Saturday, January 31, 2015

Shedding Fear

Do you let your light shine?
Sometimes fear gets the better of us. We may not realize it has taken hold and is holding us back. Sometimes we do.
How often have you said, "I can't do that because I'm afraid of...." Maybe it's a fear of heights. Maybe it's a fear of confined space. Maybe it's a fear of saying the wrong thing - doing the wrong thing - being criticized or ostracized. Sometimes we just can't take the next step because of a fear that we cannot name. The minute we say "I'm afraid of" or "I can't do that because", we empower our fear. Fear is debilitating.
We will sometimes say it as though everyone should understand and accept that we limit ourselves in this fear. We all have some level of fear. Some level of fear may be necessary for survival.  But it is not good when we hang onto, grow and accept fears that limit our ability to function at full capacity in life. Some level of fearlessness is important for survival and even more important for self actualization.
Shedding needless fear is just about the most important thing we can learn to do. So, how do we determine if our fear is needless?  Look around you. Find people who don't have that fear and find out why they don't. Some of them may have had the same fear you do now. They can tell you how they got over it. And they are likely to tell you it wasn't easy but it was worth it. Ask them what made it worth it.
You can do it too.
Fear diminishes our life. It robs us of experiences we could have. It robs us of accomplishment. And if may even shorten our life by years. It is a source of stress and stress kills. Don't let fear grow!
Try this. When you actually do something that you once feared so much that you wouldn't do it, say this "Once I was too afraid to do this. I am thankful I am no longer too afraid to do it." Then change that to "I am thankful I can do this!"
Let your light shine!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

To be the best me I can be.....

We live in a most amazing time. Sitting in front of our computer screen we can access more information than can be contained in the largest library. We can read history, current news, philosophy, religious beliefs and just about anything that can be imagined. If ever there was an age of enlightenment, it is right in front of us. The opportunity to learn from any of the great masters of any subject is right here - right now.
But opportunity is often overlooked. We learn by stepping outside of our comfort zone. When we hear new ideas and new concepts for the first time, it's hard to understand and make sense of them. We try to fit them into existing categories and if they seem to oppose what we already believe to be true, we have a real problem. Dismiss them or re-consider what we believed was true.
If you are a person with natural curiosity and a desire to learn, it's not quite as difficult. But it is challenging to re-assess your belief system. You have to let go of your ego, open your heart and listen to the universal spirit that is all around you. You have to develop the explorer mindset - the desire to go beyond whatever you have been taught to believe. You have to believe that there is more to know. You have to believe there are places of the spirit that are not yet explained or understood - at least not yet by you.
This is where I find myself. Religion often offends me because it presents itself as having the end all - be all - answers. It's full of doctrine that people repeat like robots with little understanding or concern about the actual meaning behind it. It becomes something to hang onto like a rope in the middle of a river. Don't let go of the rope or you might float somewhere terrible. So, everyone is just hanging onto this rope believing it is saving them from some terrible demise. I'm willing to let go of the rope and discover what's down river. And I'm seeing some great scenery.
We get so caught up in lifelines - hanging onto terms and ways of expressing things - and we cannot see beyond our fears. We can't learn anything if we are certain we already know it all. There are great commonalities across all beliefs and even the belief in no great deity at all. There is something that binds us all. Yes, some have been so damaged that they can no longer see the bond but it is still there nonetheless.
We need to stop poking one another in the eye insisting that there is just this one language - one path - one understanding - one way. I know atheists and agnostics who are more generous and more dedicated to humanity than some religious folk I know. It's not convincing to me to say that  a belief or a prayer will guarantee a greater reward in some afterlife. I cannot believe you can be bitter, judgmental, self centered and self righteous but you pray to God and Jesus - go to church - and you're selected above all others.
I do believe that our spirit, our energy, lives on somehow. But I also recognize that I believe that because I was carefully taught to believe it. It's a theory. It's a guess. My curious explorer self seeks evidence. That "evidence" is not something I can experience with my normal senses. I have to seek with my spirit - my intuition - my ability to "believe" or to suspend disbelief. All things are possible.
What is probable?
What can I live with?
What belief will motivate me to be more, do more today? That is what counts for me. What will inspire me TODAY to be a better person for myself and for those around me? My mission is to be a creator - to make something more each day for myself and those around me. TODAY. I don't need anyone and any thing to dictate that to me. I may be inspired by a message at church. I may be inspired by a story on the news. I may be inspired by an immersive experience observing nature. My spirit seeks inspiration. My spirit seeks collaboration. My spirit seeks truth and understanding. But I trained my spirit to seek these things. TODAY. Tomorrow and the afterlife will come. I don't need a ticket. I don't need a rope. I don't need to poke anyone else in the eye. Though sometimes I want to. I need to be the best me I can be. I need to encourage and inspire others to do the same.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Be careful of the "No Souls"

Sometimes something gets my attention and troubles me. It is like a puzzle that's confounding and I feel a need to solve it, yet know it's not solvable. Mostly it's about trying to understand why a person behaves a certain way. They mystify me. Can there be any logic to how they think?
Some days there seem to be so many instances of lack of reason or logic that it's overwhelming.
How can members of our community perpetrate fraud after fraud for decades and escape accountability?
Why do young people feel a need to bully?
How does anyone loose empathy for another human to the point that they can torture, bomb, be-head, shoot another human being?
How can anyone be anti-abortion AND against birth control?
How can anyone applaud an effort to "repeal and replace" something and NOT know what the replacement is supposed to be?
How can we believe there is no budget to solve problems and watch the waste of thousands, millions, and billions on senseless projects?
As a young teen I remember feeling like I was from a different planet. This world seemed like a very foreign place. It's still a great mystery to me. I may be returning to the conclusion I made then. It seemed to me there were actually only a limited number of people who actually had souls. The rest are born without one. It's not easy sometimes to tell who doesn't have one. So we have to be really careful. The "no-souls" are very tricky. And it's not a good idea to let them know you have one because they will try to steal it. But we need to connect with the people who actually have souls so we have to let ours show. It's like running a gauntlet with "no souls" trying to grab yours as you run toward those who might have a soul too.
Watch for the ones quietly and diligently doing the real work. They are the ones with real souls. They make sense and they create something real and lasting. Meanwhile, the "no souls" are screaming and beating their chests while leaving a path of destruction.

Friday, January 2, 2015

If I had one wish...

If I had one wish, just one, I would wish for every child to have someone special that they know loves them unconditionally. Unconditional love has a profound effect on any life but in those formative years - those years of finding your way in the world - unconditional love gives you hope and security that can carry you through many decades.
When someone loves you unconditionally, you don't want to disappoint them. You know they see your shortcomings. They know about your mistakes. But they keep on loving you. The glow in their eyes never wavers when they see you. You know their love is so deep that nothing will ever take it away. They inspire you to keep trying to be more.
Every child needs to experience that kind of love. My grandparents gave me that. They were close enough to see all my mistakes. I know they worried about my choices. But always in their eyes I saw that deep love that I knew would never go away. They had to be disappointed with me at times but if they expressed it, I don't remember it. I just remember the overwhelming sense of endless love. And though they are long gone, I feel it still.
My grandparents were fun, funny, playful spirits in my young life. And when I have the opportunity to spend time with little people, I remember the spirit they shared with me - the love they showed me. I let out the fun, funny, playful spirit.
Maybe we don't have to wait for those kind of moments. Maybe - no matter what age we are - we can connect with a more fun, funny, playful spirit. Inside, we all have a child that needs loved unconditionally. If I had one wish, just one, perhaps it should be for all of us to be that special someone who knows how to love unconditionally. As we find our way in the world, it would provide hope and security.