Perspective

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Over the last 6 weeks people have gone through massive shifts, from political conflict to the solar eclipse and natural disasters. Threats come from so many directions: military missiles, ancient disease rising from glacial melt, environmental toxicity, the list of things to fear is endless. Our news sources are unreliable leaving people open to speculation that fans the flame of fear even more.

We all have the capacity for fear. We all view our situation or circumstances from our own unique perspectives. People who stand in fear find only the negative, worst-case-scenario, what-is-missing perspective. Most of our own fears never come for fruition. But lately, people have been blindsided by events like the recent hurricanes and fires that ravaged Texas, Montana, and Florida.

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Some folks lost everything and others were unscathed. Some of those who walked away with nothing but the clothes on their backs are full of gratitude and hope, putting one foot in front of the other despite all they’ve lost. Others see only the darkness and feel crippled by the thought of the unknown. They feel as if they are swimming upstream exhausted.

I had to learn to reframe my perspective first hand. After facing the loss of “everything,” I had to go forward one hour at a time and not look back. I was lucky to have a couple dear friends in my corner.

Gone is gone. Crying over what has been lost is energy wasted and unnecessarily stressful. You can only put one foot in front of the other and go forward. Revisiting the past for any reason other than objectivity is time and energy better invested in moving down a new path of the unknown.

A recent interview with a woman who lost everything to Irma on St. John’s island was heartbreaking. “I don’t know how to do this,” she said. “There’s no power, no water, no food, no facilities, and nowhere to turn.”  On the flipside, there are folks on the mainland with their electricity restored and their homes in tact lamenting over the potential outcome: rising insurance rates, lack of internet access, and the possibility of the next storm finishing them off. These people are not camping in rubble with the mosquitoes in the oppressive 92-degree heat.

What makes one person miserable and another grateful in the moment? Perspective.

Things we take for granted are now luxuries to one who lost everything. Water to drink and wash with, shelter from the heat, a flushing toilet, and food. The woman in shock in St. John wanders lost. Hopefully, she will find help from FEMA or National Guard. Others are swimming in the ocean with the backdrop of destruction. Their perspective? When life hands you clear water and sunshine, might as well enjoy a moment while waiting for the cavalry to arrive.

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Starting over with nothing sucks, but you don’t need to continue looking through the lens of catastrophe. Seeing through the lens of faith – that things will only get better because it can’t be worse – is the best way forward.

Because if you’ve lost everything, you’ve got nothing left to lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Safe Spots

My dog has two “safe spots” in the house. A patch of tile and his bed. When he doesn’t want to be bothered, brushed, or bathed, he goes to one of those safe spots. We respect that and wait until he moves away to proceed.

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We humans don’t always have our safe spot nearby. When someone imposes views not aligned with our own, it is considered rude to stop them from speaking further. If only we could travel with some sort of invisible force field that is electrified like a bug zapper, we would be able to see the unwanted words and ideas sizzle and smoke, never reaching our intellect and emotional body.

No matter how much we may empathize or sympathize with another, we do not have the ability to read their minds, walk their path, or feel all that they are feeling from their unique perspective. And no matter how much we may identify with their problems – having “Me, too!” moments – we are not able to fully experience all that they are with identical philosophies or values.

We may desire to help so much that we are blinded by our own intention, unable to see the body language and facial cues that beg, “Please Stop!”

   Trying to help when I’m not sure what I need yet.

   Thinking you know how I feel when you don’t.

   Pressing your views against mine.

   Talking. You’re only making things worse.

The poor person we want to help only wants to jump ship in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight.

A person’s “safe spot” should be honored with breathing space and time for contemplation. We can make offerings to tempt the person away from their spot, then step back, allowing them space to choose for themselves which offer they’d like to receive. And if our offering is not the one chosen, accept that choice as being in their best interests.

Some of us are hard-wired helpers who sometimes forget that help is selected by the individual in need, and one size does not fit all.

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(The video of this dog is totally unrelated, but he’s offering dog toys to an infant because he stole her toy. )

http://www.boredpanda.com/dog-apology-baby-toys-laura-charlie/

 

 

The Invisibility Cloak

Anyone who knows the Harry Potter story remembers his Cloak of Invisibility that turns out to be one of three objects that helps him cheat death.

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Not so fast.

Three years ago, I traded cars. Since the change, I’ve lost count of how many close calls I’ve had. (Although it is a newer model, it is not so new that I drive more cautiously than normal.) I’ve have more near collisions in the last year than I have had in my last four decades of driving. People don’t see me, even when I’m the only other car on the road or right in front of them. I feel as if my car is wearing an invisibility cloak. It’s probably nothing to do with the car itself, but my energy. My field has shrunk so small that I’ve become invisible.

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Many people have been scuttling through their lives under invisibility cloaks. They want to quietly fly under the radar. They’ve retreated to their caves to avoid the new energies stirred up by recent world events. Folks have been keeping close to home, feeling safe in their nests.

I have too. My senior dog is slowing inching his way to his end. The old boy is not ill, but in steady decline. Yet I need to go to work, do errands, or just get out of the nest for a change of energy. Still, I find that I don’t want to leave my comfort zone.

The longer I stay cocooned, the smaller my energy shrinks.  I risk becoming invisible. Right now, I feel as if I would go unseen by a drone in the middle of a salt flat. For now, that is fine. But driving? Short of painting my car a brighter color, I can use thought, movement, and creative visualization to grow my energy. And the horn. I’ve used that more than ever.

Being invisible doesn’t always keep us safe. In today’s climate, we would all like to be seen and heard. When we aren’t, we can shift our own energy to step out into the open, wear colorful clothing, look both ways – more than once – and say a little prayer before crossing the road. You might not be invisible to the unseen.

Get Out of Your Own Way

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The world and its occupants are loaded down with rules, expectations, judgments, accusations, and speculations – all about you. From the moment you take your first breath, someone is telling you how you are, what you should think, feel, and do. As babies, we need someone to show us the basics, but once we develop our own minds, we love to “do it ourselves.” That’s natural.

From the moment you take your first breath, someone is telling you how you are, what you should think, feel, and do. As babies, we need someone to show us the basics, but once we develop our own minds, we love to “do it ourselves.” That’s natural. Just look at nature for confirmation.

People don’t stop imposing their attitudes, beliefs, and opinions on us once we are thinking for ourselves. Humans have grown into complex creatures that feel compelled to articulate the “why” of everything. And we think this makes us intelligent.

Oh, contra ire.

The more you listen to everyone else instead of your own feelings, the farther away from yourself you travel.

No one can fully escape someone telling them “no.”

“No. You can’t do that.”

“No. You shouldn’t think (feel or believe) that.”

“No. You are wrong.”

“No. You are not ___________enough.” Fill in the blank. (smart, talented, skinny, brave, rich, pretty, connected, educated or strong)

You hear any of that often, eventually it soaks into you like an ink stain. Your subconscious mind replays those negative ideas constantly. Even though your conscious mind is telling you not to listen, not to believe, and that you should know better. Because you do!

But whenever you are complimented, you brush it off and reject the positive input. Any skull session that promotes creativity and chasing dreams has you snuffing them out with all the reasons “why not” instead of planning the pathway toward our goals.

We stamp out our dreams like a boot extinguishing a cigarette.

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What can we do?

Wish on a star? A birthday candle? Wait for a hero to rescue us from ourselves?

How can you undo years of mental programming and record new, positive, self-affirming “Yes!” data?

Be aware of your thoughts and re-word them, one thought at a time. Be diligent! Any time you get down on yourself or hear yourself rebuffing a compliment, STOP! Imagine a seeing a stop sign and then mentally talk to yourself as you would someone you love.

Squirming yet? Yes, it is very uncomfortable because you are accustomed to accepting the worst for yourself.  Accepting the best takes practice and reward.

When you treat yourself, you never chose the smallest brownie or just one piece of chocolate. So why do you do that in other areas?

If you feel as if you “don’t deserve” good stuff, you’ve been lied to. Oh, yeah. Again and again, you’ve been fed big, fat, hairy lies by people who had also been raised on a diet of the same or are purposely trying to hold you back and keep you down.

You were born knowing better but changed when the rest of the world got a hold of you.

Instead of asking yourself what you think about it, ask: How do I feel about it? Use your heart center instead of your intellect.

How do you feel about it?

You know when you feel good and bad. Any time you get down on yourself with all the reasons why not, stop. Remind yourself that all those reasons came from others. Then ask yourself: How do I feel about it?

Use your heart instead of your head. How does it feel? It’s smarter than you think.

When To Say When

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Have you ever known in your gut that “the big step” you were about to take would be a huge mistake, but you went ahead and did it anyway? Like marrying the wrong person, choosing a habit or protocol out of convenience, or a logical career path to please someone. You listened to everyone else and their rationalizations about your dilemma, and all those opinions outweighed your feelings and overruled your instinct.

How many times have you gone against your better judgment only to regret it?

And how long did it take you to stand up and say when?

Still haven’t worked up the courage?

When will that happen?

After you’ve completely lost your identity to a relationship? In the middle of the Bar Exam? After your second child? On your death bed?

Every time I’ve gone against my inner knowing, I’ve paid dearly. Bad relationships, worse jobs, paths I had no intention of traveling. And I knew better. Deep in my gut, I knew. But I didn’t listen. Live and learn, right?

Standing up for yourself, what you want, what you know is right for you, isn’t necessarily easy. But if you don’t do it, who will?

Lately, I’m encountering people who are dissatisfied with their lives, but afraid to say when. They remain in situations or relationships that no longer serve and don’t fulfill any of their desires.

When do you say when?

When you feel safe? When you can afford to? When others involved will be accepting?

You know when you know. But you must be aware that you know. And you must act on what you know. Pay attention and listen to inner self, your physical body, your progress toward your desires. Take inventory. Are you where you expected to be in your life? Have you ticked off an acquisition list only to find yourself empty or even miserable with all that you thought would bring you success?

Ask the questions:

What is missing?

Why did I want that?

Who would this affect besides me?

How would I be able to manage it?

When would be the best time to say when?

Your “when” might be a year from now or ten minutes from now.

Quick story. A dear friend held a childhood dream of doing hair, yet her financial life took her on a corporate path. By her forties, she was asking when to say when. When she finally did, a health scare placed the dream on the back burner again. For another year, she questioned, “When?”

She’d already been accepted at a school but had no idea how to pay for it or how she would survive the intense schedule.  Just before Christmas she went to work and said, “I think I’m going to start school January 5th.” She didn’t know all the answers to how, but she trusted her gut that her timing was right. She scored a full scholarship at 43. I’m pleased to say that she just graduated and is now working in a salon, thrilled to pieces that she is finally doing what she loves.

Is there such a thing as perfect timing? Everyone’s when will depend on their own variables. But if you don’t pay attention to that little voice pressing you to set a time frame, you’ll never achieve a dream, or get out of your undesirable situation, back to yourself, or live to see your true potential.

Destiny won’t invite herself through a closed door. You decide when to let her in.

You decide when to say when.

You decide.

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Wearing the Clothes of a Victim is Never Fashionable

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We’ve all had the pity-party after someone we loved hurt us. But when we do it publicly, it ain’t pretty. It’s just pretty sad.

When a relationship doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you should, to quote a young woman I counselled this week, “Put myself back in a box for a couple years.”

Forgive me, but this just rolled out of my mouth. “You’ll go in a box when you’re dead. Why would you waste time in one while you’re still alive?” Bad me. But I’ve been there.

Boo, hoo. Poor you.

Emotional safety is a myth. We are alive to LIVE. That means getting out of the house (your box) and doing things that put you out in the world, among a variety of people having different experiences. Some only for the moment. Others may last a lifetime.

Taking a chance on love is a leap of faith. But if you understand the law of attraction where “like attracts like” you’ll see that you will most often attract a partner or friend of similar neuroses. Misery loves company. If you are a hot mess, you’ll attract people to you with their own baggage. If you are embroiled in lots of drama, you’ll draw other players wrapped up in their own theatrics.

Relationships begin with you. If your relationships aren’t working, begin by looking at yourself first. A little honest self-examination can save you a lot of agony.

What about me is drawing ______ (kind of person) into my life?

Even better, What about that person is me? (Hint: It is usually the part you dislike.)

This is not an easy task. You must be honest with yourself about what kind of emotionally charged energy you put out into the world. Are you angry and confrontational? Are you shy and submissive? Are you kickass aggressive? Are you pretending to be tough to deflect bullies? Are you a people-pleaser always “goes along to get along”? Are you The Walking Wounded?

What part of yourself are you compromising by not speaking up for yourself? Not asking for what you really want? Or what part of you says too much and still doesn’t get your way?

Walking around telling the world how he/she done you wrong – that you might as well “go back in your box” – could get you a little sympathy, but wear those clothes too long and you’ll look like a walking yard sale. Everyone will see you coming, want to avoid you, and pity you because you just don’t see yourself.

Clean out your own closet before rearranging someone else’s.

 

The Beatles Changed More Than Music

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Just when you think you knew everything about The Beatles…

Did you know that the first time they played Shea Stadium in 1965, and heard that the audience would be segregated, (whites in one section, blacks in another) they said they would not play the show. There was no segregation at shows in England and “we play to people” which means everybody.

There was no segregation at the show.

Whoopi Goldberg was Beatle-crazed kid who knew her family couldn’t afford to go to the show. But her mother surprised her with tickets as they got off the train at Shea Stadium.

 

 

Wow.