Are we really so separate?
Love the world.
To simplify and summarize, our brain has three primary motivational systems – Avoiding harms, Approaching rewards, and Attaching to “us” – that draw on many neural networks to accomplish their goals.
Lately, I’ve started to realize that a fourth fundamental human motivational system could be emerging as well.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors depended upon their habitats for food and shelter. Today, over 7 billion of us are pressing hard up against the limits of Lifeboat Earth. To survive and to flourish, cultural and perhaps biological evolution are calling us to love the world.
The world is near to hand in the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the weather and climate in which you spend your days. And then in widening circles, the world extends out to include complex webs of life and the physical characteristics of the land, the sea, and the sky.
Living a life, which is aware and at a level of consciousness which is constantly evolving, is our prime duty towards our own selves. It is only by living in a state of awareness that we are conscious of our day to day stresses and we have the ability to combat them.
Stress builds up within us because we allow fear to step into the realm of our existence. With no fear, imagine the possibilities. I feel it is only the fear within us that hinders us from stepping into progress.
Your parents may not be perfect human beings, as they too are souls on this journey of life and are here to learn lessons like you.
But what if you have the perfect parents for your soul’s growth and evolution in this lifetime?
Relationships with parents can be some of the most challenging and difficult to navigate.
Ask yourself: What are the lessons that your soul is seeking to learn with them?
They give birth to you, raise you, and impact so much of who you become.
In U.S. history books, well-known philanthropists such as Carnegie and Rockefeller are described as generous and charitable. They donated part of their great wealth to good causes such as building schools and libraries. However, what is often overlooked in this version of history is that the very basis of their philanthropy was inequality. Their fortunes were built on the backs of working people, whose labor and minimal wages allowed those at the top to accumulate large amounts of money, which they used to build mansions for themselves filled with extravagant possessions. They gave a portion of their money to good causes. Meanwhile, those who were the actual source of their wealth often could barely afford to feed themselves and their families. This scenario continues today.
We’ve all got that incessant voice in our heads that speaks up when we do things like try on new clothes, make a mistake, experience a perceived failure, or consider branching out of our comfort zone to try something different. And this internal diatribe occurring inside us tends not to be in the nicest of tones, am I right? This voice is our inner critic.
Often, the voice mimics our internalized version of criticism from a primary caregiver in early childhood. It tries to keep us safe – urging us to avoid pain and disappointment – but not in the best of ways.
If you’re ready to send your inner critic into early retirement, grab a writing utensil and a journal and follow these six steps. (You can certainly do this activity on a mobile device or computer if you prefer, but I find that there’s so much more power and connection in writing important things out by hand!)
This week our focus is on harmonious relationships (according to my reading for the week!) and so having a look around and seeing who is populating your world is a first step in seeing how you’re singing in or out of tune along with the people in your world.
Relationships need tending, pruning, and watering like precious plants we want to see flower and bloom. But if you are sharing your water until you’re empty so you feel safe, certain, and in control and to please others you’re not doing what’s best for you (or them) at all.
One of the things I needed to shift in my life over the years was this idea that I had to put others’ needs in front of my own, to always be available and to give until I was exhausted when it was demanded of me. I actually got a lot out of that “out of tune” way of singing along with life, as I felt needed (and entitled to whining) but it wasn’t healthy and it certainly wasn’t authentic as I grew to have a lot of resentment. Once I discovered it was my job to set healthy boundaries and to admit when I couldn’t be there, or didn’t know something, and could voice my own needs as well as be accountable for my own self-care, everything changed. I mean everything! Self-worth, self-respect, come to you immediately when you begin to put a relationship with yourself first.
One of my clients asked me the following question: “Can I attract my beloved if I’m still in the process of healing my inner pain?”
The simple answer is “Yes,” but the actual answer is more complex.
Healing is a Process
Healing is an ongoing process of learning to be less judgmental and more compassionate with yourself. Healing pain isn’t just about the past – It’s primarily about how you are currently treating yourself. For example:
- You judge yourself as not good enough and you feel pain. While you might have learned to do this as a child from others who judged or rejected you, the fact that you are still doing it as an adult means that you are rejecting yourself and re-creating your pain. Your pain will not heal as long as you are rejecting yourself.
- You avoid your feelings by numbing them with various addictions, or you avoid them by staying focused in your mind and ignoring what is happening inside where your feelings are. This creates a feeling of inner rejection and abandonment, as well as emptiness and neediness. Again, you are re-creating the old pain of not being loved as you were growing up.
- You tend to make others responsible for your safety and self-worth. They have to approve of you in order for you to feel that you are okay. Your feeling self – your inner child – feels abandoned by you when you give him or her away to others for approval.
As long as you continue to reject and abandon yourself, you will meet partners at your common level of self-abandonment – partners who are also rejecting and abandoning themselves.
After I got married I found out there is something so much more important than being “right.” It’s being “loved.” I discovered that when I was committed to being “right,” it always meant making someone else “wrong.” As you know, feeling wrong does not go well with feeling loved.
So many of us like to assume a rigid stance and “dig in our heels” to fight for our point of view and prove how “right” we are — often about some pretty stupid stuff. The cost of needing to be right is hurting, harassing or humiliating the ones we claim to love the most.
I have finally learned to manage my mind and my mouth. Most of the time it’s not necessary to “correct” anyone on what I think is right or wrong unless it’s really pertinent to someone’s wellbeing. Now, when I am smart enough to “catch” myself and I am about to blurt out something in order to be “right,” I slap some imaginary masking tape over my mouth and choose love instead.
What does your heart say?
Choose to Love
Many years ago, I was in a significant relationship in which the other person started doing things that surprised and hurt me. I’ll preserve the privacy here so I won’t be concrete, but it was pretty intense. After going through the first wave of reactions – What?! How could you? Are you kidding me?! – I settled down a bit. I had a choice.
This relationship was important to me, and I could see that a lot of what was going through the mind over there was really about the other person and not about me. I began to realize that the freest, strongest, and most self-respecting thing that I could do was both to tell the person that we were on very thin ice . . . and to choose to love meanwhile.
“He will be so angry if I tell him that.”
“I’m afraid of losing her if I’m honest with her.”
How often have you said to yourself, “I can’t say that because he or she will get angry, shut down, get hurt, or leave”?
How do you feel when you are not open with your partner or others about your feelings, needs, wants, and actions? I have noticed that when I don’t speak my truth, I feel angry or depressed inside. My inner child really hates it if I allow fear to stop me from being fully authentic. My anger or depression is my inner child’s way of letting me know that I am abandoning her.
When your partner or others react to your truth with anger, withdrawal, hurt, or threats of leaving, they believe that their controlling behavior is working for them. Because you are either willing to lose yourself rather than lose them, or you are willing to lie or withhold the truth, they can continue to react with their controlling behavior without directly experiencing the consequences of their behavior on the relationship.
…… It’s sometimes hard to see you are in a toxic relationship when you are in it.
We get so invested and often can’t see clearly as we are clouded by our conditioning.
Some signs of a toxic relationship are more obvious, like mental, emotional, verbal or financial abuse, but some are much more subtle.
So here are a few signs of a toxic relationship:
- You are constantly bringing out the worst parts of each other.
- There is a lot of passive aggressive behavior rather than real communication.
- Excessive jealousy, control and possessiveness.
- Constantly criticizing the other.
- You don’t feel you can be your real self out of fear of the other’s reactions.
- Disrespecting your partner, their opinions, requests, worth.
“By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song
Fifty years ago, in August 1969, nearly a half million young people gathered on a farm in rural New York for “three days of peace and music.” Contrary to warnings about how it would all go wrong, peace and music are exactly what occurred. In spite of the huge crowds, rain, mud, and countless challenges, love and community prevailed. The impact of that peaceful spirit was felt across the country and around the world. Woodstock Nation, whether you were there in person or not, defined a generation. Its legacy continues today.
Day after day, I have people who come to me because they feel stuck in their relationships. Although their circumstances may be unique, their themes are common. They:
- Become masters at avoiding or denying what’s really going on in their relationships or household,
- Numb out with food, alcohol, or work so they don’t have to feel their pain or resignation,
- Pacify their partners because they don’t want to upset them and deal with their wrath,
- Tolerate situations that are intolerable, unhealthy, or just soul-crushing,
- Stay in the relationship because they have fear of leaving and the unknown.
They desperately want support in breaking free from their non-serving patterns and behaviors and are ready to do the work necessary to create a shift.
Although initially most think they are doing the work for themselves, which they are, they soon realize that their commitment to change is much bigger than they are. They realize that the dysfunctional patterns which they are exhibiting, experiencing, and enduring in their relationships and household have been in their family for generations and will more than likely remain in their family for generations to come unless someone has the courage and desire to cut the cords of dysfunction that are woven into the fabric of the family.
Abundance is not about what you have, it’s about how you feel about what you have.
… And how you feel about who you are.
You see it’s not about what you have or not, but your relationship with ALL of it.
Just because you have a lot of money doesn’t make you abundant.
Money is material. It comes and goes.
Real abundance includes but is also beyond the material, it is a state of consciousness.
Abundance is your Being.
The more you access who you really are, the more you experience the abundance of your BEING.
Your being is one with everything and the source of life. Connect to that which you are, and you tap into an inexhaustible stream of energy beyond yourself. There is no lack there.
There is no scarcity in the INFINITE.
You can have the world but if you don’t have you, the REAL YOU, you are poor.
If you have millions of dollars but you live gripped in fear of losing it, you are poor.
If you accumulate masses of wealth but are too afraid to share it, you are poor.
If you are so attached to the things you own that they in turn own you, and you live in fear, you are poor.
If you have everything but don’t appreciate and enjoy what you have, and life’s simple miracles, you are poor.
How often do you ask a question of or make a statement to a partner, co-worker, friend, or relative at a time when you already know they are closed or angry? Then, when they are predictably angry or defensive, you feel upset by their response. Why do you put your inner child in the line of fire? What are you hoping to gain by asking a question or making a statement when you already know they are closed?
Go inside for a moment and ask yourself this question: “Why do I try to communicate with someone whom I already know is angry, defensive, or withdrawn? What do I hope will happen?”
If you are honest with yourself, you will see that your hope is that by asking the question or making the statement, the other person will respond with openness. Now, again be honest with yourself – how often has this happened? What usually happens instead?
Very often, they continue to be angry or defensive and then you feel really badly because your covert manipulation hasn’t worked.
You never know when inspiration is going to come knocking at your door.
My colleague and fellow Hay House author Sonia Choquette is one of the most inspiring and motivational speakers I have ever witnessed. I’ve seen her lecture to packed auditoriums all over the world. Her principle is: Move your body – to move your soul. Even the most inhibited people who would never dare to stand up with everyone else and dance, are encouraged to get to their feet, move their hips, and shake every inch of their body!
It’s amazing to watch Sonia call upon a sad soul who has low self-esteem, someone who’s riddled by the fear of being noticed, and how she intuitively tunes in to their positive traits. She exudes a positive belief, and manages to bring them to the front of the stage and then gets them to sing, dance, or even yell at the top of their lungs. People walk away with their soul literally vibrating. If we could all just feel that way, I believe we could change the world.
Already someone is asking
who you were. And I well up.
I reach for your long life and all
you did. But it’s all you touched
that can’t be put into words. Twenty
years ago, when I was troubled and
confused, you took my hand firmly
and said, “You steward a force of
nature within you. Honor it and
trust it.” Later, you led me to the
plateau between all that is good
in us and all the harm we do. You
stood there between the eternal light
and the eternal dark and said, “Come,
look with me into the heart of things.”
But you always returned to walk the
earth, lending your strong hands to
all who came your way. I want so
much to speak about the force of
nature you were. The kind stranger
is waiting. And I can only point to
who you were, like a child pointing
to the moon. I stutter and simply
say, “He was such a good man.”
A Question to Walk With: Describe someone who can look into the heart of things with. What qualities does this friend inhabit that makes such depth between you possible?
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” — Saint Teresa of Calcutta
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the phrase “go back to where you came from.”
Those were the words our president uttered last week, and after he said them, I found myself feeling the rejection, the pain and the hurt behind them. While his words were aimed at four female elected officials, I know that many of us have also heard words like that in our personal lives.
“Get out! Go away! You are not welcome here anymore. You don’t deserve to be here. Leave!”
Sit with those words. How do they make you feel in your body, your heart and your mind? I know they make me feel pain. Why? Well, underneath those words is the implication that one doesn’t belong, and not belonging cuts to the core of what we desire and need to survive as human beings.
Belonging. I remember a quote from Mother Teresa (now Saint Teresa of Calcutta) where she said the biggest threat to us and our world was that people don’t feel as though they belong. “If we have no peace,” she said, “it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
When someone senses that they don’t belong, they don’t feel the ground underneath their feet. They don’t feel like they have a seat at the table. They don’t trust that they belong.
Those with whom we assemble, we soon resemble!
This simple old saying hides a deep Truth that can enlighten and empower every aspect of our lives.
Who we are — our very essence — is continually being transformed by the company we keep.
Stated differently, when we keep the company of what is light and bright, our lives get lighter and brighter. And when we keep the company of what is dark and discouraging, our lives can’t help but be dragged downward.
This idea might sound a little simplistic at first, but its power soon becomes evident when we put it to use in the quest to realize our highest aspirations. The key lies in understanding that this principle is active on multiple levels at once. For instance, when referring to "the company we keep," we of course mean the people we spend time with every day — family, friends, co-workers, etc. However, on a deeper and more important level, “company” can also refer to the thoughts and feelings moving within us in any given moment.
Guess what? Every single part of you is perfectly integrated into your life’s purpose! And it is all happening right now….