Taming The Beast

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The moment I asked to receive gentler messages is the moment the nightmares stopped. I sat up in bed one night a few years ago after another horrible scene passed through my head and demanded that there must be a more gentle way for my subconscious to relay these messages to me as I sleep. The nightmares lived in my head for years, scary images and intimidating possibilities ran wild while I slept. I was sick and tired of feeling overtaken by these cloudy ideas that would linger in my consciousness. I became angry. There was no other choice, I needed the nightmares to stop. Whether it was my inner being that took serious notice and finally internalized that message or a universal energy or entity that heard my plea is not important. I had enough of that feeling of terror and sadness in the middle of the night and I needed it to stop.

And it did. I haven’t had a nightmare since that night.   

That was when I realized how much power I had over my body and mind. That was when I knew I could make significant change all on my own. When you play the victim you attract attackers, but when you stand up straight and strong, aware and capable, the attackers move along to find a more willing victim. I chose to stand strong. As I tell my children now when they are afraid, “any monster that would come into this house should be far more afraid of me than I would ever be of it”. And I don’t just say it, I believe it wholeheartedly.

It only takes a person to recognize their own power to be able to achieve this kind of shift, this kind of life changing revelation. It’s something that you may have to reiterate to your heart and soul each day like a mantra, but the power and ability is within you to not only ask for kinder, gentler messages but also to receive them. You create the framework within your head, no one else can control what happens in that space. You are responsible for every thought, excuse, missed opportunity or achievement because it was born inside your own mind. Taking the reigns and learning to tame the animal within you is one of life’s major struggles. When you recognize that the animal inside CAN be tamed, the journey becomes more about what you put out into the world and less about all of the things holding you down and keeping you from moving forward. When you recognize the power of the body and mind you have been given and use those powers wisely, you discover that you are, in fact, a superhero.   

After Max visited the land of the Wild Things and deconstructed the myth of monsters and reframed how we live inside our own rooms, fears and families, we see that everyone has hopes and fears and everyone has the beast within who tries to control how we frame our surroundings and our lives. But, when you open your eyes to the possibility that we have complete control over how we manage those beasts and how we teach our children to manage their own beasts, we see that the monsters are within us to make us stronger, more human and more fierce than we ever thought possible. Once you figure out the science behind harnessing strength, change happens. 

So “let the wild rumpus start” (Maurice Sendak) and begin to tame and understand your beast within. Let the power of monsters give you strength to fight for a wonderful life, not keep you in chains from the beauty and peace that you deserve.

If you want the nightmares to stop, just ask. 

gratitude and photo credit to http://wallpoper.com/ for the above photo from the movie Where The Wild Things Are based on the amazing and empowering children’s book written by Maurice Sendak

The Strength to be Happy and The Wisdom to Use Your Ruby Slippers.

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This is the part of your story when you slow down and get real. This is when you choose how you spend your energy. This is your opportunity to live on the other side of suffering.

Under the same force, two people may respond contradictory. Are you a good witch or a bad witch? We have a choice to make each time we come up against struggle and strife. And, we have a new opportunity to respond in each new moment. When you start to tally up favorable, positive moments and feel them happening in succession, gather the strength to keep that momentum going. At the same time, remember your strength and use it if you revert back to old responses. Be forgiving of yourself and show loving kindness to your heart, but demand the strength you know you possess or no one else will. Because if you’re not feeling strong when you move around in the world then it’s time to get strong and stay that way. It’s time to stop making excuses and it’s time to be in control. Are you a hero or a victim? Are you a heavy or a light? Are you strong or….

It’s time to assess and conquer…. inside. I’m not talking about a strong body, I’m talking about a strong spirit and a clever soul.  “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” -Carl Jung  Being awake can take great strength, so wake up and smell the crossroad. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and handle it.

These are not inner battles we post on social media or overthink and discuss at length with our close friends. Stop getting sucked into the abyss of competition and curiosity. Be on your own journey. Close your eyes, breathe and be still. If you went inside and checked your inner self highlight reel or your soul expressions with the frequency that you check your Facebook account and your Twitter updates then you may be able to pry off the compulsion to struggle through your every moment. It’s ok to take a moment, it’s natural to relax and rejuvenate. It’s healthy to unwind and feel pleasure and it’s even ok if no one else is doing the same or knows about it. Just do it. Let go of self-judgement, conquer the monster of comparison and stand capable in your own stability. “Comparison is the thief of joy”- Theodore Roosevelt

These inner battles are the struggles that we must process over time… silently, with great resolve and commitment. Cultivate discipline, access fortitude. Gather strength and enjoy solid valor. You have it, you just have to decide to access it. Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers or the lion and his courage…. “You’ve always had the power, my dear, but you had to learn it for yourself” -The Good Witch. Just decide you are strong and you are strong.

I believe being happy takes great strength. I know that finding happiness will continue to take courage. I think that being happy and satisfied is nothing to hide or be ashamed of.  There is no worthy prize for proving you are the one who suffers the most or has the hardest life. Complaining and bellyaching, sour moods and melancholy are the tools of the powerless. We should never forget or cease to respect how fragile we all are, but no one in the world is going to be as concerned about your moment-to-moment indulgent negative whimsy as you are yourself. And honestly, it’s usually the strongest spirits who experience the most suffering that seem to show the bravest and most unbroken fortitude. They are my heroes and the only ones I will look to for guidance.

If you want to be in my thoughts then make them better, not worse.

Open Eyes See More

Once your eyes are opened and you learn to fully understand when your heart speaks to you, there is no more ignoring that delicate, distinct heart-mind connection. You can’t unlearn and you can’t unfeel. Inside your being there is a whole new conversation going on. This is a capability we can achieve by being human, by being evolved and wise. The ones close to you who recognize that type of subtle shift in your personal evolution and encourage you to explore it are the ones with whom you know true loving kindness. When you stumble upon others who have discovered this inner bond as well, be grateful, join hands and move forward with them. This is an instinct that is inside us all but is only enjoyed by some.

In your mind, you sort through thoughts and observations. Our mind allows us to gather knowledge, gain intellect and review evidence. Inside our head we can observe reality with objectivity and then our hearts help draw conclusions. Our brains examine, observe, and inspect material to be processed by the heart. This process can be fluid and gentle or it can be burdensome and problematic. The choice is ultimately yours. The bridge between the heart and mind is both tender and profound.

The Kabbalah says that the mind is cool like water and the heart is hot like fire. The mind is a calm investigator and the heart is a passionate, living soul.  This yin and yang within each of us creates a constant struggle to find the balance necessary to be at peace. Each of us has a masculine (mind) and feminine (heart) side to negotiate life’s experiences. When you discover the bridge between these two parts of yourself, it is much like finding your soulmate. These two sides can come together and compliment one another in harmony if this bridge is constructed with love and understanding within yourself. And finding your soulmate is one of life’s miracles. If you believe there can be a coming together within your self that is equal to experiencing the love that lives in fairy tales, then there is hope for you to truly fall in love with yourself and enjoy peace. When you understand that a balanced connection between your heart and mind is essential to becoming your best, most peaceful self, then your soul is ready to flourish. Just as a truly loving relationship can bring you comfort, a sincere heart-mind connection can lead to inner peace.

The process of learning to negotiate matters between your heart and mind can be demanding. The journey to grow and discover yourself can be unpredictable. But, I will never look back and I will always be grateful for having the strength to begin a journey to find more happiness. I didn’t know I needed to take the journey until I was on it.

“Wake Me Up”

By Avicii

 

Feeling my way through the darkness

Guided by a beating heart

I can’t tell where the journey will end

But I know where to start

They tell me I’m too young to understand

They say I’m caught up in a dream

Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes

Well that’s fine by me

So wake me up when it’s all over

When I’m wiser and I’m older

All this time I was finding myself

And I didn’t know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world

But I only have two hands

Hope I get a chance to travel the world

But I don’t have any plans

Wish that I could stay forever this young

Not afraid to close my eyes

Life’s a game made for everyone

And love is the prize

Just because the lesson is clear, and even important, doesn’t mean everyone in the class will succeed. But, the lesson remains accessible to anyone who chooses to pay attention. The journey itself is up to you.

Picture Perfect

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The most beautiful moments in life are frozen in time.  Maybe they live as a perfect picture on paper or in your memory.  And, even though we may feel melancholy as we remember those times, they are never really over.  Memories melt into our existence and give us peace and hope of living more beautiful moments.

When you can see your beauty, strength and potential in the eyes of another, possibility and hope abound.  The present is a creation built from the past and future.  Memories and moments play like an old movie in my head.  I am the joyful, lone movie goer in a big, empty theater while I remember…. and I’m grateful.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” – Dr. Seuss

From our experiences we hold souvenirs and meticulously incorporate them into our trinkets on a shelf and they become part of our story.  Maybe we wear them around our neck or tuck them into a pocket and carry them with us as a reminder.  We look at them, touch them, turn them over and over in our hands to incorporate tangible senses into our remembering.  The story of my life is told on the shelves and walls of my house as well as live in my heart.  Those souvenirs remind you that those memories actually happened, the story is written and will stay with you.  Some of the best memories are the ones you didn’t know you were creating at the time, they come from life flowing around you and letting yourself fall in love with that moment without even realizing it’s happening.

Life may happen between those moments, but those moments are the magic.  I live for picture perfect times like that.  But, it’s the past and no one can live there.  We move on to the next phase and wait for new moments and memories to find us.

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” – LP Hartley

Create moments, gather memories and live your life as if you are walking through a garden.

 

photo above was taken by me on a picture perfect morning

Developing and Calibrating Your Life Compass

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Finding your due north and setting out on your life’s path can be a daunting task.  It’s important to consider how you want that compass to guide you.  Understand that if your compass is sturdy and calibrated correctly, no matter what obstacles you encounter, the directions cannot be denied.  Your inner compass can guide you through hard times and has the ability to guide you home.

As with anything, things don’t always stay the same and may need to be adjusted and tinkered with from time to time.  A well calibrated and cared for compass may only need a slight re-calibration once in a while, just as a well kept piano only needs a slight tuning every so often.  But leave it ignored and over time that compass can point way off course and confuse even the most skilled navigator.  It’s up to each of us to make sure our due north stays true and strong by whatever means speaks to you.

Our society often attributes success to financial freedom and corporate status.  So, for a moment let’s just use those guidelines as a way to map out the importance of developing strong mental focus and strength.  One of the most successful entrepreneurs of his generation, Jim Rohn, said that “if you work hard on your job you can make a living, but if you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune.”  So, even by the standards of the business world, it is important to have a strong sense of self and develop who you are and what you stand for.

For years we have known the importance of caring for our bodies and making sure we are healthy, but recently it seems the world is waking up to the possibility that it is just as imperative to strengthen our minds and develop our identities.  It’s not uncommon or out of the mainstream anymore for people to spend a great deal of time practicing yoga or developing a regular practice of meditation.  Quiet your mind and listen to your inner voice to learn how you view the world and where your own due north lies.  In the quiet is where you find the answers.  In the stillness is where you seek more questions.

“As a solid rock is not shaken by a strong gale, so wise persons remain unaffected by praise or censure.” -Buddha  Spend time developing your life compass.  Take the time and energy to craft it as if it means everything.  It just may steer you right someday.

photo courtesy of dieraecherin from morguefile.com

On Perspective

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Most soul searching is sparked when things go wrong.  It often takes a dark patch to inspire the pathfinder in us.  The ability to find strength and opportunity to grow in the midst of hardship shows fortitude and spirited character.  We can find ourselves feeling lost and confused in any kind of situation.  It’s about perspective.  It doesn’t always takes true dire straights to feel truly out of balance.

Not everyone has the means to fly to Italy and India to eat their way to the pleasure of nourishment and pray their way to inner peace.  Some of us have to find balance within the context of our comfort zones, no time to take a step out and make changes.  We have families and homes that need our attention and time.

The truth is, we hold all the tools we need to change our path right where we stand.  The way I feel at the end of a good yoga class is often the same way I feel at the end of a great vacation.

I’m learning to find balance and add peace to more moments in my current existence.  I’m weaving peace into the chaos of daily life.  Eventually there will be so much peace that the chaos will no longer have as much power.  This is my choice.  I have to make that choice in each moment.

I’m a mom of young daughters and most of my time is taken up serving the needs of others.  There is nothing else I’d rather be doing at this point in my life, but that being said, this is no easy task.  My own needs often go unmet and although I happily give myself to my family, even the most giving mother will struggle with this from time to time.  I’m finding myself being pulled toward wanting to take an inner journey at this stage in my life, but I just don’t have the time to devote to focus on myself.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have the time to focus on myself that I feel this pull, but I feel it nonetheless.  So, it’s my onus to balance this life that needs my full attention with my own need to go inside and do some searching.

Even if the scale tips heavy toward my family responsibilities in this moment, my perspective needs to remain unobstructed.  There is no need for a self indulgent journey around the world for inner peace when I can gently pull at the threads of peace and work them into my life right now as best I can.  I will find them, weave them in and watch them become more and more prevalent.

When the time is right the threads will become thicker and more abundant, but there will be plenty of time for that later and I can wait.  The truth is that what seemed to be a dark patch is actually a shining light of hope and abundance.  Change your perspective, change your life.

Orange Rose

myhappypromise

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