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That’s Who I Used to Be

“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!

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Be Happy!

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  – Prov. 17:22

When I am gloomy and melancholy I seem to walk around in a black cloud.  I find that I attract other disheartened people to me and soon it’s as if we are marching along in a funeral procession.

To be permanently gloomy seems an insult to life.  After all, there are many people who are worse off than I am, and yet they manage to find the energy and love to reach out and express joy.  Why then, should I coexist in the gloomy minority?

Often, I find that my thoughts dictate my mood.  Most vividly, I recall the gloom that appeared when I used to do a great deal of acting out, leading a double life with half of it rooted in fear and shame.  It’s no wonder that I was “down”, and that I sometimes still carry this habit and attitude with me now, along my path of personal and spiritual growth.

Part of my growth is in the regaining of a sense of happiness that reaches into the deepest part of me.  I can hear myself laugh and learn to play.  What a tonic it is, to be happy!  Joy is a vital part of life and I want to feel it deep inside me and bring to my face a smile!

 

Suffering

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”  -E.H. Chapin-

 

When I am suffering I wondered this morning, what do I usually do with it?  Do I use it as a reason to abuse myself, shame myself or hate myself?  Do I turn to my former unhealthy behaviors from the pain that is part of the suffering?

When I was acting out, I suffered, I felt pain, but I usually did not understand why.  The suffering and pain that accompanies me along my path of personal and spiritual growth is quite different – it leads me to healing, or at least it will if I let it.  Sometimes I can turn my pain over to the Universe, trusting that my pain is there to help me grow, and that it will pass.  This can help me believe that my pain has a true purpose.

My feelings, no matter how difficult some of them are to feel, are supported by the compassion I am learning to feel myself and the compassion the Universe feels for me.  I can choose to look at my pain in the light of recovery.  It won’t last forever; I will survive!