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A Symbol of Hope ~ The Butterfly

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.


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I Am Being Looked After

 

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.


 

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For Every Person and Unhealed Relationship

 

 

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“For every person in your past with whom you feel unhealed but unable to go back and resolve, there is someone standing before you offering you the opportunity to practice the healing you believe you missed.” — Alan Cohen


Wisdom Comes From Within

Learn From Your Mistakes

Wisdom rises upon the ruins of the folly.” – Thomas Fuller

I have gained knowledge from other people, but I have learned that wisdom comes from within.  We all must live our own lives, profiting from our blunders along the way and learning from our experiences.  Nobody can do these things for us.

Part of living is making mistakes.  Some of us have to keep on making the same mistakes until we suddenly have a discovery (an “Aha!” moment) and meet a new perspective on ourselves and our actions.  I often feel as though I am never going to be ready for the next step – and then suddenly I find myself taking the next step and I realize I have come through.  I think I’m not going to make it; then I make a leap forward.

Nothing needs to be lost or wasted in our lives.  All of our mistakes and idiocy teach us hard lessons if we are attentive and brave.  My craziness has helped me to see more clearly and gain insight into myself and others. From my experience and mistakes I find wisdom and peace.

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The Gifts of Peace, Simplicity and Reality this Holiday Season

“Celebration is a forgetting in order to remember. A forgetting of ego, of problems, of difficulties. A letting go.”        – Matthew Fox

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I find holidays to be a real test of my personal growth. I had always been glad I didn’t have to face the holidays alone. Christmas was always spent with my best friend Keith, my sister and her partner. Until this year I was never as acutely aware of how hard as it has to be especially hard for those that have no one.  This is a good time to take care of myself and it is best to be honest, rather than jolly.  For those of us that struggle during this time of year, we can refuse to lose ourselves in old behaviors. We can focus on finding other healthy people to be around.

This holiday season has already offered me the chance to reflect on the impact my mental health issues have had on my relationships and how much sharing these special times with others really means to me.  I am also able to appreciate what I already have, and to better recognize my blessings because I have known the pain and deprivation of my illness.

Peace, simplicity, and reality all are ours this holiday season.  By letting go of expectations, and by choosing an attitude of hope and gratitude, we will soon come to know that there is much more to celebrate than we anticipated.

Get Rid of Fear and Anxiety – Be O.K. with YOU

“Perhaps the most important thing we can undertake toward the reduction of fear is to make it easier for people to accept themselves; to like themselves.”  — Bonaro Overstreet

I was going about my life when suddenly; I became aware that I was feeling anxious, uncomfortable and insecure.  But what I feel underneath is afraid.  Even when we’re not conscious of it, fear can drain our concentration, deplete our confidence and manifest behaviors that aren’t typical of us.

Everyone feels afraid; it’s a part, even an affirmation of being human.  Fear can be a healthy, energizing response in some situations – such as when we take a risk or strike out in a new direction.

When we’re fearful, it can be reassuring to remember that, in the end, success or failure isn’t what’s important.  If, in any situation, we do the best we can and learn from our experiences, then we’ve nothing to fear.  Still, when we’re feeling fear, it’s important to know that the people who love us will go on loving us.  Sometimes, we may just need to hear someone say, “I know you can do it; I have faith in you.”  Then, fearful or not, we move forward, our fear balanced by faith and our willingness to try.


What Are We So Afraid Of?

Anxiety, Fear, Ignorance…

 

“Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.” — Marie Curie

Fear usually comes from ignorance and it paralyzes usually only as long as we stay in the dark.  For many of us, fear is often free-floating anxiety that overtakes us inexplicably and pushes us toward unaccountable actions.

Anxiety and fear have causes, and if we are brave enough we can explore them and put the bogeyman to rest.  We can’t always do it alone however, because we need to hear some reaction to our insights and hunches about where our fear comes from.  We can often find our true selves in the shared struggles of another person, or in the words given back as we tell others about our fears and hopes.  Most of us have been alone too long with our feelings trapped inside.

I have striven toward understanding, however long and painful the journey may be.  For those like me, we need to remember as we go that we are accompanied by good and loyal companions.  Every step we take can be a yard won back from fear as we become familiar with the new and uncharted territory.  Think and speak your way out of ignorance and fear, accepting the companionship of others along the way.


I Am a Vessel Containing Life

vessel-of-life

“What is the deepest loss you have suffered?  If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine… And if the earthly no longer knows your name, whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.  To the flashing water say: I am.”  — Rilke

It’s not that I want the Universe to change everything about me or remake me to perfection. (OK, maybe I do). It’s not that I wish I was other than who I am, some days I even like who I am.  It’s more that I want to have faith in myself, a deep-down, constant faith that steadies me.  I want to have roots deep in the earth, not fragile roots of glass.

Strong and deep roots are made of self-esteem, hope, love, willingness, humility and faith.  My longing to be grounded in life may take the form of wishing I was not afflicted by defects of character, but that’s a cover-up for the deeper things I truly want.

Working on one’s self by undertaking an effort toward personal growth reorganizes one’s personalities, indeed one’s very soul, around new, spiritual principles.  We stay, to some degree, dysfunctional or defective and always will be, yet that doesn’t prevent us from possessing faith in ourselves and the courage to keep growing.

We are all vessels containing life.  We are vessels that have been shattered and mended, and will endure.

A Moment of Awareness is a Moment of Grace

My inside, listen to me, the greatest spirit,

The Teacher, is near,

wake up, wake up!

Oh, friend, I love you, think this over

Carefully! If you are in love,

then why are you asleep?

— Anonymous

I know when I have met a challenge in my life; when I become suddenly aware of new knowledge. It’s as if a light goes on, and things suddenly make sense. One friend of mine refers to this as “a blinding flash of the obvious.” It’s important to take such a moment of awareness seriously; it is a cue that a lesson has been learned and that it’s time to move on.

In the past, not trusting myself and not in touch with my connectedness to the Universe, I relied on unhealthy ways to make sense of my life. The more I used intellect and will to manage and run my life, the less I accomplished.

A moment of awareness is a moment of grace. It’s as if the Universe gives us a wonderful gift, and we can turn right around and say, “So that’s what this is all about!” Receptiveness to such a moment gives us the willingness to trust where we have been and the strength to go where our life calls us next. I will always cherish the awareness in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boundaries: Where I Start and Where I End

lartificial-boundaries

“It is an old an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.”  — Rollo May

Our boundaries are both inside and outside ourselves.  No one can set them for us; we can only set them.  For many of us, boundaries are often unfamiliar.  We may wonder, what are they?  How do we use them? Some of us may have come from families where, as children, our boundaries were disregarded; perhaps creating a pattern we continue to live out as adults.

Starting to set boundaries for ourselves takes time and lots of practice.  Because the experience is so unfamiliar, we may find ourselves vacillating between two extremes – holding back out fear of blurring our boundaries, or acting as if we have no boundaries at all.  But our willingness to set boundaries and stick with them brings a clearer sense of who we are.  We begin to learn where we start and end.  We start to learn the same about other people.  With boundaries comes a new sense of self-respect because they become our affirmations to ourselves that we are not objects to be trampled upon or used, but rather human beings, with dignity.

One way to create boundaries with people is to show priorities in our relationships.  In the past, out of loneliness or neediness, we may have talked to anyone, whether the person wanted to listen or not.  In this mixed-up world, we would find ourselves withholding our true feelings from people close to us, and spilling them instead on the cashier at the grocery store.

As we grow in self-esteem. Our relationships improve and we act in positive ways to meet our needs.  Then we have a better sense of who we are.  We make choices in our relationships and take responsibility for them. We learn to bear the pain of boundaries that are not respected and enjoy the peace from those that are.

We no longer need to give ourselves away in bits and pieces; we know now what it is like to be whole.  We can simultaneously have acquaintances, friends, co-workers, and even close, intimate relationships in our lives.  We can trust we will act appropriately and that our boundaries will keep us safe.