There were many points that echo what we feel in our hearts and experience in our lives. Two that are so universal for each and every one of us are worthiness and validation.Â In our relationship with ourselves as well as others, these are so important. We donât understand how these influence our beliefs, choices, actions and words. Please take to heart the importance of this wisdom shared with us. Oprahâs words were: âThis show has taught me there is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering, and that is worthiness. Not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for. Â Even people who believe they deserve to be happy and have nice
things donât feel worthy once they have them. â¦â¦. What I got was we often block our own blessings because we donât feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough. â¦.. The show has taught me that youâre worthy enough because you are born and because you are here. Your being here, your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough.â Oprah also talked about the number of people she has talked to on the show and noted that what all these people wanted was validation. Â She reminded us that all we want and all every single person we will ever meet wants is validation. That means opening our hearts and minds to see, hear, feel, know, and value people just as they in this moment.Â Oprah encourages us to understand that the people we interact with need to know: âDo you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I have to say mean anything to you?â Our heartfelt response is: âI see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me.â Letâs look at validation and worthiness together. When we see ourselves as unworthy we see nothing in ourselves to validate. In response to: âDo I see me?Â Do I hear me?Â Does what I have to say mean anything to me?â The answer is NO. Â I canât validate something in which I see no value.Â I donât respect myself, stand up for myself, take pride in accomplishments, have a sense of purpose, take care of my needs, or show compassion and kindness to myself.Â Whatever I do, I am never good enough! Â If I canât see myself as worthy and valuable, how can I possibly see those traits in others?Â I canât! So, letâs start at home — with ourselves — and look inside for our worth and value. Who are you? Â What is special about you? What do you hear and see in yourself? Why does what you say matter? Â Be patient, but persistent with yourself in this process.Â Every day, stop and look for actions, words, feelings, or thoughts that validate: I did a god job; Iâm really amazing; Iâm kind, smart, skillful, loving, creative, _________(fill in the blank).Â Know that in Godâs eyes you are always enough! As for validating the worthiness of others, consider this. Â When you listen, care and open your heart to someone else, you also give to yourself. Sometimes we donât feel like doing that, but do it anyway.Â Particularly on those days when you feel absolutely worthless, step up to the plate and find something ofÂ worth to validate in your partner, co-worker, friend or a complete stranger.Â It will change both of you.
Did you ever feel like this was a time in your life when you were walking through the muck?Â Â It may be in relationships, work, school, children, finances, or just with life in general.Â We feel like we are in the muck when we are in the middle of resolving issues or situations for which there is no simple solution.Â Sometimes these seem like muck because when we resolve one piece of the puzzle another one immediately appears.Â So these life experiences just go on and on. Muck is defined in the dictionary as: refuse, dung, waste, trash, or dirt. These words pretty much describe how this continuing series of events feels.Â Itâs like we are rolling around in a big mud hole, sloshing around in the dirty water as everyone drives by and dumps more trash out on us. We think, âWell, here comes some more junk to take care of, Iâve done this before. Iâll have to clean it up again and again and again.âÂ Â We often hear people say, âShit happens!â Itâs really frustrating when it just keeps on happening. We can control some of the things that happen to us. There are many others that are a result of the attitudes and actions of others. Unfortunately, those are often out of our control. I have friends who are taking care of family members with long-term illnesses.Â The care giver role never ends. Millie is working for a terror of a boss and thus far canât find another job. Karen is grieving the loss of a husband. Steveâs job was cut last week and he has family to support. Cary has been unemployed for a year and canât find a job. The stories go on and on. Â These people are in the muck. So, what are we going to do? First and foremost, it is attitude adjustment time. The situation is as it is!Â Letâs stick our head out of the muck and look around. Many times we get so mired down that we canât see an alternative right in front of us. We get so anxious, afraid and tired that we stay in the mud hole. The longer we stay there, the harder it is to climb out. Maybe this change has a benefit â so letâs look for it.Â I have another friend who is again unemployed.Â His attitude is that this time, he is going to continue to take steps to find a job, but he is also going to relax and enjoy this time of being unemployed.Â His words were, âThis will work out. I just canât see how right now. So instead of panicking, Iâm going to enjoy this.â Sometimes muck comes our way because we need to take a real, honest look at ourselves. There is a beneficial lesson for us. At other times, it is something that we have to get through â just a phase of life.Â In these times, a key question is: What part of this particular situation is my deal and what part of someone elseâs deal?Â We often take on the lessons of other, become over responsible for them and that causes all kinds of tension for us. Often if we can just step back and make a commitment to take care of ourselves first, then the muck is not so dense or deep.Â It changes our perspective, we relax a bit, and allow everything to work out.Â Â Blessings!
Several years ago now, I read The Shack by Wm. Paul Young.Â It touched me more than any book Iâve ever read and it continues to influence every day of my life.Â For me it was not so much a story of human suffering as it was a heart opening revelation of what it means to have a relationship with God. This has changed my life! I was raised in a traditional Christian religion. It doesnât matter which one. I heard that God was some powerful, inaccessible, high being who judged us pitiful sinners.Â We prayed each week to be forgiven of our sins in this very structured, formal service.Â This kid never understood why God was so important if he was so high and mighty, for we couldnât talk to him because we were so unworthy. Why would he listen to us? Â What was the big deal? Â I saw no value in this religion business so when I became an adult I bailed out of all religion for a while and then drifted back to a more nontraditional church. Then I read The Shack.Â A lifetime of feeling separate from God turned into an intimate heart-felt connection.Â For me, the headline news of this book was that God loved me, and wanted a relationship with me.Â He wanted me to invite him to be a part of my life.Â What? Â I didnât know that! Â I used to ask myself, âIs this all there is?â I had searched and searched for an answer to that question.Â In finding an answer, I was a puddle of tears as I consumed this book.Â With the flood gates open, I began to build a relationship with not God, but PAPA.Â The name is significant because this little kid can crawl up in PAPAâS lap and talk to him and he listens. He is kind, compassionate, loving, funny as well as serious.Â He
is always there for me, providing a safe sanctuary.Â Prayer or meditation takes on a whole different meaning.Â It is a time to be with PAPA.Â Â In fact, PAPA is with me every minute of every day. I am not afraid of his wrath and I very definitely feel loved. The answer to the question is, âYes, there is more!â How has the relationship with PAPA changed me? There are many ways in which I am different.Â Â Iâm calmer, less anxious.Â I cope better in situations where the outcome or result is not what was anticipated, and I am more aware of trying to control things that are not my deal. This also means I donât want others to control me, so I more often speak up for myself. All this leads to having more respect for myself, and giving myself a break or two instead of demanding constant perfection. Â I am kinder to myself, and more compassionate when strong feelings come rolling out.Â Maybe the most important is that Iâm learning to be just me and knowing that in any situation being me is more than enough. I tell you this because it is time â time for all of us to end the separation that spawns fear, hate, judgment, mistrust, abuse, anger or stress.Â That is no way to live when there is so much more.Â Open your heart to connect to this higher power, calling it whatever works for you. In the book PAPA was a black female which was totally out of our conceptual box. Itâs time to open the lid and look out of that box to accept and connect with that universal power of love. When you invite PAPA into your life, it softens the edges of the dance of life.Â Our humanness is accepted and our spirit is free to grow under PAPAâS love. Â We understand that we are all connected to this light and love of spirit. This Christ spirit is alive in us and change is an inside job. The book I.M. Heart talks about this healing, from the inside out.Â PAPA, I love you. Thank you for being in my life!
THE RELATIONSHIP DANCE
We are in the people business.Â We live and work with people, which means each of us are in many different relationships.Â Some are short term and others last many, many years.Â Â Regardless of the length, each relationship develops a certain rhythm.Â The interactions and conversations start as a trial and error system and then develop into a dance of actions and communications. A pattern develops with each person bringing their own personal beliefs, attitudes and experiences to the floor and the dance begins. Iâve been watching three couples, each married for a very long time.Â They have been dancing their dances for so long that it has become only a habit.Â If the words, âI love youâ are spoken, it seems as if they are an obligation or a game of manipulation.Â There is no heart feeling, as if this is taken for granted. It seems so disconnected and fake, as if the love is no longer real so weâll just pretend.Â This spawns the swirling games of withdrawal, control, anger, criticism, and defiance. This is really unhealthy and they donât even see the games. Â Why shouldnât loving someone be real, passionate, exciting, fun, fulfilling, and nourishing?Â Why should we not expect to both give and receive all that and more? Â Why do we blindly stagger forth in relationship dances that suck the very love out of us? Another friend commented that as she talked to her ex, it was as if they were operating by a mysterious, non-spoken code.Â Although they really loved each other and could spend hours talking on the phone, they could not live together.Â The dance will allow social conversation, but will not permit an open, honest, vulnerable, intimate exchange.Â Â They cannot talk about the feelings, insecurities, wants and issues that really matter to each of them, so the relationship flounders. They cannot open up their hearts to the love.Â Both of them have built a wall of protection from being hurt â again!Â Â If only they could build a sanctuary of trust where they could support each other to heal, grow and change together. Can you imagine what a gift of love that would be? Relationships are not static. They are living, breathing, moving, changing entities —- or at least they should be. Â When there are closed hearts, the fear of openly talking, or fear of letting someone really know all of us, the lights on the dance floor flicker and go out.Â The silent, simmering, unspoken but heartfelt feelings donât go away.Â The unmet needs, self-centered arrogance or protective brick walls stop the movement and flow of two people learning together. It is sad to watch a dance end, when all that is needed is a change in tempo. We so often take relationships for granted.Â Yet, we want them desperately. We want to open up, trust and be accepted for who we are.Â We want to love and be loved.Â What stops us?Â There are many reasons. What are yours?
A GIFT OF HOPE
It is Easter. Christian faiths recognize Easter as the celebration of Jesusâ victory over death and mankindâs hope for eternal life. Â In this season, the real place of renewal is in the human spirit. Christians consider Easter a re-birth. However, we are often not told that the real birth is lighting that flame of love inside us. This is the gift of hope that reigns eternal and forever for us â if we will only open our hearts to it.Â Steve Maraboli says, âIt is only with true love and compassion that we can begin to mend what is broken in the world.Â It is these two blessed things that can begin to heal all broken hearts.â Our Easter awakening can become an opening to the energy of love inside us.Â It means opening our hearts to know the brilliant light shining there.Â We are often not so much afraid of the dark or fear, as we are afraid of our light. Our normal has been experiences of being hurt and afraid over and over again. That fear has ruled our lives, and love is so different than fear. Â We are afraid of the kindness, compassion, warmth, total joy and happiness. Â We think this canât possibly be who we are. This is not something we expect to experience in our lives. Â It can indeed feel very vulnerable to open to this love/light of God. Â It is a whole new way of seeing the world and living each day. Â Itâs like opening the door to a mysterious part of ourselves that we didnât know existed. Many of us have closed off our hearts. We see no logical reason to believe this light of love is a part of us or that we can connect to it.Â God doesnât talk to me or care for me. I donât feel the light of spirit in my heart. Â I donât believe it exists.Â But a small voice, searching for some sign of hope, timidly asks, âHow do I learn to hear and listen? I donât understand how to connect.âÂ The longing becomes more powerful and the denial more difficult to believe. Â Weâve ached for this loving connection and no longer want to be separate from it. Just make a decision to let the love of spirit into our lives. This puts us in touch with our own feelings.Â This means being aware of our full range of feeling â noticing and accepting the ugly, gnarly, grimy ones as well as the happy, warm, fuzzy ones.Â Â The benefit for us is in knowing so that we can heal those that hurt or are fearful and be more kind, compassionate and loving to ourselves. Â When we open our own heart light to heal, we can be free to accept and love ourselves. Remember, God always loves us!
Hope is connecting with the light and love inside us.Â It is an abiding sense of faith, expectation and perseverance. It is a belief in a positive outcome for the future â yet unknown, but much anticipated. The light, from the inside out, opens doors for creative expression of who we are, wonderful loving relationships, and excitement of being â not running, hiding and doing â but being in each moment. This connection to spirit is acting without a guarantee! It trusts that if we open our heart to this universal, ever-present love, we will be loved in return, in ways or by whom we have no way of knowing!!!!!!Â Much love to you this Easter from I.M. Heart at www.imheart.net .
A DIVINE LOVE
âItâs comforting to think that we can love so powerfully that fate itself wheels and turns at the command of our souls.âÂ Roger Ebert There is a growing consciousness of the power of love. More and more people are aware of this energetic force and its influence on every aspect of our lives. They can testify to a shifting attitude and perspective that comes from embracing this power as a guiding light through life. It is a rather mysterious journey, one in which most of us have not much experience. For this trip is exactly opposite the one we are accustomed to living.Â It is not a road full of fear, anxiety, restrictions, anger or regret.Â Instead it a highway of love, acceptance, openness, peace, calm and connections. Â This is the journey of our soul connection to universal spirit and the divine through a love that defies definition. It is such a pure, clear, magnified love.Â It is so hard to describe because it is many dimensions stronger than any love we have experienced in relationships on this planet. It is the love of God.Â Many who are traveling in consciousness to this power are only in kindergarten in fully understanding it.Â However, a taste is all it takes to be hungry forever for more of this divine connection. In discussions with two friends, they both told of the subtle changes that occur when we personally invite this power into our lives. 1) Both commented that change through spirit comes at a different pace. At times it is fast and furious while at others it is necessary to be quiet, rest and let spirit work.Â We are often impatient and spirit has infinite patience. 2) They both talked about the shift in how we see daily problems and issues.Â Life becomes more transparent and we more clearly see our own human patterns and fears.Â Insights come that before would have escaped us. We understand that the issues of others belong to them and not to us, so we are able to not as readily take them on.Â 3) We are also more aware of our ego and the many control games that have dominated our lives.Â One told of being in a meditation with tremendous energy flowing when the ego began singing, âAnything you can do I can do better!â Another shared that her ego rapidly counts to eight over and over again to keep her distracted from the power of the soul.Â Â 4) Finally, we are more connected to the energy of this divine love.Â It is easier to hold out our hands, open our hearts and feel the pulse and flow of this energy cursing through our bodies. As daily challenges appear, it is easier to re-connect and allow that energy to guide us. Why is all this important?Â Each of us sends forth energy, loving or fearful, out into the world every second of every day.Â We have all witnessed the impacts of the energy of fear on our world, its economy and the quality of human existence.Â It is not a pretty picture!!Â It is a time when great change is not only needed, but essential. We personally have the power to change it through changing our focus from fear to love.Â The collective consciousness is changed when one individual changes. Can you imagine what would happen if all of us intentionally focused on living from the love of our heart and soul?Â Can you imagine how the world would change if more and more of us connected with this universal divine love of God?Â There is great comfort in the quote from Roger Ebert. What are you waiting for?
The winter is finally over and we are all crawling out of our dens.Â For so many months we were holed in and curled up, just vegetating. Iâve heard several people say that this last winter was real time of reflection and searching.Â It was as time of quiet to go into the heart of our being and reevaluate our life. Sometimes we need those times to regroup and decide who we want to be in the next phase of living.Â Itâs very healthy to stop and be still for a while. When the snow has finally melted and the days begin to warm, we crawl out of our cave and begin to move around. Hibernation is over. Â The sun feels sooo good!Â Itâs great to be outside again. We often see the world a little differently.Â Itâs as if there was a shift while we were still.Â Weâre ready to clean house, clear clutter and spring forth in ways we would not have considered before. Actually it is a march for freedom – from those things that no longer serve us, we donât like and love, or we didnât know we had in the first place.Â It is a relief to let go. All over town this weekend Iâve seen piles of garbage bags and various household possessions piled at curbsides for pickup.Â Garage doors are open as people can be observed moving all sorts of stuff.Â Â The newspaper is full of yard sale advertisements and even homes are being put up for sale.Â All of this is a springtime release, letting go of the old and opening doors to new possibilities. I have a friend who put her house on the market today.Â It was done with a sense of adventure for new beginnings.Â As we sorted through 20 years of life in that house, we discovered all sorts of treasures to be passed along to someone else.Â There was also a lot of trash â things that had not served a purpose for a long time and were literally cluttering up her house. With these kinds of experiences, there is a physical cleaning and there is also an emotional and psychological release. Digging through box after box of old memories brings them back to life. It stirs up all sorts of feelings and can be overwhelming!Â It also offers an opportunity for tremendous healing. We can choose to let go of stagnant thoughts and feelings, beliefs about ourselves that are not true and crusty old attitudes. We are not the same person we were 20, 30, or 40 years ago.Â All this is really a time to spring forth and release all that is no longer us. So let it go!! Â That then leaves space for the possibilities of the new person we can become.Â Until we clean out the clutter, there is no space for the new. So, I.M. Heart encourages everyone to intentionally spring forth âwith hope and optimism!!!!!!!
THE DIRTY DOZEN
Feelings! Feelings! Nothing more than feelings!Â I donât want to think about them! Instead I listen to the constant chatter in my head and then I
donât listen to my heart. For many people, feelings are not a favorite topic to think about or talk about.Â There are many reasons people refuse to take a look at their feelings.Â The top 12 or the dirty dozen are described in this blog. 1. Feelings HURT. I recently had a conversation with a friend who some years ago lost her husband, her buddy and best friend.Â At this point in
her life, she would like to have another relationship.Â However, she knows that she is still grieving the loss of her husband.Â She talked about a weekend grief seminar that she attended and how much it hurt to bring up the feelings related to her husbandâs illness and death.Â Her comment was, âI know that I need to work through some more of those feelings, but it hurts too much!â She is not alone in resisting this.Â Many people are reluctant to take a look at feelings because it brings the sting of the pain back to their awareness and they feel it all over again. They would rather walk around avoiding these bruises and scars than go through the process to heal them. The only problem with that strategy is that those unresolved feelings are like a brick wall around their life â and that wall is stopping many wonderful experiences. 2. I will get HURT again. All of us have had bumps and bruises in our life. They donât feel good!Â We often remember that hurt and protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. Why should we put ourselves in a similar situation, again, because we know we will be bruised one more time?Â The assumption is that weâll be rejected, embarrassed, or fail again and no matter how miserable and stuck we feel, weâre going to avoid that possibility. The fear of being hurt or failing is such a big elephant that we canât walk around it. It stops us cold in our tracks! The panic is so huge we canât take a step to overcome it. However, focusing on the unresolved hurt, instead of healing it stops us from trying something new â a relationship, job, or our lifelong dream – because we are afraid of being hurt again. Â So, this is a double-edged sword â the fear of being hurt stops us and as a result we stop ourselves from receiving something new in our lives. 3. I want to be SAFE. Sometimes we cling to the false belief that past experiences have taught us valuable lessons about being safe. Once hurt â never to be hurt again!Â Iâve heard several friends comment that they were no longer looking for a relationship, because it just wasnât worth the emotional turmoil.Â Many people are very lonely, but will not reach out to others because a new relationship would not be safe. They refuse to put themselves in a position to be hurt again.Â So, we build a brick wall around ourselves so that nobody can get close enough to hurt us.Â I had a friend who spent 5 years adding 50 pounds to her body as a means to be safe — the logic was that if she were heavier and unattractive, she would not attract another companion and get hurt again. Â When she decided to take down the brick wall, the 50 pounds also melted away and a new, healthyÂ relationship emerged. Â Consider that sometimes SAFE is more of a personally imposed prison, instead of a shelter or sanctuary. SAFE is not SAFE. 4. It has become a HABIT to avoid feelings, to stuff them.Â We are creatures of habit â unconsciously carrying out the same patterns of behavior â just because that is the way we have always done things. We follow the same pattern when we get up in the morning to get ready for work âshower, dress, eat breakfast, etc.Â This also applies to feelings. It becomes an accepted habit to tell ourselves that itâs ok if Joe was rude, Mary forgot my birthday, my boss took credit for my idea, or Bob didnât keep his promise. Any one of these things can generate feelings of anger, hurt, rejection, injustice or distrust. How do we deal with these feelings?Â Do we say, âOh, thatâs all right, I know he didnât really mean to do that?âÂ Â Do we make excuses for the other personâs behavior â while refusing to acknowledge that thereâs smoke coming out of our ears because we are so upset? Putting a false smile on our face while seething inside is a habit that is detrimental to our health.Â Pent-up feelings eventually explode or we become ill because we have stuffed them.Â Â Take care of yourself, deal with feelings, and live a healthy life. 5. Feelings are MESSY and OUT-OF-CONTROL. Â We donât want to wreck our image. Who wants to be seen as a blubbering idiot?Â That is soooo not cool!Â Â For some, showing feelings, particularly sad or painful ones is not acceptable.Â For some really cool cats, showing any kind of feelings â happy or sad — is not acceptable.Â Some people go through life in neutral — not being exceptionally happy or very, very sad.Â They donât allow themselves to experience the extremes either way â but choose to stay the middle course where strong feelings donât exist.Â Itâs cleaner that way.Â Everything stays in place and control, like a super tidy house with everything always perfectly in place. In those houses one often wonders where the stuff of everyday living is hidden. Likewise, with people living in neutral, one wonders whom this person is since there is no expression of feelings to indicate likes, dislikes, joy orÂ sadness, or any other feelings exhibited by humans.Â There is nothing of the wonderful complexity of a human being to share and enjoy. 6. Feelings are UNEXPECTED.Â Someone trips our trigger, or pushes our button and our emotions rage. We find our anger flaring, our gut in a knot and a string of expressive words roaring out of our mouth.Â We find we cannot stop the string of words â they flow like a flood â with such force that we are stunned at the sound of our own voice.Â Â We all have trigger points and when the button is pushed we respond as if on automatic pilot.Â It happens in an instant and the strength of the feeling drives us beyond our usual behavior.Â There is often a person, a specific situation, or a perceived injustice that serves as the trigger. Several years ago, some trees were cut down in the neighborhood, unnecessarily. One person was responsible for the push to have the woods cleared, ignoring the objections of other neighbors.Â One day she walked up to me and commented that, âDidnât I think it looked really nice to have the brush and trees cut?âÂ Instantly and very clearly I told her exactly how I felt about the situation. The words were out of my mouth before I knew what was happening. My âsave the treesâ trigger had been pushed. Â I later felt it necessary to apologize.Â However, this happens to all of us at one time or another.Â It is part of being human. 7. Society tells us to be LOGICAL and REASONABLE â not emotional. Culture has taught to value science, math, logic and reason. We have not been encouraged to notice and value feelings. Many people feel threatened by feelings strongly expressed.Â This is true whether its raging anger with yelling and screaming or pure, glorious happiness – beaming with joy. When observing strong feelings, some people are very uncomfortable and donât know how to respond to these extremes.Â They often donât know how to express their own feelings â so they are uncomfortable when others express these strong feelings.Â Â This aversion to feeling is like being stuck in neutral â feeling little joy, little pain – just huddled in the mundane everydayness of living. In neutral, one loses both the joys and sorrows of living. We are more alive when we feel and express the full range of feelings. Being aware of feelings makes living more intense and sometimes that is the very reason we avoid feelings. We are afraid the magnitude of feeling will overwhelm us. 8. Feelings INTERFERE WITH LIFE â one canât work, concentrate, focus, etc. when feelings are raging. Recently a friend of mine had built and purchased her dream house. She put her old residence on the market expecting it to sell quickly. It didnât. When we talked about this she was in a panic because paying double house payments was going to stretch her financially.Â She was so consumed with finding a solution that she could think of nothing else.Â The intensity of that situation was interfering with her ability to concentrate and work.Â Â Members of my family recently had some health challenges and in the midst of the illnesses I found my concentration lacking, my interest waning and a general inability to function.Â When one has a concern about the health and well-being of a loved one, the priorities change and what was once important ceases to be of consequence.Â All that matters is the healing of the family member. This kind of intense feeling is draining, leaving you exhausted and without energy. The ordinary functions of living seem unimportant.Â In these situations, we can be expected to be pre-occupied and anyone else who has experienced this understands this.
9 We are in a PITY PARTY. Feeling sorry for oneself has many benefits.Â It keeps you from really looking at those feelings and doing something about them. Very possibly, it can bring lots of attention from others, who are sincerely interested in helping you to get off the party wheel. For what happens in a pity party is that you donât want to stop the wheel.Â It is too much fun to go round and round, wallowing in the muck of feelings and maybe blaming someone or something else for the situation. I know this game and have played it â sometimes for long periods of time and sometimes Iâve been strong enough to kick myself in the rear and boot myself out of it. This party is actually not much fun, pretty depressing, and certainly keeps one stuck in the mud.Â Weâre so focused on feeling sorry for ourselves that we canât see any options to making the situation better or any way of moving ourselves forward. We are very busy keeping the party alive. However, this is a destructive party and I encourage all to end it. 10. There is a BENEFIT or PAYOFF to keeping feelings intact.Â When we hang onto negative feelings, there is some benefit or payoff that we are getting from doing that. The question isâ What is the benefit?âÂ Sometimes being hurt gets the attention of giving people, whereas if we are happy we donât get as much sympathy.Â Â Even better, people do things for us they wouldnât do if we were happy. Also, if we believe we donât have the ability to get that degree or a better job, then it keeps us from putting ourselves at risk of failing.Â We proved we didnât fail, but we also proved that we were too afraid to risk winning. The payoff — it keeps us exactly where we are in comfortable safe territory where we never have to stretch and grow.Â This lack of decision could be a life-threatening payoff. It could keep us in situations in which we feel no excitement, fulfillment or meaning in our lives. How many times have you seen people who are like the living dead?Â They are walking through life without living. There is always a payoff for not facing feelings.Â Feeding the payoff is a fear that is bigger and more powerful than taking steps for positive change. 11. We donât understand the BENEFITS OF HEALING feelings. Anger, rejection, or any other hurtful feelings are rocks that we are dragging through life.Â Sometimes if weâve carried the bruise for a long time, they become boulders that literally stop us from moving forward at all. We shut down our heart, make wimpy decisions, fail to take action, and limit our choices and options. Â They stop us from fully living our lives. We put on hold our potential for a loving, fulfilling, happy life. Trust me, there are great benefits in healing. 12. We see no HOPE of ever healing feelings.Â If we think we cannot heal them, we will probably not even try. If we believe the hurtful ones are an inevitable part of our life and cannot be changed, that will be our reality.Â Letâs be real â life will bring pain and it will bring joy. Â We can take the feelings from these experiences and use them to grow or we can use them to stop ourselves.Â Feel it to heal it! Donât drag feelings up from the deep only to let them float in top of the water and sink your boat. Allow them to surface, notice them with the intent to heal them, and process them until they heal.Â The process outlined in I.M. Heart works. Iâve lived it. Â I am in process. Â Is it always easy, painless, and quick?Â No, it is a process – just as life is a process â but the benefits of staying the course are great. What are the benefits of facing feelings? Â Honesty and healing opens up our lives and creates a world never imagined before.Â It gives us energy, hope and joy in everyday living. It changes how one sees the world.Â As the veil of fearful feelings lift, the world looks brighter and clearer.Â We are stronger so when challenges appear or reappear we are better equipped to handle them. I.M. Heart â I feel both joy and pain and welcome both as I live with heart. Blessings!
A STORY OF ANSWERED PRAYERS
Sometimes our life dramas resolve in miraculous ways. An answer comes that changes everything.Â Often this is something quite unexpected and unplanned. With surprise and awe we watch real life unfold in a way that touches that soft chord of our heart. In the story of this blog, a difficult family situation shifts when the dog, Cheyenne, opens the heart of an elderly man and his family. This reminds all of us that we are all so much alike in carrying both love and pain in our hearts.Â We are all family so let this story open your heart to you and then to those you love. Cheyenne â a story by Catherine Moore “Watch out! You nearly broadsided that car!” My father yelled at me. “Can’t you do anything right?” Â Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle. Â ”I saw the car, Dad. Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving.” Â My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts…. dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him? Â Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess. Â The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man. Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone. My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Â Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick We began to bicker and argue. Â Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s troubled mind. Â But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, “I just read
something that might help you! Let me go get the article…”Â I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog. I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. Â I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons: too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Â Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly. Â I pointed to the dog. “Can you tell me about him?” The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. “He’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we’ve heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.” He gestured helplessly. Â As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. “You mean you’re going to kill him?” “Ma’am,” he said gently, “that’s our policy. We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog.” Â I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. “I’ll take him,” I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. “Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!” I said excitedly. Â Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. “If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don’t want it” Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house. Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. “You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!” Â Dad ignored me. “Did you hear me, Dad?” I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw…Â Â Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal. It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at is feet. Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad ‘s bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne ‘s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father’s room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night. Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind. The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. Â And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Â ”I’ve often thanked God for sending that angel,” he said. Â For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: Â the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article… Cheyenne ‘s unexpected appearance at the animal shelter… his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father… and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all. Life is too short for drama or petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live while you are alive. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second chance. Â God answers our prayers in His time… not ours…
Are you living a pattern in your life that goes on and on, is not satisfying and from which you would like to be free?Â Letâs define a pattern as a continuing series of thoughts, feelings, behaviors or choices that you repeat over and over again. It is like a broken record of similar experiences.Â Many times this record plays the same song so many times and we get so accustomed to it we donât even see it. It is our normal.Â At other times, we see the pattern, become very frustrated at its repetition and yet donât know how to change it. Â The same drama of our life movie rolls over and over again.Â Nothing changes, our wishes are not fulfilled and our hope of a better life is lost. Stephanie is in such a pattern. In her childhood she experienced verbal abuse from her mother. As a child she hunkered down in protection, and now as an adult is still living out the negative pattern. She has been employed in numerous positions and each time she draws to herself an abusive supervisor in an unsupportive work environment.Â Each time a controversy occurs, she struggles with speaking up for herself.Â The choice is to walk away without saying anything or to defend herself.Â However, in defending herself, the long-standing feelings boil out. Tears, anger and a sense of injustice leap to the surface and often stop her ability to express herself. She is afraid of what she might say or do. Â It is as if she is again 10 years old, facing the abuse of her mother.Â Until she understands this pattern and heals the wound, this will continue to haunt her. Toni grew up with verbal and physical abuse from both parents. She feels that she could never do anything right, is fat and ugly and will not ever be good enough.Â Relationships have been a disappointment for her.Â The protective wall she built up as a child is tall and thick and although she has worked to tear it down, there are still many rocks in her way.Â Meaningful relationships elude her. She has achieved a PhD, is an accomplished professional, has raised two wonderful children, and is an intelligent, capable and loving person —- but —– is still is struggling to accept her own value and worth. All of us have experiences that create imprints on our feelings, beliefs and attitudes.Â We often carry these forward in our lives and unknowingly allow them to influence our choices and behaviors â long, long after the initial experience. Â The most common result is that we think and feel that we are less than others.Â With that belief, we create situations in our lives mirroring that belief. Â So, whatever unwanted patterns you are carrying,
be brave enough to take a look, heal the hurt and let it go.Â Talk to someone, use some of the many energy healing techniques and give yourself permission to change.Â Be patient and loving with yourself. You really are worth it!
THE LAUGHING CAT
Imagine a mechanical cat that rolls around on the floor, tail twitching and mouth opening and closing in spontaneous, gut-rolling laughter.Â The cat stops, takes a deep breath and laughs again with the same infectious, free, human sounding mirth.Â A few weeks ago, my friend Nancy and I went into Cool Stuff in downtown Columbia. As we entered the store, I heard this laughter, but it was not a cat, it was a dog. Needless to say, it caught our attention. We stopped and we were automatically giggling along with the dog.Â It felt really good just to laugh! So, I bought the cat, named Kitty. How creative is that! I have shared this silly and funny critter with many people since then.Â It has been so much fun to watch their responses.Â When Kitty first starts laughing, it takes most people a second to first respond because the laughter is unexpected. First you see a grin and for some people that is all you see. They cannot get beyond that.Â For others, the grin turns into a giggle.Â A third group goes from grin to giggle to full blown laughter, just like Kitty.Â Any motion or sound sets Kitty off into gales of laughter once again, so sometimes it takes several rounds of laughing before people feel comfortable enough to really break loose. Itâs amazing to watch! Laughter is a very powerful medicine. It is good for our whole body; releasing endorphins that give us a sense of well-being, improves our immunity to disease and protects our heart. To laugh gives us a sense of hope, keeps us positive and optimistic in times of sadness, disappointment or anxiety.Â Even in times of great difficulty, a laugh, or even a smile makes us feel better. Â We were born to laugh, play, have fun; as well as enjoy life and each other. Why is it so hard for some of us to break loose? In this time, many of us are laughing less. Some of have never laughed very much. A lot of people have not seen laughter as a daily part of living.Â From the people I observed, it seemed that several had forgotten how to laugh, some were reluctant to really let go and others just didnât think Kitty was funny. Â Whatever the reason, itâs time to begin a laughter movement. We can begin with a smile and work up to a giggle. If we really turn loose, we might even make it to belly laugh. How good would that feel?Â When was the last time you rolled in the floor in laughter?
I VALUE ME!!!!
Miranda was sitting by me as we waited to begin our volunteer duties at the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri.Â She was talking about wanting to see a specific movie. After a moment of quiet she said, âCan I ask you something?âÂ My comment was sure.Â She went on to say that she had a crush on a young man and had invited him to go to the movie with her.Â His response to her invitation was that he didnât know and would tell her tomorrow.Â She knew that meant that he didnât really want to go with her and would probably not even get back to her. There was another few seconds of silence after which she said, âI donât know if I even want him to go. I have been thinking that I deserve to have people around me who really value me and want to share my company.â Earlier in the day I had worked with a woman who was mourning a third divorce and was questioning why couldnât make a relationship work.Â Logically, she could look at her story as well as that of her former husband, and understand why even though they loved each other, the relationship had not worked.Â However, the feelings were still raw.Â She was alone, again, and had no hope of ever having a loving companion, friend and partner. Her words were, âI am a good person, have much love to give to a significant other and a family, but there must be something basically wrong with me.â Weâve all had experiences that have seemed to break our heart into pieces. Miranda seemed to understand that the answer to her invitation was not so much a reflection of her lack of worth as it was a chance to validate her worthiness.Â Bravo, Miranda!Â Â The second person had more experiences from which she felt rejected, unlovable and defective.Â History had repeated itself many times and the wounds were deeper and therefore harder to overcome. Â However, both of these women are fully and completely valuable â just like all the rest of us. We have to realize that challenges come to us not to punish us, but to help us learn the lessons we came to learn.Â It seems though, that all of us have a lesson to learn about worthiness. Whether it be in a relationship, job, business or social setting we all get smacked in the heart with experiences that test our sense of worth. This hurts, but hopefully we eventually wake up!Â Please understand that no matter what anyone says we are always worthy and valuable individuals. We often depend on others to tell us we are lovable and worthy, instead of looking inside to validate our own self-worth. We only criticize and judge ourselves instead of looking for our own greatness.Â We give no credit to our skills, talents or our huge loving hearts. So, this day, is the first day of worthiness for you.Â Begin by telling yourself, âI am a magnificent jewel! One of a kind! Today I am honoring and respecting all the brilliant and shiny aspects of me!â
A NEW NORMAL
What is normal?Â For some time people have been talking to me about being a normal person and living a normal life. It is interesting that each person has a different definition of the meaning of normal. In reality, normal is the everyday activities and interactions that have become the culture and custom in our lives. Over time this becomes our normal and we often assume that is the only and best normal for us.Â However, I want everyone to take a look at what might be a new normal. For Josie, Sara and Heather normal was a loving mother and father who nurtured and genuinely loved them, played with them and offered every opportunity for new and exciting learning experiences.Â However for Joan and Katie, normal was an alcoholic father, a mentally ill mother, and a house where drugs were always available. Verbal and physical abuse, neglect and a scarcity of food was a daily issue. These two sets of children grew up in two very different circumstances. Normal was extremely different for them.Â All five of these children grew up and established adult lives.Â Â For the three sisters, normal was college, then choosing an occupation they loved that fit their individual interests and skills. These three live in a much bigger world than the other two sisters. For the other two, relationships defined their future and choices often brought more pain than joy because that was normal.Â All were searching for fulfillment, love and acceptance, but normal was very different for the two sets of children as they became adults.Â Â Now, Joan and Katie have moved closer to the normal that Josie, Sara and Heather experienced from childhood, but it has taken many years of their lives to heal and discover the new normal for themselves.
We define normal by what we see and experience. Through that we develop beliefs, attitudes or images about ourselves and our place in the world.Â We often do not stop to examine our concept of normal. Is it our childhood definition? Does it really match who we are now? Â What is our ideal definition of normal for ourselves? What do we have to change to have the normal we want? For those who have grown up in a less-thanloving environment, a loving normal is often restricted. A defense mechanism is automatically in place. We donât even know what a real loving environment or relationship is like. Therefore when a new normal comes along we canât believe it and often want to run away in fear.Â Surely we canât trust that someone really likes, loves, values and will be kind to us. This is evident in body language and actions. I find it interesting to watch people greet each other.Â You will see people for whom everyone is a friend. A hug, kiss, big smile, or giant handshake is normal. They are free and liberally share with everyone. Â For others, it is a stretch to even smile, speak or extend a hand. A hug or kiss is a tight, cold, quick and it feels like someone has demanded that they actually reach out. Â This withdrawal or shyness is simply a result of their normal. We live in a world screaming for connection, love and meaning, yet we are reluctant to shake off the old normal and reach out for the new normal.Â So, take a look at how you define normal for yourself.Â Â Maybe, just maybe, it is time for a new normal. Â Give yourself permission to shed the old skin and open to a new one.
SETTING IT RIGHT
Conflicts and misunderstandings are a natural part of relationships. They can happen in an instant and cast a fog over the future. In these situations everyone has feelings about what happened and that often stops us from talking further. Many times we are afraid to address the issue with the person. It takes courage to say, âCan we talk about this? I want to set it right.âÂ Sometimes it is required that we apologize and at other times that we accept an apology.Â The bottom line it is that our intent is to listen, understand each other and set right the misunderstanding so that the hurt can be healed. When we set it right, we can let go of the feelings and are free to build real relationships. Nancy is a social worker who works with families. She has the experience to know the games that people play and strategies to address them.Â She is direct, and honest with parents in talking about the care of their children.Â Recently, her client was a grandmother taking care of her grandchild. Nancy was direct and straight forward in her instructions. Â Â She met resistance and found that she had offended the client. When she discovered this, she took a deep breath and called the grandmother to apologize.Â They talked and Nancy saw with new understanding the issues of this grandmother. Â By being brave enough to set it right, Nancy could put her head on her pillow and sleep easily knowing that she had done the right thing. This also allowed the grandmother to let go of the anger and take better care of her grandchild. Joe and Meredith have been in a relationship for five years. During this time they have had many misunderstandings. It has been important to both that they donât build up resentments or hurts that might fester and create a lack of communication or trust. This has not been easy and both have swallowed hard more than once before they opened their mouth and said, âI want to talk.âÂ However, they made a commitment to be open and honest and have kept that promise.Â Each seeks to set it right with love and understanding. Jane was running late for her meeting. She had let her time get away from her and then the phone rang as she was headed out of the office.Â It was an important client and she felt compelled to take it. Now she was going to be 20 minutes late.Â Jane took one more minute to pick up the phone and call the chair of the meeting, tell them she was going to be late and give an approximate arrival time. Having set it right, she could relax on her drive knowing that she had been thoughtful to the individuals gathered for the meeting. There are many examples of setting it right. Iâm sure you can think of some you have given or received.Â Many times setting it right is a small, simple courtesy.Â At other times, it is righting a wrong done to another person or making a commitment to be a better communicator. Setting it right benefits you.Â We often criticize ourselves unmercifully for small acts or feel guilt and shame for what weâve done. Setting it right lets you release that because you have done the right thing.Â It opens your heart to yourself and to others.
This is the day after Valentines Day, when everyone else got flowers, candy, cards, kisses and hugs, taken out to dinner and generally lavished with love. However, some people got none of these things.Â They might feel like left-overs. A friend of mine recently used the term âleft-overâ to refer to herself.Â She has wanted significant relationships for many years and nobody has come into her life.Â In a couple/family culture, she is an unattached person. There are many people who feel alone, or a left-over.Â Even though we have friends, those people have families and that is their priority.Â Sometimes we want more from friendships, not just acquaintances, but some connection and substance in a real relationship.Â People with whom we can have a stimulating, even controversial conversation and in that we stretch and change.Â At times we may feel like we live on an inland where we are the alien and the islanders donât speak the same language.Â In our families we may feel the same way.Â Ideally we think of the family unit as safe haven where we are always loved and accepted.Â As all of you know, that ideal is not always reality. Family conflicts and personalities can mar relationships and instead of a warm, nurturing environment, it may feel like the war zone. Â We can even be in a significant relationship or marriage and still feel alone. At some time every one of us has felt rejected, abandoned, unloved, abused, or misunderstood.Â The people around us have also felt those feelings.Â Please understand that we are not alone in feeling like we are âleft-over.âÂ So, now what can we do about it? We have a tendency to isolate ourselves when we feel this way and this only makes the situation worse. The ball of fear and self-doubt only gets bigger as we curl up in our blankie, with our favorite junk food as our only friend.Â Iâm watching another friend avoid social situations and personal interactions as she talks about everyone having a man except her. All hope is gone and to rise up from this low point takes pulling oneself up by the boot straps and saying, âMove it baby! The pity party is over. Thereâs a world out there.Â You wonât find it here!â A third friend once spent her time in this fetal position and has now come out of the cocoon only to discover a huge wonderful world out there.Â She is happy! Â She has worked and worked on healing her wounds, and false beliefs.Â There are patterns of behaviors or choices that we repeat over and over.Â She is unraveling the web of history that has held her hostage. On her face there is a wonderful, big smile!Â She is still in process,
but each day is a new day for her. So, if you are feeling âleft-overâ, know that it is possible to feel like a strawberry dipped in chocolate â much wanted, valued and loved! Â Valentines Day is hard for many people because of all the commercialized expectations.Â It is just one day. We live every day and every day is new!
ARE YOU AVAILABLE, VALENTINE?
Itâs been interesting to watch the commercials for Valentines Day.Â The new line this year is, âSay I love usâ â not you or me, but âus.âÂ This is something that is very heart-warming. It is an opportunity to say to someone, âIâm me, but Iâm a better me because of us. I love all of you. Thank you for loving all of meâ. Â In a world where we all crave real human real connection, relationships and partnerships, this message opens our hearts to appreciate those people we love. So the question is: How available are you to âus?âÂ This is a concept that we may not have considered, so I am asking you to do so. Â It can make all the difference in a relationship.Â Many times we are not willing to open our hearts to the fullest because we are afraid of being hurt. We open them part-way, but always keep a part closed off because if we opened fully we would be way too vulnerable. Itâs like agreeing to love someone, but always keeping a back door open for escape in case the loving gets too hard or we get very hurt. We can slam our heart closed and run because we knew it wouldnât work anyway. Relationships can be fragile. We often have the misconception that relationships are easy.Â Real ones are the hardest commitment we will ever make. That is because they are honest, open, evolving and full of thunderstorms and pot holes to be faced together.Â Â Many of us were never told that the reason for real relationships is to help each other grow and stretch — if we are brave enough to stay available. Is this sometimes scary? Yes, but very much worth the effort! Â Misunderstandings happen more often than we know. Trust is easily broken and not so easily mended. In real relationships, we can talk and tell the other person anything.Â We are totally free to be ourselves, knowing that we are fully accepted and loved just the way we are right now. We watch movies and television in which relationships are depicted as this fairy tale of love and forever happiness. The real life experiences of many of us prove that to be a fantasy.Â A friend of mine is in a new relationship and she is scared. She wants to run, and yet wants the relationship. She is sometimes available and sometimes not â but she is aware and working on being open. In long-term relationships, people change and the dynamics of the relationship also change. I have friends who have traveled through all kinds of curves and mountains with availability shifting on the ride. Â Sometimes we choose to close the door and at others times to open it even further. Do you know how available you are?Â Often we are not available because we feel that we are unworthy or unlovable. We have been hurt and weâre not going to trust ourselves or anyone else ever again.Â Weâve locked the door, and put a padlock on our heart.Â So, this Valentines Day, check your availability. If you are in lock-down, be a Valentine to yourself and open the door a crack to yourself, first.Â Be available to nurture, adore, appreciate and love you!Â Second, look at relationships. If some of those are in lock-down, take the bolt off and take a peek at the other person.Â Can you open the door a bit more or maybe wide open to let them in? Â Are you brave enough to be available?
WHAT IF, IT'S ABOUT ME --- NOT THEM?
The question is: What if itâs about me â not them?Â Â In a conversation yesterday, a friendÂ Â reminded me that it is indeed about us and not about others. Let me explain. In our lives, people and events influenced our development as a person. Sometimes these situations were loving, warm, compassionate, fun and happy. Sometimes circumstances have brought us into situations in which we were judged, rejected, abused, or bullied.Â The cruelty and meanness shouldnât have happened.Â Whether we were children or adults, it was still wrong! Â BUT â the issue is not what they did, but how we have handled it.Â We canât control what others do and we canât change what has happened in the past.Â Â However, many of us carry around the scars left by those interactions.Â These scars control our lives. They stop us from seeing ourselves as worthy, talented, fantastic people and influence our every choice and behavior.Â So, even though they did it, it is still about how we live with it.Â Do we choose to handle it by hunkering down and avoiding life? Â Do we choose to handle it by facing off the scar, healing and embracing life? There is a big difference in those choices.Â The really sad fact is that many people donât even know that they have a choice. My friend was abused, beaten and humiliated all of her childhood. For years she has carried around the scars of these experiences. Recently she made a decision that she was tired of her life as it was.Â She could not remember all the experiences, but wanted them cleared out of her consciousness so that she could be happy and enjoy her life.Â Diligently, she has scraped the scars away â one at a time. Â Often this is how it works.Â It is like peeling an onion â one layer healed reveals another layer with a hurt.Â Each time we cry and then heal.Â In this effort she has used a variety of healing modalities such as hypnotism, emotional freedom technique, silence and quiet for reflection, and friends. She has not seen a âprofessionalâ, but may seek one if needed.Â She has talked it out with a trusted, caring friend.Â The key here is that she chose to look with courage and honesty at what was blocking and limiting her life —– with the intent to change it! Is this necessarily easy? NO!Â It is however, worth the roller coaster ride.Â She is discovering a new, fun, outgoing person that she has not known before. She now introduces herself to total strangers, when before she would not have spoken.Â She is closer to family and friends because she is allowing herself to be her real self. She is calmer, more peaceful with her life as it is, and more adventurous about the future.Â Finally, she is still peeling away at that onion, because she knows there are more false beliefs; old, stale attitudes; and hurt feelings that need her attention.Â She made an interesting comment about anger, and resentment. Those very negative feelings are gradually leaving and although she has not yet forgiven those people who have hurt her, the sting is not as strong.Â She is in process and as I.M. Heart would tell you, that takes time.Â Those people may have committed the crime, but she has not allowed their action to keep her in prison.Â Itâs all about her and how she chooses to forgive, let go, and live!
THE END OF MY NOSE
A friend of mine made a most profound statement last week. She said, âI can control everything to the end of my nose. If something happens
beyond that, I figure it is not something I can control.âÂ She went on to say that she has learned to let go and not get tense and anxious about the actions of other people or everyday situations. This has made a significant difference in her life! My friend works as a supervisor in a retail operation.Â She manages and directs people all day long in serving a diverse and ego-centric customer base. She works hard and is very clear about expectations of staff.Â If these arenât met, she is also very direct about the consequences.Â As a manager, she has established control of the work environment.Â However, the choices or behaviors of staff and customers are beyond the end of her nose. The rules have been established for staff, but customers are unpredictable. She strives to provide the best in service, but attitudes, actions and words of customers are their choice, and beyond the end of her nose. In our personal relationships, we often seek to manipulate and control those we love the most. Maybe that comes from pure selfishness or mean spiritedness. Maybe it comes from a fear of abandonment, being alone, or anxiety about being loved and lovable. There are many reasons. Sometimes we do irrational things in the name of love. Control games can have serious consequences on the quality of a relationship and often come back to bite us in the rear.Â What we give out comes back to us in ways we may not like. These may not seem very loving, but then maybe our actions werenât loving in the first place. Â If we really, really love someone, we know and accept them for whom and what they are. We know the angel and the devil in them, we love all those aspects, and we donât set out to control or change them.Â The best parents know that they can provide a firm and loving foundation for their children, but each is an individual. That child will make choices and take actions that are beyond the end of the nose of that parent. We have talked before about control and our tendency to want to control people or situations that are none of our business, not our deal, or simply not ours to control. We want what we want when we want it — our way or the highway.Â Â After all, we are absolutely correct in our assessment of how this should happen and the end result. Maybe and maybe not?Â The point is that we create stress, anxiety, impatience, anger, or hurt for ourselves, while the other person is busy just doing their thing.Â They live beyond our nose and maybe it would be healthier for us if our nose stayed out of their business.
AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN
Life can change suddenly. Our world can turn upside down in a matter of moments.Â How we handle those unexpected events makes all the difference. We can gnash our teeth and fight what is. Many of us are such control freaks that this is an automatic reaction.Â An option is to accept, surrender and be open to an adventure that we could not have known, seen or planned for. âYou can take from each experience what it has to offer you.Â And you cannot be defeated if you just keep taking one breath followed by anotherââ Oprah Winfrey.Â I really liked this quote.Â It can mean many things and each of you can take from it what is significant for you. Â Many times we are so fixed in our ideas and direction that we cannot see clearly. When it doesnât go as expected, we canât step back and look closer. The real blessing or opportunity is often missed because of our tunnel vision. Maybe what we expected was not in our best interest and what we got instead was really the gift. Â Although we may feel that we have lost, we cannot give up.Â So, as Oprah says, breathe and keep breathing. Keep taking steps into the unknown again and again. We want life to be tidy. It feels safe and secure when all the pieces of the puzzle fit neatly in the box just the way we have imagined and planned. When I was a kid I thought I would grow up and have all the answers. I would never be uncertain, confused or afraid. Â I would know the purpose and path of my life and would march merrily on my way. Hmmm!!! Somehow it didnât work that way! We grow and learn the most when we step out of the box and have the chance to experience a new part of ourselves. That has happened to me again and again and again. I suspect it has also happened for many of you. Again and again and again â can be exciting, stimulating, a real adventure.Â We start over many times in our lives, in a variety of ways.Â We are often not aware of this continual shifting and change.Â Each moment of each day is a change to begin again with a relationship, career, or business.Â Think of starting again as opening the door to the treasure chest of what will bring you happiness, fun, fulfillment, purpose, love, friends, family, or joy.Â Open the door in faith and hope and invite life in â again and again and again.
In the winter, various creatures curl up in a ball, sleep and ignore the world.Â Most often we think of hibernation as something done by a fourlegged critter. However, the two-legged variety can also go into the cave, pull the door shut and retire from the world.Â If we are honest, all of us have at one time or another gone into hibernation. Some of us stay for a short while, some for the winter season, and some of us never crawl out of the cave. I.M. Heart has been in hibernation since the end of 2010.Â You havenât heard from us.Â Weâve opened the door and are just beginning to crawl out. Some days we bask in the sunshine and on other days we crawl back in and pull the covers over our head.Â During this time weâve been playing hide and seek.Â This means hiding from the world and in the isolation and solitude, seeking oneself. This is a healthy exercise as long as we donât just keep circling around the issues, without really seeking an answer and a new direction. I.M. Heart was shut in the cave with an ample supple of Haagen-Daas pineapple coconut ice cream, Dove chocolates and red wine.Â While other food was available, these three were the foods of choice.Â Activities included: sleep and more sleep, walking the floor, eating, painting, and a phenomenal amount of television.Â The game was flipping the channels to watch two or three shows or movies at once. In reality, none of the shows were good enough to merit watching solo, let alone surviving the commercials. Was all of this satisfying? Â No, it was not, but there was no interest, energy or motivation to do anything else. Was depression an issue? Yes, very definitely! How does one crawl out of this hole? By being honest with ourselves about why we closed the door as well as not criticizing or judging this rite of passage in the cave. It is as it is in this moment.Â In this cocoon, we have the chance to be still, quiet, and reflective. This gives us a chance to be real, honest and clear about what is working in life, what is not working and what we want to do about it. Â Â It gives us a chance to communicate with that higher power, listen to the beat of our heart and the song of our soul.Â In this sanctuary, we have the opportunity to heal what hurts, cry and
laugh, and re-kindle the flames of inspiration, hope and faith.Â In the cave, we can dismantle who we are, spread the pieces out to look at them and then re-assemble ourselves. In doing that, we emerge a different person than when we entered the cave. Hibernation can be a life-changing journey.
THE CHOCOLATE OF LIFE
Chocolate! Many of us love chocolate. I love chocolate!Â Knowing this, my friend Peter asked me to do an experiment with chocolate. Â He set the stage by arranging a red cloth napkin on the table and carefully placing a nicely wrapped box of chocolates on the napkin.Â I was asked to open the box, choose a piece of candy, hold it in my hand and do not put it in my mouth.Â After I chose my piece, Peter chose his. As I waited for my next instruction, I began looking at the piece of chocolate. I donât think Iâve even really looked so closely at a piece of chocolate â Iâve always just eaten it. Peter grinned as he saw me looking at the candy.Â âThat was what I was going to tell you to do,â he said. Â Â We both spent a few minutes examining the piece of chocolate and then Peter told me to put a bite of it in my mouth and let it melt. I was told to close my eyes and totally experience the sensations and tastes of that one piece of candy.Â In the quiet stillness of these moments, I felt an absolute joy in savoring this piece of chocolate. It was wonderful to totally and completely enjoy something I loved. Â This was an eye-opening experience for me. We often stick a piece of chocolate in our mouths and suck or chew it as quickly as we can â not stopping to savor the taste, feel, texture, and smell of this one piece of candy.Â Then we put in another piece and eat it as quickly as possible. How quickly can you eat one piece of chocolate? Â I know friends who do not buy chocolate or keep it in the house because they will eat a whole bag and never stop until the last piece has been consumed. They donât savor it or even really taste it; they just eat it as quickly as possible.Â People talk about having an addiction to chocolate â but when eaten this way, it seems like it is just a way to fill a huge void in our lives. Sadly enough no matter how much chocolate we eat, it doesnât fill up the hole. There are many frustrations, challenges and responsibilities in our daily lives. Â Sometimes these overwhelm us. We donât savor life, we just survive it.Â Â Often the small pleasures of life that we could enjoy are not even noticed. They are chewed up and swallowed in the run to the next moment. So in 2011, forget the multiple resolutions, and just make one.Â My resolution for 2011 is to savor life like a fine piece of chocolate!
CHRISTMAS IS THE LIGHT OF LOVE
During this time, we light up our world. Many of us put decorative lights on the outside of our homes. On the inside many families have a tree and other festive decorations in celebration of Christmas.Â The warm glow of candle light graces table tops, mantles and windows. The star is a symbol of light and is often at the top of our trees or in lights in our yards.Â With all of this lighting of the world surrounding us, what about the light within us?Â Christmas is magic, love and light â but is comes from inside our own hearts, not just from what we create outside of us. For many, Christmas is not a time of light, but a time of shadow.Â The expectations of Christmas advertised in the media overwhelm from Halloween forward. The perfect picture of decorations, families, presents, dinners, parties, laughter, sharing and happiness is for many people not a reality. Many people face this time lonely or alone, sad and disillusioned; with little hope, peace or joy and no prospect of love. Â The light of Christmas is expected to shine from outside of them and they cannot find the light that shines in their heart. For all of us whether we are happy or sad, Christmas is a time of birth – a time to open our hearts â honestly and sincerely.Â It is a time to open our hearts to love, peace, faith and joy.Â These are the true gifts of Christmas. They come not wrapped in shiny paper and fancy bows, but inÂ peeling away the layers of resentment, regret, anger, false beliefs and fear.Â They come wrapped in compassion, forgiveness, understanding, connection and love for ourselves, others and for the spirit of love itself.Â Whether or not you have the ideal Christmas, the perfect Christmas comes from giving all the love you have to give to those around you and accepting all the love that others can give you. The exchange of loving actions, thoughts and feelings may not be your dream or ideal, but accept the best that others have to offer.Â Open your heart to give and receive the best you can in this moment. Will there be disappointments or hurts? Maybe, just maybe those are also gifts â shining in your face for healing. Donât run, stop and look, to heal. With healing the love in your heart shines brighter. The light of Christmas comes from opening our hearts.Â If we find hurt or pain, it is a time to allow healing.Â It is a time to start or renew a relationship with that divine energy of love which offers us appreciation of: beauty of the dÃ©cor of the season, wonderful music, church services and programs,Â planning special pleasures for yourself or sharing with others, or quiet time for reflection. It is a time to open your heart to love you!Â Let that light glow and grow brighter and brighter through this time and into the newyear.
CHRISTMAS IS FOREVER
Christmas is forever, not for just one day, for loving, sharing, giving, are not to be put away like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf. The good you do for others is good you do yourself. By: Norman W. Brooks I really liked this poem. It says so much about living our lives everyday, not on just ONE day. We get so hung up on ONE day being a time for loving ourselves and each other. Thereâs Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and each of these is to be ONE special day. Itâs great to make these days more special, but every day is special. There can be bells, lights and tinsel every day when we are loving, sharing and giving. I feel good when I give and share genuinely from my heart to yours. You feel good to receive my honest and real love. When we can open our hearts to each other, there are lights, candles and stars everyday â shining bright and beautiful. There is so much hype about the day of Christmas. On this ONE day we are to give each other gifts, be kind and compassionate, happy and loving, and enjoy fellowship with each other. Bah Humbug!!!!!!!!!!! The hype takes away the ability for many of us to be with each other on this day. We are too busy buying the perfect present, fixing a gourmet meal, and having beautifully decorated home. Now we have ONE day when we are to be
share our love with family and friends – but – we are exhausted, frazzled, filled with unrealistic expectations, dread spending the day with our mother or our father-in-law, and canât wait for the day to be over. Yeah, Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!! Iâll pass on this ONE. Letâs get to December 26 and the live the forever, everyday Christmas with open hearts. The last chapter of the book, I.M. Heart, talks about connecting with each other with heart â every day not just on Christmas. Itâs simple. Itâs taking care of each other â being concerned about each other. Itâs a kind word, a real hug, a genuine smile, helping someone, really listening, sharing a laugh or a cry, enjoying someoneâs company, telling someone you love them, saying an honest thank you, encouraging someone, or forgiving yourself and others, etc. However, before you can lovingly connect to others, you have to face yourself. Stand before a mirror and be absolutely brutally,yet compassionately honest with yourself. Listen to what you are thinking and feeling about your value and worth, who you are and what you want. Just like Christmas, your journey is more than one day. It is also forever. The greatest present you can give this Christmas is the love in your heart â to yourself. You can to be your own present. Everyday, give to yourself the loving presents you would give to others. Then you can have bells, lights, tinsel, stars, and candle light everyday.
The search warrant said: âWanted â I.M. Heart. Wanted for false beliefs about self worth and value. When found remind I.M. Heart of how precious, loving, and wonderful she/he is.â âNOBODY WANTS YOU!Â YOU ARE NOT WANTED OR VALUED!âÂ Â I.M Heart was stunned when he realized these words were something he believed to be true. Logically, he knew that they were not true – he could think of many experiences that proved them wrong. Yet, with a sinking feeling he realized that he DID believe that he was not wanted.Â In stunned silence, he stopped! He could see past patterns of behaviors, attitudes and decisions that were a reflection of this – withdrawal, isolation, shyness or aggressiveness.Â All were based on the false belief that he was not wanted. Just like you, I.M. Heart has false beliefs about self. For years, this character has worked to uncover and heal those that limit and serve as road blocks to personal growth and success. The layers of the onion have been peeled and peeled again. With each layer, a dark energy of fear has been removed to allow the light of love to shine more brightly. This is the process of living with feelings â a process of continual change and rebirth. Some of these layers have peeled away easily and quickly, while some have taken time and more dedication to change. After all of this time, yet another unexpected and false belief has come to the surface for healing.Â We donât even know we have these beliefs. They often float in our awareness as thoughts and feelings and we are only vaguely aware of them. Then something happens that beings them to our attention. They have come to the surface for healing, for us to look at and let go.Â We can stuff this back down, but they will only come back again â more insistently and loudly.Â They are saying, âListen to me — free me and you!â Sandra Dawson says that many people suffer with beliefs that there is something wrong with them. These beliefs lead to behaviors that make our life less than rewarding and happy. Each negative belief we have about ourselves is a lie. We learned them from past experiences – from people who should have been loving or supportive and werenât.Â The past is over and we cannot change that.Â However, today we can be honest and brave. We can face these head-on and change them.Â We can learn to believe in us, expect the best and get it!Â Â Now is a perfect time to give you the gift or being wanted, valued, and loved.
A HOLIDAY FOR DOGS AND PEOPLE!
This is the holiday season when expectations abound for good cheer, love, fellowship and happiness. However, in the rush, we often lose sight of what is really important.Â The following came to me in an e-mail. It has words of wisdom that apply to all us in this season and throughout the year.Â Enjoy!
AÂ Dog’sÂ Purpose? (from aÂ Â 6-year-old). Being a veterinarian, I had been called toÂ Â examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’sÂ owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for aÂ miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer.Â I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered toÂ perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in theirÂ home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me theyÂ Â thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe theÂ Â procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from theÂ experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in myÂ Â throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if heÂ understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slippedÂ Â peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’sÂ transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad factÂ that animal lives are shorter than humanÂ lives.Â Shane, whoÂ had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I knowÂ why.” Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of hisÂ Â mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comfortingÂ Â explanation. It has changed the way I try and live. HeÂ Â said, ”People are born so that they can learn how to live a goodÂ Â life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice,Â Â right?” The Six-year-old continued, ”Well, dogs alreadyÂ know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.” LiveÂ simply. LoveÂ generously. Care deeply.
SpeakÂ kindly. Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learnÂ things like: When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never pass up the opportunity to go for aÂ Â joyride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind inÂ your face to be pure Ecstasy. Take naps. StretchÂ before rising. Run, romp, and play daily. Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. On warm days, stop to lie on your backÂ on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie underÂ a shady tree When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’reÂ not. If what you want lies buried, dig until you findÂ it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit closeÂ by, and nuzzle them gently. ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OFÂ EVERY DAY!
I'm Thankful for YOU!
I hope you heard these words today as you celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends.Â It means a lot to know that other people are appreciative of your presence in their life. Â These words are a special way to tell people that we love and care for them. To say that we are thankful affirms that you add value and a joy in another personâs life. That is indeed a high compliment. My cousin said the prayer at our dinner table and spoke in appreciation of all present and others not with us. Â I was touched by that. Â Too often in families we forget to appreciate those closest to us. Â We take for granted that they will always be there. That is not reality.Â None of us know who will be at the dinner table next Thanksgiving.Â While we travel this journey together, we have the present time to share and open our hearts to one another. Several friends called with messages of Happy Thanksgiving. However, three special messages touched my heart. I received an unexpected phone call today from a long-time, much loved friend telling me that I was a wonderful blessing in his life. A woman who is like a mother called to say she was thankful for me. Â An e-mail from a friend who I value very much said, âThankful am I to have your friendship, your love and your kind heart in my world. Have a happy Thanksgiving and know when I count my blessings, you will be at the top of the list.â Â I am blessed to have these people love me.Â I am further blessed that they could share that with me. Who are you thankful for?Â Have you told them?Â Often we do not know how our words and actions affect others â and how much they need to know they are loved and appreciated. Everyone has their trials and tribulations to walk through. Simply knowing that someone values you in their life means a lot. In fact, it may make all the difference in their ability to cope with life. To say âIâm thankful for youâ to another person is also a reflection of how thankful you are for yourself. Remember, our inner thoughts and feelings are reflected in our words and actions. Â The ability to share our appreciation for someone else shows that we also have an appreciation for ourselves. Congratulations! Â What a wonderful blessing you have given yourself.
I'M THANKFUL FOR...........
Some families gather around the table for Thanksgiving dinner and before they eat everyone shares what they are thankful for.Â We tried that with the people gathered around our table last year and there was a variety of responses.Â Some people immediately knew something they for which they were thankful.Â A couple of them had to think about it before they could answer.Â Two people really didnât ever think of anything and one seemed embarrassed that we had even asked. This is probably a representative sampling of responses that we might expect from most tables of Thanksgiving diners.Â I am going to make the assumption that everyone has at some time been thankful, even though they might not remember or express that thanks.Â Â It may have been a fleeting moment, but nevertheless was felt. Thankfulness is often lost in the blur of hype and activity surrounding this time of year. However, this is
the perfect time of the year to open your heart in gratitude for the many blessings all around us every day. We have many common things to be thankful for such as: health, relationships, opportunities and abundance.Â In being thankful for the big picture items, we often forget to be thankful for the ordinary, seemingly insignificant, everyday minutia that is a huge part of our lives. There are many, many moments that offer blessings and wonders, if only we will stop to notice.Â They can bring much meaning and joy — every moment of every day. I challenge each one of you to stop this Thanksgiving and spend quiet time with yourself to consider what you are thankful for.Â Think about it this way: What in my life, every day, gives me pleasure or comfort?Â What do I look forward to?Â Who do I enjoy being around?Â What do I appreciate about myself?Â If I could make the next 10 minutes the very best â what would I choose to do?Â Only you can create thankfulness for what you value in your life.Â However, first you have to recognize that you are thankful. Â Why do this? Â Because it will change your perspective on every day and allow you to see and enjoy all the wonders swirling around you that you might have missed. Even in tough times, there is much to be thankful for. Â When we have an attitude of thanksgiving, it takes the edge off the troubling times and allows us to live through it more easily. It makes a difference in our happiness level and focuses us on positives in our lives.Â So, look inside to your feelings and thoughts. What you are truly thankful for?
I happened to watch Oprah last week.Â During the show, the topic of âforgivenessâ was discussed.Â The following is the definition of forgiveness that was shared by Oprah. I apologize to the author whose name I did not capture.Â However the definition is: âForgiveness is giving up the hope that the past should have been different and moving on from here. It is not saying that what happened was ok, just that it was the past.â What does it mean to forgive?Â The dictionary says it means to: pardon, cease to resent, overlook, let pass, excuse, let bygones be bygones, laugh it off, bury the hatchet, make allowance, or release. All these words tell us what it means to forgive, but actually doing it is often a whole different story.Â Just letting it go is often hard for us to do. We have difficulty forgiving others, but often we find it even harder to forgive ourselves. The definition of forgiveness from the Oprah Show contains a message about forgiveness only suggested by the dictionary.Â It is: âGiving up the hope that the past should have been differentâ¦.âÂ The past wasnât different and we canât change it. Those moments live in our memory, and we often re-live them over and over.Â However, we canât travel back in time to change the people or events that took place.Â In many situations we have been wounded and hurt. We would have hoped that instead of hurt, we would have been loved.Â It should have been different!Â Forgiveness comes from the acceptance that it wasnât different. It was as it was.Â By hanging onto the hope that it should have been different, it keeps brewing inside us.Â Itâs like there is a pot of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings boiling over flickering flames. We keep hoping for the fire to go out and the pot to cool. It canât go out because all of our attention on this past experience is fanning those flames. We continue to try to cope with what should have been instead of letting go and moving forward. The only way to move on is to change where we focus the hope. Â Give up the hope that the past should have been different. Instead, put all of your expectations and intention on the hope that the future will be different. Â This lightens the burden that we carry by shifting our attention, feelings and thoughts not on what could or should have been, but instead focusing on what can and will be. Â It gives you your power back.Â It shifts your energy to the positive, instead of the negative. This is a huge! Â Go for it!
UP OR DOWN??
âMay I never miss a sunset or a rainbow because I am looking down.â â Sara June Parker.Â This quote struck a chord as I thought of the interactions Iâve had with others in the last few days. There are many meanings that can be taken from it. A good friend of mine lost her job last week. Another was hurt in a fall. A third had a huge release of feelings about her parents. A fourth had some ah-ha moments as she had a spirited talk with her daughter. Finally, one is facing continuing health concerns. All of these folks had good reason to look down â at least for a moment or two.Â However, all chose â instead – to look up. In this time of drama, trauma and fear in our world, all of these people wrapped their arms around the personal events in their lives with courage and an adventurous attitude.Â Yes, they looked down and may have shed a tear of two, but then they intentionally looked up. Both good and bad things happen to all of us. It is life. No matter what happens to us, we have a choice of which road to take. We can travel down the poor me, pity party, itâs not fair, Iâm so hurt highway and never see a sunset or a rainbow. At this time of year, on this road there is nothing but dirt, rocks, mud, dried up grass and weeds. However, there is even a positive side to even these parts of nature.Â Even as the earth gets ready for winter, there is value and good. That is the point and the people above chose to see the best in each of their situations. These people see the bigger picture in looking up. They all know that they are bigger than the situations that surround them.Â Each knows that within each of them resides the sunset and the rainbow. They understand that at the very heart of who they are, is the center of love from God. This center serves as a harmonizer and healer â for the body, feelings and thoughts.Â They face each day with an inner knowing that everything will be all right, even though they do not know the outcome now. It is this faith that keeps us looking up, not down. It touched my heart that each of these people had reason to be very afraid and instead each took the high road.Â In looking up, instead of down, they changed the outcomes of their lives.Â In your life, choose to look up instead of down.
âI work so hard, am a good partner and friend, take care of my family, and am active in the community. I am always busy because I like to help others and then include some activities that nurture me. No matter how much I do, or the extra effort I make it never seems to be enough. Iâm tired! Why is all this not enough? Am I not enough?â Iâve had several people share feelings like this recently. Seems that we are running on a wheel just like a gerbil and no matter how hard and fast we run, we cannot run fast enough.Â We may â¦â¦â¦run from one thing to another; have extraordinary expectations of ourselves; attempt to please
everyone else; be perfect; be highly critical or what we do; and enjoy very little of the race.Â The people who shared this have worked hard all their lives, and are indeed very competent, dependable, skilled and respected.Â Yet —-they donât respect themselves.Â Whatever they accomplish or achieve, they are never enough! Many of us are driven – driven to the point of destruction. Â We have to prove to the world that we are ok, acceptable, lovable, smart, attractive, normal and the list goes on and on. Sometimes we donât even know why we are in the race, it is just something we have always done and we donât even know how to stop. We donât know how to be quiet, still, peaceful and contented. We are so busy doing.Â Often the multitudes of things we are doing are not really fulfilling us like we want. Itâs like we are searching for who we are â the real us. Maybe the search involves not so much doing, but is really about being.Â This means being in the moment â with whatever that moment brings – thoughts, feelings, awareness of ourselves, our surroundings and others in this moment. We can only live one moment at a time, and we often spend our time everywhere else but this moment.Â When we live in this moment consciously, then we can more clearly and calmly see the next moment. This is very different than the frantic and hurried existence that is familiar to many of us. In this moment, we are enough.Â In fact we are more than enough. We have always been and will always be enough.Â Â Who we are is not the roles, schedules, and parts we play in the drama called living.Â We are enough because we are all equally valuable, lovable and worthy, no matter what we do.Â In Godâs eyes we are more than enough in all the moments of 24/7.Â How do we begin to appreciate that in ourselves? Start by stopping the judging, criticism, and expectations of more than is humanly possible.Â Give yourself a break and start by seeing yourself as a loving, loved and lovable being.Â You are enough!
A JOURNEY CALLED LIFE
Hello from I.M. Heart â this was sent to me in an e-mail â thought it might provide food for thought for several reasonsÂ I.M. has talked about lending a helping hand in kindness. Many times we have mentioned our connections to each other. See ifÂ there is an application to your life. Enjoy! A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and wife open a package.Â âWhat food might this contain?â, the mouse wondered.Â He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.Â Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning: âThere is a mousetrap in the house!âÂ The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, âMr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me.Â I cannot be bothered by it.âÂ The mouse turned to the pig and told him, âThere is a mousetrap in the house!âÂ The pig sympathized, but said, âI am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray.Â Be assured you are in my prayers.âÂ Â The mouse turned to the cow and said, âThere is a mousetrap in the house!âÂ The cow said, âWow, Mr. Mouse. Iâm sorry for you, but itâs no skin off my nose.âÂ So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmerâs mousetrapÂ Â . . . Alone . . . That very night a sound was heard throughout the houseÂ Â — The sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.Â The farmerâs wife rushed to see what was caught.Â In the darkness, she did not see it.Â It was a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap.Â The snake bit the farmerâs wife.Â The farmer rushed her to the hospital.Â When she retuned home she still had a fever.Â Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup.Â So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soupâs main ingredient: chicken. But his wifeâs sickness continued.Â Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock.Â To feed them the farmer butchered the pig.Â Big, alas, the farmerâs wife did not get well. . . She died.Â So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon. And the mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.Â So the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and you think it doesnât concern you, remember— When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.Â We are all involved in this journey called life.Â We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.Â Remember â EACH OF US IS A VITAL THREAD IN ANOTHER PERSONâS TAPESTRY. OUR LIVES ARE WOVEN TOGETHER FOR A REASON.
CAN WE JUST BE HONEST????
Can we simply be honest?Â It is absolutely amazing how much misunderstanding and confusion could be eliminated if we could only say what we mean and mean what we say. Instead we leave people guessing about what we feel and think â as well as what we are really going to do or not do.Â Honesty is essential to communication and building relationships.Â We often think we are so clever and diplomatic in playing the wishywashy, double speak, word salad games. In reality we are just plain dishonest. Last week I was searching for someone to serve food at a sale. I called the first person recommended, she returned my call, and was very clear and direct about not having the help to serve. Great â I know where you are and Iâll move on.Â When I called the second person, she hemmed and hawed around about making some phone calls to see if she could round up enough help âsaying she would call me the next night.Â Three days later, I called her back.Â It seems she had not made very many calls, but had not bothered to call me back to let me know her teams could not serve. So, there are two levels of dishonesty here. One, she did not do what she said she would do. Was it intentional or just lazy?Â Who knows? Second, and more important, she did not bother to call me to report back as promised. I suspect she did not want to be bothered with this âbut if that was the case, then she should have had the balls to tell me that in the first place. The consequences are that now trust has been broken. I now believe that I cannot depend on her word or her actions. What has happened to our integrity? For months now, a friend and I have been planning a road trip to meet a colleague.Â We had talked about arrangements, but had not planned the details.Â Several weeks ago, I noticed that the words coming from her mouth were less enthusiastic and there was some hesitation as we talked about tentative plans. There was a lot of stumble-bumble- around words, ignoring of attempts of firm up plans, and just not responding to questions about how this was going to work.Â Her hearing seemed to be impaired on this subject.Â I let it go for a while, and knowing her well eventually asked what was going on. She was concerned about a health issue and was not sure she would be able to go.Â Thatâs fine â I understand that.Â Why not just simply tell me the truth? What is so hard about that?
The real point here is that fear is stopping us from being honest. We are afraid so we avoid the conversation. However, in the situations above the boogie man was not going to get either one of these people because neither of these situations was a big deal â if they has only been honest. Enough already! If we want genuine, heart-felt, real and long-standing relationships, we need to crank up our honesty index.Â Trust and integrity are big deals in connecting to ourselves and others.
WHAT IF ........HEART ENERGY?
What if â all these centuries â we have lived thinking, planning and living our lives as if all our thoughts were the only truth?Â Â What if we have attempted to totally ignore the most significant energy in our body â our heart? Â Â What if we donât even understand the role and influence of the heart on our lives?Â Â What if all this time â we have been living without connecting to the most meaningful and powerful energy source? Â What if who we really are comes not from our mind, but from our heart? In The Heartâs Code by Paul Pearsall, the author says, âThe brain may contain more cellular connections than there are stars in the Milky Way, but it is nowhere near as energetic as the heart.Â By bioscienceâs own measurements, the heart is five thousand times more electromagnetically powerful than the brain.â Paul goes on to tell us that:
The heart is our most powerful organ. It is the largest generator of electromagnetic energy in our body and produces, sends and receives a
broad spectrum of other types and frequencies of energy.
The heart responds directly to the environment.Â It reacts to the outside world not only in response to the brain, but sometimes without the
The heart is the bodyâs primary organizing force. The heart holds us together.Â It is the makes of what we call âmeâ.Â It uses its info-energy
to connect our brain and body and works in coordination with the brain, but is not directed by it.
The heart is the body systemâs core. Because of the heartâs central location in our body and the extensive connection it has to all of the cells
within our body, its energy transmission is highly influential for our body and all of the bodies around us.Â The heart is constantly pumping energy and information to, from and within every cell in our body.
The heart âspeaksâ and sends information. We can connect to the heartâs code by silencing the brain, quieting ourselves, focusing on our
heart, and sensing what it has to say and what memories it may bring forth from the cells that store it. The heart has its own form of wisdom, different from that of the rational brain but every bit as important to our living, loving, working and healing.
All hearts exchange information with other hearts and brains.Â When one heart sends energy to another, that energy becomes a part of the
receiving heartâs memory.Â When the receiving heart becomes a sending heart, the energy it sends is no longer just its own. It blends its energy with the memory of the vibrations of the energy it received.Â This resonating process continues infinitely. So, with every best of our heart, we continue to create energetic vibrations that become our collective soul. Listen the I.M. Heart Radio Show on World Talk RadioÂ Â Â http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=1765
CHURCHILL ON FEAR
Many times the wisdom of people who have passed before us is very applicable to our life today. I found these words from Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England many years ago.Â Â In the world of today, they are very wise, indeed. Please see the text below: âCourage, said Winston Churchill, is the most important of all human virtues because without it, none of the other virtues are possible. Courage is essential to living a life that is filled with meaning and achievement. One of the most important services a leader (whether as a manager or as a parent) can provide is to equip people with the skills and confidence to overcome uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. There are two general steps to making fear your ally: focus and action. Fear is an ally when it draws your attention to critical problems in your work and in your life, and then impels you to take corrective action. Here are some things you can do to make fear work for you rather than against you: Understand your fear: What is it trying to tell you? If you give fear a name it becomes just a problem, and it’s easier to solve a problem than it is to conquer fear. Talk back to your fear: When fear is trying to prevent you from taking risks that could in fact eliminate the source of the fear, you need to put on your bravest face, rebut your fears with your bravest affirmations, then fake it till you make it. As Mark Twain said – act brave, even if you’re not, because nobody can tell the difference. Get the facts: Fear breeds in ignorance and dissipates when you shine the light of knowledge upon it. What do you not know that if you did know would make your fear more manageable, and how can you find it out? Prepare yourself: Fear is often simply the suspicion that you are not ready for some future occurrence. What steps can take to prepare yourself for the future eventualities you fear today? Fear doesn’t stand a chance when confronted with preparation and discipline. Transform inertia into energy: By altering your conscious perception of the emotion, you can transform paralyzing inertia of fear into catalyzing energy for action and change. The physiologic symptoms of terror and exhilaration are identical. Channel fear into a constructive direction: While you cannot drive fear out of the workplace, you can effectively channel it. People should be afraid of the competition, of losing a customer, of falling behind in technology. They should not be afraid of the boss. When people fear the boss more than they fear the competition, the competition will prevail.
Take action: Do the thing you fear, said Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the death of the fear is certain. This ancient wisdom has never been more relevant than in today’s fast-moving world. Action is the difference between wishful thinking and positive thinking. Connect with other people: Making the human connection can give you both comfort and courage, and may well open your eyes to possibilities that you haven’t yet considered for eliminating the source of your fears. Pay attention: Learn from the past, plan for the future, but live in the present. Fear is caused by focusing your attention on an undesirable future; the antidote is present awareness. See the world as it really is: When you can see things as they really are – not as they used to be, as you wish they were, or as you fear they might become – you avoid many of those “fantasized experiences appearing real” that are the source of much fear. Have fun: You cannot simultaneously be amused and frightened. Spontaneity, humor and laughter bolster courage. As a side benefit, they also foster creativity. Have faith: This is the ultimate antidote to fear. One good working definition for everyday faith is expecting that in tough times you will be supported in ways that cannot be predicted or understood, but that can be relied upon and appreciated.â
EVERYONE IS SPECIAL!
This story has floated around the web and I donât know the origin. Iâm posting it here because it has an important message for all of us. It is this: We often forget to tell the people we love and care for, that they are special and important. It could mean more to them than we realize. In this crazy world, we all need to know that we are loved â because we often doubt that and are desperately craving simply to be appreciated and loved. So, read the story and use it as an example of opening your heart to yourself and others.Â One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.Â Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers. That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments. No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on. Several years later, one of the students was killed in VietNam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature. The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin. As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. Were you Mark’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes.’ Then he said: ‘Mark talked about you a lot.’ After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher. ‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’ Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him. ‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Mark’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Mark treasured it.’ All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’Â Chuck’s wife said, ‘Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.’Â ‘I have mine too,’ Marilyn said. ‘It’s in my diary.’Â Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times,’ Vicki said.Â And without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists.’Â That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again. The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late. It is a wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful.
THE LANGUAGES OF LOVE
Murial was born into a squabbling, alcoholic family â in which everything was a huge drama. Fist fights instead of conversations were the norm. Accusations instead of open conversation and trust were a part of everyday life.Â Words of criticism, put-downs, and anger were all she knew.Â She learned, in this environment, that this was love.Â There was nobody to show her any different.Â Murial is now in high school with a boyfriend. The only way she knows to have a loving relationship with him is to create drama and play his affections against that of another boy.Â The result was as fight between the boys with a threat to kill.Â Do you suppose Murial now feels loved since a young man is willing to fight and kill for her? This may seem extreme â but itâs not! How many of you grew up in a family where you knew love as manipulation, withdrawal, conditions, or abuse. It could have been physical, mental or emotional abuse.Â Most often if there is one â the other two are also present.Â In talking to my friend Kara about these situations, she revealed her history of abuse.Â As a result, as a young person she was promiscuous, rebellious and so in need of someone to love her that she married a controlling and unloving man. Â She spent a good part of her life looking for love â in all the wrong places with all the wrong people.Â Today, many young girls choose to get pregnant, looking to have a baby so that someone will love them.
On September 8th, on the I.M. Heart Show on World Talk Radio, we talked about: How Do You Know Love?Â The link for that show is:Â http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=1765 We often grow up in families in which our parents show us âthe best way they know howâ that they love us.Â They take care of our physical needs food, housing, clothing, protection, etc.Â They think we know that they love us because thatâs how they received love from their parents. They are passing along a generational model of love. Do not blame them for what they did or didnât do. Lots of folks needed more, so give more to your children. Â In The Five Love Languages of Children, Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell talk about the five love languages.Â They tell us to identify our childâs primary love language by watching what they ask for or say to you.Â Then keep the childâs emotional love tank full. The five love languages presented by Chapman and Campbell and their suggestions for using them are:
Physical Touch â Ask them if they want to be held. Â Hug your child when greeting them or telling them good-bye. Hold their hand when saying a
prayer or blessing. Many parents only touch their children when necessary, like dressing them. I.M. Heart thinks that healthy physical touch is so important for babies, children and big people.
Words of Affirmation – Express love and appreciation for who this child is as a person. Â Also give positive and loving guidance or
encouragement.Â Tell them you love them. Write a note telling them you love them. Some people need to hear, â I love you!â
Quality Time â Do things together and be present in the moment with each child. Give them eye contact. Play, cook, talk, vacation or whatever you
enjoy doing together.
Gifts – This one is tricky.Â For this to be effective, parents need to give the other four gifts along with this one.Â These do not need to be
expensive, only heartfelt. You could make a special snack, leave a flower on a pillow, or draw a picture for them
Acts of Service – Parenting is an act of service as we help children become adults and love others. However, there are specific things you can do
in this language. Involve the family in volunteering, help your child tofix something or help with homework.
DO YOU NURTURE YOURSELF AND MEET YOUR NEEDS?
Sandra Dawson, told listeners of the I.M. Heart Show how to fall madly in love with yourself. Â Sandra told us that loving yourself is a learned skill.Â You can learn to become a self-nurturing person. This means that we love and accept ourselves, take care of meeting our needs and enjoy the balance of both giving and receiving love in our relationships.Â What does it mean to love and accept ourselves? Â Sandra made 7 points for your consideration. They were: 1) Make a commitment to loving yourself; Â Â 2) Stop criticizing yourself; 3) Discover your unmet needs and make a plan of action to meet them; Â 4)Â Heal your nervous system; 5) Be mindful of your body sensations; Â 6) Talk to your inner self in a loving and acceptable way; 7) Raise your self-esteem.Â She gave more information on each of these points. You can listen to this program on this link to World Talk Radio: http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=1765 As Sandra and I talked, it occurred to me that most people donât think much about having their needs met. I also suspect that many of us spend more time nurturing everything and everybody else, and donât give much consideration to nurturing ourselves.Â It seems like these points are a fundamental for loving yourself â and weâve missed the basics.Â Sandra talked about Maslowâs Hierarchy of Needs. There are five levels of need starting with our physical needs. These are followed by our safety and security needs, our belonging and acceptance needs,Â our self-esteem needs and our self-actualization needs. We would like to think that most people have the very basic needs such as food, water, shelter, clothing, exercise, or sleep met.Â However, if we just look around, we will discover this is not necessarily a sound assumption. How many of us eat to be healthy, or do we just grab something on the run? As for exercise, how do you do? Do we generally feel safe and secure in most areas of our lives?Â Only when these physical, and safety needs are met can we move on to higher levels of need. Â The third level, belonging and acceptance, means having friends, loving relationships, a sense of community, affection, — instead of feeling alone and isolated.Â Â What is the status of your life on this one? The level of self-esteem is a belief in your own capability, integrity, feeling deserving, having a purpose, self-respect â as opposed to feeling stupid, inferior and unworthy. Â How do you feel about yourself? Â The last level is self-actualization. This means that you are continually growing to stretch and change to become someone different each day. You are a work in progress -someone who develops your own unique set of talents and skills, because thatâs who you are.Â However, it is difficult to do this if more basic needs are not met. As I wrote this, I could think of several situations and people who are not having even basic needs met. Schools send children home on the weekend with a pack of food so they are not hungry. Many do not feel safe in their own home. There are people living all around the world who do not have the first two basic needs met. Many individuals are all alone with no close and intimate connections â nobody to be there for them. I donât know how many people feel competent, confident, and really good about their life.Â Many people feel like failures.Â Lots of people have a dream, but donât even try to reach it because they think they would only fail. Maslowâs Hierarchy has been around for a very long time. Is it possible that we need to go back to the basics? Â What are we doing?Â What are we thinking? How can we be so unloving to ourselves? How can be so unloving to others? How can we change? I want you to think about this â really seriously consider the implications of this in 2010.
LET IT GO!!
We are often told to âLet it go!â This may mean that we are stewing, worrying or sticking our nose into something that is none of our business or, in reality, we can do nothing about.Â Sometimes letting go means forgiving us for something we did or didnât do, forgot, or words and actions that were just part of being human.Â Often it is letting others live their lives and not trying to control how they live it. None of these are easy. Letting go is easier said than done. On the I.M. Heart Show on World Talk Radio/Voice of America at:Â http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=1765 ,Â we
talked about processing.Â Sometimes letting go is a process. It takes time and we have to sleep on it â more than once. Itâs like chipping away at a piece of wood or watching chocolate melt. It happens a little bit at a time and eventually, the sting or the reaction diminishes. Â We need to remember that letting go can be releasing a negative or adjusting to a positive.Â It can be turning loose of an argument or misunderstanding, as well as adjusting to a new level of closeness with a friend.Â Either one is a process of letting go of an existing situation to allow something new to settle in. When you hold onto a specific idea of how a new business will develop and this does not happen, then you have to let go of those ideas before you can see new and different ways of being in business. Itâs like the door of possibility is blocked by what didnât work, so you have to push it out of the way to allow for something new to come through. Many books tell you to just âLet it go.âÂ Sometimes we can do that and at other times we are so attached that it takes time and conscious intent. Â Note the word intent.Â If we are receiving a benefit from a behavior or feeling, then we are really reluctant to let it go.Â It takes a decision and intention to let go. Think about this.Â How much of letting go is our attempt to control things people, events and outcomes? Â We think things should happen as we envision them, when and where and how we expect things to unfold. Control is a huge issue for most of us. It is a much bigger issue than we realize. There are many kinds of energy therapies that can help us âLet I go.âÂ Physical exercise, journaling, meditation, counseling, and a loving friend or support system can help us. When we have tried all of these and still want help, the wisdom is to turn it over to God.Â âLet go and let Godâ are the words we often hear, meaning that this is something bigger than we are so just release it into Godâs arms. Maybe we need to do this in the very beginning and let the loving energy guide our processing.
HOW DO YOU KNOW LOVE?
The topic on the I.M. Heart Show today, Wednesday, September 8, 2010 is: âHow Do You Know Love?âÂ You can listen to this on World Talk Radio/Voice of America at: http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=1765. Love and loving is one of those topics that we can spend many shows on â and probably will.Â Â Today, however we want to open the door on this topic. We plan to talk generally about loving. We have some specific questions we want to address and encourage you to let us know by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org what else you would like to specifically bring up for discussion. Loving is multi-faceted, defined in so many ways, with a variety of words and actions. We have some understanding of love and yet it is still a mystery. We are learning about opening our hearts and allowing love. Some of us have experienced love from the moment we were born â some of us have never really experienced love â and some of us have received a touch of it and want a lot more.Â Whatever is your circumstance, our hope is that we give you some tidbit to open your heart and permit love to enter â once again, a little more, or a whole lot. Since I began posting blogs in 2007, I was amazed at how many times I had written on love.Â Go to www.imheart.net and click on “Blogs” on the bar at the top of the page. The months are listed and clicking on the month reveals the blogs posted during that time. Â Iâve chosen five to highlight in this posting so that you can go to the month and then access the blog. Â There are over 160 on the site, so many moreÂ relate to this topic. The ones Iâve highlighted are: November 6, 2008 â The Power of âI Love You September 8, 2009 â I LoveYou February 2, 2010 â A Time to Love February 8, 2010 â Someone to Love Me June 20, 2010 â Giving Love I thought this quote from a little girl named Karen sums up loving very well. She said, âWhen you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.âÂ Iâve felt like that, havenât you?
SPEAK YOUR TRUTH
It takes courage to speak your truth. In childhood we are often taught to be seen and not heard, to be obedient and good little children.Â In recent days, Iâve had several conversations with friends about these residual patterns of belief and behavior that live on even though we are adults.Â It is absolutely amazing how long we live out these imprints of who we should be, even though they no longer work or fit who we have grown up to be. Iâve had several conversations this week with people who are looking and questioning their belief system.Â One was just plain mad as she discovered yet one more layer of the âgood girl syndromeâ in which she was to respect her mother at all costs to herself.Â In her belief system, it is irrelevant that her mother is not cognizant enough to make good decisions, let alone that she still wants to set in judgment of what the daughter does. Â She has worked through anger, hurt, and all manner of distress â again and again. She has peeled this onion many times and shed tears each time.Â However, on this particular Saturday, enough was enough. She said, âI donât know what happened, but I found myself being honest, direct, and blunt without anger or a raised voice.Â It is as it is and I finally spoke my truth.â Often when we speak our truth like this, fear pops up to tell us — Â Â we are really in trouble now. However, we are no longer six years old and this is a lie.Â We have just taken a huge growth step in speaking our truth. Another friend has also worked to establish his truth with family reports that it was hard, but worth the effort. He can now enjoy just being with parents or siblings and said he just loves time with them.Â Yet another reported that once she had cracked the shell of speaking her truth, she discovered that she could express all feelings more easily. She was less afraid to broach those topics that could cause conflict.Â However, she also has more courage to tell others how much she loves and appreciates them â whether or not that is returned to her.
These people have re-connected to their heart â that is where our truth lies. In this energetic, feeling, thinking part of our body there are many truths.Â Some have been hidden for many, many years. When they come to the surface, donât stuff them back down. If you do, they will only come back again in louder voice or stronger pain. They want to be seen, heard and healed. Our heart wants us to clear the fear away, so we can connect to the love it holds. Â Welcome them as gifts of healing. Listen to I.M. Heart on Voice of America/World Talk Radio at: http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=1765
I.M. IN PROCESS
Multiple sclerosis. Darryl could not believe it. As he spoke to the crowd, sharing his story, there was an absolute hush. He talked about the prognosis from the doctors. They could do nothing more for him and he was told he would not live long.Â What was he going to do?Â Give up and give in â or try something else. What else?Â Deciding that he had nothing to lose, he chose to follow something unknown, unseen, and something he was not sure he believed in – God.Â Was there really nothing greater than God? Â Â Not sure, Darryl made a decision to walk with God and talk with God. This meant spending time in spirit, honestly being with and healing those unhealed wounds that had contributed to his illness. He calls this self- responsibility. As he saw it, an illness is an unhealed wound. When we heal the emotional wound, we heal the physical body. Darryl has been in process with this for some time and as a result there has been some healing. He told us there is more work to do and he will put his faith in God to lead him to more healing. Darryl talked about the language of disease. By this he meant how many times we refer to: my aching back, my knee is driving me crazy, or to my useless arm. His emphatic words were — QUIT!Â Quit using those words. Instead ask that arm for forgiveness for your critical words.Â Thank you body for all it does for you. It is an amazing electromagnetic system. Send it healing, loving light for all those systems instead of negativity and fear. Those will eat you up â literally!Â It is so easy to be sucked into the negativity all around us, from the media, other people and your own voice.Â Instead, put faith in something besides the fear. Â We have all lived in fear for way too long. The prescription for his is healing includes focusing on a relationship with spirit â the love of God – however you want to define that for yourself. This connects you with your own power center â the spirit in you â the love in you. Â Centering on the powerful connection to spirit is what heals. Each of us has this power within us. It requires courage and determination to take your power back.Â The miracle is that once you decide to take your power back, your power builds and builds. This is a powerful story. Â It contains much truth for everyone to ponder. The book, I.M. Heart also talks about being in process. It says: âI.M. in the process of learning how to live from my heart. This is not a process that lasts only one day. It is something I will do for the rest of my lifeâ¦â¦. Feeling is opening up a new way of living. I.M. in the process of being alive with feeling, and this will change my life forever.âÂ The book goes on to say, âI take a series of small steps â today, tomorrow. I.M.in process. I often do not know where this process is going. All I know is that I.M. moving and changing. Every moment of every day is filled with small changes â and sometimes a miracle or two. It is our acceptance of continuing flow of change that is important.â In process, we often feel like we are venturing into an unknown, untested, and mysterious world. However, when we can put aside our need for control, and be open to trusting something we donât understand or canât physically hold in our hands, we are guided in miraculous ways. Listen to I.M. Heart on Voice of America/World Talk Radio at: http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=1765
A HUG FILLED WITH LOVE
The following is a true story — tearfully shared by a friend.Â Seems Eileen has loved Paul for a very long time and has shared travel and work with him for many years. However, time and circumstances have kept them apart and this last week afforded an opportunity to see each other.Â Eileen was uncertain how she felt now and anxiously awaited his arrival. She was amazed as he walked to the door that she was soooo glad to see him. Apparently the feelings were mutual because he walked in the door and immediately took her in his arms, saying, âIâve imagined for weeks how it would be to do this. I couldnât wait to hug you.â And hug her he did. They stood in the doorway in silence as they just held onto each other â looked, spoke a few words and hugged each other as tight as they could again and again.Â It was as if they were making up for all time. Eileen kept repeating that there was so much love in those hugs â just as there had always been so much love in the friendship. Her words were, âI canât even find words to describe the love.â Â These two people picked up the relationship as if they had never been apart – the kinship, sharing and love was real. Later, Elaine visited with her friend Harry. He is an âall about Harryâ kind of person. Eileen said their friendship was different than with Paul, but love was there. Still carrying that loving feeling, she found Harry reading a magazine, and wrapped her arms around him in a huge bear hug.Â He patted her on the leg and told her about the article he was reading.Â Having just wrapped him in all the love in her heart, she was stunned. He didnât feel the love of that hug â and was too busy reading to return it. Â She told him that he had just received a bear hug and she wanted one in return. She got one, but not of loving magnitude.Â The visit with Harry was filled with chatter about many things and although it was fun, Elaine felt heavy in her heart.Â She had given a brick of gold of her heart, and got back only a fleck of gold.Â When Harry hugged her, it was with âno heartâ or as another friend of ours would quickly say, âIt was a dead fish hug.â Elaine had a mixture of feelings â tenderness, love, grief, sadness and rejection.Â I held Elaine as she cried in appreciation and grief for love both received as well as the love not even recognized.Â Â The real questions are: When real love comes to you like this, can you accept it? Â Â Does it seem so foreign and strange that you are absolutely frightened that something could feel so good?Â If you are Elaine, what do you do when you give your heart to someone who canât love you back like you deserve to be loved? The most important question is: How much do you love yourself?Â Remember that the love you receive is a direct reflection of how much you love yourself. Also remember that some people canât return that love.Â Then the question becomes: How much do you love yourself and what do you
want and deserve from others? Listen to the I.M. Heart Show on World Talk Radio at:Â Â http://www.voiceamerica.com/worldtalkradio/vshow.aspx?sid=1765
WALK THROUGH IT
When life presents traumatic experiences, we have a choice. We can crumble, cave in, and go hide in a hole.Â Another choice is to buckle down, hang tight and ride it out.Â It is much like walking through a thick jungle covered in vegetation, with wild animals and screeches in the dark. The intensity of feeling is overwhelming. We know this will pass, but in the middle of the drama it seems as if it will never end. I spent the afternoon with a friend who this week has survived a hostile work environment.Â This hostile situation has been going on for months with others being served up on a platter like a chunk of meat. This time it just happened to be Lindaâs turn. The supervisor manipulates and pits staff against one another, criticizing, and spreading lies. This is not the first time Iâve watched a friend walk through such an experience. Last winter I watched the strongest person I know nearly crumble in the hands of an arrogant and egotistical little jerk.Â These two people are competent, committed employees who believe in working hard and doing a good job, because that is their work ethic and value system. They were both beat to a pulp; self-esteem in shambles. Neither could fathom treating someone as they had been treated. It was just unbelievable! Weâve all experienced similar situations â that drained our spirit, sapped our energy and wrecked us emotionally. When it is finished, we end up in total aching exhaustion, numb and depleted. It takes some to time to recover. Gradually, we can finally sleep, the nightmares go away, the sense of humiliation begins to heal, and we no longer wake up with a start of panic. Just as we walked through the trauma, we walk through the healing. Take some time to be with the tumble of feelings â the anger, resentment, or any other feeling. They will come and go.Â Remember the way to heal is to be honest about those feelings.Â As they come boiling out, notice and accept them. Do not push them away as if they donât exist. Â If you end up in a puddle of tears, have a good cry. Tears are healing. In this process of being with them, you heal them.Â As the days accumulate and time moves on, you begin to feel better and gain a new perspective on the situation and how you can move forward. The process is a two-sided.Â Heal the hurt and at the same time be active in exploring new options. What may seem like a tragedy may in reality be a blessing. There is a saying,â If God brought us to it, God will bring us through it.âÂ Open you heart in faith to the wisdom and power of this universal divine love.
We often feel, but are unable to identify or name our feelings. On the first I.M. Heart Radio Show on World Talk Radio, I talked about the range of feelings that flow through us every day.Â They range from extreme joy or ecstasy to the depths of despair or hopelessness. Â Remember that all feelings start from either in love or fear. So, if we can imagine a line with fear at one end and love at the other, we most often walk somewhere in the middle of the extremes and experience a variety of feelings at the same time. There are many names for feelings coming from both love and fear. We have lived those feelings. The listings below name some of the well-known feelings of both. Take a look at them. Say the lists of words out loud or read them and be aware of the difference in the energies as you focus on them. Â Pay attention to your own senses, feelings, thoughts and even your body language as you say these words.
JOY,Â GRATITUDE,Â APPRECIATION,Â HAPPINESS,Â WONDER,Â PASSION,Â COMPASSION,Â CARING,Â EMPATHY,Â SUPPORT,Â HOPE, TRUST, ENTHUSIASM,Â OPTIMISM, COURAGE, WELL-BEING,Â CONTENTMENT, UNDERSTANDING, RESPECT,Â ACCEPTANCE,Â WORTH,Â ESTEEM, VALUEÂ Â SANCTUARY, MAGIC,Â PEACE
BOREDOM, IMPATIENCE, IRRITATION, FRUSTRATION, PANIC, CONFUSION,Â AGGRAVATION,Â WORRY,Â DOUBT, DISCOURAGEMENT,Â PITY,Â Â Â CRISIS,Â OVERWHELMED, MARTYR, VICTIM,Â GUILT, SADNESS, PESSIMISM, ANGER, RESENTMENT, BITTERNESS,Â ANXIETY,Â ANGST,Â HURT, Â HUMILIATION, JEALOUSY, ENVY, BLAME, HOPELESSNESS,Â LONELINESS,Â DESPAIR, DEPRESSION, POWERLESSNESS Feelings have energy. As you said these, you were feeling the energy of the words.Â The words under love have a higher energetic vibration. The ones coming from fear have a lower vibration.Â When you say them, you automatically respond to the vibration of the words. What kind of energy do you want to give and receive in your life?Â How do you want to live your life? Most people want those coming from love.Â Thatâs why I.M. Heart encourages you to heal those from fear and to embrace those coming from love. Tune in to the I.M. Heart Radio Show on the World Talk Radio Variety Channel eachÂ Wednesday at 6:00pm Central and 4:00 pm Pacific.
A two year old child gasps in wonder as she spots a leaf in a spider web. She points to it as grandpa helps her retrieve it. She holds it up to the light and then puts it gently back on the spider web. In this moment, these two share a sense of wonder and simple pleasure. There is a commotion in the back yard as kids come running in the house yelling, âCome look!âÂ Â Going out the back door they see a baby raccoon in the apple tree. It is sitting there looking at them. They watch this cute baby for a period of time. The raccoon takes a nap, stars down at them, munches on an apple and just hangs out in the tree. Cameras come out and pictures are taken, but the undisturbed raccoon just watches from his perch. This family is focused on the wonder of this creature and truly enjoys hanging out to watch the raccoon. In this moment, they have fun, share time and connection with each other.
There is a new yogurt store downtown with sugar-free yogurt.Â It comes highly recommended. At the spur of the moment one friend calls another and says, âLetâs go try the yogurt.âÂ These two people, each with their personally selected choices for yogurt and fruit, sit on a downtown bench in the warm afternoon sun and leisurely watch the passing foot traffic, quietly talk and enjoy each others company as they eat their yogurt.Â A spur-ofthe-moment outing turns into sharing and just hanging out. The lilies are in bloom in the back yard, but these are not ordinary lilies.Â They have not bloomed before. They are different colors of orange, some darker centers with lighter ruffled petals. Some are the reverse, with darker tips on each flower.Â They are absolutely beautiful and since this is the first time they have bloomed, the wonder of their beauty is even greater. Just looking at them is a moment of pleasure. The stories could go on and on. The point is that all around us there are moments of great wonder and pleasure.Â Sharing those with someone we love makes the moment even more special.Â These times bring so much value and quality to our lives. The issue is that we often miss them. In the prod down the road of projects, people and stress we just donât see these moments. Oh, what a loss! Can you imagine how much richer and fuller our life would be if we stopped to enjoy the moments? Now for the big question is: How many moments similar to these did you have in your life today?Â That is for you to consider, but please do so. We miss so many of the simple pleasures of being alive because we are not living in the moment âand enjoying what is in that moment.
I.M. HEART ON THE RADIO!!!!!
Image not found
Wednesday at 4 PM Pacific Time on World Talk Radio Variety Channel
I. M. Heart
I. M. Heart is about each and every one of us because we all have a heartbeat. Sue McDaniel and I.M. Heart want to share what theyâve learned about feelings. We all have them, but we often miss the beat of them. Sometimes the beat is warm, happy, and loving. At other times it is frightened, sad, or angry. This show Learn More >>
Listen Live to World Talk Radio Variety
Be sure to tune into I. M. Heart with Sue McDaniel speaking for I.M. Heart every Wednesday at 4 PM Pacific Time on World Talk Radio Variety Channel Log on to Listen: http://www.worldtalkradio.com Questions? Comments? Call: 1-866-613-1612
Missed the Live Shows? Past Episodes are available On Demand and
I'M A CHILD - LOVE ME!
Picture this scene.Â Three young children are playing in the front yard with Dad sitting in a chair watching them. Two of them are playing an outside game with balls and the other one is riding the bike up and down the sidewalk.Â Dad often walks along beside the bike riders as they are allowed to only travel a short distance in front of the house.Â This is a busy street, so Dad is protective as these kids move around and play. On this particular morning, the daughter is riding the bicycle up the street and turns it over. She screams as she lands on the ground, holding her knee. Dad walks to her, talks to her, helps her up and picks up the bicycle. He quickly walks the bicycle back to the front of the house with the child slowly shuffling along after him, head down; obviously upset. Dad goes back and sits down in his chair.Â The little girl stops and walks across the yard, wiping her face with the corner of her dress. Is she wiping away a tear? Most likely she is.Â Â Then the child hesitates, then walks to her Dad
seated in his chair and says something to him.Â I can see him talk to her briefly.Â However, through this whole scenario, not once did I see Dad give her a comforting touch, hug her, smile at her, or wipe away a tear. In this whole incident, he was very sober and watched his children, but never really joined them in play.Â I never saw him laugh and smile as if he enjoyed being with them. I do not know if this is a loving parent. I am only an observer of the scene. However, if I were the little girl, I would have wanted someone to look at my knee, give me a hug and make the âoowieâ better. So, whatâs my point with this story?Â Many times the scrapes and bruises from childhood stay with us into adulthood.Â Seemingly small, insignificant incidents can make an impression.Â We make assumptions about being lovable and loved. We learn that it ok to feel both happiness and pain. We learn that we are ok, even when we fall off the bike.Â Â We each process these childhood experiences differently.Â For one daughter this would be no big deal.Â For the other one, maybe more sensitive, this could make an imprint to be overcome. Â This little child needed some love when she got hurt.Â She was scared and just needed some gentle words and actions.Â Many of donât know how to simply open our hearts and love.Â I.M. Heart encourages each of us to open our hearts â to ourselves and to each other. The show on MTV from Freedom High School and the Challenge Day is right on target and something every parent should see. Go to: http://www.mtv.com/shows, then select the show If You Really Knew Me.Â In reality, this show is not just about teens, it is about all of us.Â It touched my heart!
THE BRICK FROM THE PAST
The following is a true story, shared by a friend.Â It is also my story and yours.Â We often think we have left the past behind only to have it jump up and come to life in the most unexpected of times. This story reflects how the imprint of a childhood experience can have a present day impact. Sara was bullied when she was a child and things were often taken away from her. She felt angry and often had bruises and scars from fighting to protect herself. What she didnât realize was that this long-ago bullying was still a button or trigger for her. Saraâs family had been on a trip and each of the family members had collected colorful rocks.Â The bag of rocks Sara had picked up was in the car and one of the family members brought it in the house. One evening the family was discussing how the bag of rocks was to be shared. Unexpectedly and all of a sudden Sara found herself saying angry words to the family she loved about these being her rocks.Â She was overwhelmed with the intensity of feeling. Sara bolted from the table and went into another room, leaving her family. All sorts of angry and hurt feelings came boiling up. She didnât know why she was reacting. By herself, Sara boo-hooed and let all the feelings roll out.Â Then she began questioning herself, âWhatâs going on here?Â Where is this coming from?Â I donât understand these feelings.â She was quiet for a while trying to figure it out. Then it hit her! She was bullied as a kid and those same feelings came up in this situation, even though the situation was different and her family had not intended to bully her. The scars of the past experience were still with her and the trigger had been pushed. Since this was not like Sara, her stunned family gave her the space to be alone with this.Â After a bit, she talked to her partner, then to the children. Sara first apologized, then explained to them why this had happened.Â Through tears, sobs and snot, she told them what had happened to her as a kid and why she reacted to this rocky event. The apology and explanation is ever so important.Â We are embarrassed and confused when we explode like this.Â Often it takes some soul searching to figure out what happened.Â When we know, it is important to tell those we love so they understand.Â It helps all to heal. In addition, honest communication, shared and received in love, builds the bond of trust and connection in relationships. Â Lack of sharing leaves the door open for misunderstanding. Family members begin to walk on egg shells because they donât know when Sara is going to erupt again. Finally, giving someone space and then at the right time talking is critical to individual and relationship health. We often need time to go the cave and figure things out. Amazingly, those we love often can and do push our triggers most easily.Â Often we are in relationships with people so that we can work through the triggers â and help each other to grow. These long-held feelings that come up for healing â usually unexpected — are a gift. They hit us like a brick so that we canât ignore them.Â They come out of the dusty, dark, storage closet because it is time for us to heal them. They are not a punishment, but an opportunity. So when this happens to you, donât run â stop, look and heal.
WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT?
Sometimes we get our priorities mixed up. We get caught up in the importance of the trappings of the world —- money, status, material things or culture.Â When this happens they rise to the top of the heap in importance.Â Then for some of us, our own self-importance or ego is the highest priority.Â In the last few weeks, there are been some incidents that have pointed this out to me. Consider the following stories. My neighbors are new parents.Â We were talking about the new baby and her comment was that her whole world had changed. Her words were, âSo many of the things that were important before are no longer important.â Â Her whole perspective is different.Â As she stood and held her son, I could tell that indeed her whole focus had changed. A lot of us can identify with this as we have also been changed by a new person, baby or adult, entering our lives. Someone to love and love us can make all the difference! Contrast that to the following situation. A friend of mine recently worked at some summer festivals and hired people to survey the crowd.Â The workers were given a $1.25 aprons to hold extra pencils, give-aways, etc. as they collected surveys.Â At one festival there were 16 workers over a 2-day period of time. It was very hot and the whole scene was chaotic with that many people passing completed and uncompleted surveys back and forth across the table.Â In the madness, two aprons were lost.Â My friendâs supervisor was adamant that whoever had not returned the $1.25 apron should do it immediately. E-mails and phone calls did not unearth the aprons. Who knows what happened to them.Â The question is:Â How important is it to find two $1.25 aprons? Â How important is it that the people working in that heat did not get sick? I recently received a card for two wonderful people who were concerned about my welfare.Â I have encountered some very stressful situations and they offered prayers for me. Since I barely know these people, I was in tears as I opened their card. Others have also expressed concern and have
done thoughtful things that are much appreciated. A friend helped me for three days, voluntarily, with some very tiring and hard work â because she cared about me.Â Another has been there to listen and boost spirits. Contrast the first and third story with the second one.Â What is really important?Â Is it two $1.25 aprons, or is it a genuine concern for others.Â Six months from now what will be remembered?Â Two years from now what will be important?Â I think these stories speak for themselves. So, what is the piece of wisdom you can take from this? What do you think is really important?
Last Sunday in the early evening we were driving home from St. Louis.Â As we got in the car to leave I noticed the bank of clouds to the West.Â It wasnât long before we drove into a terrific storm.Â The rain was coming down so hard that the windshield wipers couldnât keep up, even at high speed. At one point the wind was so strong that sheets of rain were blowing sideways across the road. Â When these hit, I hung onto the steering wheel so that we were not blown off the road. Since I was the driver, I had to decide to keep on going or pull over. With hands glued to the steering wheel, leaning forward to see better, we drove at 15 miles an hour, and kept going.Â Actually it would have been equally dangerous to pull off and stop. Â We made it through the worst of the first storm, only to run into more storms that were just as strong. In the middle of all this, I kept thinking that this storm was just like everyday living.Â There are times when storms keep coming at us â one after another. Sometimes they are fierce and never seem to stop pounding us.Â They attempt to blow us off the road and we have to hang on tight.Â However, when we are in the middle of these situations, we most often decide to buck up and survive. Yes, I was scared, and this was not an experience of choice. I was told that my grip on the steering wheel didnât relax until we were almost home.Â In spite of all this, I knew we were safe in the car, all was well and we would arrive home safely. In this, there are lessons for all of us about riding out the storms of life. The first is to keep going, even though you canât clearly see the road ahead. As you travel along, the next stretch of road will become visible and allow you to keep moving. You may not be able to see the solution or end result, but you can see the next steps.Â Second, itâs ok to pull over and stop, get quiet and let the storm pass for a while.Â In that still time, the way to move forward will be obvious and you can start again.Â Third, the winds of life often blow us sideways. When this happens hang on and be open to new ideas or choices that might have blown toward you.Â Maybe a new path will open that is better than the current one. Fourth, we often anticipate a storm that never comes. The problem of driving safely in heavy rain and wind was right in front of us. Any other concern, like having an accident, was not a problem. How many times do we waste energy in preparationÂ for something that never happens?Â We lose ourselves in worrying about storms that never occur. Many times, itâs hard to relax in the midst of a life storm.Â I was anxious even after we had driven out of worst of the rain and wind. I was still on alert even though the roads were dry and the sky had cleared. I was tense even though I knew we were safe. In the storms of life, we often carry the stress long after the event has passed. We canât move on and let go! Â The high alert we maintain saps our energy and distorts our view of options and choices.Â So, the next time a storm comes your way relax and go with the flow.Â Trust that all is well.
I got an e-mail yesterday and the first words were, âYouâre special!âÂ I stopped! Me, special? Youâve got to be kidding! Iâm not special, Iâm just ordinary. Then I stopped again, listening to my own self-talk.Â I.M. Heart would tell me that I am special. Everyone else is also special, each in our own way. Â However, many of us donât believe there is anything about us that is distinctive, exceptional, extraordinary or even wonderfully common like everyone else. Maybe, my dear friends, itâs time for all of us to wake up and know that we are indeed special just because we are ourselves! I realized thatÂ even though I hear the words, âyouâre special, I love you, youâre a hoot, youâre silly Mom, or we really appreciate all you do for us,â some part of me does not really believe that I am indeed special. Â I sit here in tears as I write this for the loss of valuing myself. As with many of you, this has been a lifelong struggle.Â I am a work in process. The big question is: Why do we believe that big, barking dog voice that tells us that we are stupid, fat, or ugly? It howls day and night, lying to us about our value and worth and because the voice is so loud, we think it tells us the truth. Â It has barked at us all our life and itâs time to tell this dog that we know it has lied. Enough! Stop!Â We can say this, but just telling it to stop is not the simple answer.Â The issue is that no matter what we have accomplished, how we love, or what we know or do — for many of us it is still not enough. Â We so not see ourselves as special! So, when the dog starts barking loudly, do tell it to stop. Then look at what you have done in the last few minutes. Quietly, lovingly and firmly tell yourself.Â âI Am Heart and I am special.â Â Iâm giving myself credit for some simple ordinary or extraordinary action or behavior. Instead of listening to the dog, Iâm going to listen to that quiet whisper of a voice, that gently nudge, that blink of awareness that says,â I am good. I am the best. I am worthy. I am loving and lovable. I am special â just as I am right now.âÂ This is a knowingness emerging in all of us. Letâs nurture it and let it grow.Â Itâs the truth. Itâs time to live the truth, not the lie. I challenge you â and it is also a challenge for me!Â In the next week, each day begin to practice being special.Â Wake up in the morning knowing that you are special!Â As you go through the day, write down or tell yourself some way in which you are special. At the end of the day, review the ways in which you were special today. Say a prayer of gratitude and thanks for being so special. It may feel strange or uncomfortable, and that is the reason to keep doing it. Growing can feel strange because we are moving out of the known into the unknown.Â However, special is how God sees each and every one of us. Noticing and honoring our special loving energy connects us to that universal love of God.Â Much love from I.M. Heart!
I was reading an article by Ross Bishop on âGiving Loveâ and he made some good points on this most special, wanted and painful of all feelings. Weâve all felt as if our hearts have been broken into tiny pieces.Â We can feel crushed, beaten and bruised when weâre hurt.Â However, when we love and are loved, we feel as if weâre soaring like an eagle, free and happy, with the world at our feet.
Ross says,â Although we do the best we can, often love falls far short of the real thing. What we call love is often based more on our need to feel loved, to not be alone, to have someone, to not feel abandoned or unwanted.Â It is not that we are incapable of love, for we do love our friends, pets and partners, but often our need to be loved and our fear of not being loved swamps our desire to love. We cannot help it, but we become poseurs, dangling our love in front of another needy soul, so we can lure them in to get what we need. And, we will sometimes pay almost any price to make that happen.â âThe need to be loved can become an addiction like heroin, causing some people to sacrifice everything for it â integrity, honesty, self-respect and dignity. Looking back, we can see the foolish things we did, in an effort to prop up a relationship that was going to fail without artificial life support.â âLove, in its true nature, is freeing, it does not confine or restrict. True love wants whatever is best for the other, even if that means leaving the relationship. Real love knows no resentment. Resentment is the lingering damage of a wounded ego. Real love is not a burden, it is a joy, and something missed by many parents and rarely found in corporate careers.Â Love does not have to be mutual, although when one-sided, it cannot bloom and mature into fullnessâ I think it is important for us to read and think about Rossâs words â and how they apply to our own lives. In reality, many of us give love with a condition attached. âIâll love you, ifâ¦.â Â Real love doesnât set conditions to be loved, it just is – and itâs beautiful. Â Ross talks about a dogâs love. He says,â A dogâs love is just there, no conditions, limitations, no rulesâ¦. The challenge for all of us is to learn to love as openly and freely as our dogs do.â My dear readers, itâs time! We have lived in fear energy long enough. One of our great lessons is to love — really love–ourselves, others and all that surrounds our lives. In each of us is a tender loving heart, that when opened connects us to a loving spiritual energy.Â So, focus on connecting to that loving spirit of God.Â During the time of this solstice, June 20 – 21, spend some quiet time with the energy and open your heart to love.
âThis is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, love to complete your life.â lynnie buttercup â London
I loved this quote. Thank you, Lynnie from London. Sometimes we lose sight of the simple things. Often these are things that just exist. They come into our everyday lives softly, like a gentle rain or a warm breeze. Our heart is touched in ways we didnât know possible.Â Â I was recently driving through the country, and noticed the green grass and trees, fields with new corn stalks popping through the ground, the wide open spaces of rural Missouri. I came down a hill and in front of me was the most beautiful valley, stretching for miles, framed by the blue sky with fluffy clouds. There was a sense of peace and comfort —- all is well. It was a simple treasure, yet gave me great pleasure. We often miss these things that are simple joys.Â Observing a friend smile, watching Molly stretch to have her tummy rubbed, giving and receiving a genuine hug, looking at the flowers blooming, a kind word of encouragement from someone who cares about you, hearing a child giggle, a genuine thank you, or walking at sunset with a friend.Â There are a million more of these. They surround us â right in front of our noses. They are treasures, free, abundant, and always available to us. I have a friend who is having a hard time. She is working for a terror of a boss.Â Maybe some of you are also having a rough patch. Often when life seems insurmountable, we find ourselves looking for the fireworks, wow moments, or dramatic changes. Maybe it would make be easier if we took a moment and simply looked for something to shine light into the dark corners of our world. Simple treasures can do that for us.Â What simple thing can I see, hear, feel, smell, taste, know or do that makes this moment better. Just stopping and taking the time to notice the treasure will make the sun a little brighter or the day calmer. What have we got to lose? Â NothingÂ —- we have much to gain in personal health and well-being. Please take care of yourself! You are also a treasure!!
A WORK IN PROGRESS
âIâm a work in progress.âÂ This remark struck a cord with me as it was spoken by a very bright young man who has had his share of ups and downs in life.Â It was a very insightful and honest statement from a person I have learned to respect.Â He spoke a great truth for we are all a work in progress. Every day we wake up as a slightly different version of who we were yesterday. We are constantly in the motion of change, whether or not we realize that. The daysâ experiences, the people we encounter and our perspective on everything that happens influences how we change.Â Sometimes life sends us rough patches and we have a choice when we are in those briar bushes with stickers.Â They hurt and we say âouchâ, but the real test is how long we allow ourselves to be stuck, and when we decide to push our way out of the stickers.Â We learn the most about ourselves when we are in hard times â we learn how strong, resilient, creative and innovative we can be.Â It forces us to grow and stretch in ways we didnât know we could.Â If we will âhang in thereâ we discover a part of ourselves not known before. The following quote expresses the essence of our work.Â âThe battles that count arenât the ones for gold metals. The struggles within yourself â the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us â thatâs where itâs at.â by Jesse Owens Â Â In truth we all face the same garden variety struggles. Many of them stem from how we feel about ourselves â whether we feel lovable, loved, valuable and worthy.Â Some stem from long-standing internal battles that we are working to resolve — our buttons keep getting pushed to allow us to clear and release the issue. We fight it and it takes longer.Â If we understand that we can use this rough patch to grow and change, it sheds a new light on the issue. An âah-haâ moment of insight and understanding changes us â we have progressed in our work. Think of it as peeling an onion — there may be tears as we peel off a layer, but when the fresh skin of the second layer is exposed â it is different than the one we peeled off. It is new â shiney â fresh – just as are when we have grown or changed as we go through our life journey. Â This is a
never-ending process. There will always be another layer to peel off because we are a living being.Â Thank goodness we are!Â I know that when we are Â in the middle of a struggle it is hard, but please be patient, kind, loving and compassionate with yourself â you are worth it.Â Â Much love from I.M. Heart.
IS IT MY DEAL?
We often get involved —- way too involved —- in taking care of everything and everyone, controlling situations so they unfold exactly as we think they should play out, or fixing not only our lives, but the lives of everyone around us. Â There are times when giving and caring is the right thing to do. We help others, extend a heart in kindness, and make a difference.Â Â However, there are other times when we stick our noses into things that are not our deal. Â It is someone elseâs deal â their learning experience, growth opportunity, lesson or simply their life decision â not ours. There are many situations that we want to âfixâ, but maybe itâs just not our deal to do that.Â Family conflicts between brother and sister, parent and child are hard to stay out of, particularly when they extend over time. We want family to be the ideal â loving, sharing and enjoying each other.Â In reality, many families have conflicts that are never resolved and they hover over everyone like a storm cloud.Â We can try to mediate, but if that doesnât work, understand that the situation may have nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other people. I recently talked with a friend whose sister was caring for their parents and wanting to make decisions for their care. Repeatedly the sister would call my friend and ask her to support a controversial decision regarding the mother.Â My friend Muriel felt like she was caught in the middle, until she realized that this deal was between her mother and her sister. They needed to work out long-standing issues and it was not her deal.Â Parents often face this with children, and grandparents with grandchildren.Â Seeing a child make life-altering decisions that have long-term impact or watching an autistic grandchild struggle without needed care is hard, very hard.Â Yet, it may not be our deal! All of us make life choices and decisions â some good, some not so good.Â We often repeat a negative pattern over and over â until we finally get it.Â Â Procrastination, over-spending, tobacco, food, relationships, resentments are just some of the many patterns we repeat over and over. We all have our own deals — and only we can choose to change those deals. We often try to change and control others â and find that we cannot change anyone. People make their own decisions to change or not change, move forward or not, to continue or leave. We work to have situations, meetings, or conversations unfold just as we have planned. When they donât, we push, manipulate and control to make things go the way they should go â or the way we think they should go. All of this fixing and controlling can be very stressful, frustrating and maddening. Often people or events move and flow in ways that are directly opposite of our ideas.Â Â Everyone has their own agenda, lessons, and reasons for doing what they do. We often donât know or understand the motives.Â The question is: What part of this is my deal?Â What is not my deal? How can I let go of, keep a distance from, not get pulled into, stay neutral with, walk away from, or pass on – something that is not my deal?Â The truth is we have enough of our own deals to work through â why take on those of someone else?Â Please take loving care of yourself!
TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The phrase, âTO MAKE A DIFFERENCEâ is often heard. People talk about wanting to in some way make life better, help or improve the way we live. For many people this is an everyday habit that they donât even think about. Â It is a way of life. There are many ways to make a difference. 1) Two businesses merged to fulfill a contract.Â In early discussions, the phrase âTO MAKE A DIFFERENCEâ was often heard. This new organization didnât just want to make a profit; they wanted to positively impact peopleâs lives â whether they were employees or the individuals benefitting from the service.Â 2) Joan was almost 50 years young, just finishing her first college degree. She kept getting this nudge to continue her education, and finally came to understand that it was not just getting a higher degree, it was how she could serve with those credentials.Â She saw her mission as a ministry â a way to help others. 3) Billy had a heart so big that it almost burst in his chest.Â He was always taking care of someone who was down-and-out.Â He mentored kids who needed to find their way, even offering them shelter in his home until they were strong enough to move on. 4)Â Sharon was a rock. Everyone in her department knew that if you needed someone, she was the go-to person. She handled multiple tasks with ease and was always willing to stop what she was doing to help with a bureaucratic tangle. 5)Â Mentors in an elementary school schedule time with a specific child once a week.Â They follow this student from grade to grade and each year and help them with academics or personal growing pains. This becomes their kid â and they want to make a difference for this child. 6) A neighbor tells of young friend who calls or checks on her every few days. There is family, but they live at a distance and this young friend has become family â someone who reaches out because she cares. The stories could go on and on.Â The point is that there are many ways to make a difference. Some are very visible, but most are small kindnesses, under the radar, yet very powerful. We donât always know how our actions might impact another person, an outcome or an event.Â Just like a pebble hitting water, the ripples move through the lake and influence in ways we cannot predict. Whether our efforts are in an organization or with an individual, we make a difference just by caring enough to make a difference. Often the ripples are paid forward in ways that are never known.Â Our support strengthens someone else and they in turn help the next person.Â When we are the pebble, it also changes us because we have simply given of ourselves â from the heart. So to all you caring folks, thank you for being you! Your big heart is much appreciated!Â Please keep on shining your light on this world starved for your loving energy! Many blessings to you!
THIS IS MY BIG DAY!
Its graduation time and many people are completing a college degree or a high school diploma.Â This calls for a celebration!Â The journey has been long, with both highs and lows, lots of work and also fun. I made it —– THIS IS MY BIG DAY! Congratulations on your accomplishments! I was recently listening to a 2010 graduate talking about her graduation day and the party that is to follow.Â It was going to be an event â with family traveling great distances to join in the ceremony and celebration of her degree. If fact, I was going to be such a big event that the price tag was estimated at $3,000. Since my mouth was hanging open I didnât ask what all this was going to include, but she volunteered that she and her husband were paying for all expenses for everyone attending.Â Keep in mind that this young woman has a mountain of student loans to pay back
and a husband is enrolled in an advanced degree program beginning in the fall. What struck me about this was the emphasis on this being MY BIG day â as if there were no other big days. Letâs put this in perspective.Â Yes, this is a big day for graduation from college.Â There was a big day for graduation from high school as well as numerous big days in a lifetime. There is not one big day. In many ways, every day is a big day. Iâm looking out at the most beautiful tulips in the yard. This is the first day the blooms have opened.Â This is a big day â the first day of many big days for these blooms to shine in the sun. Each blade of grass is having a big day as it soaks up the rain. The dog walking down the street holding his leach in his mouth is having a big day. As we appreciate the simple pleasures of life, everyday can be my big day. Each big day is made of big moments â that brighten the hohum of chores, mundane tasks and moody co-workers. Sometimes just getting something completed is a big moment in a big day. Relaxing to visit with a friend, take a walk, or enjoy your favorite hobby is a big moment. We often take for granted the big moments that make up a big day. In fact, we donât even see the moments that could fill the big day.Â They fly right by us – unnoticed! So, tomorrow morning when you open you eyes, make a pact with yourself to have a âBIG DAY.âÂ Â Notice the moments of your day, and look for something funny, happy, new, unusual, beautiful or silly in each moment.Â When you appreciate the moments â every day is a BIG DAY.
IN THE SILENCE
This week I had overnight guests. Â I was the bed and breakfast for the night. These friends are walking, not biking, The Katy Trail across Missouri.Â The Katy Trail is a 225 mile (365 km) bike path stretching across most of the state. Over half of it follows Lewis and Clark’s path up the Missouri River, where you can ride beneath towering river bluffs. After leaving the river, the trail meanders through peaceful farmland and small-town Americana. Walking the trail for these two seniors has been quite an experience.Â They have questioned their sanity, âWhy are two people our age doing this? Whose idea was this anyway?âÂ I was almost the halfway mark in the 21-day trip and by now they will have completed half of their journey.Â They were keeping a daily journal and taking pictures of people and mile markers. It includes incredible stories of homegrown characters, and of animals or happenings.Â Some days this was an endurance test and they fell into the seats of my air-conditioned car as they had completed the15-mile journey that day. As they recounted stories, they often referred to the silence.Â As they walked along the trail, away from the noise of traffic and people, even the sounds of nature – the wind, birds, animals – was calming and peaceful. Sometimes, they talked, but mostly they got in the zone and walked in the silence. For many people, to be in nature brings a deep peace. Last week we took a road trip through a rural area and felt the silence as we drove beneath the trees, seeing the herds of cows and the farm fields. This is a sanctuary, a connection to spirit and to all creation. Â It is as if the scramble of daily life ceases and you find a part of yourself that has gotten lost in the chaos. For many of us, silence is not a daily part of our lives. It may not come naturally to many of us. However, it is a practice worth learning. Why?Â It is a spiritual practice that allows us to truly communicate from our heart, with God. It connects us to a place of love, peace, understanding and comfort.Â For many of us it is a new, deep experience. John OâDonohue, Irish teacher and poet, writes that, âSilence is the most effective way to come into Godâs presence.â If this is a new experience for you, experiment with silence and notice your reactions.Â Turn off all noise andÂ avoid talking for a brief time each day (five minutes or longer) From this time, what does your body feel like, and what are you feeling?Â Try a silent walk or sit in nature. In the silence do you notice God in new ways?Â Â Author Barbara Howard from the Community of Christ Herald, says that in the silence she is always in Godâs arms and God is saying, âI will always be with you. I love you.â
TUX THE CAT
Do you know what a tuxedo cat is? It is a black cat with a white neck and chest â as if it had on a tuxedo. They look very dignified and formal. One of these cats has made his home with us.Â Last winter in the worst snow and cold, I observed him wandering the neighborhood, and began feeding him.Â He had no real shelter, so I took care of that also.Â As winter turned to spring, he felt comfortable enough to come closer to the house and eventually to the back porch. Â Now, he occasionally comes in the house, but really prefers to supervise the back yard. Tux is the most laid-back cat Iâve even seen. On our first visit to the veterinarian, he purred as she examined him.Â When Molly goes she is so scared that she will hardly let them touch her. Â The two have gotten acquainted over these months.Â It was so funny to watch as Molly was on the inside of the door and Tux was on the outside.Â Molly, the princess, would hiss and growl then the next second be rolling on the floor in front of him. He just observed and then yawned. Â He has never growled at her â as if to say, âGo ahead and be drama queen. Iâll watch.â The personalities of cats are as different as people. Molly is more nervous, wants loving, but when she wants it.Â She purrs easily and falls over to have her tummy rubbed. Molly loves to play and has an assortment of toys that she will bring for me to throw â so she can chase them.Â Fighting with the rug is a favorite game of hers and of course she always wins. She is friendly with visitors, but wary.Â Tux on the other hand, rolled over for me to pet his tummy the first time he was brave enough to eat on the porch.Â His favorite activity is to curl up on my lap and sleep.Â He is a big boy with huge feet, long legs and tail, so there is a lot of cat to hold.Â Itâs like having this ball of fur with appendages sticking out everywhere. In fact, he spends most of his time on the back porch in a cushioned chair, asleep. I have watched and considered how these two creatures are a reflection of me, and what I can learn from them. Â Molly is more nervous and anxious, but loves to play.Â In fact playing with her has taught me just to stop working and be at play. Â Tux is very relaxed and seems to go with the flow. Itâs as if he knows that âall is wellâ and he can take another nap.Â If he could talk, his word might be, âChill!â So, he is my teacher to practice âit is as it isâ, hold me, love me and letâs be at peace. What do your creatures have to teach you?Â How are they a support in your life?
ARE WE HAVING FUN, YET?
How do you define fun? Is it something that is only playtime and does not involve your job or some kind of work? Â Or, is it something that you simply enjoy, regardless of whether it is you are getting paid to do it, have to do it, or is a chore that will make life better?Â Mowing the grass is an example of this.Â We may love to be outside, but may or may not define this specific activity as fun. Fun can be defined as: play, sport, amusement, relaxation, entertainment, recreation, pastime, solace, or pleasure. Â Each individual defines fun for themselves.Â However, in the everyday bustle of living, there is often less fun and more stress. Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time with two long-tine friends.Â We donât often see each other, but when we do it is an instant connection.Â Both of these people talked about fun.Â One is planning a 21-day walk of the Katy Train in Missouri with her husband. She talked about looking forward to the fun they would have on the trip. The other friend is a hard-working executive with way too many irons in the fire and much to do. She talked about the pace of her life and how she never seems to get everything done. However, I thought she had a wonderful suggestion for all of us workaholics. Each morning she makes a to-do list for the day.Â As she makes this she specifically puts down five things that will be fun!Â These are simple things, like the two of us sharing a cup of coffee, getting some windshield time as she is driving, or a bubble bath at the end of the day.Â It is often the simple things that are the most fun! Actually we could have more fun than we do. It is an attitude thing! How much of our day do we spend in expectation of more stress or frustration?Â When we go into a meeting, do we see it as fun?Â When we are stuck in traffic is it fun?Â When a child or co-worked is difficult, is it fun?Â Â Maybe not like a party kind of fun, but we can still find something to have fun with in these situations. Sometimes we can make fun by being glad something is over â like a visit to the dentist. Â It would benefit us by reducing our stress and make our life easier.Â Â It is an attitude of looking for something to laugh about or enjoy. Fun is all around us â we just have to be aware of it. It is a gift we can give ourselves.Â So, if youâre not having fun yet, start now!
TO BE OR NOT TO BE?
Iâve heard numerous stories and had several conversations in the last few days about ââTO BE OR NOT TO BE.â This famous question originally came from Shakespeareâs Hamlet.Â However it was interpreted in that famous play, it has a very definite application to our lives today. Seems that we are so busy racing around and keeping all the balls bouncing that we have forgotten how, âTO BE.â Over lunch my friend Angie and I were talking about always doing.Â If we are not doing something, we are very uncomfortable.Â Angie told me that she was always busy and when she wasnât actually moving around, she was thinking of moving around. What do I have to do tomorrow and how can I handle that? She even wakes up in the middle of the night and starts planning her next day, interrupting her rest.Â I shared my pattern of turning on the television and working on the computer at the same time â not being able to just rest and watch a program.Â The excuse is that Iâm not really that interested in the program, but the real reason is that I canât chill out enough to just sit and âBE.â Â Â In all honesty, when I do just sit, unless the program really is good, Iâm probably asleep in a short time. Â Angie and I concluded that at this point we were not having any fun running, so our lunch was a time for us to just âBEâ and enjoy each other.Â It was wonderful â and relaxing! I have another friend who is like a moving target â never still. He always has a project. The amazing thing to watch is that he hustles through them to get done as quickly as possible â scheduling time by the minute – and never really seems to enjoy the âDOING.âÂ He just wants to get done so he can move on the next project âand not enjoy that either. What does it mean âTO BEâ?Â It means to turn off all the worry and anxiety about what we have to do and how we are going to get all of it done. It means to be in the present moment and enjoy the company of another.Â It means to notice our surroundings and take in the beauty of nature or the aesthetic pleasures of the restaurant. It means to give attention to the people we are with â listen – Â and simply enjoy their company. âTO BEâ is really simple and we make it sooooooo complicated. In this stressed out world, we need âTO BE.â Â We live in our old rusty, moldy thinking and doing patterns from the past, regret things we cannot change, or we worry and fret about a future that we cannot predict. âTO BEâ means to stop, breathe, look around and appreciate what is around us in this moment â repeat in this moment. There is no other moment and this one will not come again. We miss so much by not being here in this moment.Â So, my challenge to you is âTO BEâ and it is also a challenge to me.Â We will change our quality of life if we will do this one simple thing.
PUSHING THE BOULDER UP THE MOUNTAIN
Did you ever work and work to accomplish a goal, maintain a relationship, or build a team?Â Did you ever want something so bad that you would do anything to make it happen?Â Sometimes things fall in place and you get exactly what you wanted. At other times, you work, try, push and negotiate and it just isnât happening. Then you kick into high gear with a manipulative plan to force what you want.Â The more effort you use to push this boulder up the mountain, the more quickly it comes rolling back down. Why doesnât this work out?Â Maybe, just maybe, at this time, in this place, with this person, it just isnât meant to be. I know we donât like to hear that, but it is a truth that we need to recognize.Â Instead of pushing that gigantic rock again and again, we need to stop and evaluate the situation. Stop! Look around â can I build on something that is working? What have I learned that I can apply to this situation or elsewhere? What opportunities have I missed because I was so focused on achieving this?Â If I just relaxed, put on the patience hat, and let this situation unfold, what would happen?Â How can I stop beating up on myself because as hard as I tried, it was not enough?Â There are many reasons that we cannot see or understand for how life unfolds. Maybe what we want is not in our best interest at this time. Peter was starting a new business. He was so excited.Â The plan was to establish a team of associates to help him carry out his concept.Â A partnership was formed with his best buddy and then he formed an executive team with two other people.Â Even though his best buddy partner
was too busy to participate, Peter and one of his associates were excited and productive in achieving the goal — for a while.Â Â The buddy was never available and after a while the associate complained of doing the work, without being the partner. Frustrated, Peter pushed forward, but was becoming more frustrated and less interested with each passing day. His concept was not unfolding as he had expected.Â It felt like he was pushing a boulder up the mountain â nothing was going right and everything was harder than anticipated. He knew there were other issues that his partner was facing and that a door was opening in a few months.Â So, he did what he could and trusted that this would unfold â but maybe not as he had first envisioned it. Sometimes our expectations are so fixed that we want to control every aspect of our plan or idea.Â We know what we want and exactly how this will come about. That boulder is going up that mountain â period â no discussion! Â But —- it doesnât always work that way. There are forces and factors that we just canât control.Â Sometimes we have to let go of the fixed and focused control on how this will unfold. Start with the acceptance that âit is as it isâ in this moment, not give up and be open to other possibilities. Â Maybe we have to push that rock across the mountain for a while and then zig zag it to the top. In the journey up the mountain – however that rock moves â are our opportunities to learn and grow.Â Blessings!
IT IS IRRELEVANT!
On March 18, I posted the blog, IMPRESSIONS.Â Â It focused on Mary who was healing from an abusive childhood.Â Â I.M. Heart encouraged you to be real and honest about feelings coming from such experiences and like Mary, to get help when needed. Â Be brave enough to continue working on understanding and letting go of impressions of yourself from the experiences – that may not be true. The truth is that we are all valuable, worthy and lovable individuals. Sometimes we assume that because people have been cruel or abusive, we are not lovable. Â In this blog I want to share some more insights Mary has discovered. My wish is that her insights help others. When we have been hurt in the past â by a parent or another significant other â it is nothing we can change now. The incident(s) and who committed this is not as important as how we have mentally and emotionally stored that memory. The story we have told ourselves about what happened and why is key.Â The person and their actions are really irrelevant â anyone could have hurt us and we would have stored the scars and bruises of that situation.Â The point is that from our perceptions and assumptions of the event â we have built patterns of choices, assumptions and decisions in life.Â We may have assumed that we are not lovable or ok, hung onto guilt and shame, or shut off our heart.Â Even though what happened was not right, it has been our choice to hang onto the pain.Â The people who hurt us did not tell us we had to suffer all our life â we processed the event and chose to do that. Maybe we just didnât know how to face and heal it, so we thought we buried it â but it haunts us. It is our responsibility to look, heal and change the attitudes and assumptions that drive the patterns of behavior resulting from that experience.Â The real key is the challenging the âtruthsâ that we have believed from that event. For Mary, she shut down her heart and has lived a belief that nobody will ever whole-heartedly love her. As a result, she has chosen relationships in which the other person was emotionally unavailable â because she was.Â Now she sees and understands it. As she heals, she will make different choices. For a long time, there may be residual feelings that come rolling out – feelings like anger, shame, guilt or sadness â and thatâs ok. Thatâs part of a continual healing.Â Face them with love for yourself and let them heal. Nobody can change that but us â it is an inside job.Â So, look at the patterns of thinking and feeling that you assumed to be the truth. Look at the choices and decisions you made â based on that assumed truth. Â Be aware of your beliefs so that you make healthier choices and decisions.Â You are relevant, important and worthy! Today is Easter â the day of resurrection in many faiths.Â Whatever your belief, healing will change your life.Â It will bring a personal resurrection for you!
EMPTY, YET FULL
It is Spring â time for washing windows, cleaning the hidey holes in the house of their secret treasures as well as clearing the yard of dried up foliage. Emptying means stripping away what we donât need or want any more. It means de-cluttering as we do in spring cleaning or when we gather articles to put in a yard sale. As we clean out the physical, it also cleans out our minds and bodies â removing things that give us discomfort or dis-ease.Â It feels so good to have all the âstuffâ removed from drawers and closets.Â Iâve felt uncomfortable in my office. Cleaning out and organizing the books and papers helps me to think and write better. I can find the desk top. As we clean out the clutter in our homes we discover a sense of relief â we can breathe, feel unburdened or lighter and freer. We can also do a spring cleaning or emptying of the thoughts, feelings beliefs, and attitudes that no longer serve us. The process of emptying ourselves of negative or limiting perceptions – our own trash -opens up space for new ways of thinking and doing. We canât get to feeling better and living differently if we are covered up with resentment, shame, guilt, rage and sadness.Â That trash heap stops us from experiencing love, happiness, fun, laughter and a wealth of other treasures that we all want.Â It is time to notice and empty what is not benefiting us and adding value to life. Iâve watched people carry around their trash and clutter the landscape with it. It destroys so many wonderful opportunities. They miss out on living. We can think about emptying in a new way — at a spiritual level. Spirit is a never ending source of love and abundance, available to everyone, all the time. In the spiritual sense â we are always receiving a flow of love from God. Â It is a gift given with no limits. So if love is always flowing to us, we know that the well is always full of water.Â No matter how many buckets of water we empty out, there is always more water. As we dip the water out we are receiving that love and as we water the plants bursting force from the ground we are giving love back.Â Just like the water in the well, love is always flowing â giving and receiving. Now, put that to use in our relationships with each other. When we know that love is coming to us in an unending supply; when we are spiritually fed every day, we are filled to overflowing with love. We can dip into that supply and give love away through our time, energy, compassion, listening, caring and support of another.Â We can be fully present with another person in any given moment, with the intent of emptying our selves of love for them.Â We all need love desperately â and we can give it to each other.Â When we give with the intent of simply loving we are fed by that giving. It is not nearly as complicated as we make it. So let the spring of spiritual love flow to and through you — to those around you.Â Letâs use love up â thereâs lots more to come!!!
RUNNING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS!
Have you ever found yourself running in opposite directions â toward someone and at the same time away from them?Â Â Many people want real, honest, loving, committed relationships, but are terrified of really having them. They feel that they have opened their heart and it was broken. They never want to hurt that bad again, so they close up, and shut down.Â They feel that they will never have someone to love them â heart and soul, true and fully.Â Â With this in place, when love does come their way, they are terrified and run away from the very thing that they want the most. Bill has been in a relationship of six months. It is best thing that has ever happened to him. This woman really loves him.Â She accepts him for who he is â the warm loving, generous Bill as well as the Bill who is afraid to really accept that love and has tried to push her away.Â She has refused to turn away.Â Instead, she has been there to support him as he works through his fear of loving both himself and her.Â Bill has said that he would not have been able to confront some of his fears if she had not been there to love him.Â She loves him just as he is right now â really loves him. Just like some of us, Bill has never experienced this level of acceptance and support. Â If one has never experienced this, it is hard to accept â so we both move toward it and run away from it. Claire really loved this man and would do anything for him. She gave and gave because it felt so good to love someone. Â Sometimes that love would be returned — wonderful, warm, loving; and then sometimes he could be rude, even cruel in his self- centeredness. Claire has also refused to run away, even though day-to day, it was unpredictable whether he would be running toward or away. However, Claire knows that she has grown just by opening her heart. Whatever the future, she is more open and loving with herself and others. The question is: One day will she love herself so much that she moves forward to someone who is running toward her instead of running away?Â Sometimes those we love take us for granted, and we run forward and toward those who can return the love. Even in friendships, these same scenarios can occur. Iâve watched people who have never before had someone who they could fully and honestly confide in. They canât believe the connection is real and such full disclosure of their true identity is accepted.Â Finally, they can âlet it all hang outâ, instead of playing a superficial game. Even then, in this sanctuary, it takes courage to run toward instead of running away. These are true stories. Iâve listened to the sagas and watched them play out. Iâve also lived them personally â just like you.Â We grow in love by loving, and whether it is returned or rejected, we change. If it rejected, it hurts.Â When the hurt heals we discover that our loving our heart has opened more. What we have given to others, we can give to ourselves and to people who are receptive. Run, run toward love â it is who you are!Â It is the most powerful energy in the universe!
Sometimes things that happen to us in our childhood leave invisible marks that cannot be seen on our skin, but leave an indelible image in our hearts and minds.Â We may carry the experience around with us and vow never to be hurt again.Â Our awareness of the incident and the decision may be buried from our consciousness. However, it shapes perceptions, life choices, and relationships for many years.Â A personal story was recently shared with me â and I want to pass it along so that we can all learn from it. A young-hearted, 50ish woman shared her discovery of a childhood experience that left an impression that until last week was not known. At the age of three, Mary (to protect the innocent), just wanted some love and attention from her mother, like any little girl does.Â However, on this day, instead of love, she got a scolding. Â Mom was busy and Mary was being a baby for interrupting. So, being hurt, Mary went outside in the sunshine and held her kitten.Â The kitten gave Mary the love she so desperately wanted. Thus, an impression was formed. Â Mary resolved to never again need love from anyone so much that it hurt. She shut down her heart and for years held tight to the wall of protection she built that day.Â People were allowed to get only so close to her. When people were openly loving she did not know how to accept it and yet she so desperately wanted to be loved. How, you are asking did Mary discover this?Â First, she had been working on both releasing the past and opening up to herself and others.Â This dual combination of determined change along with the help of a very sensitive and intuitive counselor proved to be a combination through which the memory surfaced. Â Â Mary knew that her pattern with relationships, her loneliness, and fears of acceptance were coming from inside. She was aware of the voice that told her that she was not ever going to do enough or be good enough to be loved. She believed that the words of the voice were the truth. So, she built a wall of protection. However, her wall had been falling, brick-by-brick for some time and yet, the foundation was still there. That cracked last week and in the days following Mary has had many insights â leading to a greater understanding of herself. Through understanding, she can continue to open her heart âfirst to herself and then to others. On any given day, we are more vulnerable than on another day.Â Youâve experienced this. We are like the tender shoots that are now popping up from the ground.Â The wind and rain can pelt and blow and we just move with the forces of nature.Â On other days, the rain hurts and the wind blows us down and we just shiver and break.Â On those days, the rain may make an impression that lasts. We may feel that we are not strong enough to spring back up again â and hunker down every time it rains again. We seek protection. An impression has been made and it sticks!Â So, I.M. Heart would encourage you to be brave enough to continue working on understanding and letting go of impressions that may not be the truth.Â A basic truth is that we are all lovable and loving. Opening our hearts to this truth can change your life. I seen it and Iâve experienced it.Â Many blessings!
LIVING AS I.M. HEART
Not long ago I was angry and someone said to me âThatâs not I.M. Heart!âÂ My response was, âOh, yes it is!âÂ What that person didnât understand is that I.M. Heart is all feelings — those that are warm, loving and happy as well as those that are angry, hurt and sad.Â I.M. Heart is a whole person, complex, and changing in each moment of the day â just like you. As a result, if you donât experience a variety of feelings, then you are not being honest and true with yourself. Feelings flow through us constantly, like a river flows to the sea. They move and change with each moment of the day. Sometimes we are aware of
how we feel and at times we are totally numb to our feelings.Â If we are alive, we feel, whether or not we acknowledge them.Â I.M. Heart wants you to accept all feelings â the good, the bad and the ugly. Yes, there are some ugly ones! Some of us live thinking that if we arenât feeling the positive, nurturing, compassionate feelings then we are not a good person. We should always speak softly and kindly and never be angry â or be direct and honest about how we feel.Â Instead we hold in the real feeling and âplay nice.âÂ However, playing nice catches up with us and we find our body accumulates those parked feelings and gets dis-eased because we were not real with ourselves. We were pretending and eventually that catches up with us. I recently read The Shack by Wm. Paul Young and found very interesting the discussion of feelings in that book.Â Â The primary character, Mack, says that he is afraid of emotions and doesnât like how they feel.Â Many of us are also afraid of emotions because sometimes they seem so outof-control and dangerous. Mack says he canât trust them and some of us feel the same way. The response Mack gets is that âEmotions are the colors of the soul â they are spectacular and incredible. When you donât feel, the world becomes dull and colorlessâ¦. .They are not good or bad; they just exist.âÂ Â There is such a broad range of feelings, from ecstasy to despair â and everything in between. They all affect us differently and we know the range of colors of those feelings. Remember that feelings come in two general varieties â from either love or fear. We are familiar with all of them and have lived with them all our lives. Â We know fear as: frustration, confusion, worry, doubt, guilt, sadness, resentment, bitterness or discouragement.Â Â In contrast, we know love as: gratitude, wonder, compassion, enthusiasm, well-being, peace, contentment, trust or joy.Â Sometimes they are a combination of both loving and fearful.Â You live feelings every moment of every day. You are living as I.M. Heart â allow yourself to honestly feel!.
The word FAMILY has many meetings. Iâve heard people define it as just those with whom they share a blood line.Â For others it is expanded to include people in their church, community and work, who are not blood kin.Â Others define family as a select group of people, not related by blood, that form a heart connection and commitment, and who mean more to them than any blood relationship. A friend of mine calls this â âA family of your choosing!â Â Last week on Oprah, a guest was talking about family.Â The following is a quote from that program ——– âWho loves you when you need them, thatâs your family.â Family——- people to really love us, accept and cherish all our quirks and talents, share traditions and holidays, play and laugh, and are there for us when we have a bad day or the bottom drops out of our world.Â Ideally, we think of this support as coming from blood family. Sadly, that is not always the case. Sometimes when we need love the most, our blood family provides it the least. For whatever reason, if it is not possible for them to do so, we look elsewhere. I know a family where one person has sought the love and approval of others in the family for years.Â She has felt that there was something wrong with her when she could not connect and did not really enjoy being around family members.Â At a recent gathering she had an âah-haâ moment.Â She realized that the distance between her world and theirs was very wide. That didnât make her less than they are, only different. The truth is that she is ok and they are ok. To expect a close, intimate relationship is unrealistic and that too is ok. Â There are other people in her family of choice who can provide that. Finally, she has a family in which she is loved, accepted, and comfortable.Â It is a place that provides security, compassion, and kindness. She says being in this family of her choice âmakes her feel whole and she wants to soar with people who love to put the wind beneath her wings.âÂ Â This is a gift of love she can give to herself. I donât think it matters how you define it.Â Family, in an ideal image, is a warm, fuzzy, nurturing, loving place. Every one of us needs a place like that.Â Â I close with a quote that describes this perfectly:Â Â âThe incredible, unexplainable connection â a gift of tremendous pleasure – a sentence that needs not to be finished â a look that eases all tension â a warmth on a cold day â a tearful story shared between two â a comfortable silence â a hug that means true feelings â a glance from across the way â fun, play and laughter – a long answer to situations where just a simple yes would do – simple, honest love shared between a family of your choosing â a respect earned not just given â living the happy life and sharing with those you love.â
Mary Jo nurtures everyone.Â Whenever a member of the family has a problem, they call Mary Jo.Â The family includes children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and even members of the church family.Â With each call, she gives wise and sage advice and solves or fixes the problem.Â People wander in and out of the house just to talk to Mary Jo about a family or work problem. The phone often rings off the hook with people calling to share a concern.Â Mary Jo has been doing this all her life.Â She is perceived as calm and logical. In her eyes, this is a service that she can give to those she cares about.Â She gives and gives and gives â putting her own needs aside to be there for others. To many people, she is always the same calm, cool, collected pool of answers and suggestions. However, Iâve watched her for several years now and being the wise one is beginning to take its toll. I probably know her better than most. There are times when the tone of voice is sharp or stressed and the caller is on the end of the phone is cut off rather quickly.Â Listening, really listening, doesnât happen and instead a solution is immediately offered.Â Even when we are just having conversation â friend-to-friend â I have to stop her and tell her I want her to listen first. It changes her response when she really listens â and she often discovers that I already have the answer. I just wanted to tell someone. I tell this story because I had a conversation about nurturing today with another friend.Â She had a need for nurturing through an extended family illness and wasnât getting the support from her husband.Â She had to tell him, bluntly, that she needed his nurturing.Â I have experienced something similar, in needing nurturing and instead getting luke-warm support from a friend who I expected could nurture me.Â He couldnât because he was nurtured out â the well was dry. Many of us nurture others at our own expense. We give and give, until we have nothing left to give and then we try to give some more. We have drawn all the water from the well, and yet we look for one more drop to give.Â Some people will wring us out for that last drop and look for another
one. This is the time to wake up and realize that we canât give any more. We need a time-out because we are hurting selves. In our friendships and relationships, itâs time we talked about what we can give and what others want in nurturing. Maybe we can receive that time, hug, conversation, or maybe someone will provide a sanctuary where just for a moment we can let down the guard, and then we can stand tall and strong again. Nurturing means different things to different people. Talk to those you love about nurturing wants and needs â theirs and yours. Maybe most important, decide on what you can do to nurture yourself and then do it. You deserve it!
It is February 15, the day after Valentines Day. Did you make your Valentines Day resolutions for the coming year? If not, I.M. Heart has a few suggestions. Â Since Valentines Day is all about celebrating loving relationships, letâs base our resolutions on building relationships.Â Then everyone who this year had a lonely Valentines Day can build relationships so that next year will be different.Â Valentines Day will be a day to share with loved ones.Â How do we do this?Â Consider the following suggestions. Nurture other people. Stay in contact electronically, by phone or making time to visit in person. We often lose contact because life is so busy, so donât let that happen.Â Be there for someone else â maybe your presence is what is important â just bring the gift of you to the table – the natural, wonderful you.Â When someone is talking, really listen and care about what they are saying. Make time to care about them. We all need nurturing Respect others. Their perspective, experience, and background may be very different from yours. That makes your life richer and fuller. Find out what makes them who they are â what makes them tick – really get to know people.Â Allow them to teach you something new â that you have no knowledge of or havenât experienced. Do something with them youâve never done before. Â Both of you will grow just by sharing. Believe in the potential of someone. We all constantly change. We are different tomorrow than we were today. Appreciate the value and good in people and give them the room to move and evolve. We all have our rough edges, fears and insecurities. We can help each other through them and celebrate the victory of growing.Â Although we are often shy about receiving compliments, go ahead and tell those you care about what you like, and value about them. Tell them why you love them. We all need to be validated and loved. Be honest, direct and real in your communication and interactions.Â This is not always as easy as it seems. We tell the truth as best we can in any moment. Sometimes itâs hard to really say what we want to say.Â Fear pops in and we donât know how our truth will be received or if we should really say what we think and feel. When this happens, listen to your gut, trust in your intuition, not your fear. Efforts of honesty are not always accepted â others are also afraid. However, in real relationships, honesty is absolutely essential and we can talk through miscommunication and misunderstanding.Â The result is a closer friendship. That is worth all the effort. Relationships are a journey, just like all other aspects of life. We benefit from being with other people and in the process learning more about ourselves.Â So, all these gifts you are sharing with others, please also give to yourself. Be your own valentine for a year!
SOMEONE TO LOVE ME!!!
âI am finally one of the luckiest girls in the world. I have somebody to love me.â Â I just heard these words from a person who has felt alone all her life.Â Her family history is not of loving, doting parents and there have been few close relationships in her life.Â She finally has someone who loves her â happy or sad, silly or grumpy, through thick and thin.Â She says having love in her life is like sprouting wings. âYou fly in ways you have never flow.Â It sets you free, shines light into scary places, opens doors, changes who you and who you can become. Itâs amazing how something so cool can be so scary!â Showing someone you love them is not necessarily a dozen roses, and a mushy card â once a year. It is the everyday, small, thoughtful acts that show people we really care. Perhaps it has more to do with a heart-to-heart connection! Â It is an invisible bond that simply exists between people.Â It is compassion, understanding, tolerance, and appreciation. The key is in the relationship. It allows each individual to be themselves, accepting the stubborn or difficult as well as the cheerful and intriguing. Itâs accepting the whole package as it is, as it grows and changes. The book, I.M. Heart reads as follows: â I.M. Heart. I.M. here to learn to love. I want to live with a heart pumping and expanding with love. I want to love myself and others. To do that, I.M. changing my actions and behaviors. I.M. learning to connect with myself and others from the heart.Â I.M. learning to: be patient; be kind; run less, walk more, stop and stand still; enjoy more; breathe deeper; laugh longer and more; cry harder, sob, weep; grieve, feel sad, be angry; be joyful, silly, free, play; appreciate, be grateful; get real and honest; have faith and hope; live in gratitude to love.Â I have a friend who says that living your life with love and gratitude is like dancing to a special love song. Those poetic words capture the joy of feeling love. May you dance your life as a special love songâ So, whatever your âlove statusâ —– this Valentines week ——- take a leap. Just jump right in there and send out all the love you can or accept love that comes to you. Love someone, let them love you and love yourself.
A TIME TO LOVE
âYou will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.â This quote is from Henry Drummond.Â Since this is February, the month of Valentines Day, it is a time to reflect on the spirit of loving. There are many acts of love that we either give or receive each day, not just on Valentines Day or in the month of February.Â They are given with no expectation of something in return. Expressions of support, compassion, friendship or appreciation; given spontaneously and genuinely are gifts that can bring tears to our eyes, and comfort to our hearts.Â Both the giver and the receiver are forever changed by sharing a loving moment. The power of love is the most precious gift in the universe and yet too many times, we are reluctant to reach out to someone else in a loving way. We are afraid our offering will not be accepted. We hesitate and let fear stop us. To the recipient, it may seem unimaginable that someone could reach out in a loving manner. It feels strange when honest and real love is offered as never experienced before. We are also afraid of this thing that
weâve wanted so desperately. Can this be real? What if I get hurt again? Again fear reigns. Everyone loses! In reality, you will reach out to others and they will not be able to accept the gift you offer. Please know that the love in your heart is valuable and worthy. It just means the other person is too afraid to allow love to come to them. That is sad, but because you made the effort, your heart can swell and grow. Sometimes people make it hard for us to love them. Unhappiness, anger, or other negative feelings come oozing out of them and spill out on everyone around. Underneath all the drama is a person who desperately needs our love.Â Is this easy? No! That, however, is the time to step back and look beyond the behavior. Find something to love. To give in the spirit of love is such a natural response. It is a smile, a spoken word, a phone call, a text message, listening, a hug, a card, taking care of a need, or providing a sanctuary in a time of crisis.Â All of these actions say, âI love you.âÂ They let someone else know they are a valuable and worthwhile person and you care about their welfare. You are saying to them, please take care of yourself and allow me to support you â through thick and thin. So, in this month look for ways to give in the spirit of love. Giving in the spirit of love enriches your life and the lives of others! Take a risk, take the leap, jump at a chance â itâs time!
SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME!
I think we often overlook the significance of simple, loving support in times of family crisis, or any of any other kind of stressful situations. Many of us consider ourselves strong, self-sufficient and resilient.Â We can handle whatever comes our way â alone. Yet the toll emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually is great. Until you have been through these things with all the weight on only your shoulders, you may not understand the tremendous relief of someone to watch over you. When Sandra Bullock accepted the Golden Globe for her performance in The Blind Side she commented that she was a better actress because she had someone to cover her back.Â She was referring to her husband.Â Yesterday, I experienced what it was like to have someone watch over me.Â In fact I had three somebodies watching over me â and they were covering my back. My father is 88 and has had re-occurring bouts with illness.Â He has not been well lately and yesterday required hospitalization. The usual routine is that I do the transporting and caring for both my parents when one of them is sick.Â It is only me and in times past I have run and given until I was exhausted.Â However, this time, I had three people who were there to cover my back. Two of them helped with care of my parents in their home and drove them to the emergency room to meet me. They stayed with me until late at night so that I was not alone in making decisions. Their concern was for all of us, but they were there because I needed support. A third person calmed me down when I panicked, and worked to coordinate everyone in getting my father to the hospital.Â Even though he was not at the hospital, he called to ask about everyone, talk to everyone, offer support and advice regarding the welfare of all.Â I knew if I needed anything, he was within reach by cell phone. I have thanked each for their support.Â One said, âI am here to help when itâs needed.âÂ Another said, âIt is an honor to be there to support you.â The third one said, âWe were covering your back for the sheer fact of love for each other.Â You love us and to find someone who loves us no matter how dark the day â how high the climb – how deep the pain — can bring out the best in everyone.Â Friends show up in good times, but especially in bad.Â Sometimes itâs sad that people only realize how lucky they are to have true friends when times are tough.Â When we both give and accept these gestures of kindness, we learn a little each day about the person we would like to become and all the good in the world, instead of all the bad events that overshadow the good. â I am blessed and thankful for friends and God to watch over me!
I recently joined a study group. It is one in which we are going to explore spiritual principles.Â The first week we talked about this journey as being full of possibilities.Â So, we were at the POSSIBILITY JUNCTION.Â As days passed, this kept rolling around in my head and took on a life of its own.Â There are so many possibilities â if we can only be open to them. Letâs pretend that we are at a junction. As you stand right of the middle of this intersection of four roads, you can see backward and forward, and right or left. If you look backward, the director from which you came, you might see past experiences, attitudes or feelings that you donât want to take with you.Â As you look to the left or the right, you might see a variety of choices and decisions that are yours to make.Â Â These will impact the journey as you make your way forward. You can pick and choose the ones you think you want, with the knowing that you can change you mind along the way. Who knows the doors and windows that might open to you if you will only consider the possibilities? At POSSIBILITY JUNCTION there are lots of feelings. Letting go and turning loose of those things that no longer serve us is often a grieving process. We often donât allow ourselves to feel sad when life moves on. That is part of the cleansing so that new possibilities can be born. At this junction, there is also anticipation, excitement, or a sense of adventure.Â The journey may have twists and turns, but with each bend in the road, there is a new possibility —- if we are willing to be open â open to looking, listening and accepting the love and abundance of the universe. I began reading the books in the library and found the following quote very appropriate to the musing that was bounding through my heart and mind.Â Hope it is helpful to you also. âIn the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole and complete, and yet life is ever changing. There is no beginning and no end, only a constant cycling and recycling of substance and experiences. Life is never stuck or static or stale, for each moment is ever new and fresh.Â I am one with the very Power that created me and this Power has given me the power to create my own circumstances.Â I rejoice in the knowledge that I have the power of my own mind to use in any way I choose. Every moment of life is a new beginning point as we move from the old.Â This moment is a new point of beginning for me right here and now. All is well in my world.âÂ Louise Hay — YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE
JUST LIKE YOU
Weâve all heard the expression, âWe are all more alike than different.â There are many ways in which we are alike.Â Physically, our bodies function much the same. Mentally, we process information and manage our lives. We all have emotions that impact our choices and decisions.Â Yet, we often think that we are the only person in the entire world who could have these crazy feelings, thoughts or beliefs. If we were only brave enough to talk, we would discover that everyone goes through the same struggles and challenges in life. Just by sharing it would help all to know that we are not alone, that others are just like us. I was talking about divorce with a friend who is three years out from a second divorce.Â Together we had watched a movie that pointed out that it takes us several years to work through all the feelings of guilt, anger, shame, regret, or hurt from that experience. I know others who have experienced this and it takes time to find who you are as a single person. Yet if asked how we are coping we tell everyone, âjust fine.âÂ In reality we are not just fine, we are in the process of becoming just fine.Â What we may discover is that being alone allows us time to grow and change in ways that would have been impossible in a relationship.Â This growing phase allows us to find new parts of ourselves – alone and lonely â but stretching and changing. Iâve talked to people with challenges in parenting, work situations that are suffocating, or baby boomers coping with aging parents. There are people who have suffered terrible abuse, or have experienced a family tragedy that break their hearts.Â If we could be real and honest with each other, not judgmental, but supporting â can you imagine how it would help all of us to cope with life situations? The person who is afraid, sad, or angry today, may be you tomorrow. So, pay attention to a friend, co-worker, family member, neighbor, or even a stranger. Â We are all traveling this journey called life â and we all have our ups and downs. Â The bottom line is that we are all more alike than different. We can reach out to others in very simple ways â to connect and to let them know that we care about them.Â Have you ever honestly shared an experience and had someone say, âYes, Iâve felt like that?â Now youâve connected, youâve opened the door for discussion, and you know that you are not the only one who has walked this path. How can you help each other? In a world where many people feel very alone, honestly connecting and being real might actually result in fewer lonely people. Will everyone be willing to talk to you? No, some will run, hide and refuse to talk.Â They are still just like you â so be kind, compassionate and open to reaching out in friendship.
In 2010, I.M. presents you with a challenge.Â Letâs be brave enough to reach out and care about other people.Â Letâs get out of the âitâs all about me and everyone wants to hear how important I amâ mode of operation.Â Instead, letâs ask about others and really listen to what they might have to say. Â We might find we can make some fascinating new friends. It is also possible that we might make a significant difference in someone elseâs life simply by caring about them. Recently a friend of mine was invited to join a civic organization. He attended a few meetings and decided to join.Â However, at the initiation ceremony, the members were gathered and as he walked in he was greeted by his sponsor. Â As he walked further into the room, nobody stopped to welcome him or even speak.Â After a while, he decided to take the initiative and introduce himself and say, âSo tell me about you.âÂ He repeated this several times as he made his way through the room.Â Each time the person talked about themselves and never once asked about him.Â Some even went on and on and on â and still did not seek to find out something about their new member. How do you feel about this? If you were the new member, what would you think about the organization? We have all been in situations where it is all about the other person.Â It is as if they think they are so fascinating that you want to learn every detail about their life.Â They tell stories about their past, but arenât interested in learning about you. If you have experienced this, you want to scream, âWhat about me?âÂ When this happens enough times, you just want to avoid the person.Â I.M. has talked to several people who are scratching their heads and trying to understand this strange phenomenon in our culture. People are important. Whether we like it or not, we are all in the people business.Â Relationships are the key to our success and happiness. When we meet new people it is important to find some common ground â something we can share.Â As relationships mature, it is important to be courageous and caring enough to really communicate with the other person.Â So many times there are misunderstandings, and if we can only talk about them, they can be resolved. I.M. has some friendships in which there is real conversation â and that is such a breath of fresh air â as opposed to all the hot air that blows around. Â As we reach out, we gather more real friends.Â In 2010, reach out and gather more real friends! May your motto be: I lift you up and bring love into your life, and I also lift up myself! The more I give, the more I receive and the richer is everyoneâs life!
NEW YEAR 2010 WISH!
This is my WISH for you:Â COMFORT on difficult days; SMILES when sadness intrudes; RAINBOWS to follow the clouds; LAUGHTER to kiss your lips; HUGS when spirits sag; SUNSETS to warm your heart; FRIENDSHIPS to brighten your being; BEAUTY for your eyes to see; FAITH so that you can believe; CONFIDENCE for when you doubt; COURAGE to know yourself; PATIENCE to accept the truth; LOVE to complete your life. (anonymous) Notice that the last wish in this list is: Love to complete your life. Although last, this is probably the most important one. When you have love in your life, all these other wishes are also more likely to be a part of your life.Â Why?Â Because when you open your heart to allow love, your whole life changes. Â This little verse contains sooooo many absolutely profound truths about the value of loving yourself, opening up to others, and inviting the love of spirit into your life.Â It really describes the beauty of gifts coming to us from love. For some of you, what I.M. telling you may seem like a fairy tale â unimaginable, not possible, unrealistic, something youâve dreamed of, but you donât really believe love can change you life. You may be soooo hurt, alone, or angry that you donât believe you are lovable and are certainly not
going to open up again for one more kick in the gut.Â I ask you to start by looking at the wishes above and pick one â just one! Change often comes creeping up on us with silent cat feet. When we choose to be openÂ and look for things to laugh about, a rainbow in everyday situations, or the beauty of the sunset, slowly and surely it changes us.Â Personally, when we muster the courage to really learn and accept our strengths and fears, talents and desires it changes us.Â When we know beyond all doubt that Godâs love is with us and working through us, that completely changes our lives. I.M.encourages you to invite that spiritual presence â whatever you call it â into your life. Let me share an I.M. Heart journey for 2009. I.M. has changed a lot this year â more honest, open, trusting of myself, less fearful, more outspoken, more fun(ornery is a word often used), spontaneous, and hopeful. I.M. is more trusting in spirit, and being open to that promise of loving acceptance is growing daily. What will 2010 bring in the light from within? Weâll find out! Â Happy new year!
SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS
So, this is Christmas — a time to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus in the manger.Â All across the world this birth is celebrated.Â In songs, services, prayer and scripture there is rejoicing for the gift of love this birth has brought to us.Â Whatever our tradition of celebrations, the central focus this time is acceptance of this gift â or is it? Each of us has a different relationship with Jesus and God just as we have different relationships with each other.Â For some of us, this spiritual love may not be a part of our lives.Â For others, it is a significant connection every moment of every day.Â Whatever your personal connection, this time is an opportunity for renewal or re-birth for us.Â I.M. Heart would encourage you to take time in the rush of the season and to open your heart â if only just a crack â to connect with the loving energy that is available to us from spirit. Start by seeing the candle light or starlight in your own heart as a reflection of this loving energy.Â Be still with this energy and let it settle in your heart. This is your personal connection. It is always there for you.Â Invite it to sit with you and be a part of your life. I have a friend who has invited this energy in his life for many years and connects to it on a moment-by-moment basis. I have other friends who say they donât believe in God and even when they try, canât make the connection.Â There is a third friend who only asks for help in times of emergency or crisis.Â It doesnât matter to God which of these categories you fall in — there is a standing invitation to invite this energy into your life. So this Christmas, open your heart, to receive the message of love brought by Jesus birth.Â In the days to come, continue your heart open â very gently and consistently. If we open our heart the best we can right now, and then continue to keep it open, we will begin to build a personal relationship with God.Â Then we will discover the limitless love, acceptance and support there for us.Â Our concept of love is often very small, when in reality Godâs love for us is very big â much bigger than we can even imagine! Many people express frustration with the materialism of Christmas and are disappointed that is was not the joyful event hyped by the media. We look for joy in gifts purchased and visits with people we canât connect like we want, even when we really want to. So, we end up disappointed again in our search for the promise of joy, love, warmth connection, and hope of Christmas. Weâre looking in all the wrong places. Letâs begin with us â in the light in our own heart that connects us to the love brought to us by Jesus. Â Inside us â not outside â is the real re-birth. There, in our relationship with this spiritual love, is the real joy of Christmas. “The power of love is always there for us, but love doesn’t come showering down on us like rain. Love has to begin in someone’s heart, a heart that has opened to it”Â Â – Rev. Alan Rowbotham
THE CANDLE LIGHT WITHIN
Candles are often lit during the Christmas season, both in our homes and churches. The warm flicker of the flame is fascinating to watch. Many people describe a sense of peace, calm or sanctuary in watching candle light. The light also gives us a sense of connection to each other and to spirit.Â Christmas Eve is often a time for candle light services in which every person in the audience holds a lit candle when singing Silent Night. There is a hush as if the world stands still in reverence for just a few moments.Â If you watch this audience, some people will be totally absorbed in the wonder of these moments and you may even see tears.Â Others will be singing a song, oblivious of the sacred significance of the candle light and its connection to the flame that yearns to burn in their own hearts. I.M. Heart wants you to give yourself a gift this Christmas. Open your hearts to the candle light of spirit. Light this flame in your heart and allow it to be with you.Â In Feeling the Holidays, the prior blog, I.M. Heart wrote about all the variety of feelings that come to us with the holidays.Â We feel a whole range of joys, sorrows and anxieties. We donât know what to do with them.Â A reader of the last blog asked I.M. to follow-up with more ideas, so the following are some options for you to consider. Letâs begin with each of us.Â Each morning or evening, close your eyes and be still and quiet. Just let the noise and chatter move on through your mind â and instead focus on your heart. See in your heart a lit candle. Just see it glowing and flickering â sometimes higher and sometimes low. Feel the warmth, love and calm as you connect with this light. This is your light, your energy, your connection to spirit.Â It is always there.Â As you move through the day, invite it to shine bright, and in those moments when fear grabs you â go back to this flame and focus on it. Should you have to be around a negative person or in an unpleasant situation, see yourself being wrapped in a blanket of light â just like the candle flame in your heart. Â Wrap yourself in this bubble of light and see it protecting you from the negative vibes coming your way. Let these bounce off your bubble of light and float away. You canât change other people, but you can wrap yourself in a bubble and let others words and actions bounce offÂ you.Â Â You can also set your own boundaries, and when you bubble has been dented enough, you can remove yourself from the situation, for a short period or a longer one â so that you can re-nurture yourself in the light. Finally, use this candle flame to send an umbrella of light into a home, room or any space where you are going to spend some time. How do you do this? First connect to your own light, and ask spirit to join with you in filling this space with loving energy. See the room filled with glowing golden light. You will know you are connected in your heart and the room is filled with light.Â Some people will sense this and others will not.Â Thatâs ok,
this light is there for anyone who chooses it. The candle flame will change in brightness. Donât be concerned.Â It is still there — let it glow the best you can. It will grow brighter the more you allow it.Â Just allow it to shine. Grow in faith in the candle light within.
FEELING THE HOLIDAYS
Songs tell us that this is the most wonderful time of the year. However, the holidays are often a time of great joys, sorrows and anxiety. There are so many expectations of love and joy in this season.Â The expectations are often marred by strained relationships, losses or loneliness that are magnified as media, culture and religions organizations emphasize the messages of loving families gathered together around the fireplace andÂ tree. Add to this the stress of the focus on buying, and then buying more presents. It is cause for some to say, âBah Humbug!â However, we can use the holidays for our personal healing and growth. There are benefits for all of us, even if we are feeling like Scrooge.Â Just like that grumpy old guy this is a chance to openly look at our feelings. When feelings are âin our faceâ, overwhelming and all consuming is a time of great opportunity. Instead we often attempt to pretend we donât feel, find comfort in eating, get more ill tempered and blame the stresses of Christmas, or sleep in hibernation to avoid them. Â Then at some moment when we least want to deal with them, they pop out and we find ourselves in tears, a fit of anger, or really down in the dumps â just when we are supposed to be jolly and happy. So I.M. Heart asks you to look and listen to what you are feeling. Â Start with, âI feel __________â and fill in the blank. Many times we donât even know what we honestly feel. Please just be honest with yourself â for your own benefit. Feelings are often not logical or reasonable â but they are real. Instead of judging yourself for having them, give a dose of kindness, compassion and patience to you. Â Feelings simply let you know more about yourself. Â Be quiet and listen to what they tell you. They are a part of you wanting your attention. They give you a better understanding of yourself.Â With that understanding, you can better cope with the stresses of the holidays. Why, you ask should I do this?Â Â All these seasonal feelings will go away after January the 1st, and the world gets back to normal business. Maybe– and then maybe not.Â They are like ghosts in the night, they will come crawling back again â and again â until you acknowledge and heal them.Â They will sit on you shoulders and weight you down, take your joy, spontaneity, peace and freedom. Like never before, now is the time to heal and take charge of your own life. Love youself, by letting the spirit of love in Christmas help you.Â Give yourself a gift of healing for Christmas!
LOOKING FOR FAITH
FAITH! Â Why is faith important? Â I.M. Heart, let me tell you why. Â Faith changes our outlook on life. We often live with concerns, worries and anxieties that just wonât go away.Â Most often they are things that we cannot change, havenât happened, and may never happen. Yet they are always swimming around right in front of us. They blur our vision of what is good or wonderful in our life and we take our blessings for granted. The fear from them consumes us and stops us from reaching forward for our goals or dreams. Faith is a knowing that all is well, in spite of any current circumstances that are not as we would wish.Â It is a sense that despite the trials and tribulations of this moment on this day, we are now and will be just fine. Is this always easy? No! In fact is can be very difficult to stop the panic train as it is racing down the track at full speed.Â Yet, chasing that train only creates more fear and anxiety. Put on the brake and stop that train wreck. Visualize this. Pretend faith is a pathway and if you walk to the very edge of it you find a wall of anxieties and concerns. You canât go any further. Take just one worry off the wall and look at both the truth and the lies around it.Â In this moment are you safe?Â Is all well—right now?Â If not, what can you change and not change? What action can you take now that will help you?Â In this moment, hold that fear in your hands and look at it. Hold it up to the sunlight and know you have the strength to venture into the unknown or seemingly impossible. As the light streams on the fear in your hand, accept with a knowing in your heart that what you cannot see or know will give you the courage to burst through the fear. This is faith! Faith reassures.Â It is stronger than hope because it is built on expectations.Â It is an expectation of health, joy, companionship, fulfillment and other things desired. It is realizing that our good is on its way.Â It is a statement of action giving us the courage to take risks, trust in our intuition, and make new choices.Â Faith is a knowing â a sense of blessings seen and those yet to be seen.Â In Hebrews 11.1, the Bible says that âFaith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.â Have you ever heard the phrase, âTake a leap in faithâ?Â Â Many of us have faith, but we feel it is often tested or we may question the strength of our faith. We believe, yet there is confusion and uncertainty. Sometimes our unbelief seems stronger than our belief.Â Life situations seem impossible or continue beyond what we think we can tolerate. However, this is exactly the time to âtake a leap in faith.â In this season of Christmas, take a leap in birthing a new level of faith. The Christ consciousness offers us love beyond what we can even imagine. As we connect with this source of love, it changes us.Â We become more spiritual and it changes how we see the world around us. Consider this as taking a leap or surrender into the loving arms of spirit. In this safety net all is well and we are lifted to love, joy, and opportunity that we cannot even imagine. Â These are the blessings of faith!
A LIVING THANKSGIVING
Twelve letters, two little words — thanks and giving. Put those together and itâs Thanksgiving! A time when we pause to give thanks! Â Traditionally it was a time to give thanks for the harvest.Â It was a time to celebrate the abundance stored for the winter season as well as to share the fruits of those labors with others. These traditions still occur as many of us cook bountiful meals to share with family and friends.Â As we gather we often circle the table answering the question âWhat are you thankful for?âÂ Some people choke on a response to that and others readily have an answer. Letâs think about a response that expresses thanks for what we have harvested in our personal lives. Consider the people, situations, challenges, hardships, events, blessings, and unexpected pleasures and pains that have made you the person you are today. Each of those has been a stepping stone on your life journey. Even though the walk may have not been easy street, what have you harvested in your life that you are thankful
for? Who or what has given you the strength, courage, attitude, knowledge, skills, or confidence that you have today? What special gifts do you now have that are the harvests of your life? The answers to these questions offer much insight into what you personally value as well as a looking glass to your focus in the future. We are also thankful for people, our quality of life, circumstances and opportunities. Many times itâs the small, everyday moments in life that really mean the most. Time with those we love, sharing conversation, a movie, a hobby or just loafing may seem insignificant, but are not.Â In these experiences we find the chuckles and grins of everyday life that make it worthwhile. Weâve talked about thanks, but there is another part of the word âThanksgivingâ and that is the word —- giving.Â When we share our heart beat and special gifts, our genuine giving helps someone else. As people, we need each other. There are many ways to give back, such as a smile, speaking, listening, or providing help when needed. We can extend our hand in friendship.Â In whatever we do, by connecting with another person a more important gift grows out of our actions. It could be the gift of hope, love, optimism or renewed enthusiasm for life. Those make all the difference!!! Being thankful and giving is easy when life is running smoothly. It is when life tumbles down around us that it is often difficult to be either thankful or giving.Â This is when we need new eyes to see that this turning point also has reasons for thankfulness. At those times, the simple, taken-forgranted, ordinary beat-of-life can ground us. Look for something that can shift the focus from crisis to thankfulness. I.M. Heart challenges you, this Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the everyday parts of your life that make your heart smile.Â I.M. is asking you to open your heart to listen to its beat â to experience when it beats in love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, appreciation, understanding, thankfulness, hope, and praise. These are gifts from your heart to be cherished, enjoyed and shared â for you and with others. Many blessings!
LIKE THE LEAVES ---- LET GO!
I was reminded by a wise friend that there is an important lesson we can learn from the leaves.Â It is the time of year when many trees let them go. They release them to fall on the ground. This means the trees can grow brand new leaves in the spring. This feat of nature is repeated over and over again. In the spring new leaves sprout forth â clinging to the tree limbs and swinging from the branches all spring and summer. As the weather begins to change in the fall, itâs as if they uncurl their fingers and let go of the limb they were hanging onto. Some fall early and quickly and some linger until the first frost or a windy, rain storm forces them off. Does it take courage for the leaves to let go and yield to the cycles to nature?Â I donât know about the leaves, but I do know about people.Â Courage comes from a French word which means âheartâ.Â Like the leaves, in order to move from clinging to the tree to letting go, people have to âtake heartâ. Look into your own heart to find out your sincerest heartâs desire, the thing we yearn for most and would be willing to take a risk to achieve or acquire. Or despite that burning desire, are we clinging to the safety and security of the tree we know?Â Do we need to take a leap in courage and faith? Letting go means being brave enough to float in the air like the leaves, not knowing where we are going to land â but knowing that we will land. Taking heart to follow our dream might mean that we get blown by the wind or scooped up and raked into a pile. Kids play or a dog digging might unearth us from the pile and we are blown in the wind again. Letting go means that we accept the constant winds of change or challenge. With each puff we can either look to learn, change, and find benefit in this new pile of leaves. Or we can be fixed and see only that we have fallen off the familiar tree.Â When we are willing to be open to move like the leaves in the wind, we see what we could not see before. Many of us are attached to our past or present situations and people that are not ever going to give us our heartâs desires. Yet, we refuse to be like the leaves on the tree and let go so that we can begin a new cycle in our life. To let the old fall so that the new can be born is a cycle of nature â yet we hang on to the old, even when it is causing us to shrivel and become a cranky, dissatisfied, resentful or negative person. Ouch! This cripples us and takes away the life that might have been. Like the leaves, let go! Â Open your heart in courage to take a risk of being blown by the wind. Many blessings â thatâs the dream!
On a level road, a car rolls along at a steady speed. We may have it in cruise and it shifts automatically as we travel up and down hills.Â If we prefer to manually control our speed, we adjust the pressure on the gas pedal as the terrain and road conditions or situations change.Â Driving also requires that we occasionally have to put on the brakes.Â Stopping, slowing down, speeding up and cruising are constant shifts as we travel. Daily living is much like driving a car â it is continuously shifting — and we have to be self-aware to know when to slow down, speed up, cruise or stop. Let me explain. Did you ever wake up in the morning in a grumpy mood?Â Â As you get ready for the day, you know that you are irritable, and impatient. You just want to growl at everyone and everything. Your car is in the ditch and if you continue into the day like this, you will spin your tires, run over everything in your path or have a motor breakdown. Â Knowing this, you have a choice â to make a shift. Start with an inspection of yourself. Ask what is going on with me, why and how can I change this to give myself a better day?Â Look at the flow of negative thoughts and feelings, filling your gas tank.Â This is not always easy, because these negative gremlins can fill the gas tank to overflowing. Â How can you empty the tank of these characters and instead let some positive ones fill the tank? Â Be aware of them and shift them one at a time. This is a stop and go process. Stop, look, choose to change, and be the opposite of the fearful/negative feeling. If you are sad, look for something that makes you happy.Â If you are angry, look for some way to let the anger go. If you are overwhelmed, stop and shift into slow gear and take one step at a time. If you are limping along at a crawl, speed up and get involved.Â Put the gear shift in smile instead of frown, speak to someone instead of ignoring them, and listen carefully instead of always doing the talking. As your car travels the streets of your day, other people will cross your path and they might also be having a cranky car day. When you shift your car into cruising smoothly, you also help them to do the same.Â We are all more alike than different and throughout the day there are many opportunities to have a mechanical breakdown. We can help ourselves and others to have better days by shifting our thinking, feeling, or attitude.There are more benefits to shifting our gears than staying in a muddy ditch of living.
I.M. Heart is about noticing feelings â all of them, not just the loving ones. Â Shifting is a tool to notice what is driving your car today. Â Â It is about being aware of those feelings that are gnarly gremlins and choosing to change them.Â Â That choice does not mean that you never deal with them.Â It means choosing not to let them totally dominate your driving and life.Â Itâs like arriving at work with a carload of snappy words, frowns, or anger and instead of taking them in the building with you, closing the car door on them and saying â See you later, Iâm going to have a good day. They will wait patiently for you because they are a part of you and need your love and healing. They will shift also. As you begin each day remember these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson —Â Â Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.â
A HEART'S SONG
The poem included in this blog was written by a friend. It speaks about the songs that play in the hearts of each of us. Â The heart is a huge space, full of feelings.Â They range from loving, compassionate, or joyful – to – fearful, angry, and judgmental â as well as everything in between. There are many, many different kinds of feelings.Â Our hearts will always have a whole range of loving and fearful feelings. Some have been hidden in our hearts for a long time and as the memories come floating up for happy remembering or painful healing, we can learn from them.Â It requires bravery to let those that hurt float away. To be free of those that stop and limit us or hurt us over and over again is to lift the prison door and set ourselves free. That leaves space to fill our heart with the light of loving feelings. The heartâs song beats fast or slow, loud or soft, gentle or harsh. Itâs the heart song of each of us – -and the heart song of all of us. We all have feelings! To live out heart songs is being alive!
A HEARTâS SONG
To speak from the heart A once thought small space But full of such large feelings Feelings not even put into words Words never spoken aloud A whisper in the wind Large still the same A door to the real Real time feelings Changing and evolving Building new feelings And reliving old ones Escape for a moment Survive for a lifetime To be scared no longer Holding a new vigil One for ones self Memories are just that To learn from them And release them Floating away TurningÂ them into the balloons of life Free to just be To just be free and alive Alive and living
I recently attended a brunch at the local community volunteer organization. It is called RSVP.Â The event was heart- warming as the room filled with seniors who had worked thousands of hours volunteering in various capacities in the city. In the RSVP organization, four hundred people had worked a total of 67,000 hours volunteering in various capacities.Â The intent of the event was to thank these people for their service. The program included awards for specific volunteers and one in particular brought tears to the eyes of many people in the room. An elderly gentleman was honored with a special award for mowing lawns.Â He would travel from his home in the country into town to pick up a trailer, drive back home, load up his riding mower, and drive back into town to mow four lawns.Â When these lawns were mowed he would reverse the process of taking the mower and the trailer back.Â In total he drove 72 miles back and forth each week as he mowed four lawns for folks who were not capable of doing this for themselves. The director told of him loading and unloading his tractor and mowing, all the while whistling. He totally enjoyed the work he was doing. When he was presented with the award, he stood and walked forward slowly with a cane over his forearm.Â He stammered and said these simple words âI love to help people and mowing lawns is one way I can do that. I appreciate this recognition, but the real award is when someone says —Thank you!âÂ I had tears in my eyes and saw others wiping tears off their cheeks. This person is a giver. These people take great pleasure in helping others. The recipient may not realize or appreciate the personal effort required to help them. Â Helping is a choice of the giver and the only payment for services rendered is appreciation for their time and effort. However, they do want to know their giving is appreciated. They simply want to hear, âThank you!â Â This small courtesy, often not spoken or written any more, means everything. There is a message in this for all of us.Â It is to say, âThank you!âÂ People interact with us in many ways during the course of a day. Â Some are ordinary verbal exchanges and we can thank someone for their communication.Â In others, someone does a favor for us or helps us with a project and of course a thank you is appropriate.Â Sometimes a person reaches out to us and offers the hand of kindness, unsolicited and unexpected.Â They may have made all the difference in our day and a huge thank you would be appropriate. Â Â There are many opportunities to say, âThank you!â Â Make this world a better place by expressing your appreciation! Thank you for visiting the I.M. Heart blog site. Many blessings!
THE RED STRING -- NUMBER TWO
This is the first morning we have seen sunshine for several days. I looked for Miss Molly and found her stretched out full-cat length on the bed in the sunshine. As I rubbed her back she rolled and purred as she stretched more.Â This was one happy cat enjoying the warmth and light of the sun.Â It was also one happy human loving her pet and sharing theÂ Â time with her. I could have hurried on to my meeting, but stopping to share this unplanned and spontaneous moment with her is a true pleasure for both of us. It was a red string moment of connection. When Molly is playing with the red string, she is totally in the moment with that string.Â She is not feeling regret or anger about something that happened in the past, she is not worrying about an unknown future, and she is not thinking about what she has to do at work tomorrow. She is playing with the red string â it has her full attention. She is having fun being Molly in this moment with this string. There are many red strings dangling in front of us that we just donât see.Â If someone dangled a red string such as: taking a pottery class, starting a photography business, returning to school, getting married, traveling, having a child, retiring, taking some time off, moving to Key West, Florida, would you at least play with the idea â or – would you immediately and resolutely discard it? Would you find excuse after excuse to avoid even thinking about it?Â Would you procrastinate in checking out the actions to make it happen?Â Would you be afraid to even look at the pros and cons? Would you talk to someone about it whom you trusted? When Molly plays with the red string she occasionally bites of a piece, so the string is getting shorter. Pretend that the bites are steps or lessons and with each piece bitten off, you are closer to that dream or goal.Â The purple and green fuzzy toy is within your reach. However, you have to keep biting off one step at a time to get to it.Â Â You canât swallow all of the red string at one time, youâll choke. Be patient and kind to yourself in biting off what you can chew and save the rest for another day. The last question in blog number one was: Just imagine what unexpected things could happen if you batted at a red string that someone dangled in front of you?Â Â The reality is that the red string is dangling in front of you. Who knows what joys, adventures, romance, or success might manifest if only you would consider playing with it. You may discover that you really donât want to play with the red string, but on the other hand, the blue string is even more fascinating. However, if you hadnât tried the red one, you would never have discovered the blue one â and this one is much better than the red one. I hope this answers the question of the reader who asked me to write further about this. Donât fear what the red string dangles in front of you. Â Trust yourself, believe in yourself, have faith in the spirit of God, and be courageous enough to be open to possibilities. There are many red strings. Which will you try?Â Give a pull and see what happens.
THE RED STRING
Molly has a green and purple toy with a red string. It has fuzzy, furry material that to a cat might seem like a mouse when slowly bounded across the floor by a human. However, the fur is not what she likes. She likes to chase the red string. This is a narrow string that can be easily picked up by a paw, batted and jumped at. It is long enough to get tangled up in for a long run down the hall.Â Molly can spend considerable time playing with this red string. If I had known how fascinating the string was, I would have simply bought a ball of red yard, instead of the expensive toy. Many of you have children who like to play in the pots and pans or some other ordinary items.Â The carefully purchased toys lay untouched as a box or household object is much more fun.Â Molly, although a cat, is much the same with a paper sack or a box to explore. She crawls in and goes about
pawing the contents to see whatâs inside. Maybe children and critters are sending a message important for us to hear. They enjoy playing with the ordinary things of everyday life. These items, part of a household, are everywhere. We donât even think about them being interesting. They are so common that we are oblivious to them. Yet, they provide many hours of pleasure in fanciful imagination, and play for those open enough to see the potential for fun. So for all of us older folks standing up on our two legs, not walking on four paws, where is your red string? What gives you delight?Â Can you find simple pleasure in the everyday surroundings of your life? Â What makes you laugh and giggle?Â It seems that seeing our surroundings in the light of appreciation and fun can enrich our lives tremendously.Â It can provide toys for big people that weâve often overlooked. Maybe we can crawl in a big box and make a fort.Â When was the last time weâve done that? I can hear some of us saying that we would look like a fool.Â Well, so what?Â If we can have a moment of delightful, childish fun, letâs go for it! The point of this nonsense is that there are many red strings in life that we miss or overlook.Â The fuzzy toy may not be as much fun as the string which ties it. We are so busy rushing through life that we forget to really live life.Â I know people who run a tight schedule every day, have many projects, and never have time for themselves. Yet they donât enjoy life very much. They miss what might prove to be the most meaningful â people, time, fun, conversation, laughing, loving, playing, hobbies, and living.Â Â Just imagine what unexpected surprises might occur if you batted at a red string that someone dangled in front of you?
DO I HAVE PERMISSION?
A dear friend who is a very wise and loving man was making plans for the future.Â He had taken all the appropriate steps to financial security for this family. Yet, I watched as he stumbled over one new opportunity after another. He seemed overwhelmed with change and finding the new road.Â It seemed that he couldnât get motivated to sustain the steps to maintain forward progress. The future is uncertain, yet this is not his usual behavior. What was he afraid of? Why was hanging onto his fear?Â If he could gain momentum he was headed for success. Was it possible that he was actually afraid of achieving his dream? Was he afraid of success as well as failing?Â Talk about being stuck between a rock and hard place!! Â Â However, Iâve been in this never-never land and I suspect some of you have also.Â You want to step forward, yet you never take a step to move.Â A million excuses, some crisis, too much work, family or friends needing help, donât feel like it today, donât know what to do, etc. etc. etc. So when the grip of fear is stopping you and you are also afraid of success, what do you do?Â Â How about giving yourself permission to change? Permission â meaning; letting, allowing, consenting, tolerating, approving, encouraging, authorizing, or granting.Â There are different levels of permission, but the bottom line is that you deliberately tell yourself that it is ok to change and grow.Â Give yourself the green light to be different tomorrow than you were today. Under a green light all systems are go.Â The red stop light of fear has changed and you may not know whatâs down the street, but you are willing to find out. Iâm watching someone who wants to make a huge change, yet is very afraid. This will take healing that could be difficult and painful, yet living every day is painful. She canât give herself permission to begin the journey of change. Knowing that flowing with this change process will forever change her level happiness, success and relationships, she is still paralyzed to even begin.Â To her I say, please give yourself permission to have to life you deserve. If we look deeper at the thoughts and feelings of these two people, we might find some gnarly, growling gremlins standing in the way of progress. These people might be telling themselves: Iâm not good enough, Iâm not lovable, nothing I ever do will be good enough, or I will always be alone and unloved.Â They might also hear: I donât deserve the life of my dreams,Â I will fail no matter what I do, I will get too much attention if Iâm successful, or I feel selfish if I focus on what I want. Â Do any of you have some of these monsters standing in your way?Â Please give them permission to leave the building. Thank them you their service and give them their walking papers. I.M. Heart wants you to give yourself permission to receive, love, happiness, success, joy fun, laughter, and whatever your heart desires.Â The question is: Can you give that permission to yourself?Â Blessings!
JUST BEING US
âMaybe some people donât realize the impact they are making or have made on other peopleâs lives.Â We are just being us, but it has special meanings that the giver doesnât even know.Â We are filling an empty space and making a change or a difference in someone elseâs life.Â It may be small or huge. Itâs like a light into the darkness, and we donât even realize it.âÂ Â This is a direct quote from a friend of mine.Â I wanted to share her insight with you because it is very important. Last week on one day, two different people said to me, âThank you for what you did.âÂ I didnât even know exactly what they were thanking me for. All I knew was that I had talked with them, listened to them, laughed with them, and shared some time.Â Â My intent was to give them my full attention, and enjoy the moments we had together.Â That sounds too simple, but maybe not. I think we underestimate the number of people who have nobody to talk to or listen to them as they voice their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes they need to say it out loud and all of a sudden they feel better and find the solution.Â The sense of being alone, with no trusted confidant is frightening, especially in moments of doubt and confusion. I find it amazing that people who are strangers will share the most intimate personal history or concerns about their life.Â In these moments of unexpected disclosure, just giving someone our full attention provides a sanctuary for expression and healing.Â It as if we have provided a safe place to fall (to let their guard down) and as a result they can then stand tall and strong once again. We may never see them again, but we have lifted them up. Letâs let I.M. Heart share some thoughts on this:
“I.M. Heart is all of us — people everywhere. People we donât know and have never met. Some are very different from us, so different
weÂ canâtÂ understand them. Yet, at a more basic human level, we are more alike than different. We are all part of the family of mankind. The life of one person is not lived in isolation. Every human life is influenced by the action of others.Â There is great need in this world for each of us to connect from the heart.Â While some of us have achieved all manner of material success, human beings on this planet daily cry out for heart connections with another.Â If only we could connect, how quickly our problems would diminish. We would benefit from more kind souls who are willing to take extra moments to offer a word of thanks, to extend a helping hand, to be patient or to listen.Â Person to person, we need to take better care of each other. A kindness shown another can have more influence than we can imagine. Our individual actions can alter the course of history or simply make a difference in the life of another.â Source: Chapter 10, I.M. Heart
By just being us, we can make a difference. My wish is that you share your loving heart with others and allow others to share theirs with you.Â Blessings!
CHANGE -- BUT I'M STUCK!!
What do you do if you work, study, plan, take action steps, pray and meditate â and still your desires and wishes donât materialize? Give up!Â No, thatâs not an option!Â Instead take a look at how you feel, what you really want, and if there is some confusion about that outcome. Sometimes we have counter intent, meaning we want the result, yet we fear getting it. It is like swimming in opposite directions simultaneously.Â This is impossible to do and impossible to achieve the goal. I just talked to a young woman who has been looking to buy a house in this city for several years now. She is buying her own place to move out of a home owned by her significant other. The relationship had been an on-again, off-again affair and the move is long overdue, but like many of us, it is familiar and we sometimes end up staying too long because of that.Â Multiple times she has decided to move and then decided to stay. We often do this until we reach a point where the known is more uncomfortable than the unknown. She has looked and looked and has never found a home that was âjust rightâ for her.Â As we talked she said, âMaybe Iâll just rent and that will be a temporary solution until I decide what I want to do.Â However, a friend of mine told me yesterday that maybe I hadnât found a home because buying a house in this town was not in my best interest. Iâm thinking of looking at other locations for work and if I had a house, I wouldnât be flexible to move. Do you think that this is why I have not been able to find anything? Iâve never had this problem before.â Â As she talked further, there was such relief in her voice at finally understanding why even with the best of her efforts, she had not found her home. The insight will free her to swim in one direction – to find employment in another location and then find her home.Â Sheâll be fine as she can now make changes without looking through this fixed assumption about her life.Â In fact, I bet she finds a whole new wonderful life at a new location. If weâve experienced this, maybe the goal we set is just not in our best interest. Â If thatâs the case, then the universe is trying to protect us, but we are often reluctant to see this as a good thing because we want what we want when we want it!Â We plan it out, and set the steps and the outcome in stone in our minds and hearts â and then?????? When it doesnât happen, we are frustrated, broken-hearted, and depressed.Â We give up. Stop!Â Â This is the time to take a full scan of the horizon for what weâve missed in our single minded, controlled pursuit of the goal.Â Is the issue fear, timing, was it all along something that in our heart of hearts we were just not sure about or questioned?Â Â Take a look and then decide on your direction â one flexible, open step at a time.
How do you look at change?Â Do you welcome it or do you fear it? A few weeks ago a friend of mine said, âChange is a blowinâ in the wind.âÂ I asked, âIs it good or bad change?âÂ The response was, âItâs all good!âÂ When change happens this person accepts it, handles it and moves forward. With this attitude about change, ALL is well! I know a couple who are contemplating moving from their current residence to something else, somewhere else. This is a big decision â or is it really? The woman keeps talking about what they might do, but not really doing anything. The man has had many sleepless nights worrying about what to do, just worrying. They have many options; some are better choices than others.Â However, will the fear of having to make a change influence their abilities to make a truly informed decision that is in their best interest? I donât know, time will tell â or not. For another couple, unemployment influenced a change.Â The husband has been unemployed twice in the last two years. As a result they have had a long distance relationship for some time. When a job in another Missouri town became a reality, it took them a weekend to make a decision to move. They looked at rental houses in the new location, found a friend to rent their former residence, and in two weekends were re-located.Â They can handle this situation until they sell one house. Then they will buy another and make yet one more change.Â To watch this decisive, logical, swift change was an interesting contrast to the first couple. Change never stops. Would we really want it to stop? I suspect not.Â Life would be very static and boring without change.Â The bottom line is this — change happens! It has happened continuously throughout history and will continue.Â Whether in our personal lives or in the general environment, tomorrow will be different than today and different than next week. Â Sometimes change happens gradually, as with aging. At other times it is sudden and unexpected. If we really pay attention to the people and situations around us we can observe change happening.Â I think sometimes we donât want to notice and accept the changes we see around us. Weâre afraid of the implications of what we see.Â Maybe being aware and observant would help us to be prepared for change. When we choose to make a change, see it as a process.Â There are a series of steps that occur.Â It begins by deciding what we want and then planning the steps to make that happen. A word of caution:Â be open to options that you cannot see initially.Â When we begin to take steps we may discover new possibilities that are better than our first ideas.Â Be open!Â Author Alan Cohen says, âAccept change as a gift and keep moving from good to better to best.â
ARE YOU OPEN?
We are living in a time in history requiring us to be OPEN. Why, you ask? How is it different now? It is a time of change and with all of the shifts going on around us, itâs important to know our own thoughts, feelings and attitudes. This means checking our personal viewpoint, take or perspective on a situation. This personal âtruthâ about us, the people around us and life events is the guiding force for our behaviors and choices. Our individual âwindow on the worldâ serves as the foundation for our words and actions. What does it mean to be open? A person who is open welcomes change, likes new ideas, is willing to try something different, and wants to learn and grow. When change happens quickly, they accept it, decide what to do and do it. People who are open have a sense of trust and faith that if they âkeep putting one foot in front of the otherâ a solution will be found. There is hope for the very best. Instead of change being a disaster, it is an opportunity. The opposite of open is closed. A person who is closed may feel guarded, insecure, blocked and locked up, not safe, or restricted. They are often stuck, resist anything new, hang onto the past with both hands and feet, donât want to learn or change, and are stubborn. Their âwindow on the worldâ is clouded and they canât see any possibilities. Fear is ruling their world. To be open requires bravery, courage and kindness. This means being brave enough to look at what we are afraid of and honestly admit those fears to ourselves. It takes courage to dig deeper into them, listen to our self-talk, feel the feelings, and look at both our lousy and good attitudes. Finally, it takes kindness for us. We are often most hard on ourselves and being open means giving us a break. When you are only judgmental and critical, you canât possible see a way you can shift thoughts, feelings and attitudes. Kindness for you means noticing, choosing a simple change, taking one step at a time and rewarding yourself for that step. If you fall back into the old habit, relax and start again. Changing habits and behaviors is a process that takes time. This is a way you can love yourself. What are the benefits to being open? Surprises, open doors, unexpected blessings, fulfillment, happiness, joy, fun, feeling free, growing and learning, unlimited possibilities, loving and being loved! I just got an e-mail and the message follows. Itâs a perfect description of the benefits of being open. It says: Life is short — Break the rules â Forgive quickly â Kiss slowly â Love truly â Laugh uncontrollably âAnd never regret anything that made you smile!
We look for value in many ways. When we shop, we look for the best value for the money. As we build our lives we look for significance in our work, play, relationships, activities, and the culture in which we live. We seek a quality life with purpose, meaning, worth, and happiness. Personally, we want to feel loved, lovable, respected, capable, appreciated, important, needed and wanted. Too often we seek to be valued by others instead of first searching for this validation inside of ourselves. When we donât first value ourselves, it impacts all other parts of our lives. Someone who sees only negative or âbadâ traits in themselves also sees only âbadâ in everyone else. They feel worthless and see no worth in others. I know a person who has lived his whole life feeling that he is less than everyone else. So, his perception of himself is that he will only fail at whatever he does. Recently a surgery didnât go as anticipated. It was just one of those things. But, the first words out of his mouth when he learned of a problem were,âI knew she did something wrong.â Do you see how this impacts us? We automatically make negative assumptions. I hear this all the time and I bet you do too. Now, how does this add value to life? Contrast this with someone who sees themselves as: âthe best, intelligent, capable, funny, happy, a good person. I like myselfâ. How do you think they would have seen the surgery? What would they have said? I think their first concern would have been for the welfare of the other person. When we value ourselves, we more fully value those around us. Everyone has wonderful, special qualities and also annoying habits. We can focus on those things that irritate us or on those traits we can appreciate. Which gives your day more value? Each morning we have a choice. We can choose to look for the value in this new day as a great new beginning. Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is in the future, and this day is for living. What does that mean? 1) If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you have to recognize this and shift out of your bad mood. Do not spew your negativity on everything and everyone around you. Shifting means that you choose to shake off the dark thoughts and feelings and be more positive. Is this always easy? No, but worth the effort. You can have a good day or a bad one â which do you want? 2) Be in the present â see, hear, smell, feel and be in touch with whatever is happening in this moment. We are often everywhere else but present in this moment. How you ever traveled from point A to point B and not remembered anything about the trip? That is not being in the present. 3) Listen to yourself when you judge, criticize, feel fearful â and question any negative assumptions you might be making. Stop and question yourself â it this really true â listen to that still quiet voice and you might hear that, âNo, this is only fear — all is well!â This is called centering and focusing in spirit. There is always an answer waiting there for you. 4) Find your sense of humor. We take ourselves, others and life so seriously. Can you find something funny in this situation? 5) Take some time to be clear about what you value in your life. What simple, meaningful people, activities, work and play contribute to your quality of life? Decide and then go for it!
LITTLE GIRL LOST, LITTLE GIRL FOUND
Once upon a time there was a child grew up believing that she was not loved or lovable. She had food, clothing, housing and family all around her, yet felt all alone and very lonely. She describes herself as a little girl lost. I wonder how many other little girls â or little boys â have grown up with the same set of feelings and still as adults feel lost. Fast forward to age 25 and we discover a still confused person, a seeker of truth, yet there are ghosts that haunt her. Life moves forward, choices are based on the unconscious belief that she is not lovable. Relationships come and go, work is only so rewarding, and life is lacking in giggles with not enough sparkle. Then one day she awoke from a dream â bolted up in bed as she heard a voice bellow, âSee, I told you that nobody wants you!â âWhat?â she cried, âthatâs not true!â Yet, through a veil of tears, she realized that she still believed it was true. In the weeks that followed she walked
around with these words haunting her, feeling shy and withdrawn. Her neck and shoulders contained iron rods for muscles as the massage therapist worked to help her release this old negative energy. She welled up with tears when she thought about how she was hurting herself while still feeling very alone. Then, weeks later, one Sunday after church the dam broke and she walked the floor and curled up in a ball with a flood of tears. Much later, she was drained, but the tightness was gone and she slept like a baby. In the days and weeks that followed, there were insights about being involved with others, giving her needs a priority, and making relationship or employment changes. Then one day, she was driving and heard this voice say, âY ou are really great!â Whoa â there did that come from? This is new! She wondered if she had ever â in her whole life â heard those words in her own self-talk. This little girl is me and you. In chapter two, I.M.Heart talks about being in process. By this, I.M. means that we are all on a journey of learning to live from our hearts. That means that we allow ourselves to notice how we are feeling and heal what hurts. Why is it important to heal? Like this little girl, many of us are carrying beliefs about ourselves that are just not true. When we heal them and let them go, our whole world changes. The veil is lifted, the shadow is gone and we are a little girl, or a little boy —- found! Please understand that this is a lifelong journey, not a one-time deal. There are many feelings, attitudes and beliefs that stop us from fully experiencing and enjoying life. Most damaging are those we believe to be true about ourselves. So, see I.M. Heart for a description of the process. I.M. encourages you to be brave enough to live in process. The rewards are great!
TERRIFIED AND EXCITED
These may at first seem like strange bed fellows, but Iâll bet most of you have felt both of these at the same time. Itâs a weird combination of âWow, Great, Way Cool!â and âNow what have I done?â I was talking yesterday with Stephanie, a young woman who works as an accountant. She has a husband and three children, works full time and manages a household. This summer they had a garden and have canned tomatoes and salsa. She has a full life. However, she just enrolled in an 18-month program to get her MBA with the goal of becoming a CPA. In addition, her supervisor just resigned and she has applied for that position. She squealed in delight as I delivered a free briefcase for her new laptop computer for school. Her words were, âIâm so exited and Iâm so terrified!â Does anyone else relate to this? I can! As Iâve worked with publishing and marketing I.M. Heart, Iâve felt the same as Stephanie. As a new executive director, the first time I had to give a speech, I was grateful to be able to sit instead of stand because my knees were shaking so badly. Moving, changing jobs, starting school, a new relationship, a new exercise program or any change has a whole range of feelings attached to it. There are times when I have questioned my sanity in a making a life change, even though something was nudging me to give it a shot. Sometimes that nudge is so strong that it cannot be denied. When we begin something new, even though it is an exciting choice, it still has moments of terror attached to it. The new challenge is stretching, different and sometimes we yearn for a change. The ordinary, and everyday is becoming way too familiar and we can feel choked and smothered by it. At the same time the change is an unknown and what if it just doesnât work out? I have another friend who left a very secure job for a new opportunity and lost that job.Â However, instead of panicking at being unemployed, she immediately sought out the next opportunity. She was bored with the secure job as it no longer offered a challenge. The position that didnât work out was a stepping stone for her to explore her talents. It gave her a chance to spread her wings, learn about herself and then seek her perfect place. So, when a choice does not play out as we anticipate, we can use that to move forward.
What can we do when terror overcomes excitement? Iâve been there and so have many of you. Donât deny the terror but donât let it stop you from taking the next step. Even after youâve taken the first, second or third step, it may still be there gnawing at you, but it you donât keep stepping it will strangle you and you wonât even be able to see the next step. This is where faith comes in. Know that all is well and this too will work out â you just canât see how in this moment! Listen to you heart, keep taking steps, and most importantly be loving and kind with yourself! Take care!
I was cleaning today and came across ME, the essay below. I had forgotten about it. For years I have used it in presentations. Since this was my day to clean out the old to make room for the new â finding it reminded me to celebrate my own worth — and the future.Â Read it and see if it has a message for you!
I am the only ME Iâve got. There are two major parts of ME. There is the âinsideâ ME and the âoutsideâ ME. The âoutsideâ ME is what you see. The way I act, the image I portray, the way I look and the things I do. The âoutsideâ ME is very important. It is my messenger to the world and much of my âoutsideâ ME is what communicates with you. I value what I have done, the way I look, and what I share with you. The âinsideâ ME knows all my feelings, my secret ideas and my many hopes and dreams. Sometimes I let you know a little bit about the âinsideâ ME and sometimes itâs a very private part of myself. Even though there are an enormous number of people in the world, no one is exactly like ME. I take full responsibility for ME and the more I learn about myself, the more responsibility I am going to take. You see, my ME is my responsibility. As I know myself more and more, I find out that I am an OK person. Iâve done some good things because I am a good person. I have accomplished some things in my life because I am a competent person. I know some special people because I am worth knowing. I celebrate the many things I have done for myself.
Iâve also made some mistakes. I can learn from them. I have also known some people who did not appreciate ME. Iâve wasted some precious time. I can make new choices now. As long as I can see, hear, feel, think, change, grow and act, I have great possibilities. I am going to take those risks and those possibilities and I am going to grow, love and celebrate. I am worth it! I have never known the author of this work, but thank that person for sharing these words. It seems to me that we forget to celebrate who we are and the possibilities yet to come in this life journey. The bumps and bruises have made our heart strong. The fun, love and happiness have made our heart light. The special ME inside each of us is very valuable, lovable and worthy. Please know that about yourself and share this with someone who also needs to know that. Letâs pay this forward! Blessings from I.M. Heart!
LOVE THE SIMPLE THINGS
What simple things do you love? Sometimes there are such ordinary, everyday parts of our lives that we donât fully appreciate how much they mean. Recently I returned from a business trip in a big city in the Southwest. For a week, I saw nothing but tall buildings, concrete, and sand and stone. There were a few trees and some vegetation, but not much. When I got back to the Midwest on a Saturday morning, I walked around the yard barefoot, looking at the green grass, the flowers, trees and bushes. These are part of my every day world and I had really missed them. I was amazed at how peaceful it felt to be where there were simply green plants and trees. Digging in the dirt is one of my joys â so I was really happy to be home where I could see the fruits of my digging. Molly and I just had our evening romp. This usually involves a play mouse or two, a rope toy that wiggles, a feather toy and the living room rug. She runs, rolls over and waits for me to make the next move so that she can respond. Our play is simple. It is both of us rolling around on the floor or chasing each other up the hall. Sharing this time with this cat is a fun. I love our simple interaction. A cup of really, really good coffee with a friend, or a late breakfast before church on Sunday morning — of course mixed with honest, real, stimulating conversation. One night last week we sat on the front driveway and talked as the full moon shone its brilliant light on us. On Saturday, a long phone call was meaningful and supportive of me as well as the other person. These connections with others are simple â yet add such value to living. I had the piano tuned last week. It was my Grandmothers and is over 100 years old. I was pleased that it could be tuned and it sounds good. My fingers have lost some their skill in âtickling the ivoriesâ, but Iâve played several times this week and it will come back. When I was a kid I used to play every day after school and could feel the tension leave as I played. It was a simple pleasure and I look forward to enjoying it again. These are some of what I love. When Iâm involved with the people and things I love, it is a connection to my own heart. Seems to me that when I surround myself with what I love, it shapes my life because it automatically brings pleasure and joy. I see more wonder and miracles and less stress and disappointment. In this time when we feel insecurities and uncertainty, letâs focus on the simple things. They generally cost very little or are free. They help us to balance the complications surrounding us every day. They put life in perspective! They give us simple pleasure and we all need more fun and relaxation. So, what do you love? Are you allowing it to be a part of your life? If not, please add it. Love the simple pleasures!
âMay today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.â I just received this in an e-mail and thought it was a wonderful quote. I donât know the author, but am grateful for the words of wisdom. In the stress of everyday life, I find these words very comforting. There are times when I am not peaceful within. I let the situations or imagined issues of life cloud my thoughts and feelings and build more stress than is necessary or real. The last week with my Dad in the hospital, Iâve struggled to keep my balance â and have not always succeeded. This quote from a friend is timely. There are several key points in the quote that help us to have peace within. How often have the current situations or status of our lives been a source of distress, instead of accepting that âit is as it isâ? By accepting, it takes away the panic and we can see new choices and a different perspective. In step with that is the faith that if we donât like the present we can plan and work to change it â keeping in mind that the journey is the key. We may begin the road trip with one goal in mind and in the process discover a better one. However, if we hadnât started the search we would have never found the gold. We all have gifts and special talents. Sometimes we donât see those special traits in ourselves. Instead, we are often most critical and judgmental of us. We may beat up on ourselves for how we look, what we did or didnât do, or for our status in life. We canât give compassion, kindness and gentleness to ourselves. Letâs listen to the wisdom of the quote and first be caring with ourselves. What can I do today for me? How can I nurture myself? How can I care for my physical, emotional, spiritual, belonging and safety needs? Itâs ok to put âusâ first. Many of us are so accustomed to taking care of the needs of others that we donât take care of our own needs. God loves and accepts us just as we are in this moment. He has given that powerful energy to us. Can we give it to ourselves? Can we allow our soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love? If we can, we will find peace within — TODAY!
THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE
This little light oâ mine, Iâm gonna let it shine,
This little light oâ mine, Iâm gonna let it shine, This little light oâ mine, Iâm gonna let it shine, Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. This is childrenâs gospel song written by Harry Dixon Lee in about 1920. However it has been recorded numerous times and used in several movies. I woke up with this song playing in my head this morning. Itâs played on my stage before and periodically reappears. Many of us learned this song as a child and it is certainly visible in a childâs play. I watched four little girls and a baby play last week. The smiles and giggles, chatter, and innocent actions were fun to see. They played in simple pleasure – just as children – and their lights were shining bright. Have you forgotten how to play like a child? Many of us have â or we never really learned simply playing. Relaxed, having fun, being spontaneous, real, and care free are long ago and far away for some. Instead everything is a project, ASAP, focused, and goal-oriented. The light is flickering â and about to be extinguished by anxiety, instead of being lit by pleasure. This little light always shines brightly â even though we may believe the flame is diminished. Sometimes life hurts and it seems the light is gone. The grief is too big and the loss is too great. However, this is the time to look in your heart and allow that flame to light the way for you. It offers solace, comfort and healing â from the inside. Let it light your way! This little light is universal love â Godâs love — lighting the way through your own heart. Allow it to pour into your heart, settle into all the crevices, and surround all the dark feelings with light. It may take time, but this will help you to heal â and your little light will shine for you! Not only will your light shine for you, it will shine for others. All of us are very sensitive to this light. We know when others are down and unhappy - and we all know the difference we can make with a smile, kind word, hug or some other show of real concern. There are many Biblical references to this little light. In Matthew 5:14-15, Jesus said, âYe are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.â Allow the flame of your candle to shine. This little light oâ mine — Iâm gonna let it shine!
GOD, HOLD MY HAND!
God, hold my hand! A co-worker is facing some health concerns and is really afraid. As she talked about her fears she commented that she knew she would be well again â but she didnât know how long the healing would take and the financial toll. Then she said, âIâve asked God to hold my hand â and guide me through this.â She held out her hand as if it were clasped in Godâs hand and smiled. I heard these words and it stopped me in my tracks! Just last week I was told that everything would be ok – that God has my hand. In church the pastor talked about taking Godâs hand and connecting with that loving energy. Count them â thatâs three! Someone â guess who â is trying to get my attention!! Iâve faced my own challenges lately as Iâve shared. Many of you have also. There are health issues for ourselves or those we love. My father is 87 and is scheduled for surgery next week, as is a close friend. Neither surgery should be life-threatening, but it is necessary surgery. Financial concerns are on the minds of many â jobs have been lost, retirements put in jeopardy, medical costs mount or unexpected expenses are incurred. Stress shows in work environments. Situations that have been brewing for years finally explode in angry words, every work assignment is all of a sudden due ASAP, there is only criticism instead of recognition of a job well done, or real communication is nonexistent. It shows in personal relationships. This has been a bad three months for several people I know. We are all so caught up in our own personal drama that we didnât support each other â in fact werenât even kind and caring with each other. In two different friendships in recent weeks, both of us have been snappy and rude â when in reality there is a tremendous amount of love shared. Honest talk, a hug, real compassion and maybe some shared tears might have helped all. Godâs loving hand was waving at all of us â we just didnât see it. Godâs hand offers us solace in the storm, comfort in times of sorrow, peace when we are terrified, and a light to see the way through the dark. God IS LOVE!Â LoveÂ isÂ an energy and power that is greater than many of us can comprehend. Holding Godâs hand connects us to that energy of love and as my friend said, âI have never felt so much peace.â Try this! Close your eyes and use your imagination! Take Godâs hand in yours, feel that loving energy. Now put both clasped hands on your own heart. Allow yourself to feel the loving energy from Godâs hands in your own heart. See the light fill your heart. Stay with this for a few minutes or longer â soak in this energy. This is real! This is a beginning â if you have not done this before – keep doing this. This energy is yours- this energy is you. Come to know your own loving energy by holding Godâs hand.
HAPPY OR CRAPPY?
âHappy or crappyâ is a phrase used by a friend of mine. It is in reference to how she feels on any given day. It can reflect how she feels when she wakes up or how her perspective changes as the day goes along. Sometimes we start out happy and end up crappy before the day is over or vice versa. Of course we all know what happy means â we wish for every day to be happy all day long. Crappy is the opposite of happy and therefore includes all those gnarly, grumpy, grimy feelings and thoughts that pop up when we are not very positive. Sometimes crappy just takes over our world and as we look out the window we see nothing but dark storm clouds everywhere. Everyone has storm cloud days and sometimes it rains all day in our own private world. Itâs ok â it happens to everyone. We may need to take a mental health day or retreat to our cave and weather the storm. The key here is a mental health DAY â not a week, month or year. However, those clouds are our storm clouds â they are our deals and issues. They belong to us, and most other people donât want us raining or hailing on their parade because they have their own variety of thunder and lightning and sometimes and that may be all they can handle.
Iâve been in a time of crappy and it has made me dysfunctional. There has been so much pre-occupation with a family illness, relationships, work issues and a business disappointment that Iâve missed appointments, not taken care of ordinary daily chores, forgotten to pay bills, slept very little, been distracted and more than impatient. When the crappy involves several situations that donât get resolved, it is taxing. Many of you may have a similar set of circumstances. There are happy times in the middle of this maze of concerns and Iâve enjoyed friends, walks, movies, being outside and many other things. These have balanced out the crappy. A little sunshine can ease the rain clouds and we might even see a rainbow. The key here is being willing to look to the sun, and allow that light energy to move the dark of the clouds away.
When we feel crappy we are full of dark, fearful energy. When we are feeling happy we are full of light, loving energy. Of course both are with us all the time and move and flow with each situation in a day. Sometimes in the crappiest of crappy moments, it helps if you can stop yourself and be as still as you can — to see yourself surrounded by sunshine. See all the concerns melting away and the sunshine filling your body. Keep visualizing the sunshine â even if is seems like it is useless. Any drops of this loving energy will ease the crappy and help you to relax, be patient and more centered. That will help you to cope with the crappy. I.M. Heart wishes many happy moments and fewer crappy ones for all!
I'M A BIG GIRL NOW!
Iâm all grown up. As a teenager, I always thought that when I reached this age I would have life all figured out. I would no longer be confused, agitated, or uncertain. All those monsters I grew up with would no longer be hiding in the dark of the closet. Iâm a big girl now and life will be easier. Right? Wrong! As people have talked about I.M. Heart, they have expressed a concern that we never grow up and as adults we have many more questions than answers. Last week, I watched a group of people ask questions about their lives. The common thread expressed by each was how to know and face fear and how to find the confidence to move beyond their doubts and disappointments. If we could be totally honest with ourselves and others, on any given moment of any day, we are like this group of people. We all have times when we feel like an ant in the middle of a six-lane freeway. The world is spinning so fast around us that we canât find our way down one lane of the road, let alone get to the quieter space of the shoulder. So, some of us end up in the ditch and have to crawl out â or choose to stay there. A common misconception is that as an adult there will be no more questions â because we will know what to do and have the answers. However, that is just not true. Whether we like it or not â life continues to provide pot holes and speed bumps. With each curve and hill we might find traffic jams and road construction. When these occur, we can use them as an opportunity to learn about ourselves, and challenge that monster still hiding in the closet. We might also just how much courage we have, as well as patience, kindness and compassion as we crawl back out of the mud. Iâm sure weâve all seen people who are racing to knock down the barriers in the road and those who are standing behind them wishing someone else would remove them. The road blocks, are our role and responsibility â like it or not. The highway offers many adventures â if we can see them for their potential. So today on this road of adult life we stand on the starting line of a brand new highway. The lanes and open and the sprint is about to begin. So, throw away the idea that life should be easier and there are no more hard lessons or tough challenges. Big girls and boys stand to the starting line and put one foot in front of another. So take a step and begin the travel â only then can you see the next stretch of road. Iâm a big girl now and so are you.
A PARKED CAR PERSON
Are you are parked car person? Are you sitting in the driveway, in the same place every night â never moving an inch left or right? Do you drive down the same street, at the same speed, going to the same gas station, on your way to the same grocery store? Do you think about seeing new scenery, but instead choose the same old route because you are comfortable going that way? All of us follow routines, but is it possible that the usual way has become too comfortable? Is comfort turning into boredom, lethargy, and stagnation? I listened to a speaker last week who asked us if we were a parked car person. By that he meant that we donât make changes or take risks in life. We stay in the same job because we see it as safe and a way to maintain the current standard of living â even though we have dreams of something different. We may hear that small whisper that tells us to step out and just explore our dream, but we canât because we have responsibilities and our current life is secure. It is ok! So, we settle for just ok, instead of wonderful. We never know what fulfillment and joy we missed. What keeps us in park? Itâs a mind-set about what weâre supposed to do in life, an attitude about deserving, a belief in our abilities, or the influence of those around us. Sometimes circumstances are overwhelming and we canât seem to move away from them. As we move through life, each of will at sometime find our car parked. However, we donât have to stay there. Often we are just afraid to take the first step, to just begin. Once we begin, we often discover that something new is exciting or a change is refreshing. When we take a first step, the momentum builds and then we can take the second and third steps, but often we never take the first one. If we want something new in our lives we have to make room for it â and often have to let go of the old to make room for the new. The question is: What can you let go of?What is the fear, hesitation, anxiety, or doubt? When we are afraid to move our car, there is always a logical reason â or is it really just an excuse? Dogs only chase moving cars â thereâs no reason to chase parked ones because they arenât going anywhere â they arenât moving – they are sitting still. Thereâs no excitement in running after and barking at a parked car. So, are dogs barking at your car or they sleeping under it?
FEARFUL OR FEARLESS?
A Barbara Walters interview of Farrah Fawcett-Majorâs doctor ended with an interesting message that is important for all of us to remember.
These are not the exact words, but the message was âBe as fearless as you can be âwhether you win or lose.â His point was that he had told Farrah in the very beginning that her cancer was fatal, but that did not stop her from seeking cures for her disease. She had been told she was going to lose, but she lived looking for a way to win. We have all seen many people diagnosed with a life threatening illness take a similar stance. I have a neighbor who is again facing the return of her cancer and she will next week seek more aggressive treatment. She has not given up and while there may be dark moments of despair, both she and Farrah have made a choice to face all of the fears, keep taking steps forward and make the best of this time. Why is facing fear to win or lose so important? Life is more about the journey than the outcome â the winning or losing. Yes, we like to win, but in the bigger picture, the road traveled – every moment of every day â contains both the trash and treasure of living. How we cope with the trash and appreciate the treasure is the real win. We can grow stronger and braver for the trials and disappointments that we face. We can also be more gentle, loving and aware of the simple pleasures and joys that surround us. Both the book I.M. Heart and the video on the web site talk about the fear wall that we often build. Supposedly this wall is to protect ourselves from ever being hurt again. In reality, it is a wall to hide behind and we are both the jailbird and the guard. When we let fear imprison us, we lose. It stops us from seeing options, taking risks, or stepping up even when we are afraid. Fear is an opening â a new door that we have never opened before. If we let fear stop us, we never know what wonderful people, experiences, opportunities, or absolute fun we have missed â because we were afraid to open the door. We all have fears. Sometimes we crumble like a cookie and at other times pick up the crumbs and glue our courage back together. Thereâs an old saying, âWhen life gives you lemons, make lemonadeâ. I donât know who to attribute that wisdom, but it is very appropriate to this time when fear is so prominent and hope seems illusive. What we can do is – today – make the best lemonade. Then tomorrow make some more lemonade.
THE DAILY THREE
Each day, there are three actions we can practice that will contribute to our lives and the lives of those around us. They are simple, yet set in motion,Â a whole new level of relationship with others and self- respect for yourself. These three daily steps are: show up, pay attention, and respond in love. SHOW UP Our presence matters â so practice showing up whether you are alone or with a group. How many times have you been in a gathering of people when you really wanted to be home curled up with the cat and your blanket? To show up means taking care of yourself and making time to be quietly alone if that is what you need. It also means being fully with others when you choose to. This means putting yourself in the game â do what you say you will do when you say you will do it â for you, family, friends and co-workers. It is bringing your reliability and integrity to every situation. When you say you will bring flowers to plant on a Sunday afternoon show up with them, donât forget you promised your mother, choose not to answer to phone and expect that behavior to be ok. When you tell someone you will call them, call them. When you promise to have a job done by at certain date and time, donât make excuses for non-performance, and have it done before the deadline. To show up and be fully responsible shows respect for you and other people. PAY ATTENTION Wake up and notice what is happening around you. Watch people, nature, animals, and the environment. Use your senses to see, feel, smell, touch and hear all that is happening. Learn to listen to you intuition, that quiet voice or that gut feeling. As people talk to you listen to the words, but also hear the voice tone and watch their eyes, face, and body language. This is called âreading between the linesâ and often shows the real meaning of their communication. We can learn a lot by paying attention to all that is going on around us. Each person we meet and every situation offers us an opportunity to learn something new, give back to someone in need, to laugh and have fun, or share a magic moment. When we arenât paying attention, we can miss many ordinary, everyday miracles happening around us. RESPOND IN LOVE Whether you are surrounded by family or other workers, respond in love. On any given day, each and every one of us has our own âstuffâ that we bring to the table. Some people are difficult to deal with most days, and most of us are only grumpy some days. There are days when our thoughts and feelings play tag with each other and scramble our ability to function. Many people are under a lot of personal stress right now. Make it your intention and do you best to be kind, caring, understanding of others. It is possible that you are the only person who has loved them all day â and they really need a little love. There are simple ways to respond in love: smile, speak, slow down, give a hug, listen, care, be compassionate, laugh, or find common ground. We are all more alike than different. Most important of all – please extend that loving spirit to yourself and give yourself the same loving gentleness you extend to others.
A HEART'S SONG WITH A FRIEND
âA friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.â Anonymous Do you have friends who know the song in your heart? What a wonderful quote. It expresses the connection and power that can be found in real friendship. There is another important question. Do YOU know the song that plays in your heart? It is possible there are several songs playing in there. Iâm sure there are upbeat, happy, and loving ones. There may also be some that are heart-broken, disillusioned, or sad. However, for most of us there is song that plays most often â it reflects our daily attitudes, habits and actions. Seriously, do you know what your song is? There are times when we or our friends forget the song that plays in our heart. That is an important message in this quote. Those people around
who love us enough to build an honest and sometimes painfully honest bond know when our heart song had been dented or broken. They care enough to help us march through the pain and into the light of a new day, so that our heart song can shine brightly again. They âhave our backâ when we are down and sometimes tell us words we donât want to hear, but when we hear them we know a truth has been spoken important to hear. They also sing our songs of joy with us — celebrate our victories, and the everyday ordinary joys that give life so much meaning. Just being in the presence of someone who truly loves and appreciates us gives us energy and strength. The influence of someone who supports our dreams as well as our value and worth makes all the difference. By singing our song with us we are both powerful. I have friends who are true friends â meaning they really want a relationship with me â not just a superficial game of commonalities. With these people, we have made a commitment to talk – I mean to really talk â to understand, learn about each other, share what we really feel, and grow together. They care about me and I care about them. However, this did not happen without both parties wanting a new level of friendship and taking the time to talk about the ground rules of the relationship. It takes a desire and commitment to build a real, honest and true connection with another person. The going may not always be easy, but as trust develops, you find that you are more and more open and trusting and with this the rewards are great. We need connection with people. Singing a solo song can be lonely and challenging. However, singing with a friend makes all the difference. Sing to the top of your lungs! I.M. Heart and you are too!
WE NEED TO TALK
These simple little words can strike terror in the heart of even the most brave and courageous human. Do you ever freeze when someone says to you â we need to talk? Do you immediately assume the worst? Are you afraid of what they want to talk about? Are you afraid of feelings of anger that might come out in the conversation? Are you afraid to confront an issue? Are you afraid to say what you really think and feel? Are you afraid of being rejected? Did you automatically assume you did something wrong? Are you afraid you wonât know what to say â or your brain and mouth just wonât work together? The list of ways to be afraid could go on and on because we often assume the worst when someone wants to talk. Every possible terrible scenario and every potential answer to each awful question starts running through our heads. However, these fears could be our imagination running wild. Maybe it is someone who wants a favor, or has a problem they simply want to share and need an ear. It could be a friend who is an open, honest, up-front person who wants a real and substantial friendship. I have a friend who called Monday to clarify a conversation from Sunday. I appreciated her willingness to make sure that our communication was clear. This person is a longtime friend whom I trust, and yet when she called yesterday to tell me we needed to talk, I found my throat clutching and the old negative thoughts starting to run through my mind. So, even with those people we know and trust, we start that vicious fear cycle about talking. Last week a friend was having a health concern and her co-worker was also having a health issue. Both knew that fears about health were affecting work communication, but neither said, âHey, I know you are worried about your health. I have a concern about mine also. Just wanted you to know — if you want to talk, Iâll listen.â Can you imagine what this might have meant to both individuals? Imagine what a bond of caring this might have created. Why does this happen to us? There are many reasons, but the most obvious are that in the past someone refused to listen, ridiculed or judged us, told us what we thought was wrong, got angry because we expressed ourselves or told us they didnât care what we had to say. There are many ways these messages can be conveyed. Words, body language and voice tone speak loud and clear. What can we do? When weâre afraid to talk, take a deep breath â another deep breath â and open your mouth and begin. You could say, âIâm really nervous and I donât know how this will come out â but please be patient with meâ and then begin. It doesnât matter if you stammer and stutter. Hopefully the other person will be kind, really listen and add to the conversation in a way that fosters understanding. An option would be to let the other person begin first â and breathe, listen and question to learn their perspective. Now, we all know that sometimes the level of conflict or basic disagreement is so strong that talking is not possible. Maybe we could have resolved the situation if we could have talked about it earlier, but we didnât â and now it is a red-hot fire. If you canât talk, then you can agree to disagree and maybe still maintain the relationship â or maybe not. Each party must decide what is in their best interest. There is great loss when people canât or wonât talk to each other. How many marriages could have survived, friendships been saved, families reunited — if only we could talk to each other? If only we could talk early and often! Talking re-connects us, creates understanding, and opens our hearts to each other. We need to talk!
THE GREATEST NEED
âI never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heals our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to God and each other.â Elizabeth Kubler-Ross There is so much wisdom in these words. They say a great deal about the quality and meaning of our everyday life and of those with whom we interact. I wanted to share these so that you can give consideration to both giving and receiving of this need. Simple acts of kindness are cost-free. They are rays of sunshine from one heart to another. These acts may include a hello or smile, a genuine inquiry about your well-being, a phone call to touch base, gentle compassion for a difficult circumstance, a thank you or congratulations, listen â really listen, a kind touch, a warm hug or kiss, a flower from the garden, an offer of help in time of illness or a surprise invitation just because someone needs friend. Say the words, âI love youâ and mean it. Acts of kindness are not something mandatory, but something given freely. They go above and beyond the call of duty because we choose to connect with another person because we see their need. The rewards for these acts of kindness are beyond description â for both the giver and the receiver. We all have moments that range from great joy
to tremendous pain. With a simple act of kindness we honor this universal fiber of living and share our individual humanity with another. We are all more alike than different. This commonly shared heart-to-heart connection is like shining a beam of golden pink light, the light of Godâs love, on both people. They are both healed and energized. It is a gift for both. We cannot always know how much difference we have made in someone elseâs life. We can know the difference we have made in our own lives, by opening our hearts to the greatest need. Last week a friend, said, âThank you!â I was baffled so asked why I was being thanked. The response was, âYou were there to talk to me when I needed you.â Another person thanked me just for being me. I share acts of kindness with these two people, and they share with me. We donât even think about it â it just is. The connection fills our hearts, heals our spirit and lightens our lives. The greatest need â simple acts of kindness- connect us to God and to each other. That fulfills our greatest need.
PUTTING FEELINGS INTO WORDS
Iâve been watching two close friends move through work challenges. There has been frustration, anger, disgust, anxiety, exhaustion, hostility, and exasperation with situations that donât change, but in fact becomes more dictatorial and harassing every day. They have had enough and the stress shows in tone of voice, facial expression, the way they walk or move, and their attitude about everything else in their world. Iâve also watched as they have gotten away from the situation, and have begun to talk about it. With each of them, as they are able to verbalize the circumstances and how it has impacted them, just having a listener has helped them. Having someone to talk to about the situation has taken the edge off â if only temporarily. Iâve encouraged both of them to talk not only about the actions, but their feelings. This has taken some nudging, but being able to express the feelings has helped them diffuse the intensity. Research has shown that âputting our feelings into words helps us to heal.â This would seem to be a simple process â but not necessarily so. It is often hard to describe exactly how we feel. The feelings listed above are all a little different â yet express varying degrees of angst and fear. So often we canât really explain exactly how we feel â we just canât find the words. When I was in my twenties, I went for counseling. I was asked how I felt about my life, the individuals in it and my situation. Over and over again as I talked about me, I had only a few words for what I was feeling. I could say I was happy, or sad. Those were the only descriptors I had. I did not have range of expression for positive feelings or negative ones. I was stuck on feeling neutral. In the years since then Iâve expanded my feeling vocabulary, and am still stretching it so that I can more clearly name the feeling. The value of naming the feeling is that it allows us to claim it. Yes, I am feeling frustrated â or â Yes, I am feeling exasperated. There is a difference in degree in those two expressions of feeling. When we can clearly name it then we have an opportunity to honestly look at it, to understand it and to begin to heal it. This has been about bad feelings, but the same is true of good ones. There is a difference between glad and elated, satisfied and thrilled, pleasant and exhilarated. It is important for us to name and claim our feelings. The more we can identify with a large range of feelings- the richer is the life we lead
IT'S ALL ABOUT ME
The phone rang and a voice I had not heard for many years spoke up and indentified himself as a high school friend. We caught up on the history of our lives – family, work, travel, etc. â which lasted about 5 minutes. For the next 30 minutes this person talked about himself- when I would insert a comment about me â there was no interest in pursuing this piece of my life. The only interest was in another story about the house, career, the tornado and hurricane or his children and new grandchild. I found my interest evaporating, and my impatient streak building. In a business meeting last week I experienced a 45-minute monologue of personal medical history that was way too much information. A one and one-half hour meeting with a colleague yesterday resulted in 15 minutes of productive work and another 75 minutes of chatting about her personal affairs. I know a family who pride themselves in monopolizing conversations, boasting of creating a âblow holdâ. There are others who call only to talk about their personal agenda and then want to end the call. They seldom ask how I am or what I am doing. These are all examples of monologues. This is when one person talks for long periods, while everyone else listens without a polite opportunity to interact. In these examples, all of these individuals have the âItâs all about meâ syndrome. They expect the captive listener to endure large amounts of verbiage, without wanting or allowing the other person to talk. In all fairness, I know everyone needs a listener and many people do not have anyone to fulfill that need. I also know that I am glad to listen to others, but when the conversations are continually one-sided, you want to ask, âHey, when will you listen â really listen â to me?â The questions are: Is it really all about me? Am I so absorbed in the dramas of my life that I canât focus on anything else? Are my issues and experiences so exciting that everyone wants to hear the excruciating details of my medical history? Do I think my dialogue is so charming that no matter how long I talk or how often I repeat the story, everyone is going to give me their rapt attention? Everyone needs a listener â even the person who is continually called upon to listen to others. Listening is the greatest gift we can give another â and often people sort out an issue by speaking out loud about it. So, if you are always the talker, stop and listen. We have two ears and one mouth. What was God trying to tell us? Listen first, talk second. We might find out a lot about other people, really help someone, and discover that âItâs all about someone elseâ is a really rewarding experience.
THE RIGHT TO BE ANGRY
Who told us we should never be angry? Itâs not a nice feeling and nice people are never angry!! If you believe that let me sell you some swamp land in a desert. Sometimes we have a right to be angry â circumstances, people or re-occurring situations are not healthy and in our best interest. Sometimes they are not even our deal or we get the brunt of another personâs feelings.
This has been a week to personally feel angry and to observe it in others. We know the expressions of anger: irritation, annoyance, rage, disgust, torment, hurt, dislike, resentment, wrath, hostility, hate, scorn, injustice, exasperation, etc. All of these are fear-based feelings. I saw it in a friend talking about an ex-spouse and finally being able to express the resentment of how she was treated. A construction worker expressed total frustration with some lazy bums with whom he is works. The aggravation of a contract not finished as promised. Personally, Iâve been on a rant and roar. Sometimes when old hurts are very intense, all we can do is charge like a bull and once the negative energy is released, only then can we look clearly at the hurt. Iâve been charging like an elephant, rhino and dinosaur. There is a re-occurring situation and every time it occurs, I think I will be calmer and not explode. I have worked on healing this. But when it pops back up I react like someone lit a fire under my rear. This time I am angrier than ever before! So, once again I decided to take a deeper look â because when anger is this all consuming, something else is brewing. The incident is a mechanism to allow long held feelings to come to the surface for healing. It is an opportunity. Is this rough? Yes, but if we donât deal with these when they surface, then we donât heal them and they hide out only to come rolling out again. Many times we heal a layer at a time. One is healed, and others will later surface for healing. The process is one of peeling the layers one at a time. Iâve worked on this before, but this is so intense because Iâm getting close to the core of the issue â and it hurts! The core is the fear that I am not worthy of love. Seeking love from others and a lack of love for me has been a life long pattern. So lately, Iâve been surrounding myself with healthy, loving friends, environments and experiences. Now Iâm ready for some more good, so, in process I need to release another layer of sludge so that I can more fully open my heart. You see, I am loving and lovable and I deserve a life that reflects who I am â I.M. HEART. You are also I.M. Heart.
I know people who think we should never be angry. I know others that think we should not show it even if we have steam coming out of our ears. I know others who think they canât express it â they would never consider honest, straight talk. Did you notice the three âthinksâ? Logic and reason reign â meanwhile the anger is exploding in every cell of your body. Hmmmm â how does one heal the heart if we donât notice all feelings, accept them and seek to understand them? Anger can be a gift for healing. We have a right to be angry â and we deserve to heal the hurts behind that anger. Everything is ok â we are in process and all is well. Look at the book I.M. Heart. It gives more information on this process.
I spent the day getting tighter and tighter â the muscles in my neck and back were twisted into knots. Why? My button got pushed! Remember that a button is a stored, negative experience that holds an emotional charge. So in the present, when we see similar situations, the memory of that old history pops up and says, âOops here it comes again, better get ready for another jolt!â It started in the morning with unmet expectations. A friend made a promise and did not do what was promised – not the first time this has happened. The excuse I got was lame â it was someone playing games, again â just like people have done in the past! I was really angry with the person and questioning of myself for once again having trusted this character. Sometimes we feel like the biggest fool walking the face of the earth when we once again get smacked by someone we really care about. I felt I deserved better treatment in this relationship. Meanwhile, back at button center, everything else that happened the rest of the morning was another hit on the hot spot. There was a phone call in which the caller cancelled a meeting for the next week. Then there was a co-worker who was ill-tempered, the lazy assistant, the driver of the car going way too slow, etc, etc. Once the button is pushed, perceptions change â and the world is seen through the haze of smoke coming out of our ears. So, I stopped myself and honestly looked at why? I knew that the unmet expectations were the beginning, beyond that there were other hot spots. The history of that button was a relationship in which a person would intentionally not do what was promised just because I asked, and would delay communication to resolve it. Even though the broken promise did not involve the same kind of person — my view saw it as a similar scenario. There were other huge issues: trust, integrity, deserving, and values. So, what can do when you know your button has been pushed? The first step is to stop and take some deep breaths â very deep all the way to the belly button. This relaxes you. When you are not so wired, you can see more clearly. Then begin to question yourself — âWhat set me off? Why? What piece of history did I just re-live? What were my fears?â This is self-discovery for your own personal benefit, so listen to yourself for the answers. Feeling some fear in this process is normal because you are looking at an old bruise or bump. However, identifying the cause and understanding that this is still a trigger is important. Over time you can peel the layers of this button so that you recognize it sooner and can differentiate between the old experience and the current one. A friend to listen, or a journal to write in allows for expression. Luckily, I found the courage to tell my friend about my hot button. It also gave me a chance to let him know how I deserved to be treated, and to clarify the relationship. When I expressed — named it and claimed it â the charge to the hot button was gone. It is not always possible to talk the other person, and if not then make a commitment to your self to understand and heal the hot button some other way. You are healing your own heart.
The giggle is a genuine, spontaneous, and uncontrollable fit of laughter — an expression of something that delights you. It is different from a hearty laugh in that it is softer, yet more high-pitched. It is an expression of a simple joy about something that happens in this moment â something silly, amusing or happy. This gentle tickle of your funny bone comes straight from the heart. Something touches that tender spot and a giggle pops out. It just happens! Thatâs why a giggle is so wonderful. It is a real expression of the love in your heart. I watched the tender look of love come into the eyes of a grandpa playing with his granddaughter. Then I heard spontaneous giggles coming from both of them as they delighted in sharing a moment of fun together. Similarly, I watched two friends share a funny story. The first person shared the tale, as the listener giggled in delight. In both instances, I watched people openly share the love in their hearts with one another.
For these people to share their giggles with another person means that they first had to be open to the giggle in their own heart. What does that mean? It means connecting with the spark of universal love that lives inside each of us. This energy is the source of the giggle. Out of this loving energy comes optimism, anticipation, acceptance, zest for living, courage, happiness, appreciation, gratitude, amusement, hope, wonder and many, many more positive feelings. When we live every day with a focus on these feelings, we look for wonderful things in ordinary, everyday moments. We look for something good and positive in others and seek to connect to the common humanity that unites all of us. As we move through each day, we expect blessings because our entire focus is on looking for miracles that happen all day long every day. Our perspective is that of looking for peace and contentment, instead of exasperation and disgust. Even when something disappointing or frustrating happens we know that âit is as it isâ and set out to work it out instead of caving into it. We may feel insecure, lack confidence and be disappointed but those are not permanent residents, but just temporary quests. We can send them packing on their way and again live in the positive feelings of that spark of love inside us.
Have you lost your giggle? If you have please look for it, for it wants to be an everyday part of your life. It may be temporarily buried under anger, resentment, regret, sadness, envy, grief or other gnarly, dark feelings. Your giggle wants to be free, so let these characters go so it can again come out and play with you! I.M. Heart wishes you many giggles!
MY BODY SPEAKS WITH FEELING
We think of feelings coming from the heart â and in our heart we do feel: broken-hearted, have a heart ache or have a heart brimming with joy. However, feelings speak to us throughout our body. They are often experienced as a sensation or reaction that flows through our body. It may be like a continuous low dull pain, a jolt like a kick in the gut with radiating waves of energy, or it may be only a momentary sharp twinge. These reactions are a multi-sensory feeling responses to an individual or a situation. They can affect various organs, muscles and tissue. Remember that feelings are energy â vibrating in our body. Positive, loving, happy feelings vibrate at a higher level than negative, fearful, angry feelings. However, all feelings can be intense in certain situations. When someone pushes my injustice button, the intensity of feeling roars. When someone tells me âI love youâ and they really mean it, there is an intense joyous feeling. The energies are very different, but both strongly vibrate in the body. People who have a long-standing loss, a history of abuse, or an on-going hurtful situation or relationship may describe their feeling as an everyday throbbing ache â like a pot that is slowly boiling. It is not usually a sharp pain â just a sense of an imbedded hurting that doesnât go away. It could be a sense of being unhappy, fear that something bad will happen, or loneliness. This wound can be healed, but there may always be some tender spots. Sometimes we experience an instantaneous jolt â like weâve been struck by lightning or an electrical current. We get bad news, a cutting remark from a loved one, or observe an accident and — bam — we feel a reaction like a kick in the gut! The sensation starts at the point of the kick and spreads â just like someone threw a pebble in the water and the ripples move outward. You can feel the ripples move through your body. The third â a momentary twinge â happens quickly and is gone. It comes from a rude clerk; the innocent words of child; or a political statement . We may stop to consider the twinge, but then we can let it go. It is a tiny nudge of feeling that gets our attention and it is not a big deal. Many times we build up hot buttons from incidents or interactions that have happened over and over again. The arrogant boss, the incompetent coworker, the cold-hearted spouse, the self-centered friend can trigger our button repeatedly. After a while we find the muscles in our body tightening, our thoughts racing, and our feelings exploding when facing the hot button again. We shift into self-protection or preservation mode â in expectation of one more round. Feeling responses depend on the individual, on cultural influences, on our personal history and on the situation of the moment. No wonder this is so hard to understand and accept. The bottom line is that our bodies feel. Our body language shows others what we are feeling. We are all more alike than different and we all do have feelings!
What Is A Feeling?
Sometimes there is a concept so commonly shared by all that we donât stop to think about it. We may accept it as part of everyday life, but donât stop to understand how it impacts our days. I think this is true of feelings. Feelings are complex, ever-changing, very personal reactions to people and events in our lives. They change from moment to moment all through the day. Each day may bring a different variety of feelings because we are different day to day. Some are pleasant, and some very unpleasant. We welcome the pleasant feelings. They bring sunshine, laughter and peace into our days. We have many names for the positive ones such as: happy, content, cheerful, energetic, relaxed, optimistic, hopeful, confident, playful, strong or alive. The unpleasant ones are another story. We also have names for these. They are called: angry, confused, helpless, embarrassed, miserable, suspicious, grieved, or lonely, pessimistic, or doubtful. Sometimes we face them square on, but at other times we try to ignore them, or stuff them down so we donât have to deal with them. The issue is that they donât really go away â these dark clouds just roll around and wait for their chance to hop out in some irrational, messy way. If we donât face them as they occur, they can boil and brew into a raging tornado. This is why we need to heal them in a healthy way. Feelings are energy. The positive ones give us a snap in our step, a twinkle in our eye and a silly grin on our face. We are lighter, free, more compassionate, joyful and loving. The negative ones leave us anxious, depressed, discouraged and afraid. They sap our energy, keep us stuck in bad situations and take away our joy of living. Negative or unpleasant feelings suck the life out of us while positive ones are the light bulb of life. Everyone has feelings. They are a normal part of being human. Sometimes we are reluctant to admit we feel. It as if someone told us they are not
appropriate. In fact that is the message some of us have received from culture and family. It is no wonder that we are reluctant to accept, listen and learn to live with them. The message from I.M. Heart is that we are all ok. Feelings are normal. They are our internal guidance system â giving honest feedback on how we feel about the people and situations that surround us. Feelings open doors for us to learn more about ourselves. Whether wonderful or awful, quiet or alarming â feelings have amazing power in our lives. They play a significant role in our everyday experiences. I.M. Heart â I feel.
Welcome from I.M. Heart
Hello folks, I .M. Heart and I have a new web site. I think itâs really jazzy! You can see me welcoming you on the home page. Iâm so happy. Iâm surrounded by beams of light. Most times I am one happy little heart. However at times, my heart is sad, angry or other feelings that are not happy. You see my name I.M. Heart really means I AM HEART, and I have feelings flowing inside me all day long every day. They talk to me, and let me know what I like and dislike, whatâs important, and what I really feel about people and events going on around me. I listen to my heart â itâs my friend. New to my web site is the movie on the home page. Iâm so excited to be in my own movie. I feel like a star!! Iâm animated, I talk and Iâm surrounded by music. How great is that!! My movie explains a really important message I have for everyone about feelings. Some are warm, fuzzy and loving while others are grumpy, dark and fearful. All of these influence our choices, actions and behaviors. We can choose to look at our feelings to heal the ones that are fearful and live more fully with those that are loving. Go to http://www.imheart.net/#flashmovie and watch the movie of me and my friends and youâll understand! There are other way cool features to my web site: lots of blogs, information about my creator and our team, a list of presentations and a store where you can buy my book, I.M. Heart. We will be adding a forum as well as other features and products so visit us often. Also talk to us â we want to connect with you. We can learn from you and you can learn from us. This is our web site â we are all part of the I.M. Heart Community! I want to thank the team behind my new look. McKibben Productions â Mike and Jim McKibben and Michael T Baxter Creative are my buddies. Without them and my author, Sue McDaniel, I wouldnât be talking to you. A special thanks to Mike McKibben as he created my movie, helping me to talk and act. Iâm very grateful for my team! I.M. a very happy heart and I wish for you many blessings as you live with heart! Youâll come back again soon!
SecondView YES, BUT ..............
I’ve heard this phrase several times lately – from more than one person. It is a reason for: not being honest about feelings, an excuse for not seeing the doctor, a refusal to even consider trying something new, and a reason to hang onto old baggage. What a nifty little phrase to avoid changing and then staying in the same stuck spot! I’ve said these words. I bet you have too. They are a reflection of a solid, fixed position, in which we don’t want to hear another word. We are going to instantly squash anything that is said – just like squashing a fly with a fly swatter. Splat! It doesn’t matter how logical, reasonable, doable or beneficial, we are not considering this idea as an option. Nope, don’t want to hear it! End of conversation! If we take a closer look at the reason for this response, we can find evidence of much fear. It is fear of change — a fear so big that it is a gut wrenching, run for your life; giant monsters are in the closet kind of fear. It is absolutely paralyzing! We can’t even consider a small change because the fear is way too big. It could also be a fear of succeeding. Sometimes a change for the better is scarier than staying exactly where we are. How many people stay in a marriage, a job, a friendship — because their comfort zone is safer than the unknown? Even though the present situation is bad, we are afraid to hope for more. We may even question if we deserve more. A closer look at these little words may also reveal illogical reasoning. We don’t want to bother the nice doctor when it is his day off – and he works so hard — even though we are deathly sick and have been sick for three days. We won’t even ask the questions about our health because we don’t want to know – so we live in fear that there is something wrong with us. Finally, sometimes what is behind these words is just plain stubborn, bull-headed, obstinate attitudes. We are strong-willed, contrary and just don’t want to hear it. It doesn’t matter what another person says, we aren’t budging. The longer they talk, the more determined we get not to budge from our position. Then arguing for the sake of arguing is the game we play. Make me! Often, these two little words are a way to “shoot ourselves in the foot.” They stop us from really talking to other people, seeking help from those people who are there to serve us and simply putting one foot in front of the other. We can’t see any options and certainly are not open to new ideas. We are too busy putting up the road block of “Yes, but …………..”.
NEWS FLASH: YOU HAVE FEELINGS!
I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you have feelings that are warm, fuzzy, compassionate, happy, caring, and loving. The bad news is that you have feelings that are angry, frustrated, resentful, hurting and fearful. Some of these are strong, loud, scream in your ear, jump up and down feelings! Others are whispers, nudges, a slight churn of your gut, or just a sense of a reaction to a situation.
This whole feeling cast of characters changes and flows every day, all day long as you meet different people and situations. We often try to ignore this crew. We’re just too tired, feelings are not allowed in the workplace, they are messy and unpredictable, or we have to hurry to run an errand and then take the kids to soccer practice. The list of logical reasons to ignore them goes on and on. Culture has taught us that our feelings are not acceptable or appropriate, and whatever you do, don’t express them. Everyone will know that we are damaged, unstable or just plain nuts!!! The real issue is that nobody has ever taught us how to live with feelings. Instead, we’ve been taught to deny them, pretend that we are just fine when in fact we are a wreck, and then blow up when they get so bottled up we can’t stuff them any longer. Isn’t that a wonderful way to live? We refuse to acknowledge the impact feelings have on our lives. Our feelings affect every choice, decision and behavior. They either stop us or move us forward. The excitement of reaching a goal, a relationship, or a dream can spur us on to push through feelings and make that joy a reality. The fear of our own anger, worth or ability can stop us cold in our tracks. When we aren’t aware of feelings we don’t know that we’ve stopped ourselves – and we can’t reverse the situation. Consider an option to this scenario. Stop – just stop – and notice what you’re feeling. Take a few seconds to do this throughout your busy day. At the end of the day or the beginning of a new day, review the events of the day and look more closely at those feelings. Listen to what your heart tells you – when did it feel sadness, compassion, confusion, courage, impatience, irritation, hope. Please listen, you heart has important messages to give you. It will tell you who you really are, what you value, what hurts and that you are lovable. It is your friend. We’ve all run hard and fast for too long. The answers are not “out there” —- they are “in here”. We’ve been reluctant to look for fear of what we will find. It takes courage. What have we got to lose? What have we got to gain? Are there answers to questions we have been afraid to ask? We have already lost much by not looking. Why lose more? Will the journey always be easy? No. What it will be is worth the risk. Yes – we are traversing the greatest frontier yet to be explored — our heart.
OPEN YOUR HEART LIGHT
Its Easter morning! The sun is slipping over the horizon as churchgoers attend sunrise services. This is a time to celebrate re-birth, renewal, awakening! It is a new day! On this special day —– open your heart! Just like the sun brightening the morning sky, awaken to the light of spirit within you! Our hearts are our connection to the divine energy of universal love. God is the source of that love. How do you open your heart? You stop and listen to what your heart has to tell you. It is your built-in guidance system – a 24-hour GPS. It has much knowledge to share about your well being. You can trust that small voice that wants to help and support. We may call it intuition, but it is the whisper of spirit. It has a wealth of truth and wisdom always there for you. Opening your heart gives you access to your own internal expert. It will tell you what feels right, what doesn’t feel right, and who or what is important to you. This inside information is the key to knowing yourself. It is the authority on your true nature and who you are. It helps you make choices balanced with information on your feelings and mind. Your heart will definitely tell you how much you are loved, and how valuable you are. There is nothing you have to do or be to receive this love; it is there for you and has always been there for you. This energy of love is so much stronger and powerful than our usual concept of love. The love from spirit is serene, peaceful, calm, quiet, and comforting. It is like being held in loving arms of a presence so purely loving that words cannot even express the sense of that love. This is the gift from spirit when you open your heart. Your heart may also share fears, worries or sorrows that are stored in your heart. It shares these to make you aware of them. It wants you to heal them. These crusty old wounds stop you from connecting with spirit, yourself and others. They stop you from being all that you can be. When you are having a tough time healing a hurt, see spirit enclosing you in a circle of golden light. Ask spirit for help to heal this tender spot and to let it go. In the light of spirit, allow the dark wound to melt away. Also look around. Look at the faces, places and happenings in your life on this Easter morning. Each and every one of these is one with the light of spirit. It is in the smile of a child, a hug from a loved one, tears and laughter. Look around at nature and see spirit everywhere — a sprig of new grass, daffodils, tulips, blooming trees, and the warmth of the sun. The whistle of the wind, the whisper of tree leaves, the singing of birds. Spirit is everywhere and everything is of spirit. There is no spot that God is not. You can choose to turn on this light – pull the string or flip the switch. Let this love and light shine through this day. Then let it shine tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. This is your true identity.
SPIRIT IS LOOKING FOR YOU
Wanted: Hearts with of rays of light, glimmers of hope, beams of love. Hearts can be found inside human forms wandering this earth. These hearts must be courageous in experimenting with new ways of feeling, thinking and doing. They must be open to new experiences that bring great change. They must be honest and real in expressing loving or fearful feelings. They can expect growing pains, tears and laughter. The rewards are great and the journey is a lifelong process. Please consider this challenging opportunity. Spirit wants you! The opportunity includes the following: Shine your heart light – the energy of God’s love – with your friends, family neighbors, co-workers, strangers, community, organizations, your state, your country and the world. How do you do that? 1) Look for positive and good in every situation or person that you meet. If you can’t find it look again. You’ve missed something. People react and events occur in ways we cannot understand. What at first may seem negative; may turn out to be very wonderful. 2) Take an extra moment to connect with other people. Smile or greet friends, lovers or strangers. Find something to compliment, share a laugh, make a joke, tell a story, or listen to their story. Really listen, don’t just brush them off. All are starving to connect – person to person. 3) If someone needs a helping hand, a friend, or support in a moment of crisis; be there for them when you can. There are many ways to support up close or from a distance. This may be a one-shot deal or at least short-term. It may require a longer commitment – if so organize an army of support so the effort can be shared. These are three simple ways, there are many more.
Consider yourself a committee of one building a heart force of many. It’s like dropping a pebble in a pond — plop, the rock goes in the water and creates circles that get bigger and bigger as they move out into the water. That one little rock is you sending rays of your loving energy to others. A simple, sincere, loving action can make you a hero in the eyes of someone who is lonely, hurting, afraid, or is in need of an act of kindness. Shine the light into your own heart. Take time to give your heart some tender loving care (TLC). Allow your heart to be honest and real about feelings and thoughts. Spirit is looking for hearts to get to know themselves so that they can heal the tender wounded places from life experiences. Healing is facing the gremlins and ghosts of the past and deciding if they are making the present and the future a better place to live. If not, it is time to let them go and not drag them around any more. Healing the dark corners of your heart allows your heart light to shine even brighter. It will have even more loving energy to share. As your heart gives, it also collects that light – so the pool to draw from just gets bigger and bigger. Your heart light and the energy of spirit are one. The heart light of others and the energy of spirit are one. I.M. Heart really means I AM HEART. I am one with the energy of God’s love. We are all connected — heart-to-heart!
OPEN TO FAITH
How do I have faith? A friend recently asked that question. I stuttered around for a simple answer on the concept of faith. It is a knowingness, based on our past experiences of walking through the fires of life, that I will come through the flames. As I will walk out on the other side – I am whole, stronger, and wiser. It is the evidence of things not yet seen that sustains the hope for things to come. Faith — is a candle flame – always burning golden bright. It is the divine light of God’s love warming our hearts and shining into the world. Faith is a basic confidence or trust in the divine power of spirit. It is acceptance of the unknown, confidence in the invisible, expectations for well being and a sincere sense of hope. Faith is a reflection of the dwelling of God’s spirit in our hearts. If you’ve ever been touched by spirit you know that faith is something in the human heart; that knows in the deepest and most intimate sense, that there is a divine presence in the universe. This invisible, yet infinite energy is connected to each of us. William Wordsworth said, “Faith is a passionate intuition”. It is a knowing, a connection, a calming, centered influence on day-to-day events. Patrick Overton describes faith: “When you have come to the edge of all light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, FAITH is knowing that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” Honoring this connection to spirit changes the perceptions, choices and actions made in life. In faith, we have an active role in influencing the outcomes in life. Faith helps us overcome fear, addictions, heartbreaks or health concerns. When we are centered in faith, we don’t know how situations will unfold, we do know that all is in order and all is well. Maybe, just maybe, we need to relax and take one step at a time. When we can open to the possibility that we may not be able to see how this will unfold — we know that after we take one step we will then – and only then – know the next one. This requires: flexibility, creativity, and turning loose of our need to control how life unfolds. It brings an opportunity to look deep inside to find our personal strength, question our attitudes and exercise patience. Faith is quiet, still, soft, and gentle. When we have faith we are strong, secure, and confident. In our rat race world, it seems that the search for faith might require that we quit running. We are soooo busy multi-tasking, taking care of business or consuming in excess. Many people are having a crisis of faith —— doubt, internal conflict, anxiety. This often spills over into our life decisions, behaviors and relationships. What would happen if we stopped to exercise some faith? Can we be still, trust in spirit and listen to that small quiet voice? There is no cost to do this, and lots of rewards! The evidence of God’s presence far outweighs the proof of his absence. Faith is like a gentle giant or a big teddy bear- there to hold you in its arms, calm your fears, ride out the storm, and watch the sun rise again. Open your heart to faith — all is well!
IT IS AS IT IS
This simple, yet meaningful phrase is heard more and more in conversations. It is used in reference to a situation, set of circumstances or individual actions and feelings. What does it mean to you? For me, it is a complex mix of ideas, feelings, thoughts, attitudes, people, factors or conditions – like a sea of happenings. To each of these we react and interact, round and round like a ball, constantly bounding off the walls, ceiling and the floor. Some components are neutral factors, everyday ho hum, repetitive motions that never seem to end. “It is as it is” exists and rolls along at its own momentum. We get frustrated with it, but learn to play the games, to tolerate the ridiculous inconveniences that it brings to our lives and then go on about our business. Other factors have more emotional punch – they may hit us in the gut or tug at our heart strings. The emotional punch causes a whole range of feelings to come spilling into the moments of life – from enjoyable, happy, exciting, fun and compassionate — to — sad, angry, indignant, lonely, and depressed. This cast of characters changes as situations or circumstances unfold. They may erupt in a blaze of hot fire or creep up on us like a smoldering spark in a dark corner. Either way they effect our reaction to the balls that bounce in our lives. The phrase, “it is as it is”, is an expression of acceptance, often accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders, a resigned facial expression, or a spreading of the hands. It can also express resignation or surrender, depending on the situation. Regardless of the reaction, it is actually one of our most important coping mechanisms. So often we fight “what is.” We may growl about it, gnash our teeth, lose sleep, eat for the comfort of it, be grumpy and grouchy, go to our cave, or just go to sleep for escape. There are many ways we try to cope. However, when we are in a fight-it pattern, we are stuck —it is like rolling around in one of the pot holes of life – covered with dirty water and mud – just sloshing around in desperation. We can’t see because of the muddy fear in our eyes.
Life is full of ups and downs, hills and curves, rainbows and storm clouds. As we walk across the great plain, we know that our journey will not always be easy, but “it is as it is”. When we surrender or accept that, “it is as it is”, it changes our view. We are able to see a broader perspective because we are not controlled by the panic, paranoid, or negativity. Our sight clears and we can be calmer, more creative in finding solutions and more open to before unconsidered options. The world may still be chaotic, but we are able to discover our inner resilience, courage and faith. We may not know exactly how the situation will unfold, but we know that in this moment we are safe, and all is well. In the divine order of spirit, we find hope for the future and gratitude for abundance that graces our lives. “It is as it is,” now what am I going to do to march forward in life?
Some people are like sunshine, they leave a trail of light, warmth and happiness wherever they go. Even when they have left a room, their energy is still felt as a warm glow and pleasant memory – putting a smile or silly grin on your face by just remembering the time shared with them. A much loved friend recently shared a story written by her Mother about the sunshine this daughter and her husband left in Mom’s life. The time is obvious with the reference to the Ed Sullivan Show, but the message is timeless. The story follows: “Did you hear Jimmy Dean on Sullivan’s Show last nite? It was a beautiful story and told by Jimmy in such a way it seemed so real, about children like E….., who was always such a joy. In the story Jimmy told, when this little girl left their home they picked up all her playthings, toys, etc. and the house seemed so empty, but she left sunshine all over the house – that still remained and now I feel the same way about R…..(E’s husband) knowing him has been such a joy and pleasure. So, I feel like I have the sunshine you left here for me. Mom” This is such a sweet, genuine, heart-felt note that expresses the simplicity of joy from time together. The people we love are always in our hearts, and when we think of them we do feel sunshine. They may not necessarily be in close proximity, but because we love them, they are always close in our hearts. Really loving someone is an easy feeling – it just is. There is no effort or pressure, but just a glowing tender affection like a golden treasure shining in our heart. Our heart sings! For a moment, stop and think about the people who put sunshine in your life. Does your heart sing? We are often so busy running through life that we don’t stop to listen to the songs in our hearts. Stop now and listen! Who and what makes your heart sing? Have you told them how much they mean to you – really told them? Do you share time with them? Do you show your love and allow them to love you in return? If the answer is yes, that is great! If the answer is no, now is the time to begin! Allow their sunlight into your heart and tell then how much they mean to you — – today! There is great benefit for you in this. Leaving sunshine in the lives of others puts sunshine in your own life. Loving yourself and others is your true identity. It is who you are as spirit shines through your heart. Connect to your heart and really listen to the songs it sings. It tells you a lot about yourself. Your heart probably has some sad and happy songs. The sad ones come from losses, hurts, and bruises. The happy ones are from fun, laughter and loving. When you leave sunshine in the lives of others, it helps you to heal those hurts and open your heart to the loving light of spirit. The sun shines brightly in your heart -push away the clouds and enjoy your warm glow. At age 85, this daughter is still leaving sunshine in everyone’s life. She is young at heart with an infectious giggle, an interest in many things and a quick sense of humor. Love you E…..!
As I walked toward the meeting room, I could hear the noise – a buzz of light, cheery, talking and laughing, as if everyone was having a good time. As I approached the door I could hear the music. It sounded like a fun party. Entering the room, I saw people interacting as if they were old friends – hugs and greetings, many conversations, and much excitement. I found myself being introduced and warmly welcomed by everyone. This was only the beginning. Close your eyes and imagine a meeting in which both individual and team achievements are recognized with much enthusiasm – standing applause, hoots and cheers. Beginning success stories and accomplishments of veterans are shared. Standing in front of the room with their director, each and every person is recognized for their hard work – some more than once. As these people tell how they reached a goal, listeners stretch for tomorrow and the next day as they reach for their own dreams. The energy of the room was humming from the beginning, now it increases to a roar of expectation. An “I can do” atmosphere is radiating from each and every one of the regulars. The guests are sitting up in excitement as this environment of positive energy circulates around them. The speaker is an achiever – a bright, bubbly, happy, enthusiastic veteran who tells her story. It is a story of change, both personally and professionally. She tells of her struggle in a prior job – in an environment that was not a fit for her. Then she shares the story of finding where she was supposed to be, of coming home to this organization and of the change in her life. In her heart, she knew this was her life path – and with great joy she took the steps to latch onto this dream. It is not work – it is play because she loves what she does. This organization serves as a model in several ways. There is commitment to promote the success of each individual and a network to sustain and educate. This connectedness is the key that makes the difference to overall success. In this sisterhood, individuals are nourished, valued and taught to be and do more than some ever dreamed. This is a level of support and encouragement never experienced by some people. Can you imagine the excitement of knowing that “I can” when your past experience may have taught you just the opposite? Can you imagine how it would feel to love what you do and wake up every morning brimming with excitement for a brand new day? Can you imagine really liking yourself and the difference you make in the lives of others? Can you imagine the change this shift in thinking and feeling might make in your own life? Our outward appearance is what the world sees. We all look different, but when we feel good about ourselves, are happy and fulfilled in our life and purpose we are all beautiful, regardless of our physical features. At this meeting, the room is full of beautiful people – outside and inside.
It is the intent of this business to build human capital – to motivate and create success for everyone. It starts with one energetic ball, one person starting to think, feel and act successful, and as that bouncing ball rolls toward others; they feel it and also pick up the positive energy. This energy spreads to a third and fourth person and soon everyone feels the inspiration. The whole company becomes a giant Law of Attraction magnet — gaining momentum, and building possibilities with an “I can” attitude. This creates a circle of influence that is indeed powerful. This was an I.M. Heart organization – healing, connecting, and loving. Can you guess the name of the company? Mary Kay Cosmetics. This is the ultimate economic stimulus package – focused on human potential – the most important ingredient of success. The bailout from the government provides only money. The real bailout for this country and the world is our human energy, drive and initiative; creating a positive attitude. With the media pounding us on the head about fear, doom and gloom, let us not forget that we are the ones that make the difference in our futures. This meeting demonstrated a basic principle of human development – that when we expect good in our lives, feel valuable and worthy, think positively, face our fears head on, and take action steps to learn and move forward — we can create great changes in our lives. Spirit and universal law stand hand- in-hand with us, and shout, “Yes, we can”. Many blessings!
IS THERE AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM?
Elephants – a huge greyish mammal with flapping ears, ivory tusks, a swiveling trunk, and pillar like legs. These creatures can weigh as much as six tons and stand 10 feet high at the shoulder. Elephants cry, play, grieve, laugh, are sensitive, have incredible memory, recognize and greet another elephant who has been away from the herd, and live in a very structured matriarchal social order. They are not normally found in our homes, yet sometimes they live there. Have you ever heard the expression, “There’s an elephant in the room”? The question is referring to a situation, conflict, disagreement, misunderstanding, set of circumstances, or lack of communication existing in that room. Everyone in the room is walking around the elephant – pretending it doesn’t exist. They are not talking about it. Yet, the elephant is so huge that is affecting every word, behavior and attitude of those walking around this huge unspoken and unacknowledged issue. It often starts as a baby elephant. A small disagreement or set of hurt feelings is unresolved or unheard. The baby is fed by a gnawing lack of communication while assumptions settle in and expectations or needs go unmet. Being well fed by fear, the baby grows to a teenager and then a full blown adult – filling the entire room. There is no room to breathe and certainly no room to talk, trust and love. Many families and relationships have elephants. In some instances, we play “happy family”- smiling and pretending everything is just fine, instead of talking about the issue to resolve it. Underneath the smiles there is a world of hurt and misunderstanding. If only we could communicate with the intent of understanding, not blaming, forgiving and seeking a win-win resolution, then maybe there could really be a happy family instead of only pretending to be one. The elephant could go, and there would be the open space to build a real relationship. I have experienced this in relationships and many of you have also. Sometimes the elephant can be turned loose to go back outside. It takes much commitment to rebuild the relationship – and the key word is commitment. Sometimes we’ve waited too long and the elephant is too big. It is permanently stuck in the room. We move on. A friend shared her experience with abuse of a web site by a sister. She discovered it was the last straw. The breach of trust was too big and there was not enough energy or commitment to heal it. She had been chomped by the elephant one time too many and could not allow herself to be bit again. A grandmother tells of concerns for a granddaughter, yet feels powerless to talk to her son about some of her fears. The elephant sits as a barrier – growing and growing – while a child is lost. My hope is that this child can still be found. The cost of elephants is high. We can lose those we love and that loss might not be retrievable. If there is an elephant in your house, make every effort to help it lose some of the weight it is carrying – or – open the door and let it walk out. Setting the elephant free, sets you free.
We have a choice how we move through life. Many people exist, day to-day, grinding through life with little hope for the future. That is not a very fulfilling choice. There are other options for living our lives that allow us to see each moment of each day in a new light. I.M. Heart believes that most people want a happier, richer, more rewarding life. To achieve that may require a shift in perspective that starts on the inside of us – from our feelings about ourselves and our attitudes about our place in the world. The poem that follows was written by a very special and insightful person who is traveling this journey. I will not identify the author, but asked permission to share it with you. The poem delivers simple truths about living. Enjoy! MOVING THROUGH Sometimes the moving through Seems harder than the existing. Existing is a place, Not a feeling. Existing is a daily grind Not a new lifestyle. Life is for the long haul More than existing, More than a twist of fate, Limitless and full, Open and alive.
Simple feelings Expressed with an open heart. Family of your choosing Special and free. Expressed in a tender word, A feeling of oneness. A day full of bright beams of light Driving the clouds away Opening the mind to possibilities. In touch with an inner self Wishing for better Grabbing onto opportunities Turning them into reality. Smile when it hurts. Feel as much as you can. You get one shot. Learn to live. Exist in the process. Reach for the ring. Run to the finish line. Laugh whenever you can. Move on through and live. Love the journey. Live your life for you.
Molly - You Have Company
Molly was once very shy and when people came in the house she would hide out. Not any more. I have encouraged her to come out of hiding and when company comes, I often say, “Molly, you have company.” Our company often asks, “Where’s Molly?” Miss Molly Cat has discovered that the people who come to her house love to give her attention. So, she loves to show off and that means she gets even more attention. There are several “See Me” or “Here I Am” tricks that always work. The first is to come strutting down the hall, tail waving in the air. Then just as she gets to the living room she stops and rubs against the wall with her tail curled up over her back as if to say, “Here I am”. This always gets a “Well, hello Molly, how are you?” Sometimes she will answer, but most often she just stretches and struts some more. A different ending to this first act is to take long, long stretching steps, getting closer and closer to the floor until her tummy is almost touching the floor with each step and then she just to lays down and rolls over. This is sure to get a cat petted or picked up. The rocking chair serves as a center stage. This gives her an opportunity to roll around on the seat, bat at toys thrown her way, and pose hanging onto the arms of the chair. This center stage act is sure to steal the show and make sure Molly is the center of attention. Stage front is the rug. It is a fun place to bury toy mice, balls and other toys. Her encore act is to lie on her side, and attack the rug, sending balls and other toys flying all over the room. This act can be repeated several times, drawing attention with each performance. Mealtime means food and conversation around the table. There is usually an extra chair next to the wall by the window. This is Molly’s chair. She will sit on the chair and observe everyone, making herself part of the group as if she were also a person. The great race is the closing act. It is a dash through the house – starting in the bedrooms, flying down the hall and through the living room, dining room and kitchen – stopping to be sure everyone saw her. Then she starts all over again. Imagine all these theatrics from the cat that formerly ran under the bed and stayed there until company left. Just goes to show that animals do change – and can be more outgoing and open. If Molly can do it, so can we. How did this happen? She had someone who loved her to pull her from under the bed and show her that company would not hurt her. As she met people, she began to receive attention for being cute, fun and happy. So, the new behavior continues as it is rewarded. She was lovingly supported to try something new and discovered it was good for her. She let people into her life and discovered she liked it. Maybe we can learn from her and open our hearts to let company into our lives. Who knows how we might change and the joy we can experience.
A DESERVING HEART
Has someone been very kind to you in a moment of despair and you didn’t know how to accept their kindness? Have you ever given someone a really sincere loving hug and it felt like they couldn’t feel the love you wanted to share with them? Has someone loved you heart and soul and it felt like a dream that anyone could love you so much? A friend tells of someone who loves her honestly – the kind of pure loving connection that she never imagined. Yet, she can’t believe this person could love her because she is so unworthy and flawed. It is like a dream come true and she constantly questions its reality. Is there finally someone to really love me?
Another tells of giving love that was not even recognized. He was visiting with a grouchy, intense friend. He truly loves his person and gave her a hug filled with the love of spirit and his love for her. She thought he was hugging her because he wanted the physical contact. That was not his intent – he wanted to fold her in love to support. Real love is loving people whether grouchy or unhappy, at those times we need love the most. I know people who are always doing for others, taking care of families, with each day filled to the brim. They give and give – often supporting others with little personal support for themselves. All of this can take a toll and deplete their reserve of energy. They provide a safe place for others to fall – but often lack a sanctuary of their own. They too need a place to feel pampered and loved – simply loved. We all want love. Some people want it desperately. However, when it comes our way we often either don’t even see it or we run from it. Why? There are a variety of reasons. We’ve been hurt in the past and refuse to be hurt again. We’d rather be alone than take the risk. Perhaps our life is such as dead run that we don’t even recognize when love is offered. We’re still mourning a lost love and can’t open our hearts to anyone else. For whatever reason, love is just too much hassle and fuss. Finally, many make the assumption that they are not worthy or deserving. There’s something wrong with me – how could anyone love me? There are many kinds of love – coming your way from a variety of people. It can be superficial and light – or – it can be rich and genuine. Most people would prefer the latter, even though we can’t believe it when it’s offered to us. Loving someone and being brave enough to let them love us in return would seem to be easy, but that is not always the case. Love is a gift – it is so precious – whether it comes from another or comes to us through spirit. Love is the light inside our hearts that connects us to every living thing and to spirit. It is who we are. Please don’t fear letting it into your life. Open your heart to let it in. Loving changes us. We find our true identity when we love freely and allow love to be given to us. Now we’re facing Valentines Day. This is day that magnifies loving. I have a challenge. This Valentines Day be your own valentine and heal yourself. What tough questions do you need to ask yourself about giving and receiving love? What are the honest answers to those questions? If we want love, we must start with ourselves. We all deserve love!
BACKING UP THE CLOCK
Tick tock – tick tock – with every second the clock moves forward. However, people don’t always do that. We get struck in the tick and never get to the tock – so the past becomes both the present and the future. We are such creatures of habit. There are set ways that we function every day. Many of these are so ingrained that it is like we are on auto pilot. We walk, talk, see, hear, smell and taste – yet we may do all of these things based on blind patterns of acting and behaving – never considering that we collected these patterns from the past. Most often we don’t question if they serve us well in the present. How many people have you heard say, “I’m not going to be like my – mother or father?” However, without even realizing it we do things as our parents did them. As time passes and we grow, some of these patterns do change. Some do not and one day we are jolted into the realization that I’m parenting, working, thinking, etc. as my parent would have done in this situation. Sometimes the past has a lot of power over us – more than we realize. We don’t see the imprint of history on our lives. Some traditions and memories are positive and serve us well. However, when we find patterns of thinking, feeling and doing that hurt or no longer work in the present, it’s time to stop and take a look old memories, habits and traditions. It’s time to back up the clock and decide what to keep in our lives. Consider it a passing. We are looking at a condition or assumption that we have carried along with us. When we back up the clock – tock tick, tock tick – we can pass through that pattern again – but this time we are simply moving through, testing the waters, getting a feel for the situation – and as we a pass through we can decide if or how we want to change. There might be some pain in the passing, but it can be temporary if we choose to free ourselves from past burdens and make a change. In fact, in the process we may also release some permanent pain that has haunted us for years. Passing allows us look at where we are, where we are going and where we belong. We can’t get to where we belong until we look at where we are. Patterns that we’ve brought from the past don’t necessarily fit in the present. Passing allows us to evaluate and prioritize what is important for the present and plan for the future. Every day, with each passing, there is another shift in our lives. In this process of life we evolve not by the big strikes on the hour, but the small tick tocks in each moment of each second. Change can come slow and steady like the clock, so be kind, patient and loving to you in the process.
Is Suffering a Way of Life?
Suffering through living — or living to suffer some more – either way, this is not really making the most of every day! I recently had a conversation with someone who asked, “Do people live just to suffer?” The question caused me to ponder because I had never thought about that. I know when someone is in physical pain we consider that suffering. However, this question was in reference to attitudes and feelings. The person meant, do people know that by carrying around old hurts, resentments, anger, sorrow, disappointments, loss and trauma, etc. that they are suffering? Do they continue because that has become a way of life? Do they not even know they are suffering? Will their whole life be a walking tragedy? There are many grouchy, unhappy, anxious people wandering around. Some have been living a “bah humbug” life for all of their lives. It has become such a habit that they don’t even realize what they are doing. They get stuck in the set of feelings, thoughts and behaviors that perpetuate the “Living in Suffering” or “Suffering in Living” loop. It’s programmed to play and replay – over and over again. Some people never see anything as positive or good. They find something to criticize with every situation and person. If they could only look inside
they would discover that they are the most judgmental and critical of themselves. How they see the world is only a reflection of the inner judge and jury – dangling a hangman’s noose. Every day is a time to be in a victim of circumstance or to wallow in self-pity. Many others carry around so much pain because: they did something wrong, someone did something wrong to them, they had a great loss, it can’t be changed and they can’t let it go. They can’t move on, so they suffer by carrying the past around with them, waving the flag of sorrow, resentment or grief — for everyone to see. All they can see is pain, so that suffering is all they want to share with others. Every person has times in life when they face great challenges – but it is a season, not every minute of every day – and certainly not an entire lifetime. We are human — we have done some things that are not pretty – that we’re ashamed of – and we will say or do something again that we will wish we could take back. The trick and the key is in forgiving ourselves and moving on – and this honest forgiveness allows us to grow into the glorious loving creature that is truly who we are. We are also spiritual creatures. God loves us, wants us to love ourselves, reach out in love to others and always stay in connection with spirit. Faith, trust and hope – not in our plan, but in God’s, let’s us walk in peace. When we can walk in spirit, suffering is a smaller part of our life and comfort grows and grows. How would you like to live? I had a bad experience with a jumpy, twitchy, person who didn’t care about what I had to say. I really cared so I was upset at that incident, plus some other situations. As I sat in the car with tears in my eyes, a song came on the radio and guess what the lyrics were? “The sun will shine and everything will be ok.” I was suffering and that song reminded me that I did not need to suffer. So, I giggled, dusted my attitude off, went inside and got to work – and my whole view of the world changed – and I had wonderful day. So, letâs change our perspective and look for: love, laughter, fun, kindness, compassion, support, wisdom – to live in the presence or the grace of spirit — and live, not suffer.
In the last 24 hours I’ve had two people want to talk to me about living. Both of these want a better life than they have lived in the past. Each has their own set of circumstances to overcome, but a concern was expressed by both that they weren’t really living. The first person wanted to know what it meant to really live. Her point was that we go through life just surviving – making it through each day as best we can, doing the work and chores that are required and yet not really enjoying the trip very much. Her questions were: Where is the fun, the happiness, the excitement in doing what just has to be done every day? Her final question was how to face a tomorrow that will be more of the same – the same work, chores, and everyday challenges. The second person was concerned that she could never overcome some past experiences and really live her life. She was scared to face the ghosts from the past and yet felt that they were haunting her every day. Other people were critical and judgmental and she was not able to forgive herself for her past. She was scared to even look. Even though her life had changed for the better, the felt that she was not living the life she wanted and that she would never be able to change. Living is a moment to moment, hour by hour, day by day experience. It involves a continual shift and sway of people and events. It is like a boat moving in a sea of waves — watching a new wave come and pass under the boat only to see another wave coming your way. There is always a new wave – something new – coming your way. Part of living is accepting those new waves – being open to whatever a wave brings in. Each wave passes under the boat. That same wave will never pass under your boat again. It is now an old wave – the past – a memory – we can’t change the impact of that wave. We remember it, but we can’t make it a smaller, bigger or better wave. It was what it was and we must accept it. If it brings sad, angry or other hurtful feelings, we can accept that pain and choose to let it go. The waves of life continually batter or move our boat – every minute and hour of every day. How we choose to look at them is the key in living. The dictionary has several definitions of living. Some are related to enjoying life: relish, savor, experience, love, delight in, live richly, make every moment count, have rich experiences, experience life to the fullest, live abundantly, make the most of life, take the earth’s bounty, have a meaningful existence, take pleasure in, get a great deal from life, live it up, etc. Others are related to subsistence: remain, continue, earn a living, support oneself, acquire a livelihood, get ahead, provide for one’s needs, make ends meet. Although these definitions tell us about living, it is the attitude toward living that makes the difference. Can we accept what living brings to us, and turn loose of what is past? In each moment, can we look for the big picture, keep the current situation in perspective, or accept a situation we cannot change? For ourselves, can we be kinder, more forgiving, more loving of us? Finally, can we wrap our living in the loving arms of spirit, with faith, hope, and trust? These questions are the real tests of living.
Sometimes you hear certain words and a light bulb goes off in your head that says “listen up!” This happened to me yesterday. A friend was talking about a relationship, and saying that the other person did not validate his worth. Those words, “validate my worth” have been rolling through my head ever since. Another friend knew just what he as talking about. She told about a relationship in which it was “all about the other person”. It seems this other person thought their wants and needs were the priority and hers were non-existent. The conversations, decisions, or time were all about him and she was invisible. Further conversation among a group of friends showed that for many people this absence of validation of their worth has been with them all their lives. One person told of being “just a farmhand instead of being a loved and appreciated daughter”. Another told of growing up in a very rural area where being gay was certainly not validated. Each of these individuals agreed that they have never accepted or felt as if they are good enough.
They agreed that the fallout of this early experience is that now they don’t believe it when someone tells them they are good enough. One said that accepting love from others is hard because she is amazed when it is expressed for her. The crusty shell she built around her heart has to be cracked to allow appreciation, respect, kindness, compassion and caring from others. Interestingly, she is more adept at giving than receiving. We all want others to validate that we are worthy, valuable, lovable, precious, uncommonly wonderful, and incredible intelligent. Life is easier if we have a support network to nurture and support us. However, if we are to be totally honest we need to take a hard look in our own hearts and minds to discover how we are NOT validating ourselves. All those other relationships are only mirrors for what we are thinking and feeling about ourselves. The real question is: How do I validate my own worth? Ask yourself how well you take care of your health, do things that make you happy, or do work that you love. There are many ways to validate our own worth and often we are the least kind, loving, forgiving and understanding of ourselves. If others in our lives do not validate us, then we might look first at our own internal feelings and thought patterns. How are others mirrors for us? What of our own internal beliefs are they reflecting back to us? Second we can take a look at that relationship and decide if it gives us what we want and deserve. What are the pros and cons? What do I want and is it realistic, or am I in fantasy land? Sometimes the familiar is safer, even when not exactly what we want. We know what to expect from the known, while the unknown is scarier than the limitations of the familiar. However, when we truly validate ourselves and decide on what we deserve, our vision for our future changes and we know that the best is yet to come. Isn’t that an exciting validation of our worth?
AN EMPTY PLATE
As 2009 settles into our lives, imagine that it sits before you like an empty plate. It is a gleaming, clear, round, glass plate that symbolizes a clean slate or a blank page. The edges of the plate are flat, open. This serves a dual purpose. The openness allows all special gifts of love and joy to move to the center of the plate and into our lives. It also lets all challenges and fears to slide right off the edges and disappear from our lives – leaving room for new opportunities and experiences. On your plate that is shiny, clean and new in 2009, you have the chance to write your story on this stage with the scenes, characters and backdrops that you want. In this play you can sing your song, that special song that you hear in your head and whistle or hum throughout the day. You can dance your dance, that special way you have of walking, skipping or running when the world is bright and sunny. All this is part of making your music by living your goals, dreams and wishes. All these component parts make up your picture with a landscape, color and texture. So in 2009, what perspective are you going to paint in your picture? The perspective in which you hold your plate will make all the difference in this year. You can paint the picture of your story on that plate, but the acts of the play will depend on your internal thoughts and feelings. Holding that plate in hope, faith, integrity and spirit, will bring entirely different scenes and acts than holding that plate in scarcity, fear, despair and hopelessness. How are you going to hold the plate? We all know that life is not shiny and new every moment of every day. There will be bumps in the road, potholes and even rain clouds. How we handle those makes all the difference in the scenes in our story. We can paint those storms as negative, impossible, and give up – or – we can take them for what they are, knowing they will pass and the sun will shine again. In some situations, we can say, “This is as it is”, meaning that we accept it for both the good and the bad. When we do that with a full understanding of the big picture, then we can more calmly flow with it – and not fight something that we cannot change, but instead work with what are the possibilities. This leaves us more open to alternatives and options we couldn’t see before. It is most important that we focus on the empty plate and fill that with a story of our choice, painted in beautiful colors, and filled with wonderful music. Then we can dance and sing in our world, filled with rainbows and pots of gold. Keeping this focus on what we want makes all the difference.
FAST FORWARD -- JANUARY 2, 2009
The magic is gone – the Christmas season is over — and life goes on. Ho-hum!!! Some would say, “Thank goodness Christmas is over one more time – it is so stressful, requires so much shopping, has the family dramas, and is never as joyful as I anticipate. It’s never what I expected.” I’m exhausted – I just want to get back to regular living. Stop right there! Let’s look at this. First, Christmas is often a different time of year because we open our hearts — we are more thoughtful, caring, and loving. We reach out to others and give of ourselves, whether it be a present or our presence. For some, this openness of heart feels both wonderfully familiar and strangely foreign. Our hearts are often more closed and when we open them we feel warm, fuzzy, cozy, snuggly —— and vulnerable. There are so many expectations of being loved and cherished by others and often those may be both unrealistic wishes and long-standing wants. So, we open our hearts and find ourselves angry, hurt or disappointed one more time. No wonder the Christmas season is so stressful. We want people to magically change or to simply be loving – and disappointment reigns one more time. Bah Hum Bug! Many times our expectations are exaggerated and so full of mistletoe and sugar plum fairies that we set ourselves up for disappointment. The Christmas season is a time to share with others from the light of our heart and spirit. That is the real meaning of the season and that is what we can fast forward to January 2, 2009. We can choose to carry forward that open heart, loving support, and willingness to reach out to others. How do we keep that alive in the ebb and flow of regular living? That is the question. Think of some of the actions you chose during the Christmas season and repeat them throughout the year. Who have you helped or reached out to? Did you speak differently to strangers, neighbors, friends, family, children, service people, telemarketers? Have you been friendlier to someone or shared time and yourself with a lonely person? The bottom line is: What have you given of yourself? How to you keep you heart open, compassionate, and understanding. Keep in mind that every person you meet is carrying around their own variety
of “stuff”. They have some challenge to work through: a financial worry, a health issue, or maybe they are just tired. For them, today is more stressful than usual. Should they take it out on you? Absolutely not, but we all know that happens. Can you give them a break? Take a look at your expectations. Sometimes we want and expect more that others can give. Most people do the best they can in the moment, and they may be giving you all they have to give. Even most important, what are your expectations of yourself? Do you expect that you are always a super hero? If so, you are being the most unkind to yourself? The magic is not gone – we simply have to open our hearts to keep it alive.
Christmas is about us- the re-awakening or re-birth of our abiding faith in who we are – the spirit or divinity in each of us. This is the spirit of faith, hope, peace, joy and love. It is the gift of our birthright and the treasure within each of us. Christmas reminds us of our connection to God and the universal connection of each living thing to that energy. With open hearts, we feel the serenity, calm and strength of this divinity within. There is a sense of peace and wonder as if we are present in the magic of this story of Jesus birth and our own re-birth. It is as if there is a surge of energy in our heart, a tear in our eye, a glowing smile on our face and a sense of amazement at the wonder of these renewed feelings of love, joy and peace. We reach to each other in expressions of caring, compassion, and kindness. It is as if there is a light in each of us – shimmering, clear, golden – spreading from our spirit to everyone and everything around us, changing us and all who are in its beams. This is the light of our spirit – a shining reminder of the love that unites all of us. In this light we are accepted just as we are, loved unconditionally, and have an abundance of joy available to us. A never-ending circle of love from spirit is always with us —- each minute of every day. All we have to do is invite and allow it to be a part of our life. These gifts are collected in the bucket of faith – that knowingness that spirit is present and active in our lives in ways we may not see or understand. As we face the struggles and challenges, faith gives us the strength to put on foot in front of the other, trusting in the abundance of spirit, and certainty of solutions and outcomes in our best interest and highest good. So this Christmas day and every day know that: Where there is faith, there is peace. Where there is peace, there is love. Where there is love, there is joy. Where there is joy, there is God. Many blessings to you and yours!
THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS
Christmas is about hope, peace, and love — giving and receiving — compassion and kindness – gentleness and caring. It is living with the essence of blessings – with self, others and in spirit. It is a time when hearts are more open and that makes a tremendous difference in our thoughts, feelings and actions. Christmas is about giving presence, not just presents. In these days, are you giving attention to taking care of yourself, de-stressing, being patient, and kind? Being present with yourself allows you to stop, and take a break for a cup of coffee with a friend in the midst of rushing around. That provides a time of sanctuary. Presence in the moment opens your heart to see beauty, joy or pleasure in the everyday activities of this season. It creates conversations with strangers, sharing surprises with loved ones, and appreciating the magic of each moment. There are many magical moments this time of year. With others, your presence can mean the difference between a lonely Christmas and one filled with joy and friendship. This can be simple and easy. Did you reach out to your neighbor, a friend, a distant relative — a phone call, a visit, a card, a wave and shout of “Blessing for you and yours”? Any of these and many, many more give the gift of your presence. Do not underestimate the importance taking care of others with small, thoughtful acts of kindness. The season of Christmas is often both a pleasure and pain for families. We are thrust together with people we may not know well or know all too well. Add to this the many expectations for memories of loving, happiness, laughter and thoughtful gifts. This can create a disaster looking for a place to happen. Each family brings a cast of characters to this scene and each person will play their part. This is either the easiest or hardest place to open your heart in the hope, peace and love of the Spirit of Christmas. Do the best you can to give your loving presence to those who will accept it and be patient and compassionate with others. Every year we talk about living the rest of the calendar year in the Spirit of Christmas. Come January 2, we go back to work, fuss about Winter and look forward to Spring. We forget the magic that has touched our hearts only a short time past. This year, in this time of history, it is even more important that we remember to carry forward the Spirit of Christmas for many will need our courageous, loving support. The Scrooges among us might say that hope is dead, peace is impossible and love is lost. To those of this persuasion, I would ask you to scrape a tiny piece of the crusty layer from your heart and take at look at your own essence of hope, peace and love. This Christmas season when your heart opens, make a promise to yourself to allow it to stay open ——– if only a crack. Then as you move into the new year, take the Spirit of Christmas with you – share your heart all year.
SMILE FOR CHRISTMAS
There are many kinds of smiles. Some are pasted on as in I don’t feel like smiling, but it’s part of my job. Newscasters, politicians and celebrities practice how to smile for all those photo shoots. There are smiles of laughter —- big smiles, Mona Lisa smiles, sexy smiles, evil smiles, cool smiles or toothy smiles. The list could go on and on. A smile can convey many messages. It is so much more than just a movement of the lips. When heartfelt feeling is added, a smile can speak louder than words. The most wonderful is the genuine smile, the one that comes directly from the heart. It’s the one the can light up a room, soften the hardest of hearts, lessen the most horrible fear or heal a terrible hurt. It softens the burdens of life and brings joy to all who are willing to receive it.Â So, let’s get started. What are some ways to begin to share your smile? First, watch the smiles of others. How many kinds do you see? Look for the genuine ones – that light up a whole face with eyes that sparkle. Notice how that affects you and others. How does that affect your heart? Second, for one hour a day, concentrate on smiling at everyone. They may wonder what you’ve been up to – but who cares! After a few days or a week, practice smiling for two hours each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Smile at people, your computer, your lunch, your house, your bed. Practice, practice, practice and let that smile come from a heart filled with gratitude. Third, when you are walking down a public street, in the grocery store, or through your office, smile at everyone you see. Be the first one to smile and make eye contact. Have your smile on and be ready to say hello. When you step forward with a smile, others have the opportunity to let their heart smile too. If they don’t smile in return, you have lost nothing. You’ve offered a little sunshine and even if the smile is not returned, you have given of your heart. This Christmas, I challenge you to offer a loving, kind, friendly smile to those you love as well as the rest of the world around you. It is a giant of a gift that costs not one penny, yet is worth millions in benefits to all who receive it. In this time of many fears, great changes and much uncertainty, a loving smile is a gift we can give each other. A heartfelt smile is often all that is needed to communicate to another person. It says, “I see you, I understand, or I want to help you.” A person can feel much loved through a smile, so be free with them. Your smile may be the only time that person feels loved all day. So, share your heart and warm the hearts of others. You can lighten this world through your smiles.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” I wish we could all confidently answer, “I am.” However, my attendance at a weekend workshop confirms that not many people would say “I am.” The idea of mirrors was discussed as it relates to other people in our lives and the wounded feelings we carry around. The concept is this: We come into this life with core wounds such as: believing that we are unlovable, not good enough or not enough, don’t belong or are unworthy. We may also feel like we are alone or have been abandoned. You may not believe these are big issues, but last weekend I heard these secret, unspoken, yet painful beliefs expressed over and over again. The journey of life offers mirrors to help us heal these wounds. These come in the form of other people who mirror back to us these wounds so we can heal them. It works like this. Mary, at age 35, has carried a belief that she is unlovable and says her mother was too busy to give her the nurturing support needed as a child. She looked for that missing love everywhere else – with teachers, friends and members of the opposite sex. No matter where she looked, there was never enough love. A pattern of looking for someone to fill the gaping hole in her heart took her from relationship to relationship, marriage to marriage, compounding the wound. Each time she created a story of what happened around blame, shame and resentment. So instead of opening her heart, she built a crusty layer around it. Mary didn’t know that all these mirrors – the people who had passed through her life – were showing her the wound that needed to be healed. She kept attracting people that validated the belief that she was unlovable – over and over again. The issue is that she didn’t know first to look within – to change the belief she held about herself. When she changes that belief from unlovable to lovable, then she will attract people who can give her the love she deserves and so desperately wants. When a life pattern repeats again and again, or when we overreact to a situation, that is a hint to us that there is a wound to be healed. The incidents are occurring to get our attention. There is a band-aid over a sore and every time that is torn off the boil hurts all over again. Pain is a gift —if you open your mind to the possibilities. It is an opportunity to take a long look at beliefs, thoughts and feelings. It is a chance to shift the perspective you hold about yourself and your place in life. Mary looked at the mirrors, searched her feelings, and took a look at that crusty heart. It was not easy, took time, patience and learning to be loving — first to herself. There were days of great pain and days of growing understanding and acceptance. She is still in process and has discovered a whole world of people who can love and appreciate her. She is opening up a whole new world – a wonderful, loving, healthy, world. The reflection in the mirror is changing. “Mirror, mirror on the wall – who is the fairest of them all? Answer: I AM!!!”
A TALE OF TWO FRIENDS: LOST AND FOUND
This is a tale of two friends. They were an unlikely pair. Who would have guessed that they would have found each other for they lived in worlds far apart and yet near to the heart. One felt as if she had been lost and now was found. The truth of the matter was that each was lost and both a shelter had found. There was a common ground to be shared and healing for both. The conversations were honest and real. They talked to each other without fear. It started with common experiences, helping the one who was lost and grew from there. They opened their hearts, gave of themselves and dared to trust. What they discovered was a friendship so rare that they marveled at what they had found.
You see these two friends had reached out before. With other people they had tried to share who they were, what they felt and a level of connecting that comes from the heart. The one told a tale of being true to herself, only to be rejected by a friend she loved the most. She couldn’t understand why the friend had spent a week avoiding her, and refusing to talk to her. She asked to talk for it was important for the friend to listen – to really hear her. Turns out the friend didn’t seem to care that she needed a listener. That raises questions about reaching out – over and over again – only to have the same result. Her lament was, “I trusted him/her. I can’t do it any more. I won’t be hurt again.” The question was, “What do I do?” The answers are a multiple choice decision. Pick one or all. Option 1 -Try again to help the person understand what you wanted to say. Ask again for them to listen to you. Let them know that the friendship is important and you want to be real with them. Tell them a trust could be lost, it is possible the friendship will be changed forever or also lost, and you don’t want that. Option 2 -Understand that maybe this person can’t or chooses not to listen and talk to you. They may never be willing to be as open and real as you would like. They may want to set a boundary or level of control for the friendship. If the person is loved enough, if there is enough value in what they can bring into your life, then you can choose to accept those gifts from that person and enjoy them for what they can give. Option 3 -Find other people to share more openly. Move out of your comfort zone to find different friends. A concept is of a covey of friends for different interests. Another young friend of mine commented only last week that he had finally met a girl he could really talk to about all the parts of himself that before he had to hide. His comment was, “What a relief, I don’t have to pretend any more. I can really be me. It’s wonderful.” So the advice is to keep looking. Option 4 -Walk away. If it hurts too much and playing the game is more detrimental to you than beneficial, love both of you and walk away. Grieve the loss and move on. Option 5 – Ask for help from others to heal what hurts. Help may come from spirit and your God who is always there to love you. You can also find another person to listen to you. Just being able to tell someone is often a way to heal. Finally — Forgive! Forgive! Forgive! Both friends and friendships are fragile. There are times when they are more fragile than others. When we are like Humpty Dumpty – have fallen off the wall – is when we need someone to help us pick up our pieces and put them back together again. Friendships are also precious – so help those you love to put Humpty’s pieces together.
A GIFT OF THANKS
An amazing friend of mine came up with a brilliant idea recently. She sent me an e-mail and said, “I was sitting around tonight and decided that some of the people from my childhood and adulthood probably do not know how much they have impacted my life. I’ve never told them. So, I looked up some phone numbers, sat down and wrote each one a letter telling them how they impacted my life, just how special they made me feel, or how they altered my life in some way. I am going to call them, read my letter to them, and reconnect to some of them just so they know how much I love them for what they have done for me. Sounds like a great idea, so I’m doing it. Some may think it sounds corny, but it feels right to me for some reason.” She asked me to wish her luck on this since this was way out of character for her. However, she was going to do it in spite of herself. She felt compelled by some strong force to do this thing – way out of her comfort zone. She said, “Maybe just the thought of the sunlight of a healing world pushes me on”. She was concerned about potential reactions and couldn’t imagine a bad one. There was a potential for stunned silence or even tears and giggles of surprise. She decided that it didn’t matter – she was going to do it anyway. This was something she wanted to do for her – and that was a giant step in loving herself. She liked this new person she had discovered – it felt “way cool”. I also think this a way cool idea. How many of us tell those who have been a positive influence in our lives just how much they mean to us? I haven’t done that – have you? In fact, telling people how much we appreciate them is not often a habit we cultivate. So a weekend was spent calling folks on the phone and reading the letters to them. All of the recipients were so excited to receive the calls and glad to hear from my friend. All wanted a copy of her letter and some wanted to stay in contact on a frequent basis. The door was opened with love and appreciation. As for my friend, this exceeded her wildest dreams and she reported that her “insides shook”. As a result of her giving spirit, the gifts coming back to her were treasures. As we approach Thanksgiving, this seems an idea that ought to be considered by all of us. Who are the people who have made a difference for you in the past? Are there people in your life now for whom you want to express love and appreciation? We sometimes overlook the importance of the connection to another person and just how profoundly they impact out lives. So my challenge to you is this: follow the example of my friend and tell someone you love just how important they are to you. This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for the people we love and appreciate.
THE POWER OF "I LOVE YOU"
Three little words, only eight letters, made up of consonants and vowels. Yet these words are the most sought after words in the English language. They are also the words that can significantly change the life of the speaker and the listener. Saying them and hearing them melts the most frozen of hearts. Sometimes we choke when we think about saying them and we blink when we hear them spoken to us. Surely I didn’t say those words. I’ve never spoken them so freely before. Upon hearing them, a recipient might question if they heard right. There is great benefit for all of us in saying them and hearing them much more frequently. Some speak these magic words often and to everyone. They love everyone and everything. They are the generalists. Others hold these words close to their hearts and only speak them to specific people or in special situations. Since there are so many varieties of “I love you”, there are
many levels of feeling that can be expressed through these words. Iâve told family, friends, pets and even inanimate objects that I loved them. My car’s name is Girl and I tell her that I love her. Molly, the cat, looks at me with her big green eyes and blinks at those words. These words to family and friends are spoken straight from my heart. The words and meanings differ in these instances, because there are many kinds of love. During the last month, I’ve observed the power of these words in action. I’ve seen their power to heal. A friend says these “I love you” freely and generously – no “shoulds, shouldn’ts, if only’s, rules, or conditions”. Loving from an open heart is just who she. A second friend has an intuitive connection that knows by my words in an e-mail that I am not having a good day, and called me at bedtime to say “I love you”. She then wrote, “I just knew you were not yourself and I wanted to let you know that you are so special to me and I really do care. Picture me standing in front of you holding both of your hands and telling you that you are wonderful, special, loved and worthy. I give you back this gift for all you do and how much you care for me. I’d call you 5 million times if I thought you needed me.” The simple, honest love from both these people is so precious. I’ve observed two other friends begin to blossom like they were flowers sprouting from the ground in the spring. In the last month one has changed dramatically because somebody cared about her, listened to her, and promised not to leave her if she shared her heart. The second was a quiet, reserved, self-contained person. I’ve watched her open up, begin to share personal stories, laugh and smile. She has a beautiful smile. Again, someone bothered to care about her and to invited her to be part of their life. If you love someone, tell them. Those words can mend a broken heart and help it to heal. It offers comfort, like your favorite stuffed chair. It is a place where you are warm, protected, and accepted. Love is the most powerful feeling in the world. When you offer your love to someone else, it heals your own heart as well as theirs. Love to all!
CREATE A MIRACLE
Once upon a time there was a young woman — an ordinary lady – one who worked hard every day to make a living for herself, with many ups and down flooding her world.Â In her life, there were some tragedies, lots of drama and many a hard knock. She describes herself as an odd, simple girl with issues out of this world. In her words, “it was a crazy mixed-up world” with a lot of “what ifs” and uncertainty. She was a survivor – just like you and me – and her life was about to undergo a major change. We had previously met each other, happened to re-connect and started communicating. I watched a miracle unfold. This miracle had been building for some time, sort of like building blocks with one stacked on top of the other. With each block a small shift takes place, these accumulate and we suddenly realize that “much of me has changed quite drastically in the last month or so.” That ah-ha moment opens our eyes and is often followed by decisions to change our lives in some way. That is what happened with this person. I watched as she came to new understandings of herself, felt pride in her capabilities and contributions, and held her head high. I watched her ride the up hill swing and enjoy this new person she had discovered. I saw her hit bottom a week later as some of the old trials and tribulations came rolling back and she began to doubt herself. When bad things happen we sometimes think we are to blame — that if only we had done something else or spoken different words the outcome would have changed. Then we live with regret from a past incident that we cannot change. We all live with dragons and monsters from the past. The difference was that she knew the bottom would not be so big or so deep, and that she could crawl out of that hole again. Then I saw her bounce back. I saw her decide that nobody wins the blame game. In her words, “buck it up – relearn to love life, friends, family and the simple things around us”. She told me she was a work in progress and asked me not to give up on her. Why would I give up on a miracle? I promise not to give up. This is my story and yours. The amazing person is an example to us of the process we are all living to become different tomorrow than we a today. There will be low valleys and mountain peaks, as well the prairies and plains in between. The miracle is in the living. It is accepting all this and being resilient and strong when we fall in a pot hole, knowing that the sun is shining above. Crawl out and create a miracle. So, what are we waiting for? What miracle are we going to create in our lives?
TREAT ME AS IF I MATTERED
I was watching a movie the other night and this line was spoken by one of the characters. It was one of those moments when the words “treat me as if I mattered” hit me like a brick – right in the gut. The context of the movie was referring to how the character had been treated in a relationship. It so clearly expressed a concept that has been foremost in my mind the last several weeks. What does it mean to “treat me as if I mattered”? There are several broad areas that are important to maintaining healthy relationships. Here are some ways I would like to be treated. - Focus on connecting – really connecting – at a more than superficial level. Seek to learn who I am, what I value and believe, my special talents and interests, what I fear or what I love, and the history I bring to this relationship. Real connection means finding the common ground that unites us – heart to heart. - Be authentic and real — in words, actions and deeds. - Share a sense of humor — laugh with me and have fun. Laughing together is a great way to connect. - Listen — actively listen to me with you eyes, ears and heart. When I want to talk, make time and stop to hear me. If I’ve expressed the need to talk, it is important for you to listen.
- Communicate clearly what you want and need in the relationship. - Deal immediately and positively with misunderstandings and disagreements. - Care about me – don’t just care about you. When you ask me how I am, care enough to really what to know. Help me when I need help and cheer me on with successes and challenges. Understand and support me. Show me courtesy and respect. - Be honest and build trust. That means telling the truth, being careful about what you promise , keeping your word, and being up front with no double talk or manipulation. - Time – give me quality time – not just second-hand, hurried minutes of attention. - Love me – and accept my love for you The golden rule tells us to treat others as we want to be treated. It seems to me that this is very applicable to “treating me as if I mattered.” I.M. Heart – I open my heart to you and accept your open heart for me – that is what “matters”.
A DRY SPELL
It’s been a while since I’ve put a blog on this web site — I was having a dry spell. This is the same thing as a time out. A period where one stops to reflect, to consider future options, or to do some healing without the pressure of deadlines. I was doing all of those. Having made a series of changes in my life – I found myself in yet another cycle of personal reflection. It’s amazing that when you make one change – others just naturally follow. I moved to a new city in July and was conscious of the opportunity this would afford to take a look at my life, change habits or patterns, and open myself to new experiences. Knowing that, I was still not ready for the series of personal changes that have been rolling through in the dry spell. These have all been positive. However, some of them have left me reeling for a bit as I sought to find my balance with the new and different me. I’m still seeking to find my stride and I expect that will continue. That process may spawn more changes still, so the reeling will start all over again. One very interesting shift has been one related to deserving. Lots of us roll through life without giving much consideration to what we deserve. It may take a jolt, an experience that wakes us up, to help us realize that we do deserve the many gifts this universe has to offer. After the shock waves settle, the realization of the magnitude of the jolt hits home and begins to impact every aspect of our daily lives — choices, habits, and relationships. My jolt came as a surprise. It has to happen that way in order for us to pay attention. There has been a situation that is not resolvable. I have worked to heal myself and have succeeded in that. However, there was a chunk left that was untouched. It related only to me, not the other individual. This little gremlin nestled inside me had to do with deserving. When the trigger or my red hot button was pushed this time, I discovered that I was raging, boiling, stomping mad at myself for not being angry sooner. What did I have to be soooo angry about? I did not deserve the actions or words that occurred 12 years ago now. It only took me 12 years to say, “I didn’t deserve that.” I couldn’t believe that it took me so long to state the obvious. As the storm settles a bit, another shift rolls in – and this one is changing the, “I didn’t deserve” to “I deserve”. This is a huge shift in life perspective. It changes everything and I am still in the process of making those changes. I expect this will take some twists and turns as I work through this new level of deserving. I’m ready for them and for the gifts that come as “I deserve” settles into my life. The dry spell was a gift. Sharing the experience is my gift to you. When you have a dry spell, consider it a time to be kind, patient and loving to yourself as you check the water in the well of life.
A TORNADO OF FEELINGS
Feelings – rolling through your awareness, calm or edgy, changing with each minute of the day. They can be warm, loving, peaceful, or happy. Then again, sometimes they create quite a storm. The last few weeks, I’ve been through tornado alley. I was the tornado , whirling around in my world, creating havoc for myself and struggling with the swirling feelings that seemed to consume me. Sometimes an incident or experience triggers old bruises. We thought we had healed this hurt – or at least healed it enough so that we could cope with any similar triggers or reminders of the original pain. Then we discover that we healed part of it – but – there is still intense feeling to be healed. Something or somebody pushed a big, red button – buried long and deep, unhealed, and now pushing to the surface – pulsing in rage and anger. We discover that the old bruise still has a boil and scab — and we need to heal it. I thought I had healed a wound from a decade ago. I had noticed, been honest with myself, worked to process through it, and supposedly turned it loose. There are levels of healing and I had healed many feelings. However what I had not healed, from this incident, was my perception of my own value and worth. It was time! That’s why I was so angry. I found myself asking — Why wasn’t I angrier sooner? Why didn’t I say how much this hurt me? Why didn’t I speak up for myself before? How could I have discounted my right to be angry at an injustice? Why did it take me so long to say “I didn’t do anything to deserve that”? The tornado swirled and twisted – through time and space, pulling in other like experiences, building steam and roaring through my world. Finally the storm pulled up all the trees in its path – exposing all the roots of life and the shrubs of experience in its path. With all up in the air – the storm of value and worth was out in the open – finally. It was open for healing! In all the turmoil of the past few weeks, there has also been a sense that this was a gift to be opened – an opportunity to turn a corner of life. If I was brave enough to flail in the storm, then I would come out of the weather and see life in a different perspective. My point is this: many times long buried feelings come out of hiding for the purpose of healing. If we are brave enough to endure the discomfort and pain there are great benefits. In the healing process we can remove the crusty armor of hurt that we’ve carried around. In the days and weeks that
follow, we will find new insights into who we are, or what we want and value. We have changed because we healed. The tornado was worth the whirl.
I CAN'T LOVE MYSELF
I attended a barbeque in my home town a few weeks ago and was surprised when a familiar face stopped me an asked if I was Sue. As I responded yes, she yelled across the room, “It’s her!” It turns out that she was part of a group training that I did in the area several years ago. She and I hit it off and at that time and I was glad to see her again. This young woman has had her share of family tragedies in the last few years and we spent some time catching up on her life. As she recounted the events and how they had impacted her, she told of the emotional roller coaster she had experienced and talked about the triggers that still haunted her as anniversaries approached. She mentioned that she has purchased I.M. Heart and had read it until she got to the chapter on “loving yourself.” She said, “I quit reading, I just can’t do that!” I gave her a big hug, held her close and told her if she needed to talk to give me a call. She couldn’t accept anything else. She is not unlike many other people who also can’t love themselves. Many just don’t see anything to love – even though there is much to love in each of us. The following are suggestions from Louise L. Hay for loving ourselves: STOP ALL CRITICISM — Criticism never changes a thing. Refuse to criticize yourself. Accept yourself exactly as you are. Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive. DON’T SCARE YOURSELF —- Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. It’s a dreadful way to live. Find a mental image that gives you pleasure (mine is yellow roses), and immediately switch your scary thought to a pleasure thought. BE GENTLE AND KIND AND PATIENT — Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself as you learn the new ways of thinking. Treat yourself as you would someone you really loved. BE KIND TO YOUR MIND — Self hatred is only hating your own thoughts. Don’t hate yourself for having the thoughts. Gently change your thoughts. PRAISE YOURSELF — Criticism breaks down the inner spirit. Praise builds it up. Praise yourself as much as you can. Tell yourself how well you are doing with every little thing. SUPPORT YOURSELF — Find ways to support yourself. Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. It is being strong to ask for help when you need it. BE LOVING TO YOUR NEGATIVES — Acknowledge that you created them to fulfill a need. Now you are finding new, positive ways to fulfill those needs. So, lovingly release the old negative patterns. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY — Learn about nutrition. What kind of fuel does your body need to have optimum energy and vitality? Learn about exercise. What kind of exercise can you enjoy? Cherish and revere the temple you live in. MIRROR WORK — Look into your eyes often. Express this growing sense of love you have for yourself. Forgive yourself looking into the mirror. Talk to your parents looking into the mirror. Forgive them too. At last once a day say: “I love you. I really love you!” DO IT NOW — Don’t wait until you get well, or lose weight, or get the new job, or the new relationship. Begin now — do the best you can.
AN 85TH BIRTHDAY
I had the opportunity today to celebrate the 85th birthday of one of my dear friends. Even though this person is 85 in years, she is not 85 in attitudes and behaviors, even when pains and health conditions limit activities. The day started off with an early morning phone call to sing “happy birthday” and make plans for the day. The day started out at the doctor, where we took care of business, but had fun teasing and laughing with this special physician. From there we went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. After a great lunch of taco salad, the servers came with a huge elaborate green hat, a dessert and sang “happy birthday” in Spanish. It was a special conclusion to a great lunch. Our final stop was at a favorite shopping spot to exchange some items purchased earlier. We always have fun together, and today was no exception. Wherever we stop, there is commonly lot on nonsense, finding a joke or something to giggle about and an abundance of conversation. We can talk about anything and often share stories of past experiences, check out the men, and comment on everything around us. I hope when I am 85 that I still have a friend who will check out the men with me. The name of game is “how much mischief can we get into?” It’s harmless mischief, just ornery fun – hurting nobody and bringing great joy to us. I’ve written about connections before. This is a special connection – the true kind, like true love. If I were going to adopt a mother, this would be the person I would choose. If she were to adopt a daughter, I would undoubtedly be the choice. In fact she often refers to me as her daughter. In our lives people come and go, some staying only a while others are long-term boarders. Along the way, we meet people who are just acquaintances. We are blessed to meet one or two who are special enough to capture our hearts. It is these people who know our true nature, our pains and fears, and love us anyway. With these people, we feel safe to be ourselves, knowing that whether it is a good day or a stressful one, we will be accepted and supported. Truly loving and having that love returned is the great gift. It is a gift that many want; some are not able to give conditionally, let alone unconditionally;
and many are not able to accept and receive. If you are searching for these kinds of friends, keep an open heartÂ forÂ the possibilities.Â If you have loving people in your life — enjoy and make time for them. Â My wish for you is that you have this kind of friendÂ or friends in your life — they are a treasure!Â Â Â Â Â Â
I LOVE YOU!
“I love you” — three magic words – that everyone needs and wants to hear. Some people say them with ease and some people have a very hard time saying those words. There are some who never say them and some who say them all the time. The questions are: Do you say them? Who do you say them to? Are they expressed because you “should” say them or because you really mean them? With whom do you really mean them? Who do you want to say them to – that maybe you don’t? Who do you wish would say them to you? Can you be spontaneous and express that love in the moment when you feel it – or do you stop yourself? I’ve been watching myself and others and pondering why we don’t say these three magic words more often, to more people and with more ease. A phone conversation tonight pushed my contemplation over the edge and I just had to write about this. The lady on the phone was someone I’ve known only a few years; we’ve worked together, but haven’t spent much time with each other. I really like her and the feeling is mutual. We seemed to connect, enjoy conversation on a superficial level, and have common threads of interest. I have not seen her in many months. When the conversation ended, very easily and comfortably she said,” I love you!” I responded in kind because that is what I honestly feel for her. It is simple – I love her and she loves me! I.M. Heart – I believe that in our hearts we have infinite capacity to love. This simple feeling is how we connect to each other – it is the most profound of feelings, yet the most innocent, and uncomplicated. It is a feeling of deep affection, appreciation, happiness, sharing, companionship, trust, bonding and often a sanctuary like no other in the world. Why can’t we accept it for its simplicity and joy? Why can’t we share it when we feel it and not censure both the giving and receiving? Can you even imagine the difference in this world if all of us felt more loved – honestly, openly, with no cultural taboos about whom we can love and how we should express it? Loving is not for only certain people who we “should” love – parents, siblings, spouse, children, friends, etc. I have friends – long-time friends – who are very special to me, but I have not said I love you. Recently I called to tell someone happy birthday and had to leave a message. As I was ending the conversation, the urge to say,” I love you,” was real. I choked and said it – I had never told her before. I know a friend who has a former spouse and she is just now able to tell him she loves him. Just because two people can’t live together doesn’t mean there are not feelings for each other. Why not express it when it could mean so much? A few of the reasons are: I don’t make emotional decisions, they’re disastrous – live by logic; I might make a fool of myself; the love won’t be returned; I’ll get hurt; etc, etc. In the bigger picture, none of these matter. The bottom line is: when you express love for someone else, you are coming in touch with the love in your own heart – and you feel what loving feels like. This is the same love that is available to us from spirit – always. This is the universal love that is the center of our beings – and loving each other connects us through that love. The joy is unbelievable and the pain can seem unbearable. The fear of hurt is what stops us. I’ve lived in both and so have you. In this lifetime, my experience has been that when I open up to loving someone else, my heart opens wider and as a result of that expanded energy, I change – whether or not love is accepted by another. It can be a positive experience for me to grow in love, and to love again. The intuition to say I LOVE YOU is stronger and stronger for me – perhaps because I am growing in love for myself. I’m tired of stopping myself from expressing it – for myself and others. It seems to me that it is a real growth step to be able to honestly say to someone – I LOVE YOU! So – to all those people I hold dear in my heart – beware – you may hear – I LOVE YOU! I love you for who you are, what you do, all your quirks and nuances, for the heart and soul of you, and it feels good to love you! Â
GOD SAID "NO"
I found this on the web, and am not sure who the author is – but I thank that person for the message. However you define your God or the connection to spirit, this poem clearly describes our responsibility for healing our fears, bumps or bruises and challenges. We may feel angry for the trials and tribulation that occur in our lives, and all of us have them. It is often hard to understand why some things happen to good people or why certain patterns keep repeating themselves in our lives. Whether or not you agree with the thoughts of this poem, I.M. Heart asks you to live your life connecting to your feelings to heal the fear and to grow in love for yourself and others. GOD SAID “NO” Â I asked god to take away my grief, And God said, “NO”. He said it was not for Him to take away, But for me to work through.
Â I asked God to make by broken heart whole, And God said “NO”. He said my spirit is whole. My pain is only temporary. Â I asked God to take away my pride, And God said “NO”. He said it was not for Him to take away, But for me to give up. Â I asked God to make My handicapped child whole, And God said “NO” He said the body is only temporary. Â I asked God to grant me patience. And God said “NO”. He said patience is a by-product of tribulation. It isn’t granted, it’s earned. Â I asked God to give me happiness And God said, “NO”. He said He gives His blessings, Happiness is up to me. Â I asked God to spare me from pain And God said, “NO”. He said sufferings draw you apart from Worldly cares and bring you closer to Him. I asked God go make my spirit grow And God said “NO”. Â He said I must grow on my own But He will prune me to make me fruitful. I asked God if he loved me And God said “YES” He gave his only Son who died for me, And I will be in heaven someday because I believe. Â I asked God to help me love others As much as He loves me And God said, “Ah, you finally have the idea!” Â Â
THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
Remember the Serenity Prayer: Â God grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change
the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference. Â The key to that poem is: “The wisdom to know the difference.” I know we all know this —– but, how many minutes, hours, days, months, or years do we: seek to change something we cannot change, grieve over something missing in our lives, long for something or somebody not present with us now, regret past decisions or actions that are long gone, feel sorry for ourselves, worry about what might happen tomorrow or some distant time in the future, etc., etc. The list could go on and on. In all our lives, there have been situations or people that we cannot change. Recently I listened to a woman who desperately wanted another individual to love her – and that love was not being returned. Most of us have experienced the heartbreak of a relationship that turned sour. It is hard to accept and at the time it seems as if we don’t have the courage to allow ourselves to feel and heal. However, the courage to permit healing is one thing that we can change. Instead of walking around with the hurt, grudge, blame and fear coloring every part of out life – we can choose to heal it. The wisdom is knowing that we can’t change the other person, but we can change ourselves. As hard as it may seem, the blessing is that we can choose to take an opportunity to grow, in love for ourselves and for other individuals who will return that love. Many of us work in environments or with individuals that make our workday less than ideal. Some people are incompetent, others are not good communicators, big egos abound and the politics of any workplace is a maze that must be navigated. Each is different, yet most have the same basic bureaucratic components. What can we change? What do we have to accept? How can we seek to understand the individuals and the politics involved to work within the system and benefit the mission, despite the dysfunction? It is possible that the blessing comes from our opportunity to learn new people skills and professional abilities — using the system for our advantage. This little prayer can be applied every minute of each day of our lives. Serenity comes from accepting what is, and not stewing about changing people and situations we can’t change. That just makes us crazy!! What we can do is be a positive influence in whatever relationship or environment we find ourselves, having the courage to change what we can. The rest is out of our control. In wisdom, we turn it loose — take a walk, find a hobby, have a friend who loves us enough to allow us to occasionally dump, or find joy in other interests – keeping our world in perspective. Today may you have serenity!! Â Â Â Â Â Â
A MATTER OF CONTROL
To me, watching others – especially people we love – is a fascinating experience. I had such an experience last week. A relative of mine had surgery on Wednesday. Surgery is surgery, but this was a non-invasive procedure requiring an overnight hospital stay and a 4- day recovery period. The person having this surgery put it off for months, enduring tremendous pain despite the option to ease the situation. In the days before the surgery, we had several conversations about her being a victim of this surgery, having no choices, and other fear based notions. Fear is a powerful emotion and one that likes to control all situations. For this person, fear has lots of energy and translates to control and manipulation of as many people and circumstances as possible. She doesn’t realize this and has lived in this fashion for many years, so much that she doesn’t understand the connection. It is a daunting task to shift this paranoid, anxious, distrustful thinking to confidence, peace and trust. I did not always succeed, but gave it my best effort. On the morning of the surgery, she was very anxious and expressed concern that this situation was out of her control. The surgeon and the staff had control of the situation, but she didn’t. We discussed the role she played in being positive and trusting an excellent surgeon, as well as believing that she was going to be just fine. The matter of faith was a topic of discussion and still she was consumed with fear. There seemed nothing to do but hold her hand and be there. It was interesting that many people had offered to pray for her and although she appreciated this, did not seem to feel the power of that prayer. Fear would not allow her to be the benefactor of these blessings from prayer. The love pouring from those prayers was lost in the presence of fear. At dinner the first night she was home, she was moving around the kitchen, even though the meal was prepared and she was to be resting. Two people, perfectly capable of putting the meal on the table, were being instructed in how to do everything. Again, control of the situation was the agenda. She is normally in control of that kitchen and to turn loose and allow herself to be pampered and cared for was very difficult. Finally she sat down and relaxed enough to just be there – and allow others to finish the tasks. Fear wants us to be anxious, distrustful, push for control and paranoid. That is how fear controls us. When we have those feelings we cannot let go and just be. We are always pushing and maneuvering to get our way, or to push others to do what we want them to do. Fear tells us to that we have to work hard, push, shove and be tough – life is scary and hard. What is the opposite? To let go, keep moving with the flow and ride the waves. That means we take action steps, we work, and we watch as situations unfold – knowing that they may evolve differently than we imagined. It also means to have faith, believe and trust that the situation will
resolve itself in our best interest and highest good. That may not be the result we thought we wanted, but if we will only believe in the blessings and the love of spirit, these will carry us through many a challenge and we may find that we are loved and blessed beyond compare! This allows us to relax, enjoy and live more in each moment – for whatever that moment brings! Â
IS THIS ALL THERE IS?
As a child of about 10, I remember listening to the noisy mocking bird in the middle of the night as I lay in my bed on the second floor of my parent’s house on the farm. All was still except for that bird, the crickets and other night sounds of a warm summer night. It was a night to ponder and I remember thinking about all the parts of my life – my family, my friends, life on the farm, my school, my church, the community, and the 4-H Club. It felt like there should somehow be more in this thing called living. I wondered, “Is this all there is?” It was as if I knew there was another dimension and yet I didn’t know what it was.Apparently the Sunday school classes taught at the local Lutheran church gave me the institutionalized view of religion but not an understanding of the love of God. I don’t believe that I once thought of God as the source of the other dimension. I did not feel the true connection. In fact, it took me many years to really feel the connection. I waltzed through many years of my life believing in a God – out there somewhere – instead of right here with me. The connection sort of crept up on me – as the river of life flowed I was nudged by people and experiences to expand my concept of God. Through the joys as well as trials of life, I found myself turning to this illusive concept, attracted yet not fully understanding the draw and connection. I have always talked to God and remember doing this most frequently in times of trouble. Gradually I turned to this spiritual guide on a daily, hourly, if not a minute to minute basis. It is now as if the connection to God is me – I am one with that energy and can draw upon it continuously – it is always readily available. Now I see spirit as my wise friend, companion, protector, advisor, conscience, and loving voice in my heart and head. When I listen to that voice I am protected. It is a subtle voice, call it intuition if you want, but it is with me every moment of the day. I appreciate this constant companion in times of stress and challenge – it helps me through the trials. I lean on this support when the flow of a situation is not moving as I think it should – it reminds me to let go of control and flow with the moment. I am thankful for the blessings and the many gifts of love that have come into my life — and for the ultimate source of that love – the spirit of God. To answer the question of a 10-year old child — yes, there is more – much more. Open your heart – that is the connection to spirit – and invite spirit to be a part of your life. Blessings from I.M. Heart. Â Â Â Â Â Â
ALL IS WELL WITH MISS MOLLY
Miss Molly moved into her new house a week ago last Friday. It has been a very busy, eventful and fun experience for her. There have been lots of new places to investigate and of course she had been my number one helper. With the opening of every new door, she has had a whole new world to explore – and several times has been closed in a closet or in a cabinet. Of course her scratching has alerted me to her incarceration. She has come out with an undisturbed air and looked for the next adventure. With the opening of each new box, she inspected the contents, crawled in when she could, and hopped up on the cabinet or in the closet to check on the placement. There has been little that has gone uninspected. High and low, she has examined her new home – from the top of the refrigerator to the bottom shelf on the closet. I gave here the name “Miss Nosey Britches”. They say curiosity got the cat. This cat had certainly been curious. She’s been fun to watch and we’ve had a good time together settling into our new home. She has adjusted very well. All her furniture, toys, food and bedding was here – so the move seems to be no big deal since all her stuff is here. Her big fluffy bed and quilted blanket is placed by a window that gets afternoon sun and she can often be seen curled up in her bed watching the back yard. I want to put a bird feeder back there so that we attract birds for both of us to watch. She has even found a new “safe cat” hiding place — a crawl space under the desk just big enough for her to snuggle into. These kinds of havens are essential for a good cat nap. This house has a bonus for a cat that likes to drink dripping water from a bathroom faucet. There are three to choose from and she can get a drink in different places– variety is the spice of life. I know that all is well because she falls over and rolls around to be petted many times a day. She has established her run around the house route – up on the chair, down the hall across the bed, under and out and here she goes again. Her hiding toys routine has carried over and she has several of them shoved under the rug. It is amazing to watch her adjustment to change. All is well! Maybe there’s a lesson from Molly for all of us. When there’s change – look for the
fundamentals that remain the same – the sunshine, your toys, the running faucet and your bed. All is well! Â Â
TRUSTING THE FLOW
This experience with moving has been a test in trusting the flow of a situation. By flow, I mean that situations unfold in certain ways and sometimes what you expect to happen does not work in the way anticipated. You can make plans, schedules and set goals for completing a task, but how events actually unfold may be very different than expected. Did you ever have a day when all the things you planned didn’t work out as you thought they would? Tomorrow or the next day, everything fell into place. Did you ever plan the order of your work only to discover that you have to change that plan? When things don’t work as you think they should it feels like you are trying to paddle upstream against the current and no matter how hard you try – it doesn’t get any easier. That is the time to drift downstream with the current, and paddle the other direction when it is easier.Â As many of you know, when you move there are a many changes. Packing up your stuff is just one of the challenges. One has to plan which things to pack first, when to move them or to save them for the movers. Since I was moving only 30 miles, I could pack the car with each trip and partially put things away. However, I had to think about what to take each trip and make the best of my space. Each day brought new challenges and I tried to remember all the pieces of the puzzle and figure out how the pieces fit together. It was amazing to watch the days when I was totally overwhelmed and could not accomplish all I wanted. My choice was to stop, not panic and then to do what I could do in that moment. When that task was done, I could then move on to another. The sense of panic at the immensity of the moving project was diminished just by taking action in the moment to do something. In the flow there are bursts of energy, when you are accomplishing what you want and moving on out. Everything works and you see great progress. Then there are times when you can’t pack one more box, move one more thing, or sort and pitch any more junk. I’ve been running on warp speed for several weeks now and friends and family have told me to slow down and relax. However, if I was going to accomplish this task of relocation, I had to keep moving — that was the flow. The issue with this pace was to take care of myself, to eat and rest. When exhaustion set in, that was also part of the flow, and it was time to rest. In all this I only had one meltdown. The day before the movers came, I moved the computer system. This is my lifeline, my link to all of you, to work and to information. I’m not mechanical or technical – so being very tired and having a concern about getting the all the cords and gadgets back together was cause for a meltdown. Luckily, my friend saved the day by finding someone who expertly put everything back together again – in minutes. Trust in the flow – it is there to support you – just as spirit supports you. The flow is spirit in action.
JUST THE WAY I HAD IT
We humans are funny! Sometimes we can’t see “the forest for the trees” We become so accustomed to seeing a place or situation through our window of “how something works or how it is” that we can’t see a new possibility. The big move is this week and I’ve been planning my new office. My only problem was that I couldn’t see a workable way of fitting the furniture in the room. Between the locations of doors and windows, I couldn’t find enough wall space to arrange some storage shelves, a desk, and still have room for the computer work area. I have measured both the room and the furniture numerous times and put different pieces in alternative locations – and still didn’t find a workable solution. On several different days, I’ve stood in the middle of this room with my tape measure and mentally re-located the various pieces of furniture. I even had another friend measure with me to make sure I had figured the space correctly. Just yesterday, I told myself that I needed to forget the arrangement I was accustomed to and be creative. However, I couldn’t get out of the “forest” to see the trees. I had put a short table – in a fixed position in the room. By this I mean that this was the perfect place for this table and everything else would work around this piece. It just happened that I mentioned my dilemma to another friend today and he immediately – note immediately – said to place the desk where I had the table in its fixed position. His comment was that I was trying to arrange it like it was in the other house – instead of how it would work in this house. He was absolutely correct – and his suggestion was the perfect solution. I couldn’t see it. Amazing!! This is an excellent example of our inability to see “out of the box”. In new situations, we apply old principles of operation and expect they will work in the same way – and they don’t. We can’t see a way to make a change in how we do things. This inflexibility applies to many aspects of our lives. Our habits and routines become fixed and we don’t realize that a change might make life easier or more convenient. We live and work within certain patterns because that is the way it is done. Moving forces one to change patterns – maybe that is a valuable advantage. I laughed at myself when he made the suggestion and as I write this I’m still laughing at myself. It is absurd how much time I spent pondering this furniture arrangement -to have missed such an obvious solution. It is also interesting that a different person immediately saw a different perspective. Sometimes we need to listen to those standing outside the forest – for they can see the trees.
CHANGE FEELS STRANGE
Change can feel strange – even when it’s a change you want and welcome! On July 1st I closed on a new home. It is in a city where I want to live, in a nice neighborhood, and close to my job and friends. The house is a perfect size for me. It has a yard that is not so big, but gives me plenty of dirt to dig in and plant. And yet, after the closing as I went back to the house I was numb, excited, grateful and scared. It was the weirdest combination of feelings I’ve felt for some time. I had wanted this change for many years. I should have been jumping up and down with pure joy – right? Change is a strange trip. It is letting go of the familiar and walking into the unknown. It’s like watching the sand shift as the ocean comes rolling in – the sand shifts with the water and then shifts again as the water recedes. With each wave the sand changes a little. It is not quite the same as it was before the wave came in – and will be different again when the next wave arrives. Change, like the sand, shifts as we turn loose of the old and
welcome the new — little differences over time that build and grow. Even when you want the change, it is a subtle and continuous shift from what is “everyday comfortable” to “new territory”. I think it is the “new” that gets us simply because it is different. On the day of the closing, having the house didn’t feel real – but as I’ve spent time there and as we’ve made changes to make it mine, the feeling of ownership is shifting. I am more comfortable there — at home – and less comfortable in this house. Even the painting was a shift to something comfortable. I’ve picked paint before. In fact, I’ve built 3 new houses and picked out interior color schemes. However, I’ve agonized over the paint for the walls of this house. The living room has different swatches of color smeared on the wall – all of which are unlivable. Finally, yesterday, I think we found the color that will compliment and be comforting. As the color scheme becomes something that reflects me, I am more at home there. As I take the steps to make this house my own – it is much more comfortable. There will be more shifts to make as I get settled in and enjoy this environment. In change, a key is making a decision that you are going to do this, that this is something you want or is in your best interest. Then in spite of the fears – you keep taking the steps to move forward – steady and constant – flowing and patient – committed — watching the sand shift as change unfolds. Sometimes we have expectations that change will be fast and immediate – like I should have felt instantly comfortable in the house. I think that is often unrealistic. It is then that we become fearful and anxious. Instead, when we are trusting of the process of change we can be kind and loving with ourselves – and allow the time for adjustment. Take care of yourself in the change process!
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.