An Attitude of Gratitude: The Ticket to Being in the Flow

Honestly, I’m stuck. Stuck as stuck can be, encountering blocks and frustrations at what seems to be every turn. Eluded completely from the proverbial flow that I often speak about.

So what to do? Really, it’s wonderful to read quotes of the Tao Te Ching and talk about how fine and dandy and amazing it is to be in the flow, but at some point we might come to the realization in a given moment that we aren’t there. In that moment we’re not the water flowing past the rock, we’re flesh and body banging right into that obstacle and we’re stuck.

It’s okay.

We’ve all been there. That said, sympathy is not what’s going to remedy this situation. We need a practical solution to get past that stuckness.

So, let’s backtrack just for a moment. Let’s consider this: when we’re stuck, what are we focused on? Of course we’re focused on our stuckness. We’re focused on the issue at hand that is causing us some discomfort, distress or other unwanted feeling.

What if that’s the problem right there?

It’s our focus on the problem at hand rather than anything else in the world. There’s a saying and I’m sure you’ve heard it that goes, “Let go and let God.” Now, whether you believe in a God or not is not relevant to putting this into practice and testing it out. The act of letting go and surrendering our need for our minds to figure things out is what will get us past the stuckness.

The problem though, with letting go, is that it’s easier said than done. It’s easy to advise someone to let go; a totally different thing to put it into practice ourselves in a moment of difficulty.

So, I was personally stuck in my life and I asked myself what I should do to get out of this. Here’s what came:

Maintain an attitude of gratitude.

Think of all the good in your life. Think of the things that are going right; the things that are flowing peacefully along and be thankful for these things.

I’m telling you, my friends, it sounds overly simplistic, but IT WORKS! In a moment when you’re stuck, shift your thoughts to where things are actually flowing and soon the magic will start to happen. It isn’t magic, really, but it feels like it, because the stuckness will start to loosen. You’ll be able to see things that you couldn’t see before and soon, you’ll find your way past the stuckness.

Better yet, start documenting all that you’re grateful for. Each night I write in a gratitude journal a minimum of 5 things that I’m grateful for. It’s a good practice, because what it does is it programs your mind for gratitude. What that means is that it makes it easier for you to enter into that headspace when the going gets a bit rough.

Here’s my gratitude journal. I chosen one that uplifts me and is beautiful to me:

Seriously, the gratitude journal works. It’s good for the soul and honestly, it’s the easiest thing to put into practice. I hope you’ll give it a try!

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The Land of Miracles Part 2

Recently I was asked on Twitter about what I think is the single most important thing to do or be to have an awesome year. Funny enough, this was to the exact topic of my blog for this evening. So sit tight and away we go.

The answer is:

RAISE YOUR ENERGY

Ah, this really does warrant a bit of explanation.

The single most important thing that I deem necessary to be AND do is to set your year up energetically not just to make what you want to happen happen, but to transform your energy into a magnet that brings the beautiful, insightful and growing forces to the forefront of your being and conscious mind.

In layman’s terms: In order to be fulfilled, happy, beautiful inside and out, and in a state of either good health or healing, and feeling well, we need to do whatever it takes to raise our own energy.

The forces to help us experience the greatest year life ever lie within us, often dormant until we reawaken them.

Different techniques work for different people. Last week I said to pick one, but didn’t give examples, so I’m going to give a few options to try out (this isn’t everything though! There’s a world of techniques and options to suit every individual out there.):

  • Self-hypnosis
  • Energy psychospiritual work like EFT and other techniques.
  • Creative activities that speak to your subconscious mind while engaging the creative mind like vision boards and miracle boxes.
  • Rituals
  • Body centred techniques that help to shift your energy like yoga, Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine techniques and others.

Well, there you have it! These are the things that have come to mind, though there are countless ways. Raising our consciousness, expanding our auras and being in JOY and other positive, high vibrational emotional states, help to set up our lives to attract fulfilling and growth-filled experiences imbued with happiness.

On that very note, I had an absolute blast this week doing the most AMAZING workbook to energetically set up my 2013 oh so wonderfully!!! It’s called 2013 Create Your INCREBIBLE! Year Workbook + Planner by the lovely Leonie Dawson.

Let me tell you that this workbook does set you up for a life of miracles. (No small coincidence that this also happens to be my theme for the year and there is indeed a little activity in the workbook to establish a sacred word for the year).

(I love how the flash reflection in this photo showed up as a heart!)

The workbook had me go deep inside and search for what was meaningful, important and beautiful within me that I wanted to bring forth. And that, my friends, is another little way you can set your energy up at the beginning of the year to experience a fantastic year— go deep inside, get creative and get engaged fully and completely in that inner exploration.

And can I say, my oh my did my inner child have fun in the process! This workbook comes as an ebook—but this ebook is one that is DEFINITELY worth the splurge to have printed out! It’s not only a work of art in itself, but it might just get you to pull out some coloured pencils and markers like it did for me. (If you’re interested in getting this workbook, there’s a link at the end of this post).

(And make no mistake, this photo was taken right at the very beginning of my adventure. Since then, barely a section has been left blank.)

The workbook also had me do a yearly card reading, which I already love doing each year! Here’s a picture of mine. I tend to use two decks and set them up in a circle with the middle two cards representing the theme or central focus for the year:

So, there you have it! A glimpse into some of the ways I am working to raise my energy to experience a wonderful year. It’s not too late, most definitely not. You’ve got your life ahead of you, so whenever you’re reading this, it’s time to focus on your energy and shine out so that you can live an AMAZING life. Join me, won’t you in the #landofmiracles! ♥

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The Land of Miracles Part 1

I decided a few days ago that this was going to be a year of miracles. I woke up and said to myself, “yep, this is the year everything changes.”

Now, I have enough faith that such overhauls can happen, ‘cause they’ve happened before…

But, there’s always this slight trepidation in me that maybe, just maybe this is going to be one of those years—you know the ones that fall short of your expectations, that leave you craving the next one for a chance to regain balance, rise up from the ashes, etc. because in no better words, the year you’re in sucks? So, I’m putting it out there that the thought crept ever so briefly into my mind.

But, I said, “NO, not this year!” This year, I’m taking charge and living my life of miracles.

You see miracles abound. Oh yes, they are there all around us, but we’re often somewhat blind to them or immune to sensing their life-transforming capacities. I’m not sure the answer to why we don’t see them or aren’t moved by the miracles that always surround us—perhaps that will be something to explore in a future post. But, what I am certain of is that they’re there, happening all the time and I am committed to noticing them and feeling their depth and capacity to change me.

On that note of ushering in miracles, I have created a miracle box. It was an assignment and being the keener that I know I can be, I decided to go all out. My friend Fatma Zaidi created a free 21 Day Adventure to Transform Your Wealth Consciousness e-course for the new year which I signed up for (albeit a few days late … my non-keener sides making a brief appearance here) and day 5 was miracle box day!

A miracle box is a repository for all our dreams and intentions for the new year in the form of pictures, words and phrases. The idea is to set up the subconscious mind to attract those things to you.

But, instead of just going through the motions, I decided to do a little ritual around the process. I burnt some sage, read my statements aloud, put a citrine crystal grid around the box and even found this gold material to cover the box. Citrine is often used to attract abundance and security. Also, if you’re wondering, the stone in the centre is green aventurine and is said to be one of the most powerful to attract good fortune.

And, this box hasn’t seen the end of me! I plan on returning to it often not only to add to the dreams/intentions, but I also plan on enclosing notes on the miracles and dreams that I see actualizing in my life. An act of recognition and gratitude. I’m actually really excited about this!

Friends, if you want to see miracles in your life, it all starts with a commitment to see them. 

“A miracle is a shift in perception”- A Course In Miracles.

I do rituals to help me shift into a different space, kind of like going through some ethereal door that helps me see things differently once I’m on the other side.

There are tonnes of ways to shift your subconscious thereby shifting your perception and also changing your energy field to attract different things/feelings/etc. into your life. Take your pick. Just do it, because a life void of miracles is not one you have to endure any longer. So on that note, stay committed to the beautiful truth that surrounds you and I’ll meet you in the land of miracles 😉

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Savouring 2013

I’ve decided 2013 is going to be a gluttonous sort of year. Well, not truly selfishly gluttonous, but it will be a year of life fleshed out, fully lived, not filled with hesitations, apprehensions and regrets. This is a step outside my comfort zone. My norm is to be a holder-backer, over-thinker, time-waster type of person. In short, I spend a lot of time contemplating things and mulling over them and very little time accomplishing anything… or doing anything. Believe it or not I rarely even have time for leisure. Although I’m serious in that statement, that reality is a joke… time is malleable and I’ve so far been molding it very poorly to be able to say that I have no time to watch a movie or read a novel. Alas, that changes this year. I guess you could say it’s my resolution, to be a doer, experiencer, liver of this life, fully and completely.

Though, I should say that I’m not a fan of the word “resolution”… I know I’m harping on semantics here, but semantics, if you’ve ever spoken to me, seem to take on a nearly abnormally strong importance and I’ll tell you why. We all have our thing that shapes our personality, our being and really our motivation to live out this life. Part of that for me is to be well understood. Or maybe this actually stems from a fear— I fear being misunderstood. I don’t like being wrongly paraphrased or brushed off and therefore, I’ve developed almost an addiction to sorting through my mind for the “right word”… though sometimes it fails to come to me.

But, it hasn’t this time. This isn’t just my resolution, but it’s worked into my plan for this year. You see, a plan has a lot more substance than just a statement of intention. It brings you one step closer to the doing of life (and to do rather than mull over is becoming my mantra these days, it seems). So my plan is still in its rudimentary stages, but it’s becoming more detailed as I go along.

There will be a bit more on my planning adventure for this year in my next post. Enough about me, though! I hope that 2013 has started off on the right foot for you as well. And, I hope that beyond establishing intentions, goals, and resolutions, that you’re formulating a follow-through plan to create the best year of your life. The way I see it, even though I’m a huge fan of wishful thinking, planning along with dreaming, seems to work better than just dreaming alone. Happy New Year! And, Happy Planning 😉

Featured above are a few indulgences for the week that I’ve picked up from the library, which I have penciled in time to get to. Admittedly, I picked up the Enchantress of Florence on a whim based on the beautiful yellow colour, but hopefully it turns out to be a good read! Can I say #ilovethelibrary!?

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Messages for the Soul Magazine: Riding the Wave

I’m happy to share a new online magazine called Messages for the Soul. It’s all about sharing messages and tips to uplift, inspire and motivate. I contributed an article, Riding the Wave, which is about stepping into the flow so that life can be lived with more ease. It’s a bit of a change up from my usual style of writing as contributions had to be in 2nd or 3rd person. But, I hope despite this change in style that you’ll still find it useful! I can say that I have used the technique I’ve shared and it has helped to free up the energy within and outside of me so that it can flow. And, I have to say, that is everything. When energy flows, life feels better and it happens with greater joy and ease. Enjoy and may you flow into 2013 with joy! (It might take a few seconds for the link to the magazine located below to appear, but don’t worry- it’s coming!)

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The Value of Community

I sit here now after having just returned from a Grandmothers’ meeting. We have them once a month, every month. Our group facilitator who emanates a spirit of giving and connectedness to our Earth and its people, leads us through meditation, sharing, prayer and connecting to the great nurturing energy of the feminine principle. Language barriers sometimes hinder the process of intellectually understanding everything, but our hearts hear crystal clear what this is all about.

These meetings open up our hearts. They open us up to sharing, receptivity and love. This is what the Grandmothers’ energy represents that we invite to bless our meetings. And, with these gatherings, I find myself imbued with a refreshed and renewed outlook on life. I feel connected. I feel connected to life in all its manifestations, I feel connected to the women with whom I sit with, and I feel whole.

This is the importance of community.

[Photo copyright by Moyan Brenn]

We are emerging from a place of individualism where honour and pride is bestowed upon the man who can do it all himself, into an era in which we are recognizing that the circle of community is essential to our wellbeing and ability to thrive. However, this flavour of community is one of particular depth and dare I say connection that I think supersedes our ordinary conception of community.

You see, what I feel emerging in my life and what I’m noticing in the lives of many others, is that we are joining not only our hands, but our hearts in communities of love. We are coming to see that when we help someone else and they help us, we’re all happy. It’s a win-win situation. There are no winners and losers, there is just a community of support where everyone thrives and feels connected to the whole.

Two years ago I found myself craving community. I lived alone, but not only that, I felt alone—there is a difference. Granted I knew people and saw these people regularly enough, but something was missing. I lacked that feeling of connectedness. I didn’t feel whole, I felt lonely. And, this is coming from a hardcore individualist and introvert. I’m not saying I wished I saw people more often. I loved my alone time in my apartment reading or studying. I still love and relish that time. However, I missed having a sense of community. The only community I knew was my two parents who lived six hours away.

I’d never grown up with much family around and I’d never been one to be part of “cliques”  as I felt uncomfortable with the ways groups operated; group mentality and popularity contests…it was all not my thing and it just didn’t make me feel what I wanted to feel. I also always felt different and not entirely embraced or accepted by most people. I had a couple friends growing up whom I loved dearly, but often felt like there was something inside of me that was missing. So, really, I wasn’t craving community for two years, I had been craving it for a good part of my life.

But to get back to the point, two years ago when I was 23, I found myself in a class in which we were going to do an experiential exercise—a ritual to bring into our lives something that we really wanted. I dawdled on my choice on whether to go with ideal health or community. Despite still running into health problems, I chose community, because I knew I needed to fill that gap in my heart.

Community came. And boy, did it ever come. I came to learn what community really was and I began to fill that gap within me. I found myself bonding ever more closely with my classmates over the coming months and years (I think it says a lot that since our last class together in June of 2011, we’ve had regular class reunions every month or two).

I also joined a group online which I call “the card group” which is a community joined by their love and interest of reading oracle cards, but more so than that one of the most loving cyberspace communities imaginable. At its core, it’s a safe place where people can ask for support, healing, and whatever they need and those requests always fall upon loving and open ears. What this community proved to me is that, as Denise Linn says, “cyberspace really can be sacred space”.

Furthermore, I recently joined a spiritual mastermind group and I can tell you that this countered all my views of what a mastermind group was all about. I always associated mastermind groups with overly ambitious people in the business world and the thought of it all and its emphasis on profit-making and icky business talk like that had me shuddering away. I like helping people. I really just want to help in the best way that I can. And I can say that I’ve been blessed to find this gentle group of humble souls who really just want to do the very same. It’s wonderful, it’s fulfilling and it’s a space where we share encouragement and love on our individual paths.

Here is one last testament to the growing phenomenon of loving communities in my life (and maybe others as well? I mean, I’m not alone here in these groups after all…):This summer I participated in a workshop, which I feel exemplifies that community is about love and that what is emerging now in the consciousness of many is a need to share love; not to be something we’re not; not to puff up our chests and show off our egos. Just love. The workshop was experiential and we spent the entirety of our time there helping people access the portals to love through meditation, sitting and being present with people, and laying our hands gently (and respectfully) on their bodies. We helped people overcome their barriers to love to facilitate the experience of the awe-inspiring love of the Divine flow through our beings.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

I feel blessed in my life to have discovered communities of love— genuine, pure LOVE and the more I focus on love, the more these communities sprout up. I find myself in healing circles and in circles in which we express prayers of gratitude and so on.

On a final note, I leave you with this thought: let’s form communities around love and not around our fear that we will be alone. This is where the fulfillment lies. No one in these communities makes you do things that are against your soul’s wishes, they only support your soul’s journey and that is what we need and what I needed.

I leave you here with a few words from Sharon McErlane, author of A Call to Power:  the Grandmothers Speak. She speaks about the “net of light”, which exemplifies what community is all about and what the Grandmothers’ meetings are all about.

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Emotional Comfort or Spiritual Insight? Not So Alike

Something terrible has happened to you or you’ve just had a bad day. A part of you is yearning for comfort, a hug or words of assurance and support. And, often there is this notion that when things are quite awful, we’re seeking for something within the realm of spiritual “upliftment” or insight… so you find yourself wanting that, too.

It’s strange, but sometimes we conflate the emotional and the spiritual as if they are similar or the same.

I have to say that emotional comfort and anything spiritually helpful that is shared between two people after something terrible has happened to one party don’t tend to be the same thing. Sometimes they do cross lines into each other’s territory. But, sometimes they are so remotely different that while emotional comfort can feel nice at the time, it may be spiritually detrimental and while the spiritual insight might render the potential for growth, it could be emotionally harsh.

There, I said it. But, what on Earth do I mean by this?

Let’s play out a hypothetical scenario. Okay, so someone has wronged you in some way. You feel hurt and confused. You share this story with someone close to you, a friend, a family member, or say your partner. Now the person close to you shares their sympathy for your ordeal and your pain. They agree with you in the ways in which you were wronged and the ways that the other person was acting out of line, or childishly or whatever be the case.

This is emotional comfort. It revolves around sympathy and pats on the back.

To be honest, the emotional folks among us, including myself need this kind of support at times. It helps us regain our footing and helps us let the emotion run through us.

Now, if you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I’m all about energy and working through emotions. Letting emotions run their course is a good way to let that energy flow out of you. That’s great.

However, the aforementioned scenario doesn’t necessarily help one evolve or grow from their experience all that much. It validates their hurt. It validates their pain. It validates right/wrong dichotomies that rule the wars of the world both internally within individuals and externally amongst people.

What about Spiritual Insight?

So, let’s take that same scenario. Now instead your close confidant points to issues surrounding the conflict that you may not have considered. Could there have been a reason that your “adversary” acted out of line? Maybe they’re having serious family problems? Maybe they’re feeling very insecure about something in their life and it’s coming out on you inadvertently? They might try to get you to see it from a broader perspective. They may remind you that it isn’t what happens to us in life, but how we choose to handle it. Harbouring pain or negativity only hurts us.

Now this is all wise and helpful advice, but not what we necessarily want to hear to be comforted. It’s sometimes hard for us to see that maybe we weren’t wronged in the grand scheme of things, but in actuality given a gift or a blessing we can choose to take and use to grow and see things from a higher vantage point.

You see emotional comfort is good and necessary, but so is the transcendence of the issue and the pain. We can’t stay too long in the woe-is-me mode because we run the risk of letting that pain dwell inside us. In my experience, rising to the level of the spiritual was the only thing that helped me overcome my most challenging issues.

All that said there is something called “spiritual bypassing” that is also not where you want to find yourself. That’s when you don’t deal with your emotions, but rather take the spiritual high road (that’s a play on words right there, did you get it? Hint: I didn’t mean taking on a morally superior attitude 😉 ). It’s when you may tell yourself spiritual truisms to bypass the actual feeling and processing of what you’re experiencing. Or, when you do some sort of spiritual practice like meditation with the intention to override actually feeling your emotions and dealing with them. In other words, it means avoiding going deep down and feeling the pain to work through it.

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The Gateway to Our Glorious Selves

So, the winds of this evening have directed me to talk about “death” or as we could look at it, Life. I took a nap today and had a nightmare. I dreamed that my dad had passed and I began sobbing so strongly that my sobs emerged out of the dream world and into my waking life. I cried and gasped as if it were true— the pain struck my heart so deeply.

And then I asked in the midst of my tears for help, for something out there to help me because I was feeling such intense pain. And, as quickly as I had asked, I sensed a figure at my bedroom door. A moment later the sobs stopped and I felt incredible peace. The pain was gone, the dream was gone, I felt only calmness. The peace began from my heart and then it spread throughout every inch of my body. I felt light and I felt like I was being given a celestial hug.

Was it an angel? Was it my  grandmother who I’m sure had visited and calmed me in other times of difficulty since she passed? I couldn’t really say on this particular day.

But, what I do know, is that no one, no intellectually bent, skeptical mind will ever convince me that we walk this Earth alone, that we die, or that there isn’t more to this reality than meets the eye.

I’ve talked about this before… but there are an infinite number of angles and approaches you can take on any topic. So, this is about passing on, moving forward, going through that door that leads to something we don’t fully comprehend with our minds… death or Life as some see it.

Tonight I attended a service. It was a meditation, actually, and it was to remember and celebrate the souls of two of my former teachers who passed through the mysterious gateway this past summer. Two very charismatic souls that profoundly touched so many lives including my own.

I spent the entirety of the meditation in tears. These weren’t tears of sadness. In fact, it was one of the most humbling experiences of my life, to be honest. I felt that internally I had fallen to my knees in the face of two greats.

If I’ve learned one thing about death through this experience, it’s that it is an opportunity for those crossed over to shine in all their glory. 

My God, their spirits were immense and I was so moved that I couldn’t control the tears that streamed down my face. With my eyes closed, above me I could see such bright light and two beings whose presence towered above me. I should say, however, that this was one of the most magnificent feelings ever. This was not some egoic towering above others, but two souls that were coming into the fullness of their beings. They were amazing and larger than life characters while in the physical, so you can just imagine the profundity of this experience. It was amazing and beyond words.

And to this I have to say, “Thank you Maria and Chris for having walked this Earth with us and shared your light… may you continue to shine forever more into eternity each kicking your heels up and reminding us the true joy and essence of existence.”

I leave you with the music that was played during the meditation from an album called The Silent Path by Robert Haig Coxon, a favourite of both these teachers:

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Photo credit: Angel Awareness Day by AlicePopkorn from Flickr

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Day by Day We Get Better and Better!

When I stopped blogging a few months ago, I told myself that it was for very legitimate and noble reasons. As I would say to everyone including myself, “I’m not sure where I’m going with this blog and I just need some clarity before I continue moving forward with it.”

I wasn’t lying. It was true. I was confused and I felt I needed to establish a sense of direction.

But, that was a half-truth. I was denying to myself and to those around me the other half of the reality… the real reason that I had encountered one of the strongest doses of writer’s block I have ever experienced.

The other side to this story is that I had lost complete confidence in myself. One little critical comment from someone close to me threw me off track way out into some strange abyss and I wondered if I could even write anymore.

I felt as though I were writing like a child. I felt like my ideas were jumbled, mixed up and irrelevant. And, I thought that it made no difference if I kept this blog up or not since I didn’t think it was having an impact on anyone. Really? How could I forget that there were people following my blog? Lovely people… people who gave me feedback and talked about my blog.

The reality is that my ego saw an opening and it tore me apart. When someone says anything negative or critical about us or what we put out into the world, it isn’t a true reflection of who we are and what we are creating. Remember that.

I forgot that. I internalized what was said to me and what’s worse is that I let it fester and grow inside me. A whole series of lies inside my mind were being concocted about my self-worth and the value I bring to the world through my blog.

I have recently begun studying A Course in Miracles and in it we learn that the ego is an illusion. All that it conjures up- not true. Not one bit. What someone else may say about you is simply their opinion and has nothing to do with the reality of who you are and what you bring to the world. The ego (and I’m not talking about theirs, but our very own) will twist anything to shut us down and attempt to extinguish our light.

The reality is that our light can never be extinguished AND we have every right to shine it out to the world. The ego will try to convince you that you aren’t perfect in your own right, but the reality is that you and I have come to this planet with a beautiful light, not a tainted light, whose only purpose is to shine out.

When you think a negative thought about yourself that makes you feel small or that feels constricting and painful, that is the ego trying to bring you down.

In these moments, you must remember that you have a very important mission on this planet. You have been assigned the task to shine your light no matter what.

What does this mean?

It means doing what makes you feel expansive. It means cultivating the love and joy in your heart and spreading that to those around you.

Moral of the story: You’re the light, don’t let the clouds hinder your sight of how beautifully you shine.

Here’s a bit on clouds: they’re misty, ephemeral and you can fly right through them straight to the light of your soul. We ALL know that. We just have to remember. That light is real. The clouds are not.

So, this post touches a lot on our solar plexus chakra, the seat of our feelings of self-worth and place in the world. The thought of posting the following video made me laugh a bit, but if I’m going to keep this real and follow the impulses of my soul, it has to be posted. So, when my solar plexus chakra is feeling a bit weak and downtrodden and in need of major building up… I sometimes find watching this video helpful:

Oh yes, “day by day we get better and better!” Okay, I actually think we are already complete and great, but we get better at not letting this ego overtake us and bring us down. It won’t beat us into submission.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t get embarrassed by posting that video. And, I’m not.

Photo credit: Lovelight by EverJean from Flickr.

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How to Maintain Harmony in Relationships

There is no denying that we are social creatures. Even the most introverted among us must admit that we need social interaction. We need it for practical reasons to do the stuff of life and fulfill our physical needs. More so, we also need it for emotional reasons. We need to connect and interact; to feel a sense of camaraderie and love.

However, somehow mixed into the beauty of what we wish to glean from these interactions, our relating to others sometimes goes awry. Irritation, anger, sadness and all sorts of emotions that feel less than wonderful come up at times even with the ones we love most.

So, what do we do to ensure that disharmony does not reign on our relationships and interactions?

  • Don’t take things personally. If someone is snapping at you, saying mean things or just being an annoying, unpleasant grouch to be around, realize that this is their “stuff” playing out. If you choose to absorb it, you’re making their problem your problem. Shield yourself with an imaginary symbolic shield to protect yourself from their bad mood. It’s amazing how tensions deescalate when one side chooses to not absorb the bad mood of the other. It allows the individual to proceed objectively in the interaction and it doesn’t allow a fight to ensue.
  • Eliminate your expectations. I’m not even going to say lower them, just eliminate them all together. When we place expectations upon people, we chain them up inside a box which traps and suffocates them. What this means is that we don’t get to know the essence of the person, we get to see only certain sides that meet our expectations. Essence=depth. Only seeing fragments of a person= shallowness. Do you want your relationships to be deep and real, or shallow? Expectations hurt both sides, because not only do they trap the one who has the expectations placed upon him/her, but they also limit the individual who is placing those expectations on others to have relationships that truly spell freedom for themselves. Can you be completely free when you don’t allow others to be free around you?
  • Don’t judge. This is the next step beyond eliminating expectations. No matter what comes up or how a person treats you, don’t place judgments upon them. It’s okay to evaluate an act to maintain your own sense of dignity in asserting that a certain act was disrespectful. However, if you’ve judged the person for the way they have acted, you have again closed them into a box. People can change and we don’t know the motivating sources for their actions.
  • See the light in the other person. Look, we all have our bad days and we all make mistakes. The key is that if we want people to accept us unconditionally even as we falter, we need to do the same for others. See that divine spark in others, even when they seem to be shooting emotional arrows at you or are irritating the heck out of you.sunshine
  • Recognize when it’s time to turn away. You’re the most important person that you need to care for on this planet. Turning away from someone doesn’t mean that you don’t necessarily love or care for them anymore, but that you’re taking care of yourself. If a situation is too harsh and taking its toll on your system, even if you have protected yourself with that symbolic shield, it may be time to take a step back. We need to realize that we can’t change people. We can only give them the space to grow and receive love, but we can’t be there for people at the expense of our own well-being.

And with that I leave you with some words from the wise Joseph Campbell:

“Since divinity is the essence of every being, we must not let our moral judgments obscure from us the fact that God is shining through all things, even those of which we cannot approve.”

Photo credit: From Flickr, taken by Zitona

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