Taking action is how we increase our connectedness to Spirit. If we’re heeding our true calling, we must be willing to act on that mission. ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of repairing a broken bowl with golden seams along the cracks, celebrates the concept that the item is now even more beautiful for having been broken.
Many years ago when I was suffering deeply, a friend and teacher who is a Native American shaman offered me comfort with these words: A broken heart holds more. Five words that brought solace. It was a saying I mulled over, like a new flavor in the mouth, turning it, savoring it, and slowly absorbing it.
As our heart breaks open and heals over the raw exposed areas, it becomes larger. It grows. To me, it is like an island being formed from lava and transforming into a rocky outcropping soon to be covered in greenery and flourishing with life, where none had existed before. Our very woundedness that feels so barren and lifeless actually helps foster new life. New growth will appear where there was no footing for it previously. Now we are larger and we can hold more.
I have been broken. Many times. Now I feel that I am as a beautifully shining vessel, proudly mended. I feel wizened for having survived so much, such hardships I do not mention because they are old and over, but each one felt absolutely near to breaking me. My healed scars are hard-earned trophies, testimony of dark places I have survived and surmounted. I know the valley of the shadow of death, too well, and the view from the mountaintop is all the more cherished for having earned the climb.
It is in our darkest times that, I feel, we are forced to surrender. I was at least. Perhaps those who resist surrendering everything to our Higher Power remain in the valley of the shadow of death for longer than they need to. Or perhaps they keep returning there. I know I did years ago, repeating hurtful behaviors and patterns, finding myself in the same type of painful situations (that dark valley) again and again, until my knees finally hit the ground and I remembered to ask for help.
In the early nineties Marianne Williamson wrote about suffering and learning at last to surrender. Here are excerpts I found comforting during some of my darkest times. May these words help someone today.
“Until your knees finally hit the floor, you’re just playing at life, and on some level you’re scared because you know you’re just playing. For many people, things have to get very bad before there’s a shift. When you truly bottom out, there comes an exhilarating release. You recognize there’s a power in the universe bigger than you are, who can do for you what you can’t do for yourself. All of a sudden, your last resort sounds like a very good idea. How ironic. You spend your whole life resisting the notion that there’s someone out there smarter than you are, and then all of a sudden you’re so relieved to know it’s true. All of a sudden, you’re not too proud to ask for help. That’s what it means to surrender to God.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
Even though the darker it gets the more alone we feel, we are actually never alone. But it is ourselves who must reach out and ask for help. We must reach for the Light. Let us remember. May we remember to ask for help, may we find strength within for the climb, and may we discover the exquisite beauty of our golden scars.
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
“Destiny is a personal adventure. Just as no two snowflakes or fingerprints are alike, every soul comes into this world for a unique purpose. Each of us manifests good according to our own strengths and intentions. Never compare your worth to that of others because you did not accomplish what they did; you were never supposed to be like them. Your highest purpose in life is to be true to yourself. If you honor your personal gifts, intuition, inclinations, and visions, you will fulfill your destiny and serve many others in the process.” ~ Alan Cohen, A Deep Breath of Life
One of the most powerful examples of trust in cinematic arts takes place near the end of the third Indiana Jones movie The Last Crusade. Our hero, Indy, finds himself standing at the edge of a bottomless chasm, across from which stands the sacred temple with the cup of Christ.
He has traveled the world, defied all sorts of horrors and risked death many times to be in this moment, where the cup seems so close and yet so far. Standing there Indy remembers the instruction given him for when he reached this point in his journey. It was one word: Faith.
Although it appears there is nothing there to stand on, he takes a deep breath for courage and steps out over the chasm. It is as he takes the step in faith that the bridge appears beneath his feet. The bridge had remained invisible to test his faith. He first had to learn to let go, and trust.
Let us be like that courageous character. Let us feed our faith so that our fears will starve and disappear. Remember the old adage that reminds us most fears are as paper tigers and one swift step will carry us clean through them. Have faith. Yes you can. You are safe and all is well. Trust.
In one of his motivational PBS programs, Wayne Dyer shares about a teacher telling him if he really wanted to reach the heights of spiritual enlightenment he was seeking, he would have to leave substances such as alcohol behind.
“The alcoholic years teach us that we are stronger than any substance.” ~ Wayne Dyer
The phase of my life that fed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol is over. I can feel it in every fiber of my being: I made it through! I endeavored to become a nondrinker, and while it may not have been easy or instantaneous, it was a clear intention I held in mind and moved towards.
Understanding the power of counselling, I worked with a trusted mentor to help me heal any underlying issues that may have been contributing to my desire to ‘numb out’. It took longer than I’d hoped, and I had some ‘false starts’ of quitting and resuming, but it caused me no concern. They were only practice runs and I knew I would be a nondrinker.
And then one particular morning it happened. I woke up. I mean I really woke UP. I woke out of the hazy dream of the illusion of my powerlessness and I felt a flowering strength. There was a lightness of my being where a ‘monkey on my back’ used to be. It was gone.
At last I claimed my true power and rose above the sense of weakness that alcohol insisted was my reality. I now choose to not drink alcohol and in my world, it’s a non-issue. I have simply had enough. If an explanation is expected, I tell others I have an allergic reaction to it because I avoid the stigma. Stigmas have emotion, and I give that past error zero attention and no emotion.
Mind you I will always remember and there will be no ‘slipping’ but there are no ‘white knuckles’ in my peaceful view of life. It is a problem I experienced in the past, and I have risen above it. I have now outgrown it.
I choose to celebrate with grape juice and smoothies; delicious herbal tea blends and well-made lattes. In this way I am really present with my nearest and dearest and every one of the moments that make up this wondrous, beautiful life I am blessed to enjoy. I am free to shine every day, and I do. Thank You God for this day!
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
[Gratitude to the makers of these awesome images ~ sourced from Google]
Here today, I’m sharing more than a few excerpts from a small but mighty book that helped me gain and maintain my sobriety. Deepak Chopra’s gentleness has always been highly attractive to me and it allowed me to remain open to his advice as I made the decision to become a nondrinker. I’m not suggesting that just because it strengthened me this book will work for everyone or even any one, but I do want you to know this book exists – in case you didn’t already. It helped me, and it just might help you too.
From Deepak Chopra’s book ‘Overcoming Addictions: The Spiritual Solution’
“I see the addict as a seeker, albeit a misguided one. The addict is a person in quest of pleasure, perhaps even a kind of transcendent experience – and I want to emphasize that this kind of seeking is extremely positive. The addict is looking in the wrong places, but he is going after something very important, and we cannot afford to ignore the meaning of his search. At least initially, the addict hopes to experience something wonderful, something that transcends an unsatisfactory or even an intolerable everyday reality. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in this impulse. On the contrary, it provided a foundation for true hope and real transformation.
I’m tempted to go even further in this characterization of the addict as seeker. In my view, a person who has never felt the pull of addictive behavior is someone who has not taken the first faltering step towards discovering the true meaning of Spirit. Perhaps addiction is nothing to be proud of, but it does represent an aspiration toward a higher level of experience. And although that aspiration cannot ultimately be fulfilled by chemicals or by compulsive behaviors, the very attempt suggests the presence of a genuinely spiritual nature.” Pages 4-5
“….we need ecstasy. We need it in the same basic way that we need food, water, and air, yet this basic human need has been scarcely acknowledged in contemporary Western society. Over the last thirty years we have made great progress in recognizing the deterioration that has been taking place in our physical environment, and in reversing these trends. But at the same time we have failed to acknowledge our spiritual needs with anything like the same fervor. I see the problem of addictive behaviors as a direct result of this fundamental oversight.
In every culture and every historical epoch, human beings have felt the need for ecstatic experience – for a kind of joy that transcends everyday reality. Various cultures have tried to satisfy this need in many different ways, and some have been much more spiritually oriented than others. In the nineteenth century, Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky asserted that people need three experiences from their society in order to be content: miracles, mystery, and spiritual guidance – and that these three experiences are much more important to them than the satisfaction of their material needs. Perhaps the addict believes he can gain access to miracles and mystery through his addiction, and this prospect becomes even more enticing in the absence of guidance for the spirit. Rather than seeing addicts as simply weak or even criminal human beings, I choose to see them as people who are responding self-destructively, but still quite understandably, to the spiritual vacuum that exists amid our material abundance.” Pages 8-9
“Joy is a return to the deep harmony of body, mind, and spirit that was yours at birth and that can be yours again. Once this has been recaptured, there is no need for stimulants, depressants, or anything else that must be bought, hidden, injected, inhaled, turned on, or turned off. You needed none of these things in childhood, when a sunny day and the love of your family was enough to fill you with joy. That openness to love, that capacity for wholeness with the world around you, is still within you. If addiction has been a part of your life for some time, you may feel it is impossible to regain your pre-addicted self. But it is possible. In fact, it’s inevitable, when you let go of guilt and recrimination and begin to bring joyful experiences into your life. The suggestions below are intended to help you do that.
Because I don’t want these suggestions to seem in any way like a list of commandments etched in stone, I’ve put them in the form of questions. Please note that none of these questions says anything about addiction, nor is there any mention of abstinence or avoidance. These are simply things you can do to open yourself to health, to joy, and indeed to life itself.” Pages 122-123
Beginning on page 123, Deepak Chopra offers his twelve points for replacing addictive behavior with true joy in living. These are only the actual questions; please refer to the book for detailed explanations regarding each one.
“If your life has been damaged by addictive behavior, the very fact that you are reading [this book] suggests that you are participating in the important shift in perspective that’s now taking place, away from the illusory pleasures of substances and stimulants, and toward the inner joy – the genuine ecstasy – that is to be found in your spiritual self. Starting right now, be proud of your sincere intention, and begin to enjoy the truly infinite possibilities that every moment of your life holds forth.” Page128. Click to view on Amazon.com and to view on Amazon.ca
In 1998 Deepak Chopra wrote this little treasure, OVERCOMING ADDICTIONS: THE SPIRITUAL SOLUTION and more recently he co-wrote FREEDOM FROM ADDICTION with David Simon in 2007. I deeply appreciate how these books help outline positive behaviors we can focus on and move towards as we outgrow and overcome destructive habits. May we all find and celebrate our inner peace and shine our peace out to the world. May peace prevail. Namaste. Gina
[Images sourced from Google.com]
The recent loss of an incredibly talented and creative man named Philip Seymour Hoffman has had me feeling introspective and pondering the serious prevalence of addictions in our society and what can be done about it.
As I continue developing upcoming posts in further depth of this important topic, I want to celebrate this handful of famous individuals who overcame their addictive behaviours. Let’s choose to focus on what is working and remember that addictive behaviours can be overcome. I know. I’ve been there, and I got sober.
May we all choose to focus on what is working in our lives, and release that which doesn’t support and encourage our further growth. May we find and celebrate our inner peace, and shine that peace outwardly. May peace prevail. Namaste. Gina
“Procrastination is the thief of time.”
~ Edward Young, English Poet
“Don’t wait for the perfect moment; your opportunity is now. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt
“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” ~ Paulo Coelho
“Don’t wait. The time will never be ‘just right’.” ~ Napoleon Hill
“Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect!” ~ Aryn Kyle
“There are seven days in the week and someday isn’t one of them.” ~ Anonymous
“Stop waiting for things to happen. Go out and make them happen.” ~ Anonymous
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
~ Written by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Born in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu, then a part of South Africa’s Cape Province on July 18th, 1918, Nelson Rolihlahia Mandela died of a lung infection on December 5th, 2013 at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg surrounded by his family. He was 95 years of age.
His death was announced by the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. On December 6th President Zuma announced a national mourning period of ten days, with the main event being an official memorial service to be held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on the 10th of December 2013.
Within South Africa, Mandela was widely considered to be “the father of the nation”, and “the founding father of democracy”, being seen as “the national liberator, the saviour, its Washington and Lincoln rolled into one”. In 2004, Johannesburg granted Mandela the freedom of the city, and the Sandton Square shopping centre was renamed Nelson Mandela Square, after a Mandela statue was installed there. In 2008, another Mandela statue was unveiled at Groot Drakenstein Correctional Centre, formerly Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, standing on the spot where Mandela was released from the prison.
He has also received international acclaim. In 1993, he received the joint Nobel Peace Prize with Frederik Willem de Klerk “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”. In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, July 18, as “Mandela Day”, marking his contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. It called on individuals to donate 67 minutes to doing something for others, commemorating the 67 years that Mandela had been a part of the movement.
Awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Order of Canada, he was the first living person to be made an honorary Canadian citizen. The last recipient of the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union, and first recipient of the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights, in 1990 he received the Bharat Ratna Award from the government of India and in 1992 received Pakistan’s Nishan-e-Pakistan. In 1992 he was awarded the Atatürk Peace Award by Turkey. He refused the award, citing human rights violations committed by Turkey at the time but later accepted the award in 1999. Elizabeth II awarded him the Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order of St. John and the Order of Merit.
Across the world, Mandela came to be seen as “a moral authority” with a great “concern for truth”. Considered friendly and welcoming, Mandela exhibited a “relaxed charm” when talking to others, including his opponents. Although often befriending millionaires and dignitaries, he enjoyed talking with their staff when at official functions. In later life, he was known for looking for the best in everyone, even defending political opponents to his allies, though some thought him too trusting of others.
In late 1996 when Mandela was asked by friends if he was religious, Mandela explained he was a Methodist but he felt at ease in any house of prayer.
With love and respect, I dedicate today’s post to Mr. Mandela who has deeply inspired me throughout my life, as well as countless others around the world. He will always be remembered and will live on forever in our hearts. ~Gina
We can train our brain. I know because I learned how to stop worrying. To worry is to use the creative force of our imagination destructively. This error can be corrected by recognizing that we’re thinking negatively, choosing to stop and replacing those thoughts with positive ones.
“An affirmation is everything you say and think. Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation. All our self-talk is a stream of affirmations. You are using affirmations every moment whether you know it or not. You are affirming and creating your life experiences, with every word and every thought.” ~ Louise L. Hay
It sounds simple, and actually it is. Yet this simple step has powerful effects. For myself, I discovered freedom from the fear that worry creates. Thinking positively instead of negatively reduces stress and has health benefits. It’s worth giving it a go and it’s easy with positive affirmation cards. They’re a great way to help train our brain to think consistently kind and positive thoughts.
“I AM: two of the most powerful words for what you put after them shapes your reality.”
Placing positive “I AM” statements around our world supports a healthy habit: the habit of thinking positively. Cards are something we can make ourselves, or we can purchase ones such as these examples by Louise Hay.
Tape them to the side of the computer monitor, on the bathroom mirror, on the fridge, on the kitchen window, set some on the bedside table and in a stack on the coffee table, set a few in the car, tape them up in the garage. Place them anywhere you’ll see them. Move them to new places. Get creative!
Seeing these uplifting sentences stating the positive in the present moment raises our spirits. I’ve been told that just visiting someone who has positive affirmations up around their home is uplifting. I’m not surprised. Thoughts are things so let’s choose wisely. I know this from experience for I’ve learned how to replace worry with positive expectancy and it’s so incredibly freeing that I highly recommend it!
“I vow to let go of all worries and anxieties in order to be light and free.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Louise Hay has different styles of affirmation cards to consider, such as the I CAN DO IT CARDS and the free-flowing, artistic POWER THOUGHT CARDS. And please remember that this new, healthy habit needn’t cost any money as we all have paper and pens. Use these examples to write your own affirmation cards.
Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative.
Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Here are some forms of negative self-talk:
Filtering: You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.
Personalizing: When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
Catastrophizing: You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
Polarizing: You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you’re a total failure.
You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you’re creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:
Identify areas to change: If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
Check yourself: Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
Be open to humor: Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
Follow a healthy lifestyle: Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.
Surround yourself with positive people: Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
Practice positive self-talk: Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.
Practicing positive self-talk will improve your outlook. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you’re able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way.
Excerpt from MayoClinic.com. With gratitude to the makers of these randomly sourced images.
Today I am sharing an old poem by the ‘People’s Poet’ and it describes the importance of liking ourselves. This is an essential component of raising our self-worth, and strengthening our self-love.
From this foundation we all can see that challenges make life interesting, and the overcoming of them is what makes life worthwhile. We are strong enough for everything we find in our path.
Remember Victor Hugo’s wisdom: “God doesn’t make fruit grow on branches too weak to bear its weight.” This old adage reminds us that if we are given a challenge it means we are up to it, and the stronger we are sometimes the tougher the obstacle. If we find ourself in a rough patch, let’s hold our head high and know that we must be up to the challenge or it wouldn’t have landed in our lap.
Having faith in ourselves and our abilities is sometimes as simple as the ability to lift our heads up off the pillow. It is another day. A new day. And we are here, with ourself. We must like ourselves. After all, we know ourselves the best, and we know how much we have been through.
Sometimes when I take a moment to remember where I came from and all that I have been through, I cannot help but want to pat myself on the back. ‘Way to Go’, I cheer to myself. ‘I’m so glad you’re still here’. Try saying that to yourself and see how much better it makes you feel.
Edgar Guest (1881 – 1959) worked for more than sixty years at the Detroit Free Press, publishing his first poem at the age of seventeen, then going on to become a reporter and columnist whose work was featured in hundreds of newspapers around the country. Guest is said to have written some 11,000 poems during his lifetime, most of it sentimental, short, upbeat verse. Critics may have occassionally derided his work, but America adored him. He was known as the “People’s Poet,” served as Michigan’s poet laureate, hosted a long-running radio show and TV show, and published more than twenty books.
Paul Mark Sutherland found a wonderful verse from Edgar A. Guest. Thanks Paul!
Here’s a couple of my earlier posts with additional poems from Edgar A. Guest: