Trust or Fear: Which Do You Choose?

There are two places I can always go, but never at the same time.  I have to choose one or the other.

I can go to the place of fear where I will most certainly experience worry, anxiety, doubt, insecurity, and discomfort.  I don’t like going there yet it’s so easy to find myself there when I’m not being mindful of my thoughts.  Being in fear makes me sad, impatient and self-centered.   I feel nervous and uneasy there and I know instantly I don’t want to stay.  It’s not a friendly place and it’s very crowded.  Lots of people hang out there and none are happy.  There’s lots of complaining, moaning, whining, blaming, judging, criticizing and there’s no shortage of despair.

I like the other place, the place of trust.  Everyone in trust is calm, relaxed, and peaceful.  People take their time in this place; they are confident, generous, optimistic and practice gratitude.  You see lots of smiles in the land of trust.

We are always in control of our choice and we can always change our mind; which one do you choose?

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What’s One Simple Tool to Prevent Your Inner Child from Hijacking Your Life?

We are all born innocent; as infants, toddlers, and young children, our innocence allows us to grow, learn and develop in optimal ways and at phenomenal speeds.

Then, at some moment in our growing up, something happens and on some deep, hidden level, a dramatic shift occurs and we mysteriously intuit that our innocence has vanished and we have crossed over an unanticipated threshold toward a darker, heavier place.  Why did innocence leave?  Where did it go? And most importantly–how can we get it back?

The particular event or series of incidents that moved us out of innocence is less relevant than the omnipresent but unspoken awareness of feeling vulnerable in a threatening world and somehow blameworthy.  The pattern and behavior of compulsively blaming and harshly judging ourselves develops into our unconscious default and can dominate for years, even decades.  Self-forgiveness seems impossible to imagine, as does recovering our innocence.

Yet, without self-forgiveness and recapturing innocence, how can we experience true joy, peace, and health?

How do we transition from blaming, shaming and judgement to a place of acceptance, forgiveness and connection where we believe we are worthy of abundant love, health and joy?

This gradual transition demands a disciplined, assiduous practice of reconnecting to the baby, toddler, child or adolescent inside of ourself who needs to be seen, heard, understood, valued and loved.  We are the only ones who can give this to ourselves.  We are the only ones who can parent the needy, hurting child inside of us who needs our attention, acceptance and love.  The more we avoid the wounded and needy child within, the more we, as adults, unknowingly chase others away from us with our neediness–neediness that we are not even aware of yet to those around us seems suffocating and blatantly obvious.

You can start your practice with one simple question each day.  Choose a time in your infancy, childhood or adolescence; see yourself at that age and ask that younger version of you what she/he needs.

Some People Intentionally Set Out to Hurt Others…

Some folks appear to intentionally take pleasure in causing hardship and sadness for others!  For those of us who strive to be kind, considerate, and act responsibly, we are baffled by the behavior of those who act in an opposite way.  We may wonder what is causing their actions; we may ask ourselves if we are to blame in some way; we may lose sleep because our mind just won’t stop whirling round and round over the unpleasantness as it’s occurring.  The bottom line however, is that there may a limited number of actions we can take to stop the harassment from happening to us and so–it continues unabated in spite of all our efforts to make it cease.

When we have exhausted every means at our disposal to make the persecution end and it continues to persist, we arrive at an emotional state in which we must decide what energetic, social, emotional, and spiritual resources we have to regain our peace of mind and achieve a state of detachment so that we can feel inner peace and joy in the midst of unnecessary, contrived tribulations.

Achieving this kind of peaceful detachment may well be one of the most challenging things in life we can do.  Being a target of another’s cruelty can easily make us feel like a victim if we don’t know how to struggle against accepting victimhood as our identity.  Slipping into victim mode is the absolute worst thing we can do for ourselves because it makes us feel hopeless, powerless, and defeated.  Knowing that we do have power within us and that we can use our power to self-protect, provides us with the peace we seek. Achieving and sustaining that peace takes diligent action and then more action when we are assaulted by ill-intentioned people.

The first two action steps we must take complement and strengthen each other: one is building a community of caring friends who nurture, support, and help each other; the other is believing in one’s own ability and power to self-protect.  Either one of these actions fosters the other one and both are needed regardless of which comes first.

In my first interactive workbook, Empathy Warriors, I teach my readers step by step, how to access their power to care for themselves in ways that promote and sustain their highest and best interests.

Empathy Warriors, an empathy journal workbook, is a priceless tool for every person who wants to take control of his or her peace, potential, and destiny.

Hardwired for Happiness

It’s true; our brains are actually hardwired for happiness and empathy.  They also love to practice gratitude; every time we take a moment to be grateful, our brain gives all the cells in our body the gift of peacefulness.  It’s that simple.

Whenever I feel sadness or fear trying to creep in, I know I have to take action before those feelings get the chance to anchor themselves in my heart and mind.  The easiest and fastest step I can take to protect myself is to start naming the many things for which I am grateful.  The more I reflect on gratitude, the calmer and safer I feel.  And then of course, the next easiest thing to do is breathe–just breathe.  I close my eyes and inhale from down deep in my belly, hold it for a second or two and then exhale slowly through my mouth. This simple gift I give to myself makes me feel powerful, safe, protected and in control of this moment.  This is all I have really–this moment, this breath, this genuine feeling of gratitude and I know I am okay and I can do it again and again.