Tag: acceptance

The Spiritual Truth No One wants to Accept

Sometimes I read an article and I agree with everything in it, like this one here by Will Aylward. I’ve had the same responses and thoughts as Will, so I’ll just share it with you.

“No matter how much I protest, I am 100% responsible for what happens to me in my life.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

Agree or disagree with this statement?

Personally, I agree. Without a shadow of a doubt, we are all 100% responsible for what happens to us in our lives.

There is a chance you’re thinking, “This is absurd, Will, how can we be 100% responsible for what happens to us in our lives? That means being responsible for everything, even all the terrible stuff that happens to us. What about trauma victims? What about the people in the world who lose their homes to natural disasters? What of those suffering from cancer?”

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Now, if this sounds something like your trail of thought, bear with me. I hear you, I really do.

Allow me to share with you my truth. Stepping into this new perspective just might change your world. Part of you may feel daunted, but part of you, I can almost guarantee, will feel liberated.

I first heard this statement about responsibility in 2016, during one of Dr. Dyer’s guided meditations on YouTube. I had really gotten into this particular guided meditation. It was an Ahhh meditation, requiring me to—you guessed it—Ahhh along with Dr. Dyer, and project this ancient sound out into the world.

There I sat each morning, alone on the cool and smooth tiles of my living room floor, Ahhh-ing away.

”Wow, I’m so spiritual, right now,” I would think to myself, just before thinking, ”That’s not a very spiritual way of thinking, is it?”

Anyway, after about 10 minutes, Dr. Dyer would introduce the second part of the guided meditation. In his distinct and deep voice, he would say, ”We will now consider the affirmations of the day.”

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On the whole, these affirmations resonated with me:

I know in each moment I am free to decide, and my past is nothing more than the trail I have left behind.

What drives my life today is the energy I generate in each of my present moments.

Naturally, my mind would commentate:

”Nice, so true, we are free to decide—and wow, you’re on fire, Wayne, the past is nothing more than the trail I’ve left behind.”

All of my mind’s commentary sounded like this, positive and in agreement. Well, almost all.

One affirmation just never sat right with me, and you may have guessed which affirmation this was:

No matter how much I protest, I am totally responsible for what happens to me in my life.

”BULLSH*T!,” my mind would scream in ironic protest.

”The other affirmations, faultless Wayne, good job. I’m with you, mate. But this one…I’m not buying.”

My attention now torn away from the guided meditation, I would sit, embarrassed, as if a potty-mouthed friend had just barged in on my ultra-spiritual moment.

”Man, I was doing so well up until that point,” I sulked.

Try as I might, every time I heard this affirmation my reaction was the same. I just couldn’t appreciate it—as far as I was concerned, it was wrong. It was as wrong as if Dr. Dyer had been pointing at a white wall and telling me it was black.

Then, one day, the penny dropped.

I was listening to a podcast, and Tony Robbins, speaking about responsibility, said this simple sentence:

“Responsibility literally means ‘the ability to respond.’”

The cogs in my mind began to turn…

Hang on a minute, so what Dr. Dyer is really saying is this: No matter how much I protest, I am totally able to respond to what happens to me in my life.

Boom. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I got it, finally.

This felt so different from my original train of thought.

The problem with the word responsibility is it has become synonymous with the word blame.

“Who is responsible?” has evolved to mean “Who is to blame?” or “Whose fault is this?”

It was fascinating for me to observe the difference, emotionally, between viewing responsibility in these two lights.

When I viewed responsibility as being about blame, a strange cocktail of emotions came up: shame, shock, helplessness. I felt like a victim. However, now that I view responsibility as our ability to respond, well, I feel empowered, able, liberated. I feel like a victor, an owner of my fate.

Because isn’t it true, no matter what life throws at us, that we are able to respond on some level?

We are able to respond by choosing what meaning we give to events—is this a problem or an opportunity? We are able to respond by deciding what actions we will take in response—will I take on the role of a victim and do nothing, or will I take action and exercise my ability to respond?

You see, we totally have a choice. Not in what happens to us, but in how we use our ability to respond to what happens. In other words, we choose how responsible we want to be.

There are countless stories of humans in the most horrific of situations (Viktor Frankl, for example) who never forget their ability, or I would say power, to respond. No matter what life takes away from us, it will never take away our ability to respond.

Since the penny dropped for me in understanding responsibility, life has been different. Now, when I’m faced with a challenge or an undesired situation, the first step I take is to remind myself that I am responsible for this.

I am responsible because this is the reality that has been served to me. Whether I asked for it or not, whether it was my fault or not, even whether I like it or not, this is my experience in this moment, and I feel powerful when I recognize my power to respond.

This Eckhart Tolle quote serves as a great reminder, as well:”Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”

Whatever happens to us between now and the rest of our lives, we are responsible.

Let’s never forget the huge power we hold in our ability to respond.

 

See Will’s original article here: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/09/the-spiritual-truth-no-one-wants-to-accept/

 

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The One Thing That Will Change Your Life

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How do we change? Some of you have heard me talk about this before, but it’s so powerful, it’s good to hear it again.

Most of the time we learn through pain. I am no different.

There it was again, this sense of feeling trapped and helpless in my situation. Someone who means a lot to me had done something that rocked my world…..not in a good way.

This triggered old thoughts and behaviors, like “no one really loves me and I am a bad person”. I went into a downward spiral, feeling overwhelmingly alone and betrayed.

Before I knew it, I was in a dark pit, taking me to a scary place…… making me feel like this was the theme of my life.

Yet, some small part of me recognized that I had felt out of control like this too many times in my life!

There had to be a better way!

This led me on a journey where I discovered that there is an easier way to change old patterns than practicing psychotherapy. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it is invaluable to explore the origins of our thoughts and behaviors.

But it takes a long time…..and doesn’t always work.

I know……. I had spent my life exploring and analyzing and, still here I was, falling right back into my old patterns. It happened in a flash, like someone else was pulling all the strings.

You may recognize this. It’s not just something that only takes hold of me. I’ve seen this with clients, in classes and retreats.

A trigger sets off an avalanche of emotions and behaviors. We are feeling trapped in ourselves.

We don’t always recognize the fork in the road. I didn’t at the time.

Sometimes it’s an article, a workshop, a retreat or a person who has something powerful to share, but you aren’t quite ready to hear it all. That’s how it started for me, years ago.

However, a seed was planted. When the soil was ready, specifically, when I was open enough, when I had had enough pain, this seed began to sprout. From there it was almost magical. Information, people and situations showed up that guided me along and showed me the way to change my life.

Here is what I discovered: Being willing to stop, breathe and observe, changed my life.

It may sound simple, but it isn’t necessarily easy. It requires practice.

It’s a skill we have to develop, a muscle we have to grow.

We think we are our thoughts, we believe we are our feelings. Yet they are only a part of us, not the entirety. We are so much more!

  • You are not your thoughts

We think, all day long, as long as we are awake. That is what our minds do…..one thought after another. Random thoughts, habitual thoughts, deep thoughts, shallow thoughts. Our mind analyzes, plans, remembers, likes, judges, compares, blames…… thoughts perpetually rising and falling.

We identify with those thoughts. If something happens, our mind jumps to certain thoughts and runs with those, like I’m no good, for example. You know that you can create a whole painful scenario from that one thought.

Yet, when you stop and watch your thoughts, you become aware that they are impermanent.

When we are willing to stop, breathe and recognize that we are thinking, when we step back and watch ourselves thinking, we can take back our power!

It requires a willingness to observe without judgment, like a scientist.

It is similar to lying in the grass watching the clouds or sitting by a river, just observing what flows downstream.

You recognize this is not you!! These thoughts are not a fact. You are so much more than these thoughts. They cannot take your equilibrium, your peace, your happiness.

Because, you see, just by being willing to observe your thoughts, you acknowledge their existence. Whenever we are willing to acknowledge something, it loses its urgency.

  • You are not your emotions

Emotions arise from our thoughts.

We may not recognize when a certain feeling originated, what thought began the wild ride downhill. But if we are willing to step back and observe ourselves feeling a disturbing emotion, we create the space in which we can recognize that we are not this emotion.

There is no need to fight or resist what is there. Just breathe and observe.

This is not you! It is simply an emotion that arose from thoughts, which are floating in and out of our minds, because that is what minds do.

We may think that these feelings are facts, because we have felt them for so long. Whatever we think repeatedly begins to appear as fact. But that is not the truth.

Simply observing without judgment, allows us to move through whatever is there. You’ve heard the saying: “What you resist, persists.”

If we don’t resist, there is no need for anything to persist.

By simply observing your emotions, you will uncover patterns in you that are keeping you stuck…..in pain, in destructive relationships, in self-sabotaging situations.

Once we become aware and observe our thoughts and emotions, the resistance disappears and this creates a space for life to show up differently.

It has the power to change relationships, to ourselves and others. It changes what we attract into our lives.

It heals our life!

  • You are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings. They are part of you, but not the entirety of you. Learn to be aware of them rather than become them.
  • Like all things in life, we must practice this. You can’t wait til you need it and expect yourself to be proficient.

 We had to crawl before we walked, we had to practice holding that spoon and aim for our mouth, we didn’t learn that new language overnight.

Practice by giving yourself time throughout the day to sit quietly, without distractions, to notice, to observe, to be…….like a scientist, without judgment.

Practice, when you are in conversation with others, when you are working on something, when you are watching TV…..

Just observing, not judging.

If you forget, it’s ok. Do it next time…..

Be kind and gentle with yourself…….and don’t forget to breathe.

To learn more, come to our classes http://www.mindfulnessevolution.com/events-and-classes/

or contact me http://christina@christinadevalencia.com

 

 

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Healing Happens When You Forgive.

This is the second in a series of articles looking at how our feelings affect our lives and bodies. It is powerful knowledge that can help eliminate pain in all areas of your life. If you are struggling with something, send me an email or call.

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Healing happens when you forgive

This is a more in depth look at a component of forgiveness, that we often don’t acknowledge.

Forgiveness is essential in every major religion on our planet.

The final words uttered by Christ during his suffering reinforce the importance of forgiveness: “”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else but you are the one who gets burned” — The Buddha

Who takes vengeance or bears a grudge acts like one who, having cut one hand while handling a knife, avenges himself by stabbing the other hand.” — Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9.4

What is forgiveness:

“Forgiveness is the act of consciously deciding to let go of resentment or vengeance toward another entity who has harmed you in some way (whether or not they’re actually deserving of that forgiveness)”, according to the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Forgiveness is NOT forgetting or condoning a behavior. It is simply a desire on your part to let go of the burden of carrying the anger, rage and vengeful thoughts…..and giving them to a higher power.

It sounds like a paradox. Forgive, not forget? How do you do that?

I think letting go (forgiving) happens more easily, the more tired you are of carrying the heaviness of those negative feelings. It can be the hardest thing you ever have to do, but conversely, it is also one of the most freeing and miraculous things that can ever happen to you.

The moment you become willing, a space opens up for miracles to occur. Relationships are healed, physical healing occurs and suddenly personal peace and joy is in your life.

I spent years working on forgiving my father. I wanted a loving relationship with him. What we had was too painful for me. I wanted to be able to tell him how I experienced my childhood, but he was not open to that. So I had to do the work by myself.

Today, the memories of my childhood in his house are still there, but the pain, the emotional charge, the hurt and suffering, are gone.

Forgiving a parent is difficult. Our whole outlook on life was developed because of what and how we experienced life with them. I remember the violence I experienced when I look at my father’s hands, but today I just feel love and want to hold them. With the grace of God, I see beyond my father’s unloving behavior, understand the origin of it and see the love behind it.

How I forgave:

There are many different ways you can tackle forgiveness toward others.

Letter writing is one way: You put all your grievances on paper and then burn that letter, or bury it.

There are many forgiveness meditations that walk you through the layers.

Sometimes you have the opportunity to discuss our pain with the offending person.

When I started, I had no idea how to go about it.

Somehow, I prayed my way through it, asking for guidance to find a way to let go, I stepped outside of my wounded self and learned to view my dad as the child he once was. Looking at his childhood, his parents, his upbringing and seeing a little boy who had to develop these coping skills that left him so emotionally crippled made me want to cry.

I imagined how life must have felt to that little boy. He grew up in pre- World War II in Germany during the rise of Hitler. Not only is he a product of the German culture: strict, efficient, judgmental, quiet, orderly, not known for being warm and caring. He also had an incredibly uneducated, abusive father and an although kind, but submissive mother. I can almost see that frightened little boy, growing up without any hugs or praise. Never a gentle word or any encouragement.

There were 4 kids in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in “a child is to be seen, not heard” world. There were plenty of brutal beatings and degrading, critical comments. At the age of 10, he was inducted into the Hitler Youth. That meant living in a camp with other boys and severe, exacting caretakers for 4 years. I have no idea what kind of abuse he endured there, because he refuses to talk about it.

I don’t believe my dad could allow himself to be loving and soft. He had to develop some hard, twisted ways to cope with that cruel childhood of his. Love was a superfluous emotion.

I was deep in my adulthood, when I realized that he shows his love by feeding you. If he takes you out to eat, or cooks for you, you know he cares.

During the process of forgiving my dad, I sometimes thought I was finished, all done, nothing more to forgive. Yet, when I least expected it, another layer of stuff came up. But I was determined and it was worth it.

We have good conversations now, because on some level he feels that I no longer consider him guilty. We both learned to become softer with each other, trust more and share more intimately. On the other end, my brother, has not been able to let go of his anger toward his father. He still talks about many painful occasions as if they happened yesterday. Their relationship is strained and uncomfortable.

The path less taken:

Typically, when you think about forgiveness, you think of others who have wronged you.

Yet, the most profound act of forgiveness is self-forgiveness. I think few of us dare to look at the depth of pain we have caused. I don’t know why it is so difficult to forgive ourselves? We are unbelievably hard on ourselves.

It is so deep and heavy that you’d rather not acknowledge it. You might break under the realization that you have caused harm and suffering for others. At times, you may glimpse some of the damage you created. This kind pain can bring you to your knees with self-hatred.

No wonder you don’t want to look at it.

These are the parts that you hide from yourself, from others, that you cover up with a facade, a mask, with lots of activity to keep from having to deal with it.

As a matter of fact, most of us are so good at this cover up that we aren’t even aware of the complex, deeply layered protective mask we have created. I am including myself in this. We are masters at it, the greatest actors of all: Keeping busy, acting defensive, covering up! We can spend our whole lives like that.

When this awareness comes up, it is not a time to do busy work, turn on the TV, get a drink or do anything evasive to avoid it again.

When the pain comes up, it is time to get still and pay attention. Listen to it. What is it telling you? What do you need to look at?

Don’t be afraid! Your fears are just thoughts. They can’t harm you.

This kind of pain wreaks havoc with your body, your mind, your relationships, your daily life.

My father is not able to look at himself. His pain must be enormous, because he has punished himself with such severe physical pain and lack of relationships that it breaks my heart. His body barely functions anymore, he spends more time in hospitals than home and feels alone and unloved.

Because, you see, when you can forgive yourself, there is only understanding and compassion left for others. There is only kindness and gentleness left………and self-esteem!

We see in others what is in us. How can you see goodness out there if it isn’t in you first? The people in our lives are a reflection of ourselves.

Where there is forgiveness, there God resides — Kabir, page 137

In this self-forgiveness miracles happen. Our DNA literally changes, because our insides are no longer twisted up and our cells can work properly again. Healing begins!

There are many who have been healed physically and emotionally through forgiveness. I am incredibly blessed that some of these exceptional human beings are my friends. Exceptional, because they tackled the work of forgiveness. Check out Dr. Vernon Sylvest’s miraculous healing on http://www.vmsylvestmd.com/

What I have learned:

We all need teachers and guidance at times. One of my teachers is an amazing woman, who has been healed of cancer twice, and joy and happiness literally ooze from her being, even across distance. Lauren Lane Powell http://www.harmoniesofhealing.com.

We met when I was writing “How to Create Passion Spirit Adventure” http://amzn.to/2svA4iW and interviewing people who love their work. She subsequently walked through the valley of the shadow of death twice.

Lauren has been teaching me that the pain and anger is lodged in our bodies and cannot be released simply by thinking it away.

She taught me a practice that puts awareness into the body and allows release at the cellular level. This requires energy and sometimes I don’t have it. But there is always more than one way to do forgiveness work. What’s important is doing the practice, NOT pushing the difficult, painful feelings away!

Pain, Sorrow, Fear, Sadness are our travel companions in this lifetime. I don’t know anyone who can escape them. Why not make friends with them, acknowledge them? When you shine a light into the darkness, the power of the fear diminishes. It lessens the intensity of the negative feelings and allows the positive to return more quickly.

Let me know if I can help or if you would like to learn a powerful forgiveness practice.

God bless you!

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Oh That Elusive HAPPINESS

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The Art of Happiness. If it doesn’t come naturally, we have to help it along.

Sometimes when nothing seems to go right, Stop!!………Stop all the frantic activity and go DO something you like.

I’m sure you have been told that when you are constantly busy, running around taking care of stuff, nothing changes, nothing new can come in. Your mind is not at peace, your body is stressed out, your emotions are on edge and everywhere you turn presents you with another roadblock.

A glass of wine is good, but maybe not in the morning.

Meditation will definitely get you on a better track, but it seems at times it’s nearly impossible to just sit down and get quiet.

Your mind is racing, your adrenaline is high and the last thing you can imagine is sitting still. That’s why it’s sometimes more productive to do something you really enjoy to get back to a happier place, to find your happiness.

I love to do physical stuff, like painting walls or furniture, digging in the garden, building a little table, fixing something, creating wood-art, practicing yoga or taking a walk on the beach.

You don’t have a moment to stop and spend time “goofing off”, you say? Really? Will you have the time to get sick, have a mental break-down or at the very least get into disagreements with your loved ones? We really all do have time to stop every once in a while. 

We have to prioritize. What is more important in this moment: What we are doing or our sanity?

Do something you enjoy!

Your kids can miss a soccer game once in a while. If you don’t make it to the grocery store after work, you won’t starve. Your spouse can take care of that task without you. If you don’t have a spouse, leave it for another day (it works for Latinos….manana). Ask someone for help. People really do want to help, as long as you don’t abuse it.

I have a couple of rental homes and one of them had a serious roof-leak. It literally rains in. The tenant had to put some pots and pans out to catch the drips. This stresses me out to the max. The thought of the tenant being upset, the damage the water is causing, the expense……on and on. In the meantime, I can’t get a hold of the roofer. It won’t stop raining (I’m in NC right now). But, I suddenly realize, I have absolutely no control over this at the moment. I already left a message for the roofer. I apologized to the tenant. “Money comes easily and frequently” (my favorite mantra).

It was out of my hands.

Still tense, I located my paintbrush, pulled out that new can of paint and started painting my bathroom.

My mind calmed down in minutes, a space opened up for better thoughts, my breathing regulated…..all without me having to work hard at it. That’s the best part! I am tired of working so hard at everything. Aren’t you?

Then I remembered three things that always shift the energy and open the door for happiness:

1. Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself!

Self-pity is the very worst kind of emotion. It kinda sneaks in there and before you know it you are all about it. It destroys everything around itself, and leaves you feeling powerless.

Stop being the victim, stop feeling sorry for yourself – and be happy.

2. Be Grateful

Life is so fast-paced that we rarely recognize and acknowledge the wonder of it all.

Think of all the things you’re grateful for right now: family, health, home, your puppy, your red shoes, the grass, the sunshine, everything. Spend time being grateful each day – and be happy.

3. Accept What Is

We frequently resist what is. Just say “Yes!” more to all of life’s experiences. Don’t fight the river’s current. Say Yes!” more to emotions, situations, social invitations, adventures – and be happy.

Before I knew it I was smiling. Happiness…………it’s a process, not a destination.

To Your Happiness, with Love

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Are you weirder than me?

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I recently moved because of my neighbors. I couldn’t live next to those weird people anymore.

We, the neighbors and I, judged one another harshly for being different.

We couldn’t accept each other.

It just seems so difficult to do with all these weird people around us!  Don’t you think those thoughts? Don’t you believe that your lifestyle is really the best way and if everyone just understood that, the world would be a better place?

I sure did.

Staying in the same place all their lives is some people’s idea of a good life, while others love to travel and move around. Some wouldn’t do without a routine; others can’t stand the same thing every day. Some people stay married for life and judge others for getting divorced.

And what is it with gay people? Are they born that way or did they learn that? What about people that hoard, or women with muffin tops and super-tight shirts? What are they thinking? Why do some people, especially guys, talk sooo loud on their cell-phones in public?

We could go on all day like that. It’s really easy to get stuck on someone else’s odd behavior.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Mostly because I want to be loving and accepting.

My parents were incredibly judgmental about others, about the smallest stuff even, like the way someone wore their hair or their make-up. One day I listened to my mom go on about the way my aunt was chopping onions. I mean really, what difference does it make?

It made me want to figure out how we could learn to accept each other more.  Would it really be better if we were all similar?

I decided to look at Nature. It is incredibly diverse.

Just look at a rose, such beauty that comes with thorns. How about a dandelion, a flower that changes and then you can puff it into the wind? There are rare, exotic flowers and there are wildflowers, there are brightly colored flowers, intricate and simple flowers. Some are long blooming and some have a very brief lifespan.

What about the animals? Some mate for life, some never mate. Some live in groups, some are loners. Some prefer same sex, some are loud, some are quiet, some are big, some are little, some are lazy, some super-industrious………..

My point is, whatever you can dream up, exists in nature. Pretty awesome, wouldn’t you say?

So if it is present in nature, it can’t be absent in human nature.

Human nature mirrors nature!

We CAN accept, appreciate and love the presence of all human nature’s weirdness. We don’t have to hang out with it if it isn’t our thing. We have to take responsibility for surrounding ourselves with what feels right to us, what works for us…….sometimes that means moving.

 

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The Spiritual Truth No One wants to Accept

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