Surrender

5 Messages to Take You From Victim to Victory

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I have to be honest. I don’t take criticism well.

It’s been a problem all my life. My second grade teacher once sent a note home to my parents that read, “Beth is a joy to be around. But she becomes withdrawn and quiet whenever she’s criticized or if I suggest she could do better. She takes criticism very personally.”

Huh.

Then there was the time my boyfriend broke up with me. His mother told me years later that when he came home and she asked how our talk went, he said, “I don’t know, Mom.  She never said a word, just kept looking at the ground.”

Now, as an adult in my sixth decade of living, I’m much better at constructive criticism when it comes to my work. Even my writing, which, along with air and water, sustains me, is open for discussion and dissection. (Just be gentle, please!)

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

There are tons of reasons why we women–particularly women with addiction–beat ourselves up. Some of us pack around the effects of abuse suffered for years or decades. We may have been victims once, but as a therapist said to me a long time ago, by staying hooked into those abusive patterns, we are no longer victims, but rather, we’re hostages held by our own thoughts, beliefs and attitudes.

Occasionally, when an overly full suitcase of stresses is dropped, those self-destructive thoughts, beliefs and attitudes spill out, like dirty underwear all over the ground.

And just like that, I feel insignificant and worthless again.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Listening to new messages, developing new beliefs

No one but you is responsible for your thoughts, which can be both a blessing and a curse. I am the product of what I tell myself, of the messages I tell the world about me. What are those messages?

If you asked me yesterday–the day I was the only invited guest to my pity party–I would have told you that I couldn’t do anything right. I would have explained in great detail why I was selfish and seldom thought of anyone else’s needs before my own.

Yesterday was a victim day.

Today is a victory day. No matter what dropped in front of you yesterday, stirring up your guts like a greasy, inedible stew, it need not affect today.

Say it with me: I alone am responsible for my feelings, thoughts and attitudes.

Tweet: You can choose to drag yesterday into today, but for the love of all that’s holy, why would you want to? @bheretoday

Instead, let’s work on those messages.

Here are five to get you started (Note: please read these as “I” statements.).

1. You are loved and lovable, just as you are in this GUS-inspired moment (that’s God-Universe-Spirit).

2.  Your worth is not tied to what other people think of you; in fact, their thoughts are none of your business.

3.  You are a radiant child of something much bigger than you. You have no reason to belief that GUS is going to drop you on your proverbial arse.

4.  It’s okay to not like yourself sometimes because of something you’ve said or done so long as you always love yourself. Tweet: Remember, you’re a human being hanging out on the E-planet, not Jack and the Beanstalk rising in the sky. @bheretoday

5.  Love is a great equalizer so make sure you’re giving and receiving the elixir of life.

My feeling of insignificance? Oh yeah–it’s gone. Miraculously, once I began to feed myself the right stuff again, the feeling went away. Since, there is no order of difficulty with miracles (A Course in Miracles) that means I’m back to feeling good about me.

What messages do you tell yourself? When you fall off the beam, how do you get back on? What messages resonate with you as true “shifters?”

Please let me know in the comments section below.

Photo courtesy of pippalou

Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down

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John Wayne once sent a famous telegram to Barbara Walters when she struggled for acceptance as the first female co-anchor of an evening news program. You guessed it: “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

I heard those same words from a professor in journalism school in the early 1980s. The implication was that there will always be those who try to get you to fail or quit.

They may harm you, or worse, annihilate everything you hold dear in life.

Today’s 13th anniversary of 9/11

Never let the bastards get you down; stay positive no matter what; follow your heart and know your mission in life–that’s how we become free of the bastards who try to hold us down.

Freedom’s a tough one to wrap into memories of 9/11. It’s hard to grasp on such a large scale. That’s why it’s critical to grant ourselves freedom to be our very best and to give ourselves the very best because, as hard as it is to hear, sometimes we’re the bastard holding ourselves down.

Without freedom to live the life you desire and you deserve, you’re a captive held hostage by old thought patterns, attitudes, beliefs and actions.

But I’m not hear to beat you up, I promise! Rather, I applaud you for taking a stand, for picking your butt off the cement, linoleum or Italian tile floor and proclaiming (chin held high!), I AM WORTHY OF THE BEST IN LIFE.

Because you are.

Give yourself the gift of freedom

Recovery from anything is a progression of acts of surrender. The more we let go, the more we’ll get back in multiples. Try this: Squeeze your hand into a tight fist. Not much space between your squished fingers, is there?

Now, release the fist and slowly open your fingers. Watch closely. See how the space becomes infinitely larger?

That’s your freedom.

What will you do with freedom today, now that you’re released from your too-small container? How will you give and do and be your very best?

While this day is a solemn one for the United States and our friends in other countries, there is something we can each do in personal commemoration.

Let yourself go. Let yourself fly. Your dreams await you.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'”

Indeed you can. We all can.

Photo courtesy of pippalou

It’s Great to Let Go; I Should Have Started Sooner

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The post title is a quote from a TED Talk given by Chilean writer Isabel Allende. In her talk, she spoke about passion and how we’re never too old to follow our dreams (she’s 71). Be sure to watch her eight-minute video shown below.

Letting go has been on my mind as 2014 continues to give me ample opportunities to practice what I preach. We all know it’s much easier to preach than practice what we preach, right?

I’m not alone in the quest to let go.

Just yesterday, one of my friend’s posts hit my inbox. Admittedly, I groaned a bit as I read the title: Letting Go for Health and Happiness,” by Sandra Pawula.

Sandra, who writes Always Well Within, bemoans her continual over-push beyond her capacity. I love this part because I think she wrote it for me:

“I think it’s so important to be clear about our addictions, our impulses, and our edges.  So I offer you this question for personal reflection today:

Are you driven to repeatedly engage in a behavior that’s not really good for your health or happiness?  Is there a place in your life where you need to say, ‘I cannot do this anymore?’”

Oh, that’s so me. Right now, I’m in severe over-push mode to make money. You know, pay the bills, put a little back for the rainy days which are coming pretty frequently.

My business is riding a roller coaster of promised work, then wait. Get closer to a decision, then wait some more. Maddening as it is, that’s the nature of client work. Whatever.

Then there’s the possibility of a surprise oral surgery–me, who has no dental insurance. OMG–I need more work!

Sandra’s right. I am addicted to this response that follows virtually all my predicaments, “Okay, let’s figure this out now.” No matter what the “this” is, I’ll lose sleep, patience and serenity in my quest to find the right and perfect answer.

My sweetie reminded me yesterday that if I’m praying, I need not worry and if I’m worrying, there’s no point in praying. That was sort of an ouchie. Once again, I’m not practicing what I preach because worrying is definitely not mindful.

Back to Ms. Allende’s talk about passion


The good news is there is an antidote for not letting go of the things that worry me. Isabel Allende suggests focusing on my passion. After all, enthusiasm for my passion is mine to control.

Two things come to mind. First, I am passionate about writing, so while client work is finding its way to me, I can write my ass off. Then write some more.

Second, I can choose to constantly flip my “oh-my-god-what-am-I-going-to-do” thoughts to something positive. Luckily, my friend Tess Marshall sent me a link the other day to Hannah Marcotti’s website. Hannah is an incredible storyteller, poet and vision-maker who urges me to create a cut-and-paste vision book and then fill it with positive, soul-stirring pictures and words.

I’m doing it! Because one of the tenets of my life is the line from Field of Dreams: “If we build it, they will come.”

So, I’ll keep writing and visioning and believing. THAT is my passion.  What is your passion and how do you use it to overcome compulsive, perhaps addictive, thought patterns?

P.S. The photo accompanying this post reflects my belief in the abundance of life. Just as this tree has a seeming unending number of branches, so too do we have an unending supply of abundance in our lives–if we’re willing to see and believe.

Photo by jemolesky

Don’t Keep Your Dreams in a Bucket–Live Now!

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Following is a guest post by Rachel Heslin

Back when I worked for an organization affiliated with the local school district, my boss would hold annual team-building retreats.

Unlike some of the clichéd corporate “team-building” that’s had a bad rap for being superficial and boring, these retreats were small and intimate and truly did help those of us who worked at different school sites get to know each other better. There were fun little ice-breakers and silly games that lead to honest sharing and discussion with some wonderful people about how we help those whose lives we touch.

During one of these retreats, the very last “assignment” was to write a list of 5 things we wanted to do before we died.

I was surprised to discover that I had no desire to participate.

These so-called “bucket lists” sound really great

You think of all these amazing things you’d like to accomplish then make plans to actually do them. It can bring a sense of adventure and expanded possibilities to your life, and who wouldn’t want that?

It’s not that I have done everything I want to do, even though, on paper, I actually have done a lot. And there are most definitely still a lot of things I’d like to experience! The reason I didn’t want to write out my Bucket List is that my focus has shifted from Doing to Being.

I am assuming that everyone reading this has seen the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. If you haven’t, please consider this a spoiler alert. In a nutshell, the plot is about a guy who is a really decent human being but life keeps throwing him curveballs that consistently derail his plans.

The first time I watched it, I found it to be one of the most depressing films I had ever seen. I couldn’t figure out why it was touted as being such a heart-warming movie, because from my perspective, all I could see was a guy who never had the chance to pursue his dreams. I found that idea heartbreaking.

And yet, years later, I get it.

Let go of expectations

A lot of what I have been doing the past couple of years is learning how to let go of expectations of what I think my life “should” look like. I like the idea of exploring, of seeking new experiences, of stretching beyond my comfortable boundaries.

But it seems to me that framing interests in the form of a Bucket List implies, “If I do these specific things, I will be happy.” Which also implies the reverse corollary: “If I don’t do these things, I will die unfulfilled.” And it is this potentially corrosive assumption that I dislike.

Because, like the journey George Bailey experienced in his own Wonderful Life as he looked back and saw with new eyes and an awakened heart the meaning of all he had previously thought pointless or wasted, what I have learned is that happiness isn’t about specific things you may or may not have done in your life.

It’s about how you live it.

Rachel S. Heslin has been fascinated since childhood by how we reconcile the thoughts in our head with the lives that we create. Her warmth and compassion are fueled by a delighted curiosity about ever-expanding possibilities, and she loves to help others identify and deeply connect with their true strength in order to have a powerful impact on the world. Her upcoming book, The Obstacle IS the Path, is scheduled for release in early 2015.  For more information, visit her at http://www.thefullnessofyourpower.com.

Photo courtesy of hotblack

True Vision Comes From the Mind’s Eye

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I don’t believe that a supreme being tests us–what would be the point?

I do believe that GUS (my conglomerate name for God, Universe and Spirit) wants only good for us.

I don’t believe that GUS conspires with a cosmic event scheduler who determines the situations and circumstances of our lives. Again, what’s the point? GUS doesn’t want us to be stressed.

I am inclined to believe that shit happens. Life happens. Sometimes it appears to happen randomly.  Sometimes it seems as if a lot of crappy stuff happens all at once.

Damn that cosmic event scheduler anyway!

The events aren’t as important as the lessons wrapped inside the events

My sweetie had eye surgery a couple of weeks ago to fix a detached retina. The surgeon didn’t give her many post-op instructions. He said that she could do most anything she wanted with the exception of flying anywhere or visiting high-altitude places for two months.

Then he casually mentioned that the sight wouldn’t return in her left eye for about one month.

You know, a month doesn’t seem like much when you’re coming off anesthesia and you’re simply glad you woke up!

It’s now been 17 days and her patience is wearing thin. Not only can she not see things in front of her, she has no peripheral sight either.

So, I’ve scared her by approaching on her left side. My foot has been stepped on. She’s turned and walked right into me.

She’s reached for something and knocked glass bottles into the bathtub. The quick trip we just took to Austin? Forget about glancing over your left shoulder into the passing lane; that ain’t happening.

A big lesson for her, as it would be for me, is asking for help and then not feeling guilty or upset with yourself when the help arrives.

The bigger picture lesson

There’s eyesight and there’s vision. My sweetie’s experience with eye surgery (She’s healing well, by the way!) has me thinking about maintaining the health of my inner vision.

On Saturday, Unity’s Daily Word was Vision. Love the timing! The affirmation was, I envision my highest good unfolding.

But this piece from the reading really caught my attention, “In my mind’s eye, I visualize overcoming a difficult situation and feel relief. I see a goal being reached and feel a sense of joy. I envision positive results and feel as if they have already manifested. ”

So back to the part about shit happens. Does that mean we’re powerless? Yes and no.

We are powerless over the circumstances that momentarily flatten us like a giant rolling medicine ball. But we are not powerless over our reaction to the circumstance. Heck, with all our positive visualizing, we may be able to alter the circumstances altogether!

Sound far-fetched? I invite you to try an experiment the next time you have a thing come up in your life, whether it’s surgery or an important meeting with your boss.

Visualize yourself already in the situation. See yourself as strong, confident and filled with trust for anyone else involved. Move further into the circumstances.

Tweet: Anytime your inner vision falters, return to “I am good enough. I am worthy. I am a person of faith.” #MindfulMonday @bheretoday

Let those beliefs absorb into your mind’s eye where true vision occurs. I’m willing to bet that the experiment goes along just fine. I’d like to hear about your results so be sure to share them here with our readers.

Don’t forget: I envision my highest good unfolding.

Namaste, my friends.

Photo courtesy of jdurham