Thursday, August 29, 2013

Step Away From The Victim

"We can't solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying this and I believe he was absolutely right.

The way I see it is we cannot overcome a challenge if we are believing ourselves to be victimized within it.

Victim minded thoughts and behaviour keep us paralyzed and stuck in a situation that feels like a life sentence in prison with no chance of parole.  We simply cannot see a way out AND to top it off every time we look for help we give the responsibility over to someone else to 'fix' it for us.  This is typical; it is the favourite way for a victim to deal with any situation.  Gripe to someone who you feel can do something about the situation and give them responsibility to handle it.  When that someone doesn't do anything or nothing is resolved it gives you an excuse to pin the blame further away from yourself, continuing the cycle of victimization.

This never works!

The only way to overcome a challenge is to step outside of the 'poor me' attitude that comes along with the victim mindset and remember that you have every right to ask for what you need in life and every right to receive what you need in life.

I was lucky enough to witness a situation where this had been a recurring theme in a clients career.  It seemed he was always coming up against challenges with relationships at work.  He would tell me hes tried everything and nothings worked but the whole time he was placing full responsibility on someone else to get the job done.  Giving them ample time to figure things out and when nothing was resolved it firmed up his belief that he wasn't valued and that no one wanted to help him.

The other day we had a discussion about this cycle; I pointed out various times he had encountered an opportunity to stand in his power and ask for what he needed when he made the choice to hand the power over to someone else.  I also pointed out his passive aggressive attitude towards those who would ask him how things were going.  I suggested ways he could rectify this issue that would show him his true potential and get him the relationship he was looking for.

He emailed today to tell me that he took an opportunity to apologize for his passive aggressive behaviour and calmly discussed the issues at hand and to seek advice in how to handle the situation further.  He then had a conversation with the person who was challenging him.  To make a long story short; much discussion was had and agreements made on how to move forward.  At the end of it all the person who was presenting the challenge thanked my client for coming forward and addressing the situation in manner that he did.

I asked my client how he felt about this resolution and he said it was like the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders.  He'd been living with the stress, tension and frustration for over a year and he finally had relief.  I pointed out that it sounded like he gave relief to the person he was dealing with as well.

When we continue in a victim cycle we perpetuate the same energy in someone else.  We keep ourselves and others around us imprisoned.

Yes it takes courage to step away from the victimization because whether we are aware or not we may have become defined by our role as victim.  Sometimes we don't even see that we are acting like a victim.  Surely if you are feeling discomfort in a relationship or situation and if you are constantly pinning the blame on another person for the circumstances in your life you are playing the role of victim and it's time to step outside of that and own the power that is yours in a calm assertive, sure of yourself manner.

When you do this the rewards are endless!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Media Love

I love media.  I love the message and opportunity it brings to us. 

I used to watch the news all the time.  I used to get involved in the stories that my television shared with me because it was a rush to feel angry or frustrated or fearful about whatever was happening in the world around me.  To say I used to BELIEVE everything the tube told me then I would bring it into my reality and live it out.

Today I look at every news story as an opportunity to change my perspective or at least look a little closer for the truth.  It's way more fun.

Take Miley Cyrus for instance (oh I hate that I am adding to the blogs about her situation but here I am).  The girl looks like a hot mess doesn't she?  And she's definitely got the panties of women all over the world in a knot over her behaviour at the MTV awards.  My God how on earth could one girl single-handedly destroy all that we women have worked for to become equals in this world (insert sarcasm)???

The trouble is that we believe Miley Cyrus owes us something.  Maybe she owes it to us to show our daughters what 'proper' behaviour in the public eye looks like.  Maybe she owes it to us to keep herself pure and innocent as we are used to seeing her in the beginning of her career.  Maybe she owes it to us to keep herself covered up while she performs on stage.

Or maybe she owes it to us to show us the paradigm we are living in.  The fragile, thin line that we walk as a society that says we want women to have the right to uncover their bodies in public and where we publicly harass another for wearing too little?  Well which is it people?  Do you want women to have the freedom to show their bodies in public or not?  Make your decision?

In ancient civilizations and even in nature (no we are not animals, I know that) you will find dancing more provocative than what you saw on the MTV stage.  If you were to visit African villages undisturbed by media you would find that the children dance almost exactly the way Miley danced (okay maybe not with their tongues hanging out) the other night.  What we tell ourselves is a disgusting display by celebrities is most often a cultural tradition in some parts of the world.  I remember a teacher going off to Africa to build houses and she took videos of the children dancing; she admitted to me that it made her feel very uncomfortable to watch children that age dance in the way they were dancing.

The quote 'you cannot serve two masters' comes to mind when I see situations like this.

I believe that the world is going to show us more and more where we are trying to serve two masters; it's going to challenge our belief systems to the point where we will have no choice but to see things from a different angle.  I believe this is the only way to true heaven on earth. 

The second part of this that I want to mention is that anything that brings up this much discomfort, anger and disgust is worth looking more closely at.  I wasn't personally offended by her performance (I've watched it four times) though I could see that she is very comfortable in her own skin and in her sexuality.  Neither of those things are something I am comfortable with on my own.  Are you?

And I dare say there are many girls who aren't comfortable in their own skin or with their own sexuality.  Could this latest Cyrus stunt be the gateway to a conversation about body image and being comfortable with who we are?  Instead of looking at ways to stop this stuff from hitting our television sets so our precious, young daughters aren't corrupt by it we could turn it into a learning opportunity.  "How do you think Miley feels about her body?  Why do you think she feels that way?"

I know some girls would have reacted in disgust to her behaviour.  I know if I was watching that with my own mother I'd pretend it bothered me too but inside I would most likely be feeling like I wished I could be so secure and open with my body and sexuality.

We live in a miraculous time where we have information and opportunities for growth at every turn.  Why don't we start taking them instead of turning them all into something negative; something to be stopped?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Never Judge A Person By Their Bumper Sticker

I pulled into the gas station yesterday to fill up and pulled up behind a large, black SUV with a HUGE bumper sticker on the rear window that read...



The owner of the vehicle had gone into the store before I arrived on scene and I have to admit I was a little curious who would walk out and claim ownership.  Would it be a big, muscular dude that looked like he was on a killing mission? 

I sat looking at this statement for a number of minutes and even contemplated moving to another line up.  I felt myself becoming agitated and more than a little uncomfortable with these words staring me in the face.

Why would something that has NOTHING to do with me feel like it had EVERYTHING to do with me?

Why do I 'care' what someone has written on their vehicle?  Why does it matter?  It shouldn't...should it?

I thought about this for a minute.  I thought about how I used to be someone who would've gladly stated 'kill your local pedophile'.  Many moons ago I had a great opinion about these sorts of things and the justice that should be laid out for such 'scum of the earth' (to put it in terms I would have used).  It wouldn't have mattered to me if said pedophile was my own brother or husband; 'off with their balls' was the only response to such behaviour.

I thought about the potential impact that driving around with that statement has on the overall energy of yourself and those who you come into contact with. 

I also considered that this statement may have showed up to remind me of personal responsibility.  I'm a firm believer that if we want killing around the world to stop we need to first stop believing that killing at all is a necessary means to an end.

It's not that I support pedophilia (I can just see my inbox now!); it's more that I support compassion as opposed to killing.  I support looking at a situation through eyes of understanding for ALL those involved; not just the victim.  I like to think that one day we humans will recognize that we are entirely capable of much more than we've been given credit for.  Instead of wielding the sword at the first sign of misdeed; we might take a step back and look at the bigger picture before we react.

After some time, the owner of the vehicle emerged from the store with her little boy in tow.  I watched her get angry and struggle with him because he wouldn't get into his car seat at the speed she was looking for.  I watched her cross the back of the vehicle picking up the energy of the words (and possibly the pain) she carries with her.

I couldn't help but send her a blessing.  Maybe one day her heavy burden will be lifted and she will be free.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Don't Forget About Me

I used to think the things that sucked the most about motherhood were the middle of the night puke clean ups; the grocery store temper tantrums or the times the kids decide to pull the fire alarm at Walmart because you are taking too long deciding which pictures of the little darlings you want to hang on your wall for the next hundred years.

I was the kind of mom that would wonder every once in a while; when in hell these kids were going to grow up so I could really start living!

Guess what?

They have grown up.

And it's official. 

THIS is the suckiest part about motherhood.

The part about motherhood where you are called upon to sit at the kitchen table and listen to your oldest son talk about his plans to move out and no matter how much your heart is breaking you smile and tell him how excited you are for his new adventure.

Or the part when you realize that summer break has suddenly become less about how bored they are more about how bored YOU are because no one is around to make day trip plans with.

Or the part where your youngest son drops the bomb and tells you he's just not interested in the family vacation thing anymore and it takes a Starbucks bribe to get him to spend time with you.

Or what about when your family home suddenly becomes a halfway house; only needed for something to eat; a good nights sleep and a hot shower.


Once upon a time I thought this is what I wanted.  Independent children who know what they want and have no problem voicing those desires.

Now I wish I would've raised them to keep their mouths shut and just do what pleases their mother.  Damn.  Hindsight really is 20/20!

So all you moms out there thinking of raising strong independent people.  Stop what you're doing and really think about the consequences.  You may really want them to be independent and to one day go out into the world on their own and totally rock it.  But I'm telling you they'll leave you high and dry!  They won't remember all the times you wiped puke from their mouth at 3am.  They won't remember because they will be so focused on doing what you taught them you will be only a speck in their rearview mirror.

If I could go back ten years and just sit in their presence for an hour I think I'd be happy.  If I could go back and not rush through my daily tasks or feel burdened by all of the motherly jobs I needed to accomplish. 

If I could just go back I would take a moment and whisper 'don't forget about me' in their ears.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Because I Can....

I have to admit something.  I have a crush on Jesus Christ.  It's true. 

I am fascinated by books on the subject of his life.  I have many on my book shelf and have borrowed many from the library.  Understanding more about his message and his life has brought me great peace and clarity in my own life. 

Our world has seen many great teachers; all who came to share the same basic message 'love one another'.  There's just something about Jesus that I resonate deeply with. 

Last December I was in between clients and decided I would stop for a quick latte and relax a bit.  En route to the cafe I got this strange, strong urge to make sure I had my pen and paper with me.  I did.

I got to the cafe ordered my latte and found a quiet spot to hang out.  I took out my pen and paper and started to write.  At first I didn't know what I was writing or why I was writing it; soon tears began to stream down my face; again I had no idea why really.  The words and the message just kept coming without me thinking about what to write.

When my pen stopped and I wiped my eyes I read what I had written.  It was a letter.   A letter of responsibility and apology and truth. 

You see for a few years I've been estranged from my family.  A decision I made in a moment of crisis without thinking of the long term effects or how it would impact my loved ones.  All I knew at the time was I didn't have the tools to cope and I needed to run.  That's it.

Anyway, the letter I wrote that day in December gave it all up. I admitted to my mistakes of which there were many; apologized for them; gave an explanation as to how I was feeling then and why I felt the need to pull away.  The letter outlined what I've learned in the process and that I was willing to take full responsibility for every action, word and negative behaviour of not only myself but the entire situation.  Essentially I was absorbing the entire situation without expectation of forgiveness or reward.  I remember that I did not ask for forgiveness in the letter.

As I read it I wondered where all of this emotion and intensity came from?  Why was I taking full responsibility?  Why did I not feel the need for an outcome?  Where was the pride I had been feeling all those years and the desire to keep myself protected and hidden from the truth?  Where did that go?

I finished with my clients that day and headed home.  Once again a strong urge came over me to photocopy the letter twice and send one copy to my mother and another copy to my sister.  This part made me feel sick to my stomach.  Thoughts kept running through my mind like "what if this is just more fuel for the fire?".  The urge was too strong NOT to follow through with it though and so I did and sent the letters along.  I ripped up the original letter and tossed it in the recycle box.  It was done.

So what does this have to do with my crush on Jesus? 

I began to understand why and where this letter and this taking of responsibility came from.  It came from the teachings of Jesus.  It came from my desire to not be him but to be the best me I can be.  It came from being tired of hiding and tired of the voices in my head feeding me fearful ideas. 

The more I questioned what I did (though doing it made me feel so light and so peaceful) the more I was shown the vision of Jesus nailed to a cross.  The image of that moment and the impact of it's meaning hit me hard.  It sank into my heart.  It felt like Jesus was showing me that I can put myself on a cross; take the sin away; take full responsibility for everyones hurts and still live.  He was showing me that I didn't need to ask for forgiveness because I had already been forgiven; in fact I was forgiven before I even made a mistake. 

I heard Marianne Williamson speak not long ago and she was told a story about a large financial loss she suffered and that her father told her not to worry that she could 'absorb' the loss.  Though my loss wasn't financial I took in her words and realized what she was saying.  We can not only absorb financial loss but we can absorb anything into ourselves.  When we do this, when we take it in and absorb it into our being the energy gets transmuted into light and love and it is set back out into the world as that.

It's taken me a while to write this story out.  Everytime I start it looks too dramatic.  Sometimes it looks blasphemous or arrogant to talk about Jesus in this way.

Regardless, it's how it happened.  It was real.   And I believe it's a message for everyone.   

I've written before about pride and how it keeps you bound to beliefs that don't serve you.  Jesus showed me that pride is nothing more than illusion.  That life is nothing more than illusion.   No one has any more power over you than you believe them to have.  I was so afraid of my family.  I was afraid of their judgements and their words.  At one time I was even afraid for my safety.  I had given them so much power over me and I had forgotten about my own power.

I think we all live on a cross from time to time and we believe that living on that cross means we need to suffer.  The cross for me represents freedom.  It represents forgiveness and absolution.  After I mailed those letters I could see myself nailed to the cross.  I also saw myself not waiting for someone else to remove the nails and bring me down off of it.  I did that myself too.

What Jesus showed me was that I could end this war; even if ending it was for me only.

And I did.  I did end the war.  For myself only.  I did it and I would do it all again....because I can.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

After The Storm

Not everyone is super happy about all of the rain we've been getting this summer.  You can almost bet money on a storm rolling through every other day around here.  Me; I love them.  There is something transforming and life affirming about a good storm.

Last weekend on the way home from picking my son up from a friends house we drove straight into a storm.  The rain and wind made it hard to see where we were driving but once we got through it the sky was gorgeous!  The clouds had silver linings and the sunset was peaking out in between the darker clouds that still hung here and there.

I have a fascination with the sky as it is and lately I find I am welcoming these storms; watching them in awe as the power of the wind throws the rain around.  The lightning stretching out across the sky and the thunder rolling and hitting the deepest part of me.

For me these stormy skies remind me of my own personal power, my emotions and the transforming quality of those emotions.  I feel like the storms are telling me a story about my life.  It's like the sky and the storms and I have developed an intimate relationship this summer.  It's like they are speaking to me.  They are saying "You are not your darkness; just as the sky is not the darkness.  There is power in allowing your darkness to flow and have purpose.  Where there is darkness there is magic and without darkness you will never truly know light."

Just the other night we were walking the dog and we could see the sky change and so we took cover.  The rain came down hard and pounded the walls and windows of the building we were standing in.  We watched the storm pass; listening to the thunder and enjoying the bright flashes of lightning.  Once the rain slowed we continued on our way and as we walked back home there stood a complete double rainbow!  Bright and lovely and magical.  I couldn't help but fall in love with the storm all over again.

Right now I am standing knee deep in a life transition so big it's beyond words sometimes.  Looking at the sky; connecting with the storms gives meaning to what is happening right now with me and I think the same thing would be true for all of us.  That darkness can come and it can do it's thing but it doesn't negate the goodness within us.  The dark doesn't take the light away it merely covers it up for a time.  The truth of life is that without the storms we don't get silver linings in fluffy clouds.  We don't get the rainbows.  Without the darkness we don't get the glimpses of magic.