Having an attitude of gratitude!

Being told to be thankful or grateful when you aren’t in a good space can be rather annoying. I personally don’t think it is helpful to say these things when some one is struggling and in need of support. Listening, being supportive and non-judgemental as well as adding in something that is actually helpful or beneficial, for example ‘the way you are feeling is perfectly understandable, I’m glad it wasn’t any worse’ or ‘I know how much you are struggling, it’s a good thing you have  such as x, y, z in your life’.

At the end of the day we are the only ones who can choose to be grateful and thankful for the things we do and don’t have in our lives. No one else can do it for us and being told to be grateful is just annoying. It is an internal decision, a daily choice to be thankful for our lives and everything in it. Always look for the good, no matter how down you are or how difficult things life is. There is always something to be thankful for. At the very least, you had the opportunity to learn, grow and become a better person. Through your experience you may even be able to help or guide others.

When we regularly practice forgiveness our awareness moves from the lack in our live to the things we do have. This results in feeling more fulfilled and opens us up to receiving more. What you focus on grows, we have the choice whether to focus on how we are deficient and without or how we are blessed and abundant. I know I choose to always be grateful, my life seems much  enjoyable when I think this way. It doesn’t mean it is easier but the difficult isn’t as difficult. Everything just flows a little bit better, like a car does when adding oil.

Forgiveness will set you free

We all carry unforgiveness at some point in our life. Often it is over trivial things and it is therefore easy to forgive. Sometimes things are a bit hard to forgive and may take weeks, months or even years. Then there’s the type of wound that is so deep, we never completely heal. There will always be a scar as a reminder. Sometimes we have trouble forgiving some of the smaller things, how on earth can we forgive these life altering and unforgivable things? The best thing to do is start with the smaller things and make this a regular daily practise. Then work your way up to the bigger thing. Always remember that forgiveness does not excuse another persons behaviour, it doesn’t make it ok. If they have done wrong they deserve their own karma and if they have broken the law, they deserve the consequences of breaking the law.

Forgiveness does not mean that you have to remain in contact with a person. You can still forgive some one and have nothing to do with them. When you hold resentment and unforgiveness in your heart, it is actually more damaging to yourself than to the other person. It is even more frustrating to be hurting so deeply when you are not even registering on the other persons radar. Forgive for your benefit, not because the other person deserves it but you deserve to be from. Carrying unforgiveness is a burden and carrying the negative thoughts and emotions is heavy. It weights us down and this type of  negativity can impact us physically. Our immune system weakens, symptoms similar to fibromyalgia and burn out can manifest in our bodies. It seems rather unfair that the other person seems to have no repercussions whilst day in day out you are struggling emotionally and physically. You can not do anything about them, they have their own karma coming but you can do something about how you are. Being able to rise above, from victim to victor is the ultimate power.

Despite what has happened to you or what any one did, you have become a stronger and better person. If some one treats your poorly, that is a reflection on them. Normal people don’t go around causing harm to others and taking advantage of them. Some one who is causing harm to others is suffering with in themselves. Due to this suffering they are not fulfilled. Their behaviour is a reflection of how they feel about themselves and the things they are lacking. They are trying to fill that lack in ways that harm others.  Try to remember this when practising forgiveness. They may be suffering but suffering within is not an excuse to cause harm to others. We can’t force other people to be accountable for their behaviour. The best we can do is to acknowledge they are suffering and hope that one day they will take responsibility for their own behaviour and there for chose not to harm.

Practising forgiveness can be as simple as saying something along the lines of;

I forgive “insert name”, I understand their actions and behaviour is a reflection of their own internal suffering. I release ‘insert name’ to their highest  good.’

. Another very important person to forgive is yourself. We can be very hard on ourselves and put ourselves down for everything we did or didn’t do should or shouldn’t have done. When forgiving yourself it can also a simple line like the following;

I forgive myself for ‘insert reason/s why you are forgiving yourself’. I know I am not perfect and just like every one else, I too have my own challenges and sufferings. I was doing the best I could at the time and my best is good enough. 

Repeat forgiveness of others and yourself as often as necessary, whether it be days, weeks, months or years.  It may take a while for you to begin to feel the benefits, but you will feel much lighter when you do. Good luck with it ❤

 

Wake up call

It was Friday morning and I was driving to work. I was driving down busy pennant hills road, sipping on a chai latte that I had bought at a service station. All of sudden the car in the middle lane did a sharp turn, lost control and did a 180 degree turn. They were flowing in the same direction of the rest of the traffic until they suddenly were driving head on towards me. I hit the brakes, it have only been a second but everything seemed to go in slow motion as I was heading towards the car. I was thinking to myself `we`re going to hit`. Sure enough we did collide head on, but luckily we didn`t hit each other very hard. Every one was ok and the cars only had very minor scratching. I was in a little bit of shock but was able to continue to drive to work and have a relatively normal day at work. Well as normal as you can get when you work in the disability industry, lol.

The accident was a bit of a wake up call to me. I have written blogs about some of my experiences, my marriage separation last year and some of the ways it has impacted me. After having a break down later in the year last year, I had spent this year trying to recover and for most of it being unwell. It is now towards the end of May and I`m  in a much better space. Although I did feel I was still in a rut. Some how the accident motivated me to once again realise that life is so fragile. One minute you can be minding your own business, then in the blink of an eye it can be taken from you. I was lucky peak hour traffic was relatively slow and that I was no longer on the freeway. A head on collision has the potential to be very devastating if we were going any faster. I have seen it many times before, especially on the freeway.

The accident some how motivated me to get out of my rut and find my passion for life again. I did a spectacular fall off the horse, but now I feel I`m getting back on the horse. I can now feel an inner joy and this appreciation for life. My goals and plans are all still there and I`m now able to take action on working on making them happen. I feel very excited that I`m getting myself back. I always knew I had a purpose, for a while there I was in a dark spot but now I feel my purpose.

I would encourage any one who feels they have lost themselves, their clarity or who is going through a dark patch. Don`t put too much pressure on yourself. You are the way you are for a reason and it is a signal that you need to take care of you. For the past few months I have been doing the basics. That is going to work, looking after the kids and taking care of my wellbeing. You will come back, your clarity will come back. Healing takes times. The first step is believing, the second is regularly doing little things for you and third is being patient. It will happen in time. I just hope when it does happen for you, that you don`t have to have a car accident for it to happen. Honestly I was heading back to myself any way, the accident just made it happen a faster. Like a wake up call to remind me I can take control of my life and that I have something to offer. All of the things that have happened in my life have contributed to where I am now. No matter what has happened in your life. You don’t have to remain powerless. They are opportunities for you to learn and become a better stronger, version of yourself.

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Entering the Void

Have you ever felt you are in ground-hog day and on autopilot? Sometimes it is too easy to get caught up making sure we do the basics and keep on top of our responsibilities. Life just gets so busy and we forget to our own inner work and examine how we are thinking and feeling. Why do we think the way we do? What are our values and what is it we want out of life. May be we know these things but don’t take any real me time to reflect, process and be creative. When we get so absorbed in our busy modern life, we lose touch with ourselves.  That is until everything comes crashing down and we are stopped in our tracks. It may be our body that caves in and get sick, it may be our minds that have a mental break down or difficult life events happens. Things such as death, separation or illness. Often it takes a life altering event for us to wake up. For me it was more of an internal event than an external event. 

 

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Picture by Blaize Pacall  http://www.pascallphotography.com/blog/

One day I woke up and it was as though I had been numb, shut down and asleep for years. When I awoke I felt I suddenly had all this energy and was finally able to be there person I had never been able to be. Before this I  just plodded along and had never questioned my marriage. We didn’t talk or connect much, it was as though we were just existing in the same house but  it still was a rude shock for me when I could no longer see a future with my husband. I no longer felt for him like a wife should feel for her husband. I wondered why I had never realised that before but I how could I realise anything when I had for so long been so busy, disconnected and practically just a physical body who wasn’t there in any other way. I really did not know what to do because despite knowing marriages don’t always work out, I had this deep seated belief that marriage is for life and there should be a pretty good damn reason if it doesn’t work. A reason such as domestic violence, gambling, cheating etc. He was a good person but I felt being with him triggered my anxiety and brought out the shut down in me. Were these good enough reasons to separate? Was I putting my needs above my kids? Was I being selfish? Should I have just stay ed and forget myself? Does it matter if I felt dead inside? All these thoughts went over and over in my head. What I felt deep inside and what I believed were two completely different things. I was so conflicted and I didn’t want to hurt my husband either. Deep with in my gut I knew  had to go to truly be me, the better version of myself and therefore a better parent. . It was very difficult on him but since leaving my day-to-day anxiety has decreased, I am more myself and I feel I am a better parent. We also get on much better now. I won’t rule out getting back together one day, but for now it has been a good move and I am not ready to be with any body.

Recently I had another experience where it was as though a light switch had suddenly been turned off and I could no longer see my goals, purpose or where I was heading in life. I questioned who am I, what am I doing? I could not answer those questions. It was as though there was nothing and I wondered where it all went. The experience was very unsettling and uncomfortable.  I wanted to grasp onto something just to get my bearings but what could I grasp onto? It’s too easy to fill the gap with going back to my ex, jumping into another relationship or drinking too much alcohol.There are so many ways we try to fill that void. It was such a bizarre experience and reminded me of the red pill, blue pill scene out of ‘The Matrix’. Do I hold onto who I thought I was, everything I thought I wanted and all my current beliefs? I could have just taken the blue pill and continued living in illusion but instead I chose the red pill. I realised I didn’t have to fear the void I was in but instead to trust  and embrace it.  It was as though everything that was no me had to be taken  so I could see clearly. It was  opportunity for me to let go of everything that isn’t truly me so I had the confidence to be my true authentic self, find happiness with in and as a result be a better person, a better parent. The void forced me to be honest and get real with myself.

Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

Matthew 19:7

A Buddhist Rice Bowl

 It’s Something To Think About. . . .

“In Zen Buddhism, there’s a concept called ‘zen mind,’ or beginner’s mind.’  They say that the mind should be like an empty rice bowl.

If it’s already full, then the universe can’t fill it.

If it’s empty, it has room to receive.

This means that when we think we have things figured out, we’re not teachable.  Genuine insight can’t dawn on a mind that’s not open to receive it.

Surrender is a process of emptying the mind.”

                                  ~ By Marianne Williamson, “A Return To Love,

Reflections on the Principles of A Course In Miracles