Sunday, 30 March 2014

Our Greatest Teachers

Who are your greatest spiritual teachers? 

They don’t have to be the typical ones that we commonly think of like, Buddha, Gandhi, or Jesus.

Actually, they can be those who have brought you the most pain.

I know this seems a little ‘out there’, but we can gain a lot of knowledge from those people who have treated us not so kindly and with derision.

Last week, I watched an interview with Shirley MacLaine and she was asked this very question. Who were her spiritual teachers? She said that her greatest spiritual teachers were those who have caused her the most pain.

Taking a step back from this, you’d think that the woman enjoyed being mistreated. However, this wasn't the case. What she was saying was that those who have caused her the most pain were giving her more clarity of what she didn't want to bring into her life.

Being mistreated, disrespected, not getting the love that you want, or being treated unkindly by these people can help us to grow and evolve into the human being that we want to be.

There have been many times where I have been mistreated or that I hear of others showing disrespect and I think, ‘I don’t want to be like that. Be a better person. Always strive to be a better person.’

But, it also comes back to how we treat ourselves. If another person is mistreating us and we are putting up with it, and have been for quite some time, this is an opportunity for us to look inward and understand what we are bringing to the situation. It's time to ask those hard questions of why are we choosing to stay when the relationship does not serve us for our highest good.

However, if you have gotten out of a relationship, and still harbour resentment or bad feelings, take a look at how the relationship has served you. What new knowledge have you garnered from that relationship?

Take that experience, take that new understanding, and realize that something even better will come along. It always does. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

You Complete Me

"You complete me." -Jerry Maguire

There is a belief that we need a person, thing, (fill in the blank), to complete our lives and to make us feel whole.

The fact is, we need to feel whole first; to complete ourselves first. Everything that we want is within each of us already: Love. Abundance. Joy. Happiness. Passion.

Those things we are searching for in another person are already within us. We need to realize that we are already whole and we already have whatever we need and want. We are searching for the feeling that the other person gives us, not fully aware that we have had it in us from the beginning.

What do we do then?

We love ourselves a little more. We treat ourselves with more respect and kindness. With gentleness and appreciation. We realize that what we want and need is within us already. We realize that what we want and need is important as well. We realize that we complete ourselves.

“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy's fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure--your perfection--is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Past Has No Power

Photo Credit: Tamara Hanson
Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life said, “We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.”

We tend to trap ourselves in the past hoping that if we replay it over and over, the outcome will change. 
But, it doesn’t.

We then proceed to chastise ourselves for making the decisions that we made, and continue to beat ourselves up, never resolving anything. It doesn’t matter what it is: it could be choosing a relationship that ended in heartbreak, or headache; or regret over the wasted years with the wrong person, and, if only we could get back that wasted time. If only time travel was possible!  

They say hindsight is always 20/20. If only we knew then what we know now, things would be different. Better choices would have been made. Happier choices.  

Or, maybe, we have been the person doing the mistreating and disrespecting, and the memory of this plays over and over in our minds. No one really means to hurt another; it usually means we are wounded ourselves.

Whatever it is, we feel replaying the past is helpful. But, it isn’t.

If you have to look back at the past, at least do it with loving eyes. You were making choices based on what you knew at the time and where you were in your life. Know that the past is in the past and has no power in the present…. unless you give it power. If you hurt someone, send them light and love. If someone hurt you, send them light and love. And then send light and love to yourself. Realize that the past doesn’t dictate the future, and these past events happen to offer us contrast. The more we know what we don’t want, the more we know what we do want. These are the lovely moments of growth.  

Past events should evolve us into a better person, and help us to become clearer at what we want in relationships and out of life. These life moments are where we begin to respect and love ourselves more.

An excellent article you might want to read is called Bargaining With Your Past Creates Regret in the Present by Suzanne Lachmann.

“People are all over the world telling their one dramatic story and how their life has turned into getting over this one event. Now their lives are more about the past than their future.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Happiness is an Inside Job

Photo Credit: Tamara Hanson

I heard this one time: Happiness isn’t the purpose in life. Too me, this is a false assumption. Isn’t joy and happiness part of what we want out of life? We want to be joyful and happy…. Who wouldn’t? Why would you want to be miserable?

Happiness is not something that comes when things are going well… although it helps. Happiness is a choice. Just like every other emotion: sadness, anger, love …it’s all a choice. We get to choose how we feel.
Although it may appear that the people in our lives are supposed to make us happy and, if they don’t, well, then what’s the point of them being around? When we are in relationships, many friends or family members might ask us what it is that we love about that person, and many of us will answer that he or she makes us happy.

Firstly, asking what it is that we love about someone is based on conditions that they need to act a certain way and then they will be lovable enough.  

Secondly, no one can make you happy, complete you, or make you feel anything. That feeling already exists within you. It’s already there. When someone gives us their undivided attention, showers us with love and devotion, they are only bringing out what exists inside of us.

We are already joyful and happy. Don’t rely on someone else to bring it out in you. They don’t bring you that emotion since it is already there, present in each and every one of us. All they are doing is enhancing it.

When you rely on someone to make you happy…or complete, you are giving your power over to someone else to provide these things to you. Only you can provide it.

When you are unhappy with someone’s behaviour and you feel that they are being selfish for acting or doing a certain thing, and then ask yourself if you are being selfish because that person isn’t making you feel better.  

Happiness and joy begins with you. When you really understand this, you will never again allow the actions of another to sway these positive feelings. And, as always, respect yourself enough to leave a situation where you are not being respected and cared for. You deserve better. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Your Brilliant Light

Photo credit: Tamara Hanson 

I think one of the things that saddens me the most about human nature is that we do not let our brilliant and beautiful light shine. We are given this grand adventure in life to do something amazing. ('Amazing' doesn’t have to be changing the world or inventing something new. 'Amazing' can be little things, too, and it can inspire one person or a million.)

We all have this wonderful and divine nature that was given to all of us, but many of us prefer to settle for mediocrity. Why? Why snuff out that beautiful light that you were born with?  

Unfortunately, we tend to settle for less than what we actually deserve. We extinguish our light for absolutely no reason… and there is no valid reason to snuff out your light. We play small to help someone feel bigger. 

Or, we put our dreams, our wants, and our needs on the back burner so others can fulfill theirs.
We begin to believe that someone else determines our worthiness, not fully knowing that our worthiness and value is found within, and only we have the power to determine it for ourselves.  

As Lupita Nyong’o said so eloquently, “I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy.”
We have become enamoured by our inadequacies. We prefer to identify with our negative beliefs, our insecurities, our illness, our failures, our financial situation…. We prefer this over letting our brilliant light shine.

I think Marianne Williamson said it best with her famous quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

"Don't die with your music still in you." - Dr. Wayne Dyer