Cultivating Hope

As I was watching the news this morning,

I heard a story of a stand off that led to the death of a canine officer.

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The robbery of a bank.

The battles over which bathroom to use

Boycott-Target-AFA

AND…

And the immature rantings of the presidential candidates.

I was DISGUSTED!

I felt overwhelmed with worry about the future of our nation.

Have you ever felt the same way.

INSTEAD of focusing our attention on all of this negativity, and allowing ourselves to become discouraged by all the discord we see in the world,

We changed our focus to the one change that changes everything:

CHANGING HOW WE LEAD.

We each hold in our very own hands the key to move beyond Hope and INTO transformational change by looking at life differently and making different choices.

We frequently use the
terms LEADERSHIP and MANAGEMENT 
interchangeably
as if they mean the same thing.

They don’t.

We lead people.

We manage things,

 

Leading is about our humanness,

Our relationships

And our interactions with each other.

Leaders are those who choose to make the shift from success – (acquiring and accumulating material things)

To significance,

And in doing so they naturally make a positive difference in everyone’s life.

 

Some people believe they have earned the right to be leaders.

Some are confident our experience or our education means we deserve to be leaders.

Some of us think we have inherited leadership from our ancestors.

Some people see themselves as having the personality or the ambition it takes to be a leader.

Some of us understand our leadership as coming from planning, or communication, or vision.

Some people want to lead by tapping into primal emotions, or by making a reasonable, logical case.

The leaders who inspire me,

whose examples I REMEMBER,

Cultivated in my heart a .

 

The leaders I am eager to follow are not merely angry at injustices,
or
experienced and qualified.
The leaders I want to follow appreciate where we want to go
and
how we can get there together.

 

The leaders who inspire me have manged to somehow persuade me there is reason to .

 

The leaders in my life who have made the biggest impact are those leaders who were convinced I had the potential to make a contribution, and they reminded me of that belief often.

They knew my dreams and aspirations, even when I wasn’t very clear about them myself.

They cared about what I was doing and how it would eventually make a real difference in significant ways.

The leaders who inspire me show me,

again and again,

where my hope meets the world’s needs.

The leaders I remember with the most fondness however, are my parents.

me and the folks

 

 

 

At a very young age they began to plant seeds in me that they KNEW I had the perfect soil for those seeds to grow in.
They were not worried that it may take a long time for those seeds to grow and produce, they planted and cultivated them anyway.
Like persistent farmers, my parents knew that the ability to cultivate hope would produce fruit for years to come in my life.

 

A few of the seeds that they planted in my heart were:

#1: Leading is about possibility and potential.

#2: Leadership is about creativity and innovation.

#3: A good leader knows that their role is about maintaining the well-being and fulfillment and generating common good in the people around them.

#4: A leader knows how to focuses on a purpose and meaning, by using others connection and contributions.

#5: A leader knows how to collaborate and cooperate to solve common problems.

#6: Leading is about diminishing our three universal fears of not having support, not being in control and not feeling adequate, so that everyone thrives and realizes their potential.

#7: A good leader understands that leading with love means that we respond with care, understanding and respect.

It is living your life with the belief that love makes a leader a leader.

Leading with love is how I choose to live my life.

Leading with love is a state of being.

It is a philosophy.

A unique approach to life that permeates all that we do.

Leading with love is an art that we should all practicing and attempt to master.

So, if you are in a leadership role, I ask you to consider just exactly what it is that you are standing for.

Be constantly aware of how you appear when you stand for your cause and how you show up.

If you are a “follower”, I ask you to consider if the leaders you follow are there to support the common good and help each and every one of us to be the best we can be and have the life we want.

In this way, if you make this choice, you too will be leading with love.

We can change the world by changing our personal beliefs about this one thing:

What makes a leader a leader?

EVERY SINGLE CHOICE –

who you work with,

how you vote,

what you buy

makes a difference.

Remember this criterion: Love makes a leader a leader.

A great leader will naturally care for and understand the people they serve.

They will show a genuine respect for everyone and everything in life.

So, let’s join hands during this tumultuous time and plant seeds that will begin to cultivate HOPE.

 

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PURGING OUR INNER JUNK

This morning I shared a few tips to get you motivated to begin your Spring Cleaning.

I keep thinking I should have added some good information on PURGING our INNER Junk as well.

So here is PART 2 of the Spring Clean Motivation.

 

I have noticed that some people (unfortunately, myself included at times.) seem to believe that the proof that you have a healthy spiritual life is your ease and ability to acquire things.

We seem to have a tendency to pray to receive specific objects, as if God were like a celestial Amazon or Netflix.

We would love to have a new car or move into a different house, and we pray to obtain it.

We begin to see spiritual life as like Santa Claus, giving us good gifts.

Have you ever found yourself attempting to bargain with God to give you more and in return you promise to release the old things that no longer serve your current purposes?

We rationalize that if we had more, we would be committed to using it wisely.

We promise that we will work hard and be more careful so that we will use our new abundance to strengthen spiritual life and set the example of how to live a TRULY ABUNDANT LIFE.

We have created a culture based in the spiritual potency of things, objects, possessions.

We live in a society that believes, in very practical ways, that whoever dies with the most toys wins.

No wonder we are warned to not put the love of money over the love of God.

 

Many of us act as though it is impossible to be either too thin or too rich.
We believe people with more wealth are blessed, while people are cursed when they have less.
But is that really the case?

Aren’t we also told to be content in all things. And to put our trust in the Lord, not our stuff?

Where did we get the idea that the things we have strengthen spiritual life.

I don’t think God hates rich people by any means, after-all Abraham was probably a billionaire.

Job was probably a millionaire.

David was also extremely wealthy.

And Solomon was a Gazillionaire.

So Obviously, God doesn’t NEED us to be poor. 

 

What he NEEDS is for us to have our hearts in the right frame in regards to money.

I guess that I see spiritual life differently than some people do.

I can’t help but notice that there are people without a lot of possessions who experience deep, sacred, strong spiritual life.

There are people who possess everything they could possibly need or want who feel spiritually empty.

 

I enjoy my things as much as most people.

For the most part,

The things I have strengthen spiritual life in me by raising questions.

For example:

How can these things help me grow into more depth?

Do I really need that?

Why did we get this in the first place?

Spiritual life is not about acquiring more things, but transforming the ways we relate to what we have.

Do your things strengthen spiritual life, or do they get in the way?

If they are getting in the way, I urge you to re-examine your attachment to your stuff and ask God to help strengthen your relationship to Him.

PURGING takes URGING!!!

As the spring season begins, a naturally occurring phenomenon seems to take place in nearly every home.

SPRING CLEANING!

So today, I am going to include several tips for making life easier this spring.

My job is to clean up after 200 kids every day, and my motto at work is:

Work Smarter.. NOT Harder.

And over the past ten years as a Custodian I have found several ways to make the job easier and today I will share a few with you.

Lets start in the kitchen.

 

BATHROOM: BACTERIA BUSTING!

 

PURGING: This job takes URGING!

I have read that one of the worst things you can do when purging is to touch each object. Experts say this creates attachment and makes it harder to let go of your stuff.

SO how do you PURGE without touching?

You CAN’T!

SO here is how I deal with this issue.

I attack one closet at a time. When the closet is in my kids rooms, I make them stand there with me and we set a timer.

We have 5 minutes to go through their clothes and decide of the are KEEP/TOSS/ or DONATE.

Then we move onto their drawers.

By setting the timer we create urgency and this seems to keep us from reminiscing about the special times in that outfit.

We do the same thing with toys, books, and craft supplies.

So My tip for purging is to set a timer, and once a box or bag is filled up, SEAL IT and don’t ever open it again.

TOSS MEANS TOSS!

AND

DONATE MEANS DONATE!

 

I hope these tips have helped motivate you to get your own house in order this Spring.

I encourage you to use the comment section to share your very own tips on SPRING CLEANING.

Have a GREAT WEEK!

 

 

 

 

 

The Struggle Continues

Have you ever wanted to SCREAM when you were talking to someone about a particular struggle that you are having

AND…

They tell you that everything will be okay, “You just have to hang in there?”

People tell us struggling builds character.

People tell us struggle makes us better leaders, better people.

They tell us struggling is good for us.

People tell us struggling has lessons for us, lessons we cannot learn any other way.

They say struggle reveals valuable truths about perseverance and how much we value what we value.

 People tell us struggling helps us become stronger.

 

But I can’t help but ask myself these questions:

 

Could we become stronger without struggling?

Could we ever dream of becoming a leader without first learning to struggle?

What would a person be like who never struggled?

If struggling helps us become stronger, does the lack of struggling make us weaker?

Even Christ himself came here and experienced struggle!

So what is it EXACTLY, that we are supposed to learn from our struggles?

Maybe the answer lies in this powerful quote from Maya Angelou.

BUT…

If we are being honest…

Most of us DO NOT see a potential struggle as a positive opportunity.

struggle

 

We may say we appreciate a good competition…

But  I think what we really enjoy is winning.

 

For most of us, a “GOOD” struggle is one from which we emerge victorious.

 

For most of us, When we are looking forward to our future…
The thing we are dreaming about is NOT our next struggle,

BUT…

We are dreaming of the day when we can finally put struggling behind us.

 

 

With all that being said however, I have to admit that the leaders who inspire me have learned how to appreciate the gifts of struggling.

They work hard to be their best, and even harder to learn the lessons struggling has for them.

They see a “GOOD” struggle as the one, that has somehow managed to teach them a valuable lesson.

And then a good leader will immediately begin to put those lessons to work for them in their own lives.

The leaders who inspire us have shown us how struggles shape us.

They help us face struggles that may seem insurmountable.

They help us find the strength our struggles have built into us.

They show us why and how we can embrace our struggles.

Without struggles, we would not be the people we are today.

Here is one truth I have learned in my own life:

Even if struggle may not seem necessary,

It’s lesson is almost ALWAYS helpful.

Can you look back over your life and identify those pivotal moments when struggle changed who you were for the better?

The moment that changed everything for me was when I got the phone call to come home because something really bad had just happened.

The moment I walked in my house and saw my son’s lifeless body laying on his bed,

Was the moment
That life as I knew it ended
And a brand new world began.

In this new world, I now know how fragile life can be,

So I love deeply and with passion and purpose.

I don’t take those little moments with my loved ones for granted,

Because I have learned the hard way how quickly they can be gone forever.

This particular struggle showed me that I could survive the loss of one of the most precious treasures in life:

 

victor

My own child.

I found my strength,

my courage,

my compassion,

and my faith

during this difficult time in my life.

As I look back at that sad time in my life,

I wish I could just sit with my sweet boy one more time and tell him how much his death taught me.

I would give anything to have him back with me.

But I know that is not possible,

So I have learned how to have the next best thing.

I have learned how to take the worst tragedy of my life and create miracles out of it.

In that way, I can honor the beautiful person that Victor was,

And hopefully in the process help others to see that there is life after the death of a loved one.

 

I hate having to struggle.

We all do!

It is up to us to find the lessons in our struggles and then use those lessons to improve our lives.

 

 

 

How can I change the world?

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what you must do to create a life that changes the world?

How does a person become an inspiration to others and thereby become someone that humanity remembers for generations?

 

Do you have to invent something that changes the world?

Or write some brilliant piece of literature?

Paint a work of art?

What is it that makes a person memorable?

The reason I am asking these questions is because my teenage daughter asked me these questions the other day.
I have spent a great deal of time formulating an answer for her.
I wanted to give her an answer that would be of some help to her in the future.

The short answer to her question would be:

The Great Secret of creating a happy Life filled with Inspiration is Becoming a master of  your thoughts, actions, health and spirituality.

 

I have given the LONG answer in 44 tips.

Why 44, you ask?

Because this month I will turn 44, so I wanted to honor the years of my very own life with the answer to my sweet daughter.

#1: By overcoming your tendencies toward indulgence and bad habits through dedication and self control.

#2: By strengthening your willpower.

#3: By transforming your disposition of character each and every day.

#4: By deliberately doing good things and being helpful to all.

#5: By respecting the life around you and showing compassion to all of nature.

#6: By gaining understanding that all life is connected.

#7: By recognizing that thoughts are manifestations and creations.

#8: By learning from what the past was and what the future can be.

#9: By becoming humble and expressing gratitude for all the blessings you receive.

#10: By loving GOD, yourself, and others.

#11: By becoming wise instead of smart.

#12: By keeping your brain mentally stimulated.

#13: By working in a job that you love to do.

#14: By learning from the innocence of children.

#15: By feeling and connecting with the light that flows forever from your heart.

#16: By having so much faith that you have no room for fear in your mind.

#17: By searching for and FINDING the kingdom of Heaven within.

#18: By becoming kind and loving to plants and animals.

#19: By working as hard in your relationships as you do in your job.

#20: By providing selfless service to others.

#21: By thinking about other people more than you think about yourself.

#22: By talking less and listening more.

#23: By giving more than you receive.

#24: By listening to your body and providing it with clean food and water.

#25: By understanding the divine power within.

#26: By forgiving people who have done you harm.

#27: By living in the present moment.

#28: By following your passions and destiny.

#29: By living as if today is your last day.

#30: By understanding that anger destroys peace, neutralizes love, creates hatred, and causes enemies.

#31: By recognizing, controlling, and releasing your anger efficiently.

#32: By doing things that make you laugh.

#33: By hugging people heart to heart.

#34: By reducing your attachment to material things.

#35: By never criticizing or blaming others, either to their face or behind their back.

#36: By never speaking an unkind word.

#37: By not stealing or telling lies.

#38: By always working on methods of self-improvement.

#39: By recognizing and controlling the ego.

#40: By acknowledging your mistakes and trying not to make the same ones in the future.

#41: By not bragging about how much money or possessions you have.

#42: By spending time each and every day in prayer.

#43: By honoring your parents and the lessons they instilled in your life.

#44: By realizing that all of the above can be accomplished with the power and practice of love!

 

Hopefully a few of these tips will make it onto her top 10 list, where she will choose to use them daily to create a life for herself that is memorable and inspiring to others.

I hope that you too will find a few of these tips helpful in creating your own beautiful life!

The STONES in our SOUL

I have been dealing with an issue in my life that involves people who are very close to me.

They are behaving in ways that in my opinion are shameful and embarrassing.

I have allowed myself to become very upset at times over their behavior.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation?

If you have, then I think you are really going to enjoy today’s post!

Yesterday, as I was talking with Jeff, I (probably for the first time in weeks) actually heard how I sounded as I was complaining about this situation again.

And I DID NOT like the way I sounded at all!

I sounded very petty and judgmental.

I sounded shallow and mean.

I did what I have learned to do whenever I find myself on the verge of jumping down the rabbit hole.

I took a step back!

I asked myself some deep questions.

Is this situation REALLY any of my business?
Who am I to judge another?
Why is this bothering me so much?

Here are the answers to all of those questions and more:

The only way to be free of troublesome people is to be free of the part of you that’s out looking for trouble!

Freedom WILL come to you the moment you choose to pay more attention to the part of you that is divine than the part of you that is upset.

As long as we have been on this planet, wise teachers have shared great truths about the real cause of the pain in our lives.

And all of them, with little exception have pointed in exactly the opposite direction from where we’ve always tended to look.

According to all the great teachers…

The enemy is not what we think it is.

The real adversary in our lives,

That proverbial thorn in our side that leaves us aching and angry, and then sends us looking for someone to blame,

is not what we have always believed.

It is not something “out there.”

It’s something “in here”: an intimate enemy.

We can each name a hundred things that we think is the enemy, but the enemy is not:

  • a friend who betrays you
  • a shaky economic system
  • a threatening boss
  • some stubborn habit
  • that rude driver
  • a computer that won’t work

These things are all conditions that we must deal with.

But the real enemy is much closer to home.

Everyone senses what that intimate enemy is as soon as he or she hears the expression, “Closer to Home”.
We have all known that self-tormenting voice of defeat that rings loud and clear within our very own minds.

No one is as critical of us as we are of ourselves.

We have all been in a situation where we are being hit from all sides by differing opinions and ideas.

We have all been tossed and turned by those conflicting voices that send us first one way and then another, and finally make us doubt every decision.

No one sabotages our plans and happiness as we, ourselves, do.

No wonder none of our victories are permanent.

Oh, we may have “fixed” that enemy for a time.

Perhaps a heart-to-heart talk eased our anxiety about that relationship,

OR an especially good job done at the office made that employer finally take notice;

,

“fixing” that person outside does

 to “fix” the problem inside.

That unhappy nature, that lies dormant in us all,
is just sitting there waiting,
like a snake ready to strike at the first opportunity to create more drama in our lives.

It has to.

That is the nature of the darker side of our personalities.

I read a story a while back that will help to explain this better.

 

“One day a man was walking around his property when a stone slipped unnoticed inside the sole of his shoe.

The stone was just big enough to set the man slightly off balance, and as he walked across an uneven area of ground, he slipped.

Annoyed, but confident of his actions, the man immediately “fixed” the problem by smoothing out the ground with a rake and shovel, but the stone lodged in his sole continued to cause him a great deal of pain.

Proceeding with his walk, and squinting his eyes against the growing discomfort, he failed to see the low-hanging branch of a tree ahead of him.

Sure enough, he walked right into it and bumped his nose!

Greatly irritated, he “fixed” this new problem by cutting down the tree.

More annoyed than ever, and unable to think clearly because of the now persistent pain, he got angry with his hired man for letting all these dangerous conditions exist in the first place.

The obvious “fix” for this problem was to fire him!

It is clear to us as observers of this man’s story that the way he perceived his situation ensured that there would never be an end to his problems and “fixes.”

Because the problems he “fixed” were only secondary outcomes.

He never addressed the real cause at all.

real problem

 

 

 

 

 

Did this story strike a chord with you?

 

I know it sure did with me!

If we are being really honest we will all have to admit that, just like the man in the story,  we’ve been working very hard to correct conditions in our lives that are really no more than secondary outcomes, and not the real problem at all.

 

We fight a daily war to protect ourselves against enemies that, in fact, never are responsible for the pain we feel.

The resolution of ALL our difficulties lies in correctly identifying…

AND

then eliminating the

“STONE IN OUR SOUL.”

But in order for this to be possible, you must  be willing to embark on a journey of self-discovery that examines many hidden reaches of your being.

You have to uncover the REAL issue that is causing your pain.

Image result for look inside your own heart

In order to find relief from the stone, you need to stop looking outside your “shoe” for the source of the pain.

You are going to have to take the shoe off and uncover the truth.

And sometimes the truth can be stinky!

The Wars We Wage Part 2

Last Friday I wrote a post about an issue I had with my youngest child.

Today I would like to dive deep into finding the solution to stopping the “INNER WARS on our HEART”.

Jeff and I have been participating in a walking contest with some of his co-workers.

The goal is to walk at least 20,000 steps a day.

When we decided that we were going to accept this challenge, we were both pretty unsure about our ability to actually walk that many steps in a day.

But…

Not only have we been able to accomplish that amount, we have exceeded it a few times.

So what does this have to do with WINNING THE WAR?

 

Just like Jeff and I didn’t think we would be able to reach the goal of 20,000 steps,

Many of us don’t believe we can stop the WAR on our HEARTS.

So I will break down the process that I use when I find myself STUCK in a negative state of mind into 3 STEPS and WALK you through the process necessary to change your mindset from NEGATIVE to POSITIVE.

 One sure way to tell if you’re negative about something that’s happened to you… is when you can’t stop thinking about it.

You find yourself constantly reliving some idea or past memory that simply won’t stop.

Make no mistake here:

Any thought about an past event that you can’t get to stop running through your mind… is running a race of its own!

Learn to Dismiss Self-Wrecking Thoughts. 

How often do you find yourself ruminating over some past mistake?

How much time do you waste painfully reliving how you initially fell down — either a moment ago or ten years back?

The pain you are feeling when you are reliving that painful moment from the past is actually nothing more than regret that the event ever took place at all!

Ask yourself this POWERFUL question:  What on earth compels me to wrestle with Imaginary Mental Ghosts?

After all, once something has happened in our life — that moment is over;

it’s gone,

done with,

finished.

Clearly, the past ACTUALLY no longer exists in the here and Now.

we have to ask ourselves,
Given that this knowledge is above dispute,
How can something from our own past feel as real and as alive as it does to us in the present moment?

The answer to that question holds the secret to living in a world that is filled with possibility and joy instead of sorrow and dread.

So let’s explore the answer together right now:

Within our mind lingers an untold number of chemically and electrically stored images of the way things were.

These mental pictures include complete scenes of every experience from our past.

 AND…

All of the Hopes and dreams that are created from pleasurable images of achievements yet to come.

These  images create a sort of SECRET STOREHOUSE where all of the sensations that accompanied them in the moment of their creation is kept.

Each one is laden with its original emotional content that is standing at the ready to pour into us each time we revisit that particular memory.

 

The only reason we ever find ourselves caught in a psychological storm is because we have been drawn,
without knowing it,
into identifying with —
actually merging with —
mental images from our past.
These images are pre-loaded psychological time capsules —
with punishing thoughts and feelings
that flood into us the instant we reconnect with them.

These memories are invisible,

Fully capable of delivering psychically palpable blows as the memories pour through us.

As the memories begin to punish us, we are unconsciously trained to try and resist them —

All of which makes us feel as though we are trapped in a storm about which we can do nothing other than try to escape its lashing!

That is why it is so IMPORTANT that you  resisting your feelings.

Let them flow freely through you.

Don’t try to block, stop, or alter them in any way.

Just Feel your Feelings.

Because once you invite them into your mind, and acknowledge that they are just a ghost from your past, you will never again need to endure the pounding of those stored up feelings.

 No storm of mental torment or dark, emotional suffering belongs to you.

Any wave of Resentment,

Anxiety,

or fear

that comes to wash you away

IS nothing more than a kind of psychic residue left over from who you once were.

Not only do these negative states have nothing in common with your true nature,

They cannot enter into your present moment once you have learned to identify the ghosts from your past and the residual feelings that they carry.

We cannot be punished by any painful thought when we are grounded in the present moment.

 

The reason for this perfect protection is as pure as it is simple:

Psychological storms are powerless to hurt us with their destructive forces when we are aware of their traps.

Once they have been exposed for the NOTHINGNESS that they are, They no longer have a way to remain in our minds.

From this moment forward, whenever some storm of dark thoughts appears in us…

That we must neither run from it, nor stand there and hate what we think is happening.

Instead we simply need to

And bring ourselves back into the Now and quietly,

deliberately,

drop any image that our mind plants within us to justify the brewing conflict.

Learning to dismiss negative thoughts that trip us up and attempt to ruin our chances of winning the race to be happy takes dedicated inner work.

I am here to testify that we ALL possess the powers necessary to make the victory possible.
Your True God-Like Nature already dwells beyond the reach of self-wrecking storms.

So don’t be afraid to take on the challenge.

Join it;

begin Now!

Because you CAN do Hard things!

The Wars we Wage

Today my little ten year old daughter had a situation at school.

 

Since I work at the same school she attends, I am fortunate enough to hear about these situations almost as soon as they happen.

Her teacher came to me and told me that she had been creating a disruption in class and had stubbornly refused to do her work for over an hour.

SO, when the teacher had finally had enough of it, and punished my little one… my little sweet child screamed and began to cry.

The teacher immediately came and found me and told me what had happened.

So TOGETHER, the teacher and I found her in my office crying.

I could see the disappointment on her face when she realized that I was on her teachers side this time…NOT HERS.

So the thing that I wanted to point out by telling this story is the fact that we all seem to WAGE WAR ON OURSELVES from time to time.

And, I have to stop and ask myself WHY DO WE DO THAT?

Several years ago I realized that I was the biggest problem in my life.

 

I was the one who was creating situations for myself that were painful, and that I somehow felt that I deserved that kind of life.

Since then, (THANKFULLY) I have learned to stop WAGING WAR on my own heart.

On a daily basis, I pause, put my hand on my chest and whisper,
“I will not make war against my own heart.”

I have many opportunities to practice, (as I make many mistakes.)

 

Each time, I want to jump on myself.
Each time, I choose: do I judge myself or let it go?

This is an act of courage for me, as it goes against ingrained habits of beating myself up.

But I have come to understand that beating myself up only makes the problem bigger.

This understanding has been an opening for me,

An embracing of all of life;

An embracing of all of me.

It is unconditional love.

It’s not easy.

The mind loves to judge.

To label.

To should all over us – “You shouldn’t have.”

The mind loves to reach for perfection – and that includes self perfection – because it’s trying to find ground, a place where we feel enough.

Our culture teaches that perfection is the key to inner peace.

 

If only we’re spiritual enough,

thin enough,

wealthy enough,

pretty enough,

successful enough…

then, then we’ll arrive.

It is false hope.

One of my favorite quotes is from the poet Danna Faulds.

She says, “Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.”

To stop the war, we need to learn how to let go.

The first step in letting go is to practice unconditional love – loving ourselves as is.

It is a declaration of self –

I am enough.

Right now.

BUT REMEMBER THIS: It’s not unconditional love if it’s conditional.

So after my daughter had calmed down a little bit, I helped her to understand the many ways that SHE had created the situation in her classroom today.

SHE had made choices that ended up getting her in trouble.

I then reminded her that her decision to misbehave today did NOT mean that she was a bad child. It simply meant that she had mad a bad choice.

I am always reminding my kids to forgive themselves when they make a mistake because if they hold onto that mistake and ruminate about it for days, or weeks, then it becomes a defining moment in their life… and NOT in a good way.

By forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes, we free up the space to LEARN from our choices, and hopefully make different ones in the future.

 

This has been my path to healing 20 years of abuse and self hatred…

Loving myself unconditionally.

This is what I most want for you;

For my children;

For every being.

For years, I hated, blamed, and shamed those tender parts of me that didn’t fit my definition of perfect:

My yo yoing weight,

My preoccupation with my weight,

Money troubles,

Self doubt,

Judgment,

Jealousy;

The way I separate myself from others as a form of self protection….

 

The parts that make me feel like I don’t belong because I’m often trying to keep my head above water when others seem to be swimming laps around me.

And yet something wiser has begun to whisper to me:

 

It is this voice that calls me home:

It is this voice that has taught me these lessons:
Love your tender humanity.
Love your imperfection.
Love your sensitive soul.
No more will I hate you.
No more will I blame you.
I will care for you.
I will hold you kindly.
With this perspective, I hold loosely onto that list of “faults.”
I care for them with wisdom.
And I detach a bit – I’m not the sum of my challenges; nor my mistakes.
Why should I feel ashamed for being human; for needing love and forgiveness like everyone else?

I breathe and let go.

I exhale and feel space.

I come home.

I now KNOW that my heart is big enough.

Swami Kripalu said that each time “we judge ourselves we break our own hearts.”

So just like I told my sweet little daughter today, “Learn from your mistake, but don’t hate yourself for it.

Love yourself enough to make choices that will bring you happiness and honor.”

So this is my vow to myself and one that I would love to share with you…

When the voice of self judgment arises, I forgive it.

I Forgive everything.

Because that is the one and only way to truly find the path to love and stop the WAR against ourselves.