Friday, November 30, 2012

Are You Acting Out of Fear or Love?

“Every action taken by a human being is based in love or fear, not simply those dealing with relationships… Every single free choice you ever undertake arises out of one of the only two possible thought there are: A thought of love or a thought of fear. 

Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, runs, hides, hoards, harms.

Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, stays, reveals, shares, heals.

Fear wraps our bodies in clothing, Love allows us to stand naked. Fear clings to and clutches all that we have, Love gives all that we have away. Fear holds close, Love holds dear. Fear grasps, Love lets go. Fear rankles, Love soothes. Fear attacks, Love amends.

Every human thought word or deed is based in one emotion or the other. You have no choice about this because There is nothing else from which to choose. But - you have free choice about which one of these to select.”
~Neale Donald Walsch

I read this quote a long time ago, but it continues to be relevant to me every day. It’s asking a very important question: Are you acting out of fear or love in your life?

When you are at work, do you try to do everything on your own, with as little help as possible? Do you try hard to control things rather than getting input? Do you hold on to information rather than sharing it? If so, you are acting out of fear.

In your relationships, do you try to protect yourself so you won’t get hurt? Do you feel resentment or guilt about things that happened in the past? Do you feel alone or separate? If so, then it’s fear that is closing you down.

I sometimes notice myself closing down or feeling anxious about my business or about a situation with another person. At times, I feel like I want to crawl into a hole and hide or I get the urge to escape and distract myself by playing computer games or eating chocolate. What feelings come up for you when you are in fear?

Once we notice that we are in fear, we can make a choice to act out of love instead. To decide to trust that things will work out, to be compassionate and open, and to feel connected to others and the world. How do we step out of fear and anxiety into love and joy?

First, treat yourself with self-compassion. Instead of judging and criticizing yourself, talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend. Your best friend has your back, supports you, encourages you, consoles you, and celebrates with you. (This one minute video can help get you in touch with that part of you:

Then, get some support. Talk to people or spend time in groups that are positive and who you trust: Friends, family members, coaches or therapists, mentors, colleagues, church groups, dance classes, support groups, volunteer groups, etc. You want to put yourself in environments that are uplifting and inspiring.

Finally, take action. If we just stay in our head, it’s easy for the fear to keep on growing. Take a step based on love, toward what you want and what is important to you. 

Which choice will you make today: Fear or Love?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Find The Love You Seek

“Find the love you seek, by first finding the love within yourself. Learn to rest in that place within you that is your true home.”
~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Love Is What We Are Born With

“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment – or unlearning – of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts. Love is… our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.”
- Marianne Williamson

Friday, November 9, 2012

I Love You…Now Change!

We are drawn to other people by qualities we admire. He is so hardworking (or kind, or grounded, or strong or creative)! I really like that she is so independent (or compassionate, or outgoing or funny or honest)! But as time goes on, it happens. It is inevitable. No matter if it’s our partner, a loved one, or a friend, sooner or later we find ourselves thinking: “If only s/he could change this one thing (or maybe two or three), then things would be so much better!

Sometimes it’s the very quality that we liked so much in the beginning that is now annoying. “I loved that he was so kind, but he doesn’t stand up for himself often enough!”  “I adored that she was so outgoing, but I don’t like that she spends so much time talking to everybody!” Or sometimes something that seemed so small before now seems like a big deal. “I always knew that he was sarcastic, but now I cannot stand his bitter comments!”

How can we continue to love someone, without needing them to change?

I just read a great article by Martha Beck, called “How to Love More by Caring Less.” In my mind, it’s not about caring less about the other person, but caring less about specific traits, behaviors and actions of that person. She introduces a simple 4-step system to help us with this:

1.      Think about a person you love or care about, but about whom you want to change something.

2.      Identify what this person must change to make you happy. Complete the following sentence:
If _________________ would only _________________, then I could feel ______________.

3.      Now take out the first part of the sentence, so all that remains is:
I could feel _____________________.

Sure, it would be lovely if the other person could cooperate, but the truth is you don’t need that in order to feel the way you want. This can be incredibly hard to accept. Wouldn’t it be so easy to feel good if others could just do what we want? Yes, it would be, but it is not absolutely necessary!
It is possible to feel the way you want to, even if the other person doesn’t conform to your wishes.

4.      Begin to focus on creating your own happiness, rather than trying to control your loved one’s behavior.
This is not a one-time action, but really a lifelong practice. What is it that you really want to feel? Do you want to feel loved, adored, significant, like you belong, more peaceful or something else…? What can you do to help yourself feel this way? This may involve trying out different activities, spending time with different groups of friends, or carving out more time for yourself. 

And here is the bonus: When we try to change someone, the energy we project can be anxious, pushy or controlling (even if we don’t mean to). This usually triggers the other person to react the opposite way we want them to – they become defensive and more resistant to change. But when we stop trying to change the other person and focus on ourselves, the anxious and controlling energy goes away, and it frees the other person to feel accepted and more open to change.

What can you do today to feel the way you want to?