Monday, March 31, 2008

Rebirthing Ourselves Pt. 2

So...let’s suppose we really do want to rebirth ourselves. What’s the fastest way to do that? In my experience, the fastest way to change is to CHOOSE TO WILLINGLY DO THAT WHICH SCARES ME THE MOST.

I am NOT talking about foolish risks! What I’m talking about is doing the things that I know would enrich my life if I could—or would—do them.

In my experience:

1) If I do what scares me and it turns out I can do it and nothing terrible happens, then no more of my energy needs to go into being afraid of that experience again. (Or at least a lot less—and each time it gets easier.)

2) If I do what scares me, my comfort zone expands.

3) If I do what scares me and I succeed (or at least survive), then it gives me evidence that perhaps I can successfully do other things that scare me and less of my energy goes into being afraid of those things.

4) If I do what scares me and it doesn’t work out the way I hoped, I have more information than I had before. I am still a step closer to being who I want to be and accomplishing what I wish to accomplish.

5) If I do what scares me, I begin to change my perception of myself as someone fragile or less competent than other people. I begin to feel less of an outsider and more like everyone else who can do those things that used to scare me. I begin to see myself as someone strong and competent and capable and courageous—rather than being immersed in that memory of how I was as a child when I felt so helpless and overwhelmed.

(Note: I have friends who crack up at the notion that I could ever perceive myself as helpless. Most people see me as very strong and competent and resourceful. And yet, the default emotional state can be the one from when I was that scared child and I have to stop and remind myself that’s where it comes from--and that it no longer applies.)

My point is that WILLINGLY CHOOSING TO DO WHAT SCARES US is a very powerful step we can take to rebirth ourselves and move forward in our lives. I have NEVER regretted doing what scared me but I have often regretted the times I didn’t step up to a challenge that could have enriched my life.

What might you willingly choose to do that scares you? How could your life be better if you did?

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),

PS Speaking of feeling overwhelmed... I will be going back east this weekend to spend a couple of days with my grown son who has Down syndrome and behavioral issues. I will be, as always, trying to bring order and calm into chaos and that often feels overwhelming. So please keep my son (and me) in your thoughts this coming weekend as I try to find a way to reach him.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Rebirthing Ourselves

Rebirthing ourselves over and over again is a natural and powerful step to take all through our lives. (This time of year tends to bring it to mind for me.) By that I mean stopping to think about where we are, how we got here, and whether changing any of our assumptions about our lives and ourselves might be worthwhile.

We make assumptions every day about how things are and who we are. Often those assumptions are things we were taught by our families or society and often we outgrow them or discover they were never true in the first place—IF we stop to challenge them.

It’s so easy to go through life never questioning our assumptions but we do so at a very high price—cutting ourselves off from wonderful possibilities we might otherwise have. Some of our greatest inventions and achievements came from people who didn’t listen when they were told it couldn’t be done.

If we were abused as children, it’s especially important to question those assumptions. We were almost certainly lied to by our abusers and we probably told ourselves what we needed to believe in order to survive. But now, as adults, we can choose to rewrite those assumptions and toss any that don’t work for us or aren’t true.

How do we do that? Well, as children, we knew how to play make believe and ask: What if?

What if we did that with our lives now? What if we asked ourselves: Could we be wrong about the person we think has insulted us? What if they were saying thinking something entirely different than what we think we heard? What if (at least some) people WILL treat us with kindness and respect—NOW? What if that’s what we deserve? What if we aren’t stupid or crazy or shameful? What if we ARE deserving of love and success and happiness? What if...?

What if we could do that thing we were told we couldn’t do when we were children? What if we aren’t tone deaf or incapable of doing math or shouldn’t even think about picking up a hammer or wrench? What if we can be happy, successful, capable people?

What if we can find joy even on the most difficult of days? What if it’s okay to have fun as we move forward in our lives and take on new challenges?

What if we stop and ask ourselves: What assumptions do I want to challenge TODAY? What new possibilities do I want to bring into my life NOW--even if I didn't know I could have them before? How can I expand my expectations for what’s possible for me?

How about you? What ways could you enrich your life by asking: What if...?

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mistake Central This Week

I know I’m really late posting. It’s been a busy week for me out there in my other world. The interesting thing is that I’m continuing to be able to treat myself as kindly as I would a guest in my house. And the universe has been testing me. I swear I have made more foolish blunders in the past week or so than I normally would over a few months! And I’ve been able to remember to lighten up, laugh about it, and know that it’s okay. I’ve been able to see that nothing terrible will happen, I’m not an idiot, and that what I want to do is focus on what’s going right in my life.

Now this may not seem like much to you, but I’m one of those people who grew up having it drilled into my head that I should never make mistakes and horrible things would happen if I did. I’m one of those people who used to be mortified if anyone else realized I’d made a mistake. (Like it’s actually possible to never make mistakes. Sheesh, the things we let ourselves believe!)

Over the past week or so, quite a few times I’ve had to publicly acknowledge mistakes—or have lots of people see me make them. And the funny thing is that I’m okay with it. I really am. Which is a weird feeling—but I like it.

That doesn’t mean I want to be careless or make lots of mistakes, only that I really like being able to accept myself as imperfect and human—and still okay.

Here’s hoping that no matter how imperfect your week has been or how many mistakes you might have made, you still appreciate the wonderful person you are!

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))),

Oh, and there’s a new Carnival Against Abuse with some powerful posts. The link is:

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Guest in My Own House pt 2

It’s been an interesting week. I’ve realized things like:

I’d never call a guest stupid or an idiot no matter what they did.

I’d add special touches such as garlic bread to a meal of veggie chili.

I’d offer to froth heated milk or soymilk and add a touch of cinnamon for a guest’s morning coffee.

If a guest was scared or worried about something, I’d do my best to reassure the guest he/she had the skills and courage to handle whatever the challenge might be. I might help the guest brainstorm possibilities and I’d never call the guest stupid or a coward.

I’d make sure the pillows were fluffy and the sheets soft and that the house was warm enough for my guest.

If my guest slept late, I’d assume he/she was tired and needed the sleep NOT that the guest was lazy or stupid for doing so.

I’d think about fun things my guest might like to do.

I’d encourage my guest to have fun.

I’d make sure there was nice hand soap in the bathroom and lots of towels.

I’d ask my guest what he/she wanted to read or watch on television or DVD—not decide based on what I thought my guest should read or see.

I’d listen if my guest needed to talk something out and I would encourage my guest to believe in him/herself and I'd never call my guest stupid.

Do you see a pattern here? I sure did! It’s interesting how often I caught myself slipping into old patterns and interesting how good it felt to begin to treat myself as if I were a guest in my own house. How about you? Are there any ways you would be nicer to a guest than you are to yourself?

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),