“What we love we shall grow to resemble.” — Bernard of Clairvaux
There comes a day when we realize that looking for external solutions to our problems just won’t work. How vain has been the time and energy spent looking for the perfect mate or partner, the perfect job, the perfect life. So instead, we start to search for internal solutions; we begin to change ourselves.
To change ourselves is a different process from controlling ourselves, which cannot be done. But when we start to give up the control, the rigidity, the perfectionism, the self-will, we begin to change. This change seems like a miracle because it is! It’s an incredible gift from the Universe, who loves us beyond our imagining. The more we change our focus from the external to the internal, the more we’re able to accept ourselves. We become humble with each small choice to accept ourselves as we are. We become whole as we let that choice be enough for today.
Are you living within yourself or outside of yourself today? To keep the focus within requires self-acceptance.
“In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.” — Rilke
Too often we imagine life as sort of a magic carpet ride taking us wherever we wish to go. Perhaps we’re watching television and an ad hooks into some fantasy we have in our mind and convinces us the world is at our beck and call. We are omnipotent again, just as we were in infancy – “Your Majesty the Baby!”
But what would such a “magical” life yield in terms of change and growth? Why would we even bother to strive if we could have everything we want or crave? We would be the same at age fifty as we were at thirty and fifteen and five months – “Your Majesty the Baby!”
We need change and for the most part a majority of us are able to welcome it, even if change means some difficult growing pains. With a little guidance from the Universe, we can strive toward an abundance of goodness. We are omnipotent, but we are not alone. We are part of a human community, and we can be in touch with that Power which is beyond ourselves. That is the real miracle!
- The Innocence of Children (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Ego Ideal – on The Personality Concept (socyberty.com)
- Could An Omnipotent Being Prove It? (juliansanchez.com)
The Wiccan celebration and ritual for Imbolc is fast approaching February 2nd. Imbolc brings the end of winter and of course a time of great change toward spring. Spring, even here in the desert southwest means new, rebirth, regeneration. I find that I often feel uncomfortable with the new because it causes me to reach out and expand my vision. This may be painful and I don’t like the pain that comes with change.
My life at times is cozy and gives me a curious kind of comfort and reassurance. When lonely or anxious or hopeless, I have at times turned toward unhealthy behaviors. I am used to it and don’t need to do much to keep on going in the same old way.
Suddenly, I have seen the error of my ways. Discovery, disgrace, legal issues, isolation, despair, the loss of a partner, the contempt of friends – all possible consequences of that cozy, complacent turn to my old behavior. Yes, I may have awakened one day to find that my old behavior ruined my life! This awareness has caused me to begin reaching out for the hard process of change.
Making difficult change is painful, but that pain is preferable to the agony caused by the inevitable outcome of unhealthy behaviors.
- Change is Painful (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Embracing the Change (mike.kaply.com)
- Enabling And The One You Love (psychologytoday.com)
“Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind.” –John Spalding
There are some people who knew all too well the person I was – before I started to focus on becoming a more emotionally healthy person through personal growth. I know that a person can’t do the kind of work I have on myself and remain unchanged. However, for whatever reason, these people cling to the toxic images in their minds of my former self. I know that each day brings more depth to my spirituality, and with that comes change.
A friend of mine once shared with me that he begins each day by saying out loud, “O.K. God, surprise me!” Although each day brings new challenge, the one thing it won’t bring is perfection. I know that each day I can expect a mixed bag of experiences and all kinds of emotions to match.
If I begin to feel discouraged because of someone’s inability or refusal to see how different I have become, or even negative about life in general, I cultivate an attitude of gratitude by looking back at how far I have come. I remind myself, its progress I’m looking for in myself, not perfection. There’s always something to be grateful for, including the ability to be grateful!
- The Priceless Gift of Personal Growth (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- “A Letting Go” for the Holidays (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Damn Heels Hurt! When In Pain, Who Knows Best Where it Hurts? (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- S.T.A.R. A Tool to Choose Healthy Alternatives (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- For All This We Can Be Grateful and Joyful (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
“Asking for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” — Anne Wilson Schaef
I’ve received a lot of help lately. Most from my dearest friend and some from people I never imagined I would receive so much of their time or efforts. I don’t like to ask. I’ll spend more energy talking about how hard it is for me to ask, than the energy I’d expend simply asking for what I need.
Many of us may have grown up in isolation and with shame being constantly reinforced the way I did. Help began to feel like a luxury reserved for other people. I thought I didn’t deserve it. I thought I should be able to handle everything. I failed to realize just when I needed help, because I’m so accustomed to living life in a “crisis mode.” I tell myself that my concerns and problems aren’t important enough to bother somebody with. Then, when life becomes really complicated, I blame myself for feeling overwhelmed and almost unable to act.
But we all deserve help. We deserve all the help that we may want and need, whether it’s a ride to an appointment or for someone’s shoulder to cry on when we’re sad or upset. We are worth the time, effort and concern of others – not because any of us is different, but because we are the same.
- I Feel As Though I’ve Lost My Way In This World (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- How does it make you feel? (jennasauber.com)
- The Kindness Blotter: A Spate of Compliments and Helping Hands (fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com)
A SYMBOL OF HOPE
A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory and beauty
belong to our world
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed…
We feel lucky to have seen it.
— Author Unknown
Butterflies have always been thought of by me as a symbol of great hope. This photo, which was recently posted by a new Facebook friend of mine, reminded me of that fact. With butterflies now fresh in my mind, and eager to share the butterfly as a symbol for my readers, I am including this image because I feel it best reflects the unlimited potential that is available to all of us.
This image can serve for us all as a reminder of our unlimited potential through the love and support we can give to one another each day – to the best of our ability. Reconnecting with the butterfly is one step toward reclaiming happiness. I am setting out to free myself from depression and negative thinking. I will do all that is necessary. I will do what is healthy so that like the butterfly I can gracefully maneuver my way through the rest of my days.
- Butterflies ‘take turns courting’ (news.bbc.co.uk)
- Creating Happiness, Freedom, Butterflies and Splashing Colors in 2011 (positiveprovocations.com)
I Will Continue to Fulfill My Commitments to Peace and Grace
“Can such thing be, and overcome us like a summer’s cloud, without our special wonder?” — William Shakespeare
To overcome my feeling of being lost, alone and afraid; overwhelmed by the challenges I now face, I am going through my “tool belt” of coping mechanisms that I have added along life’s way. To reclaim my ability to take part again in life, I have discovered that I must reclaim the gift of commitment. I have many personal commitments: living life fully and authentically, my growing spirituality, working on my special relationships with my closest friends and sharing my experiences of personal discovery and growth through my writing. I have come to realize that it is a moment of wonder when we have something in our lives that requires the best we have to give.
During times of doubt or struggle, I find myself questioning what I’ve gotten myself into. But an activity or a person to which we give ourselves wholly and freely is evidence of a force greater than ourselves at work in our life. I believe my commitments are something the Universe has asked me to do and I know absolutely and without a doubt that the Universe will help me take care of meeting all of them.
Money, support and the energy and enthusiasm needed will come as well and at the perfect time. Although it may seem that things may not be going my way, I can trust that the Universe is giving to me all that I need so that my lessons can be learned and tasks can be accomplished. This knowledge and belief helps to keep my spirits up. Each day I have before me a wonderful opportunity to fulfill my commitments in peace and grace. I am being looked after.
- You Are Wonderful and I Love You (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Your Authentic Self (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- A Moment of Awareness is a Moment of Grace (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Coming into Balance (psychologytoday.com)
Keep a Clearer Vision of the Simpler Things in Life.
“No objects of value…are worth risking the priceless experience of waking up one more day” – Jack Smith
Last night was spent in long, deeply personal conversation with my dearest friend Noah about his recent eviction which resulted in his loss of some furniture and possessions which were so important and even sentimental in their value to him. We talked about all the “stuff” I move with each time I changed locations, relationships and lives. Sadly, my friend lost some treasures, partly because his friends, who committed their help or use of their vehicle, simply didn’t show.
During my own experience with eviction more than five years ago, I was frantic to get everything out and safely into the moving truck before the Constable would arrive to “lock us out”, leaving behind whatever wasn’t out when the deadline arrived. I was fortunate to have been able to get every single possession out and into the moving truck. Most everything I own has a story; Nana’s silverware she received from her parents as a wedding gift in 1939, the crystal stemware Nana’s parents received on their wedding date some 25 years earlier in Poland, artwork and furniture all associated with family or a close friend.
Preparing for an in-state move soon to Tucson, I have once again evaluated the possessions I still plan on hauling around. Pared down significantly, I am realizing there were things I simply didn’t have to have, or that there were others who I knew could make better use of a certain item.
Every now and then, it’s a good thing to strip life down at least closer to the essentials, maybe even the bare necessities. It opens our eyes to the opportunity to see the world anew and with a fresh start.
In the past, I wasn’t ready nor was I prepared to take extreme measures or act impulsively to realize the validity, the importance of being in touch with the simple things in life. I have learned however, when one becomes too involved with “Big Boy Toys”, luxuries, or “things” that give to a busier or more stressful life, we are buffering ourselves against reality and exist and not live.
The early morning sunrise, a walk with the dogs, reading the morning paper, watching the evening news and to bed right after, the taste of Trish’s Lasagna brought on her last visit, the smell of a barbecue on my patio, and a beautiful full moon – these are the most simple gifts of life that add texture and bring genuine thrill to life. What many of us in this world need is the wonder and joy that comes with a simpler, healthier life. I am tired – finally tired of turmoil and clutter. I’m going to have a much clearer vision with the simple things in life.
- When In Doubt Simplify (zenhabits.net)
- How to Simplify Your Life in 10 Steps (workawesome.com)
- 2011: Simplify (thehappyhousewife.com)
- living with clutter when it’s not yours (ask.metafilter.com)