“This is your world. Shape it or someone else will.” -Gary Lew
This is one of the reasons why I do what I do.
We live in a world where there are several, easily accessible distractions from Self and the transformative power within.
I took a hiatus from blogging and public speaking to detach and recharge from all the energetic “stuff” that has been happening, to re-mind myself of what is true for me, and to stay grounded in this knowledge by seeing through the distractions.
We can become so accustomed to looking at social media, websites, and the news that these things easily become subconscious influencers.
The next time you scroll or flip the channel, think about what you really believe, what you really desire for yourself (and the world), and if the things you are entertaining and doing match those desires. If not, put down the phone (tablet, remote, etc.), wake up from the distractions, and do something different.
As a psychotherapist, one of the last things that I want to hear is that one of my clients has killed or taken the life of himself or herself (or someone else). It is not because of a personal feeling of failure, but because of a sense that somewhere in the process, my client has lost hope. As therapists, one of our most powerful intentions is to instill hope. It is not a starry wish, but a sense of purpose and encouragement.
When I was in graduate school, I was drawn to the more intense subjects such as traumatology, addiction, and crisis stabilization work. I loved them! I remember sitting in a crisis intervention class and hearing my professor clearly state, “In all your years as a therapist, all of you will lose at least one client to suicide. Be prepared for it. It will happen. Oh, and those of you who are working with trauma and addiction, you can definitely expect it to happen.” He spoke those words with a matter-of-factness that revealed long years of personal experience. I did not want to believe him, but I also knew that there was some underlying realness to what he said.
Even with this warning, I pressed on and continued down the path to become a licensed therapist. I did not and could not lose hope in the long-lasting positive impact of the work we do. I believed that following my passion and helping others to see their inner light was worth much more than living in fear of those who might not see it.
For a little while, I even worked for a crisis hotline. Some of the callers were blatantly at the point where they had chosen to end their lives. I encouraged some to rethink their situations and to see that life might actually be worth living. However for some, I do not know if they did or did not take their lives…the calls simply just ended.
Ironically enough, I didn’t feel disappointment, but gratitude. How might one be grateful for such a thing? I fully understood that the conversations that I had with the callers may have been their last conversations ever. I was at least thankful to talk to them in the present moment and be some type of positive, loving voice before they departed (or decided to live).
And here I am… 8 years and 2 client suicides later.
I will not get into too much detail about the 2 client suicides; however I will say that both were very sobering experiences for me. I re-learned that suicide shows up in many forms.
A spiritual reality about suicide came to me as well:
A person’s exit from this world is not an accident. The way we transition may serve a greater purpose, just like the way we live. It is true that sometimes a person’s life purpose may not be easily understood or clear. But be aware that every life, no matter how short, undoubtedly leaves a precious legacy on this planet.
Every day that I choose to continue working as a psychotherapist and addiction counselor, the possibility of losing a client to suicide, overdose, or something exists. Yet, if a little piece of hope surfaces, then I believe there is a chance that the person will see tomorrow. I Know the power of hope. It starts as a glimmer, and then it becomes a belief. Belief is when the person sees more light and direction. Then a belief transforms into Knowing. Knowing (in this context) is when the person is aware that Life Is.
If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or self-harm, please Know that There is Hope.
For nationwide support in the United States you can contact: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
It may be surprising for you to read the statements in the picture above, and then refer to the purpose of this blog which addresses: mindfulness, spirituality, consciousness, and intuitive awareness. However, the challenges mentioned above are pains that people are experiencing every day. Therefore, these issues are a part of our consciousness as humans. In other words, these events are reflections of things within our mindset and collective thinking as a race of human beings.
Ultimately, these are things that can be changed.
How do we change them? It starts with first acknowledging that these things are happening.
We have created these issues in our world, and it is time to transform our collective thinking and our approach to them.
Part of my daily service as a Professional Counselor involves working with marginalized and stigmatized groupsof individuals such as people with mental health diagnoses and people with addiction challenges. Almost all of my clients have experienced some type of trauma in their lives as well (abuse, military-related, assault, gun shot wounds, etc). As a Trauma Therapist (and from life experiences), I have learned that abused people, abuse people…if the cycle is not broken. People who experience abuse and hurts from another often turn around and inflict pain onto others. It is fascinating to sit back and observe what we learn from the people around us and closest to us.
Here are some examples of what I hear from the people that I serve:
“I was raped when I was 5, by my uncle. Then my cousin raped me again when I was 10. I don’t trust men, and I don’t like being around them.” – 47 year old woman addicted to crack cocaine and diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder
“I cut myself because it eases the pain. I was abused all my life, and I still get angry. I know that if I allow myself to get that mad, then I will black out and hurt someone, so I hurt myself instead.” – 28 year old male diagnosed with Depression
“I was told that I was worthless all of my life by my dad. My mom and dad got into fights all the time, and my mom left. Then, I was molested by a man. I don’t trust nobody. I don’t like to sit with anyone behind my back. I got attacked a few years ago, and I got shot. You can’t trust people.” -40 year old male addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and pain medications and diagnosed with Schizophrenia
“The world is so different now. I was in prison for 15 years for marijuana charges even though I didn’t have a weapon, there was no violence, and nobody was hurt. I don’t know where to begin now! My family is distant, and I am having a hard time finding a job. They don’t want someone who has a record.” -50 year old African American male
Sometimes we end our group counseling sessions with this:
“Let’s have a moment of silence for the addict that just picked up, the addict that just died, and the child who has no say in the matter.”
Examine all of the statements above. Pay attention, and you will notice that at a deeper level, the root of all problems is spiritually based. Even if someone does not follow a “religion”, we all have some form of Spirit/Energy/Life Essence within us. We heal ourselves and others by addressing Spirit.
What does it mean to “address spirit”? It is when we take the time to break free from the mental, emotional, and spiritual trap of the “rat race”. The rat race is when we go to jobs, work several hours to make money to pay bills, stress ourselves over the bills or the amount of time we work at the jobs, and literally work ourselves to death because we associate jobs with freedom, stability, and purpose. This cycle of self-destruction can lead to lack of empathy or disconnection from self and others.
Don’t get me wrong. It is clear that the current economic system within which we have chosen to participatein relies heavily on monetary exchange for goods and services. I am not discrediting it totally, but I challenge you to think about the ways this has affected your relationships, sense of freedom, and self-image.
If an abuser was once someone that was abused, and a convicted felon was once a father trying to make ends meet because his family was in poverty…what would you say is your experience?
Many people forget to take the time and appreciate Life, in the present moment. It is priceless to take a moment, breathe, and really BE PRESENT with yourself.Take the time to notice what you are feeling, be aware of what you are thinking, and engage with your environment. Every living being needs to feel a sense of belonging and connection.
We walk around and ask each other, “How are you?”, but are we willing to listen to the real answer?
We are powerful change agents. The world we live in can be a place suitable for all living beings, but it takes for all of us to contribute to this world collectively in positive ways. We are the peacemakers, healers, and resourceful beings inhabiting this planet. We must understand how important we are to each other.
The next time you see someone, instead of hiding in technology, rushing off quickly, or ignoring the person, simply make eye contact and say hello. Your moment of connection just might be the small gesture that keeps the person from believing that there is no hope in this world.
“Success is something you attract by the person you become.” -Jim Rohn
Are you thinking of doing something different with your life? Do you desire to be more successful? What is stopping you?
Many people are going through their day to day lives, but they are not living. Too many of us decide that we will not pursue our goals and dreams just because of fear.
Here are 3 main things that typically stop you from achieving your goals: 1. Procrastination: This is self-sabotage at its finest. Some might even say that it is a subtle form of resistance. This is when you continue to put off what you desire to do instead of acting right now. 2. Spreading yourself too thin: This is a great recipe for excuses. This is like running around in a maze that you know how to get out of, instead you run in every other direction because of distractions that you have created. 3. Not believing in yourself: This is by far, the number one reason that people don’t go after their dreams and goals. This is the core of self-doubt, low self-confidence, and low self-esteem. They all contribute to feelings of inadequacy. You choose not to pursue a dream or goal because you compare yourself to others.
But, get this: A dream is given to you because you are the person who is meant to fulfill it. You are not just a body part, but you are a whole, individual being with a specific purpose.
It does not hurt for you to go after your dreams, and at least “try”. If you are afraid of failure, then you won’t take a risk.
Here is a quote that I love:
“The brave do not live forever. The cautious do not live at all.”
Failure is an event, not who you are. Everyone has failed at something at least once. Think about it: A baby learning to walk falls several times; a baby learning to talk makes up all kinds of sounds; a professional athlete has lost a game. The list goes on.
You might have read this somewhere else, but here is another reminder: Do not let failure stop you from the pursuit of your goals. Now, here is my version: Don’t screw yourself over.
Ask yourself these questions: What is it that I really desire to do? Why is this important to me? (Give more than a material reason. Think about the legacy you intend to leave behind.) Where am I at in the process of reaching this goal? What has stopped me or slowed me down from achieving my goal? How dedicated am I to achieving this goal?
Once you have gotten the answers, here are some practical steps to take:
1. The first step is to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Ask yourself: Do I believe in myself? Do I think I can do it? Believe that YOU CAN DO IT. It only takes a tiny rock of belief to transform the energy into a mountain of certainty. Say to yourself: “I THINK I CAN”
2. GET CLEAR about the actual dream or goal. What is it? What does it FEEL like? VISUALIZE what you are doing. How does it serve others?
3. RESEARCH the people who are doing similar things, and are successful at it. Learn what they did, about their failures, what worked for them, and if possible, get a mentor.
4. MAKE A PLAN AND WRITE IT DOWN. There is great power in the pen. Writing it down makes it a little more concrete, and a lot more realistic.
5. CREATE A DETAILED SCHEDULE. Most successful people have routines and schedule their days/weeks/months/years. They have learned how to maximize their time. Time is one of our most valuable assets. Once a moment has passed, it is not re-Lived. We might as well do the things with our time that support our dreams.
6. DO the first action of your plan. TAKE THAT FIRST STEP. You won’t know what works and what doesn’t work until you put it into action. DO IT.
7. BE CONSISTENT with your plan. This is what separates the “go-getters” from the “it looks good-ers”. There will be times when you might not want to be so disciplined. I completely understand! As a Libra, I love to FLOW and RELAX, but I have learned the value of consistency. Besides, doing what I love doesn’t feel like work at all. It brings me joy to be in this energetic flow of goodness. Your old habits weren’t working for you before, so you’ve got to change them. You will find the balance.
8. ACT DAILY and put focused positive energy towards your goal. Yes, this ties in with consistency, but it is also The Law of Attraction. Overall, this helps to build confidence. Practice, practice, practice commits things to memory: mentally, physically, and energetically. This is the time when you say to yourself: “I CAN”
9. If you feel discouraged or are faced with an obstacle, REFLECT UPON YOUR “WHY” (Your reason for having this goal). This helps to maintain your bigger vision and will get you out of a rut.
10. STAY CONSISTENT AND CHECK IN WITH YOUR VISION. You may notice that as you grow, it grows. This is the beauty of personal evolution; we cannot remain stuck in an old idea if we expand our mind to focus on newer and more expansive ones.
Inevitably, your “I CAN” morphs into more and more activities that support this declaration. You are DOING what you set out to do.
At some point, you will not have to think twice and you will realize that YOU ARE EMBODYING the goal. This is when you say to yourself: “I AM”
This process looks different for everyone. Yet, I do know that the most important part of this process is to START NOW and KEEP GOING.
One of my joyful gifts is assisting others to “get clear and drop the fear”. I hope that something you read in this post was useful for you today.
My passion is being of service, touching hearts, enlightening minds, guiding, and aiding in the realization of healing and wholeness. There have been several times when I have “missed the mark.” I thought that I was in the flow, being mindful, and in tune with the people that I love as well as the people that I serve.
Thinking this way, I continued in this blissful flow, forgetting an important piece of the puzzle: We all perceive things differently. While I thought I was showing love and being of the utmost service, sometimes the receivers of my actions did not feel the same way. The most sobering experience for me is to find out that I missed an opportunity to be of service because my own point of view misled the way.
Perception is powerful.
One of my favorite quotes says something like this,
“We are the Universe looking at itself from many perspectives.”
Of course! We are individualized expressions of the ONE.
For those of us who desire to serve others, we must first clear ourselves of our preconceived ideas about serving. We have to know what it is that the receiver truly needs.This may seem so simple, but sometimes it is forgotten. Our perception of another’s needs may be different than what they actually desire. We must meet them where they are, and work with them from there.
Emptying ourselves allows others’ Lights to guide us.Remember: The Essence of Life within each of us is from the same Source, and healing takes place in many forms.
To be of service, we must first see where we are being led to serve. This way, we are making the most effective impact in the lives of those whom we are meant to bless.
Observing the common themes and messages that are shared across social media outlets, I noticed a trend. There seems to be an increase in messages about consciousness and spiritual evolution. What a wonderful experience to see that more people are waking up and getting an innerstanding of Truth.
But, a question comes to mind: Is your life reflecting what you are speaking?
The beauty of evolving is that we learn, our perspectives shift, and then we become demonstrators.
We are living in a time when feel good messages are not enough. It is imperative that we are DOERS and follow through with what we are called to DO.
During this winter season, do some introspection. Take the time to consider what you need to ACT on. When each of us takes the initiative and are postively in action, the peaceful world that we envision becomes a greater reality.
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have, and never be satisfied.” -Les Brown
Many people express that they don’t pursue a dream or a goal because they want the conditions to be a certain way, or they want things to be perfect. In reality, the conditions won’t change until the person decides to get into motion and to continue to stay in action.
I can admit, in the past, I have been guilty of putting off a goal or a desire due to circumstances. In the past, I have told myself that I had to wait until the situation was perfect or certain pieces were in place. True, there were times when it was necessary to wait on the other pieces of the puzzle, but it was never time to stop doing things towards my goals and desires.
The Law of Attraction expresses that whatever we put energy and attention towards is what we draw unto us. This universal law is simple, and can be actively applied to manifest one’s desires.
However, here is something to consider: If someone told you that your present situation and surroundings are the result of your past thoughts and actions, would you be bothered, or would you be willing to take responsibility for yourself?
One of the hardest things that I had to admit to myself was that I am responsible for myself and my progress.You are responsible for yours too.
Of course, this does not mean that you won’t face challenges and obstacles along the way, but it does mean that you can choose the course of action you take once they arise. Ideally, when a challenge arises, one of the best things you can do is mindfully look within and look at key areas connected to this challenge.
Four key areas to examine when facing challenges: 1) Thoughts–What do I really think about this situation? OR What are my exact thoughts? 2) Emotions–How do I really feel about this situation? 3) Underlying Messages–What is this situation helping me to learn? 4) Positive Behaviors–What am I able to do right now that supports a positive outcome?
Examining these things gives you an opportunity to shift a possibly negative perspective into an empowered one. This empowered perspective is one where you recognize that you have choice, and you can make a decision based on the understanding that you are always learning and evolving. Depending on the situation, the choice itself can range anywhere from sweet surrender to engaging in more focus-driven actions.
It is your choice.
Remember: Every action (or lack thereof) always results in some type of outcome.
Think about your life goals and how far you have come towards meeting these goals. Consider the one most important thing that affects the realization of your goals: YOU
What are you focusing on daily? What are you doing daily? Are your thoughts and actions moving you towards or away from your goals? You always have choice.
Right now, you have made a choice to read this post. In reading this, my hope is that you are gaining some insight or awareness about yourself and how powerful you really are.
There is one thing that I would change about the wording Les Brown used in the quote above.
I would say:
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have, AND continue to expand.”
There is power in your decision to stay in motion.