The power to imagine will ease you into something greater than where you are right now. Let your imagination awaken you to new possibilities!
Detachment is a difficult thing to do.
I’m talking about spiritual detachment: Being “in the world, but not of the world”. That is different from being aloof or disengaged from people or situations in our lives.
Picture a core of light, with strings moving out from that core, attaching themselves to all sorts of things: One string attached to our partner. Another attached to our children. Another attached to our job. Another to money. And others to friends, resentments, good things, difficult things, and on and on!
And all these strings are using our core energy, the energy we came in with to support us through everything. We have to work very hard to keep these attachments going. They have become part of our personality’s identity, and can get in the way of our seeing clearly. How can we make a good decision about our job if we are afraid of letting it go, even if it is for something better? How can we help our loved ones wisely when we are attached to them, or to the outcome of their situation?
Our awakening is about letting go of our attachments, and allowing those strings to connect to our inner soul force, soul energy. Not all at once. Not blindly. Slowly, wisely, and with conscious intention. Day by day, we release our limited ideas of what can be, to be aware of the grander scheme that we are usually not aware of.
When we were getting ready to have a second child, I was looking into midwives to assist the delivery. Our first child was born at home, and I wanted a similar experience once more. I also had MANY faulty judgments about hospitals, doctors and childbirth--none of them positive or worthy of repeating here.
My intuitive guidance, as I looked for midwives the second time, was, “You won’t have this child at home.” I felt afraid. Why not? My automatic assumption was that there might be something wrong with the birth, the child, or me. I tried to force the issue, but the guidance was too strong, and I backed off. I found a midwife, but one who worked with a doctor and delivered in a nearby hospital.
I started before I was even pregnant releasing my attachment to a homebirth, which included releasing the fears about hospitals and doctors. Every time I would go in for a check-up, I would have another round of fears come up to be examined and released. For an entire year I worked on this detachment!
By the time I went into the hospital to deliver, I was free of my fears and could embrace the experience! My spiritual teacher, Jane Elizabeth Hart, said to me, “Go into that hospital as if you were walking into God’s hands.” I did, and had no resistance to any of the medical personnel who helped me. Everything went smoothly because I got out of the way, released my fears and attachments to how the process was going to look, and trusted. I detached my soul energy from fears, and reattached that energy into my Divine Self that knew what it was doing.
I released from fear and false judgments, and plugged into Soul force. There is no outer picture that is the “perfect” scenario. We have to be open to what is the highest good for our souls—and all souls involved—in the moment, and that might just be very different than our human picture of what “should” be!
Knowing your highest good in the moment comes through detaching, slowly but surely, to lesser ideas each day, and plugging into your Soul that knows!
REVAMPED RULES FOR RESOLUTIONS
So we made it to 2013 after all! Maybe you put off your New Year’s resolutions until now so let’s take this time to look at a few rules for your New Year resolutions.
First take out any resolution that begins with "I want a better …" We all want to enjoy where we are no matter what, and if we don't like something, we think we have to jump to something else. So many desires building on each other keep us from listening within to what our soul is trying to tell us. Perhaps we are supposed to stay and learn something from our current job, relationship, house, car, and so forth. How will we know what we are truly supposed to do when we are somewhere already making our exit plan?
Try the good ole standby Serenity Prayer instead: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Now that is a beautiful resolution for 2013!
Next, add meditation to your daily self-care routine. Are you tired of hearing about the importance of meditation? Increasingly, meditation is shown to reduce stress, physical and mental illnesses, and
even increase successful decision-making in daily life. Commit to making the centeredness of your soul as important as the care of your physical body! Ten minutes a day will change you at depth.
Now commit to learning to observe yourself. Hold one part of yourself in a listening and watching position within you, while the other part of you is in "doing" mode. You will be amazed at what you
learn about yourself and how much easier it is to make changes when you discover something you don’t like so well about your own motives. This helps us to be more in tune with our intuition as well,
and who doesn’t want that for their new year?
Finally, resolve to forgive – any time, anywhere, for any reason. Do it just once, and you will discover how much lighter you feel, how much happier you can be! It’s worth the regular maintenance, but
even if you forgive two out of three times, you’ll be lighter when the time comes to release this year and prepare for 2014.
Service to others adds a nice extra credit touch to your list of resolutions. It allows you to share all the good vibes that lift you when you do all of the above actions. There is nothing more fulfilling than
supporting our own soul. Then we have much, much more to give to others.
For 2013, resolve to evolve!
Jane Elizabeth Hart, author of Spiritual Power Tools, would often say in her classes, “Love is the answer. What is the question?”
She was reminding us that every day provides opportunities to love—and not just the easy ones. As her students, we would ask her, “What do I do about this person? What do I need to do to forgive and release them from my life?” At times, underneath such questions was the ulterior motive of either making the person change or wanting them out of our lives altogether! Jane Elizabeth would respond with the bottom line answer: Love.
This was our direction: That no matter how much processing, forgiving and releasing we do, our action step is still the same: to love unconditionally, without judgment or hesitation. Her question became a tool in the midst of difficult interactions. We could ask our selves, “If I were coming from love, how would I act?”
At Christmastime, there is an energy of love which opens our hearts to giving and receiving love. Let your Christmas intention be to share love freely, especially with those more difficult characters in your Christmas story.
Love is the answer. What was the question?
Your potential is far greater than you could ever imagine for yourself!
Years ago, I was struggling with a need to make a change, but everything I attempted was not working out. Finally I said, "Ok, God, I can't do this anymore. I give up. What do you want?" and I let it go. Days later, I was speaking with a friend about a desire to help people, but not being in a position to do so. When she suggested I go back to school for my Master's degree, a light went on in me--I knew it was the right thing! Everything fell into place, and I started classes two months later.
Another time, my family had moved to a new location and I was looking for a job, sending out dozens of resumes with no success. One day I said, "God, I know becoming a therapist was the right thing for me to do so what do You want me to be doing?" I sat down on my couch, and instantly an outline for a counseling center came into my consciousness. The divine idea of the Interfaith Counseling Center awakened in me. I knew exactly what needed to be done and exactly how to do it!
In both of these instances, when I let go of my own efforts and asked for ideas, ideas came! Everything was then aligned: my desire, my will and my cooperation! If you have something that you are trying to accomplish, take time to release your current efforts and open yourself to new ideas. You can use the Spiritual Power Tool of journaling or the Seven Steps to help you release your current situation, clearing the way for a new idea that is greater than what you might have thought up otherwise.
There is a fun song on the internet called “You Are a Pirate. The words are, “Do what you want ‘cause a pirate is free / You are a pirate / Yar-har-fiddle-de-dee / Being a pirate is alright with me / Do what you want ‘cause a pirate is free / You are a pirate” then repeat, continuous loop-style, ad nauseum.
The song originally comes from a children’s television program in which the town villain disguises himself as a pirate to lure the children away from their good behavior. He makes being a pirate sound fun with his happy pirate song and promises of freedom from discipline and rules. The children, of course, enthusiastically take their places as his crew mates. Who doesn’t want freedom?
On the spiritual path, one of the skills we learn is distinguishing between short-sighted egoic impulses and the true promptings of our soul. We start learning this by more closely observing the thoughts and feelings that arise and incite us to act. When our ego pulls us toward personality freedom, often it can excite us and feel good on a short-term basis. Ego pulls don’t take into consideration the needs of those around us or long-term consequences of our actions. We can liken this to the pirate from the song, and the children who happily followed along.
Soul freedom leads us toward greater responsibility for what is ours to do this lifetime. It also aligns us with our higher potential. Hmm…Not as enticing at first, is it?
Paramahansa Yogananda, the great Indian mystic, once said, “The mind is so powerful, it can make you taste salt and think it is sugar, and when you eat sugar, it can make you think you taste salt.” Our ego pulls are the salt that tastes sweet at first, but then we feel disappointed when we discover it wasn’t what was in our best interest. Our soul promptings taste a bit salty at first, but as we stick with them, how sweet it is! Everything flows better when we are aligned with our soul responsibilities!
How much time and energy do you spend following the piratey impulsiveness of your personality self? How long does that satisfy you?
The children who followed the pirate to his false “freedom” (and were subsequently captured) quickly learned that the rules they ran from actually provided structure so they could play more freely! Likewise, our intuition is there to help us learn the best structure and steps to take to free our souls from ego-captivity, allowing greater energy to flow into a more joyful expression of who we truly are!
Why bother with all this spiritual work? It’s all they talk about around here! I mean, really, what do we get out of it, except less time to watch CSI?
Because we want to love ourselves.
I know you think you already do. So did I, so I’d let myself stay up late watching movies even though I’d be overtired and grumpy the next day. I thought I loved myself, so I would put up walls between myself and others so I didn’t have to bother myself with them much. I thought I loved myself, so I would treat myself to that extra sugar in my diet.
We have to ask ourselves, are we loving ourselves, or protecting against something or someone? Are we loving ourselves, or making excuses not to stick with the discipline that is meant to keep us healthy?
Avoidance isn’t love, neither is indulgence. Love is the energy that comes through us as we clear out our fears, resentments and false beliefs. Love isn't so much an act as it is a vibration that becomes part of us as we do our spiritual processing and releasing.
So keep on forgiving. Take time to journal your thoughts and feelings. Make your daily meditation a priority. Be aware of your inner self-talk and make sure it is kind and supportive. Slowly but surely, you will make yourself more and more receptive to Divine Love moving through you, blessing yourself and spilling over as blessings for others.
All you need is love, the kind that comes from our healing and devotion to your soul evolution.
Now that we are in full swing of the Lenten season, what have you released for this time? Are you spending your energy staying away from chocolate or sugar? Or have you decided to release something that will make even more of a difference to your Soul? Even if you have no investment in the traditional Lenten season, how about ditching guilt and resentment towards yourself for a while?
It is so much easier to forgive other people, isn’t it? I mean, we don’t have to live with those people (not the easy ones to forgive, anyway), so why should we hold a grudge against them? But our own selves? We have to see our own thinking and behavior every single day! That starts building up after a while. And if we find out we have been wrong? Watch out! We pull that guilt hammer out and start hitting ourselves with it so quickly!
How do we release these regrets and resentments directed at oursleves?
First of all, find out what you need to forgive about yourself. Acknowledge it, understand it, label it. This helps us have something more concrete to release rather than it being an abstract, generalized ideal. For example, seeing times when I have been impatient with others over time is much easier to forgive than trying to forgive myself for being a “bad person” over all. “Bad person” doesn’t teach me anything, nor does it give me new choices for my behavior. Impatience, on the other hand, I can grasp, and it has the alternative of being patient.
Secondly, speaking of patience, be patient as you transition from the old behavior that you are releasing to the new behavior. You might have heard the saying, “A habit wasn’t created over night,” meaning that it won’t be changed overnight either. You have acknowledged, understood and labeled your behavior, now let yourself practice the new behavior, with a gentle and wide learning curve.
Finally, during this transition, add energy to the positive choices you make, and quickly pass by the times you fall into the old behaviors. Yes, see that you missed your desired mark, but move on quickly! Don’t let that old hammer have time to resume its flagellating! Take time to feel gratitude toward yourself for your new behavior.
Forgiveness is not just about stating that we are suddenly just peachy about ourselves. It is about making changes, with compassion, and moving into a new way of being with ourselves. Enjoy your chocolate, and give up the guilt!
Spirituality is the essence of the counseling process. It positively affects healing, supports the sense of hope and good outcome, and is a source of comfort and insight along the way. Your spirituality is the ideal your therapist holds for you as you move through the challenges that brought you to counseling. Your religious or spiritual worldview—or personal ethic—helps you make the changes that heal your life.
How do we know that spirituality is essential to personal growth?
As we explore the body, emotions and thoughts, we find that our true identity is in none of these. There is a greater part of us that can make changes in each of these areas, and sees them as temporary at best. For example, we know that we can help relieve physical pain by altering how we think about it. Through this, we discover that we are more than just our bodies. We also know that our emotions are reactions to a thought, belief or attitude that that we are holding. From this, we discover that we are more than our feelings. When we examine our thoughts, we find that some are true while others are not. We also find that we can change a thinking pattern from “I am not strong enough to go through this,” to “I have all that I need to achieve my goal,” which opens us to new choices in our life. As a result, we discover that we are more than our thoughts.
What, then, are we?
We are something greater than the self that we know. We are that inner strength, wisdom, compassion, acceptance and joy that we hold as an ideal. Our spiritual nature is that which urges us to reach out for help, to find encouragement for moving through difficult situations, and to be truthful with ourselves, even when no one is looking.
When we feel out of touch with our ideal self, we may feel a loss of hope or motivation to give our best to our daily tasks. At times, it is difficult to see beyond our problems, and we feel out of integrity with our thoughts, feelings and behavior. Our bodies may ache from stress. Our emotions may not make sense to us. Our thoughts may seem unpredictable, even a little frightening. We may believe we are our problem. Our awareness of this disconnect comes from our spiritual nature, urging us to try something different to resolve our difficulties. We can then look within ourselves and make the adjustments necessary to pull us back into alignment with who we really are. Yet, sometimes we need more—an outside observer who can look objectively at our situation and offer guidance.
Your therapist is trained to hold a picture of you as capable, healthy and whole, even when you feel you aren’t. She or he is there to remind you of your spiritual nature, to help you regain hope and your sense of inner balance. This vision can only be held from the vantage point of your ideal self, not your physical, emotional or mental levels, which are changing and are not you.
Through counseling, you are supported in awakening to your inherent talents and abilities. Your ideal self is within you. It is accessible and it belongs to you. Listen to its promptings and let it move you forward in life.
Lynn Barrette, LCSW Blending psychology with spirituality, I offer tools for forgiveness, acceptance, meditation and relaxation, and positive parenting solutions.