How Are You Being of Service to Others?

Hello, and good morning to you each! I am so glad you’re here today and am hopeful you will get a lot out of today’s blog. I cannot access the stats today and cannot see what you have been searching for, so have picked the topic of being of service to others… how are you being of service in the world?

Each of you has a message to share with the world, a unique contribution. Perhaps yours is being a good mom, or sharing with others your gifts for cooking. Maybe you have an important message for the masses and are destined to be a speaker. The thing is, you are here for a reason. What is your reason for being on this earth?

When you determine your purpose, then you can practice being of service with that purpose. For example, if you have a message to share, you can align yourself so that you create opportunities to share that message. This is being of service with your purpose.

Then there is being of service in a voluntary way, choosing an organization, for example, at which to volunteer. When you go above and beyond your calling in order to give to others, you feel a calming satisfaction; the feeling you gain is one of deep joy, great peace.

You may even reap other benefits that you didn’t think possible. For example, I visit a man in prison. I got started because I was being of service to him. We have developed a very strong friendship; he has helped me through tremendous fears in my life, and, being great at expressing things, has provided me with wonderful scripting to use while doing presentations.

All of this has occurred because I was being of service, and my life has become greatly enriched. Certainly, there is the deep knowingness that I have helped him quite a bit by offering a diversion every three weeks from normal prison life. I have made a difference in his life, and, in turn, he in mine. All simply because I was being of service.

Where in your life are you being of service? Do you offer your services to others? Are you being of service by making yourself and your gift to the world accessible to others?  If you’re not being of service, you are missing quite a lot, so find that one special way you can be of service to another, or others.

 

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Dealing with Despair

Face of Despair

Face of Despair 

Good morning. I hope it is a day of brightness for each of you. Yet, judging from the search term of “dealing with despair,” which showed up three times, I suspect some of you are not feeling brightness in your lives. So today, I want to talk about a way out of despair.

See the image to the left? Can you see the little face, mouth open in a wail of despair, hands covering his eyes? It is from my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, with the verse that says, “Can you hear my wail? Can I hear myself?”

What I meant by “Can I hear myself” was that often, we do not pay attention when we are in deep pain. We ignore it by stuffing it, by becoming incredibly busy, or by numbing the feelings with substances. Is this you?

STOP! Your soul is crying out to be acknowledged, wants you to pay attention to it, wants the opportunity to heal. When you feel those feelings of despair, stop. Become willing to write in a journal or notebook what you are feeling.

When writing, I suggest you print with your non-dominant hand. This will prompt all sorts of your deepest feelings to emerge onto the page; you’ll get to the bottom of your woes more quickly and easily. Try to stay with those feelings for at least 15 minutes at a time. When you can no longer deal with them, THEN get up and be active… do the dishes, take a walk, do something productive.

Then look at and consider what you have written about your despair. Consider how you want to feel instead. Write about that in detail… what would your life look like if you were not in despair? Vision it, write about it. Now, consider if there is an action you can take right now that will move you forward to that vision of how you want your life to be.

Focus on that one thing, that one action. Keep it simple. You will have to find one action you can take. Maybe you cannot do it in the moment, but you can do it today sometime, or tomorrow. Make a to-do list and put that action step on the list. Often, when we are being of use to someone else, our despair lessens, so you might consider an action step that involves doing something good for another.

On the other hand, we often forego our needs for the needs and desires of another, so you may need to focus on your needs and desires right now. Doing good for another can come after you have met your needs.

Now, take that action. Just take it, do it – that one simple thing. Once you have done it, sit and contemplate how you feel about yourself now, having done something good for yourself. Write about it, share about it with someone you trust not to steamroll you.

I am not suggesting this is easy, for it is not. It will take willingness on your part. AND, once you do it, you will reap the rewards and you will feel less despair and more peace in your heart.

Sit down and write today… now. Then take that action step.

If what I say resonates with you, move at the speed of instruction. : ) Write again and again about your despair, focusing on your vision and taking action. Let us know in a comment if things change for you.

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How to Complete a Self-Appraisal

Good morning on this fine and clear day! May you have clarity and goodness in your day today!

Yesterday, I received an email from a dear friend who reads my blog, questioning things which I plan to address in today’s blog. For example, they asked about what to list out. I hope I have addressed that fully in this post. Then, the question was raised, what is honesty? I will further discuss that also.

So, how do you do a self-appraisal?

First, you gather willingness… willingness to look at yourself honestly. When I say honestly, I mean looking at your positive points first and giving yourself full credit for all your positive traits, all the positive ways in which you treat others and yourself. We often shy away from being honest about who we are, having been told that is conceited to do so. But we need to objectively assess who we are in our totality. We do this not to brag about ourselves, rather, to humbly look at who we are in our totality.

On the negative side, being honest means being willing to admit you screwed up when you did, that you treated others or yourself poorly. It is embarrassing to admit these things about ourselves, and that is part of being willing to be honest…

For example, I find myself sometimes acting in a very selfish manner, thinking of myself when I could be considering the other. In those situations, I seem to do things for others because there is something in it for me, before I give with no thought of what I’ll get out of it – giving without expecting or wanting in return.  That’s somewhat embarrassing to say, yet, it is honest.

What I do with that information, that realization, is to be aware in the future of when I start to do something for another. I can assess my motives and change them, as indicated, come at it from a different angle.

It is important to add gentleness and compassion when you look at your negative side, the side that needs improvement, or else you would beat yourself up unmercifully. Having said these things, let’s start with how to do the appraisal…

After becoming willing to get honest, list out your positive qualities and traits on a piece of paper. List them all out. Get generous with yourself. No one else is going to see this, so brag about yourself to yourself only. Be loud and proud on paper. Then sit with, “be” with, this list of traits. Let it sink in that this is you that you have listed out in all your goodness and glory. Get comfortable with feeling the light from seeing your good qualities and traits. You are trying to counteract any negative things you have been told throughout your life.

Now, take the past week and list out every good deed, kindness, and generous thing you did during the week. List it all out. If you had a kind thought about someone, list that out, too. Then allow this to sink in for a few days. Bask in your goodness. Know that at your core, you are light.

Next, turn your attention to your negative side, the side that needs improvement. We all have one, you know. List all the negative things about yourself that you do not like. Include the negative things you tell yourself. Consider the past week and list out all the mean, nasty, and unkind things you did or thought during that time. Don’t hold back, yet do not beat yourself up. Do it honestly, from an objective viewpoint.

Consider each point and look at each with compassion for yourself, a wounded person so much so that it led you to act in a negative manner. Now, right all wrongs. This may mean apologizing to some people. If this is the case, get humble yet not subservient. Drop the hostility, the defiance. Apologize with your heart and soul. Sometimes, apology is not advised; this is when it would hurt the other person more, cause them damage in some way.

When you have completed your self-appraisal, you will feel a cleanness about yourself. You will be right with the world and yourself. Resolve to keep an active and current eye on your behaviors, celebrating yourself for your wins and correcting the negative as you move through each day.

I hope this clarifies your questions, dear friend. Thank you again for raising them. : ) And I hope for all of you that by doing a self-appraisal, you find more freedom and peace. Leave a comment if you found this to be useful for you.

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The Merits of a Self-Appraisal

Good morning to each of you and happy day. It is the wee hours of the morning and I just popped awake, so here I am. : ) Today, I am going to respond to the search term “the merits of self-appraisal.”

In my experience, doing a self-appraisal is the key that has allowed me to move to inner peace. Although difficult at first to look at myself, doing it has become a routine occurrence. By doing a self-appraisal on a regular basis, it keeps me on top of the things that I need to correct in my life, in other words, my behavior and my thoughts. And it allows me to see and acknowledge my goodness.

I have found that doing a self-appraisal leads to inner peace and emotional freedom because I am “clean,” my motives are pure and less selfish in nature. Also, if I have done something to offend someone, I can right that in the moment that I do the appraisal. And, by seeing my goodness, I am not so hard on myself, do not beat myself up so much.

One of the great benefits of doing a self-appraisal is that it paves the way to forgiveness, which leads to the creation of more inner peace and emotional freedom. It keeps a check on me getting angry at others for doing the very same thing I am doing, and if I get the ball rolling in a disagreement, it allows me to see that.

A self-appraisal allows me to keep abreast of what I am telling myself about myself… in other words, my negative self-talk. When I engage in this, I can correct it right then and there.

There is such a feeling of freedom when you incorporate a self-appraisal into your everyday life, your everyday happenings. At first, listing out my behaviors was difficult and I did so with great shame. Over the years, however, I have learned to see my negative behavior with compassion, as I was a wounded person at the time I committed whatever I committed.

That is not to say compassion is an excuse to not be responsible and accountable for my behavior. Oh, no. I need to own my negative behavior. The beauty in owning it is that I feel pure when I have done so. It is a practice in humility rather than shame. It allows me to remember that I am a fallible human being.

These are just some of the merits of a self-appraisal. Try it yourself and you’ll feel lighter, brighter, more at home with yourself. If you want to learn how to do a self-appraisal, join me tomorrow as I describe, step-by-step, how to do one.

 

 

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What Forgiveness Is Not

Hello and good morning to each of you! It has dawned another clear day in the northern San Francisco Bay Area and I’m loving it! Today is another day about forgiveness.

First though, I want to acknowledge each of you for your perseverance, your coming back, especially now that we’re getting into the meat of things that are personal. It is difficult to look at ourselves. It is difficult to climb from emotional numbness, to examine our anger, our pain. I applaud each and every one of you for your efforts! You will find the reward of peace and freedom so well worth it.

Today, let’s talk about what forgiveness is not. First and foremost, when we forgive, we are not condoning what was said or done. We are not saying that what was said or done was okay, for it was not.

This assumes, of course, that you have already done a self-appraisal and examined whether or not you do the same things others are doing, and if you are, then you need to consider forgiving the other person for being human, just like you. It also assumes that you have identified whether you got the ball rolling, and the other person was just responding in a predictable human fashion.

If you are confused about these things and/or how to do a self-appraisal, I suggest you get my free article by signing up to the right. It explains the process of getting to forgiveness, and how to do a self-appraisal. How to look at these issues is discussed.

Back to the point that forgiveness does not say what was done is wiped from your memory, that you are overlooking the transgression, for you’re not. Yet, you can still forgive. The person is still responsible for what they did or said, you are just looking at it with a different view from your heart. You are looking at it from the standpoint of gaining peace and freedom.

The second misconception about forgiveness is that the other person must apologize before you can forgive. This is just not so, and, in fact, an apology may never be forthcoming.

I never have spoken to my parents, for example, of my 38 years of anger, about the scars I received as a result of my upbringing, as I feel this would only serve to hurt them. They know not what they did. Because of that, an apology will not come forth; yet, I have been able to forgive them anyway, as I realize they are not capable, perhaps, of understanding. That’s okay. I can still forgive because forgiveness is for MY heart.

If you understand these two misconceptions, and that forgiveness is extended so you can be at peace in YOUR heart, to free YOU, then you are that much further in your ability to forgive.

I hope these clarifications make it easier to consider forgiveness. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about ways in which you can take responsibility for your feelings in this area.

 

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What Is It Like to Be Sober When You’re Hurting?

Good morning to each of you, and the day is long past dawn. It is bright and clear in the northern San Francisco Bay Area, and I am loving this weather!

Yesterday, I spoke of what it was like to be sober and I talked about all the positives. What about when it gets tough? You see, it does get tough. It’s not all a picnic. So, that’s what I want to talk about today… what to do when being sober is tough.

The thing about being sober is, you begin to feel your feelings. For years, perhaps, you have numbed them out, and suddenly your numbing agent is gone. The length of time for the difficult emotions to emerge will vary in the time it takes for them to appear and in intensity, depending on the depth of your pain.

For me, I was on a pink cloud, feeling wonderful, for about 6 months before the difficult emotions really hit me, and I mean REALLY hit me. Although, during that 6 months, I was still grieving the loss of an unrequited love, the thing which had led me to my bottom in the first place, when all I could do for several months was drink and cry. So, I was dealing with those feelings of rejection and even thoough I felt grand being sober, those feelings were hovering in the background.

I’m referring to the feelings that were buried deep inside, the ones of rejection from when I was a child, the feelings of worthlessness, shame, and despair that I carried throughout my childhood and then for most of my adulthood until I was 48, which was when I got sober. It was a bottomless well, a deep crevice and I felt like I had fallen off of a cliff many days.

How did I deal with it, you may ask, so you know how to deal with it when those feelings, or similar ones, come upon you? First and foremost, I resolved never to drink, although there were times in the course of my sobriety when I would yell, “Being sober is not better than when I was drinking!” Nonetheless, I kept holding on to my sobriety, I kept sober, and discovered that being sober was absolutely worth it! How did I do that?

I went to 4 or 5 support group meetings a a day for the first one and a half years of being sober. Every morning, I started my day with a brisk walk, followed by writing in a journal with my left, non-doiminant hand. I printed, actually. All sorts of deep feeliings flowed onto the page and I was able to have them to look at, to experience them. My writing helped me work through those feelings.

Plus, I talked to people a lot about those feelings that came up. And then, I read spiritual books voraciously. Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation, The Dance, and The Call, Iyanla VanZant’s Until Today, Yesterday I Cried, and One Day My Soul Just Opened Up, Melody Beattie’s books on co-dependency – I forget the titles.

Later in sobriety, when I was facing the pain caused by my child abuse, I read all of Claudia Black’s books, It Will Never Happen to Me was a big one that helped me get through my feelings.

The point is, and this post is getting long so I will end with this, allow your feelings to come up and find some way to cope with them. It is okay to distract yourself at times, with healthy activities, such as reading, exercising, writing, yet you need to face the difficult emotions and feel them. The only way past difficult emotions is to go through them. The only way out is through… Stick with it, hang in there, get counseling if needed. Ah, that’s something else I did that was paramount.

Just remember, the end result is happiness and joy, peace and freedom, like you have never experienced before. Trust me on this. Just stay sober, and don’t pick up that first drink. I wish you well on your journey.

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Seven Effects of Sobriety

Good morning to each of you! May your day be filled with goodness and peace inside. Today’s search term I chose is “effects of sobriety,” because it is my 12 year birthday today. Twelve years ago today began my amazingly joyful and sometimes excruciatingly painful journey into sobriety.

And regardless of what I was experiencing, I didn’t drink – no matter what. You can do that, too. Do you want a new life, better than any you’ve ever experienced? Then stick with it – no matter what.

You will find the journey more than worthwhile. You will find it very powerful, very healing, very awesome. The journey is all of these things and more.  Some days, it is negative and extremely painful as you look at past experiences. Know that the experience and pain are being brought forth for your healing. Stick with it. Don’t drink – no matter what. It WILL get better!

So, let’s look at some of the effects of sobriety. I have spoken about these before from a different viewpoint…. today I present the end effect one might experience from sobriety.

1. You will begin to feel more self-respect when you don’t wake up all hung over, drooling puking, barely able to function as a human being. Imagine… waking up refreshed, able to get out of bed and function right away. Well, maybe after coffee. lol Seriously, waking up without a hangover did a work of good for my self-respect.

2. As you move through sobriety, you will begin to feel release from old wounds, old haunts, as you heal from the inside out. In addition to help from an alcohol support group, I needed private therapy help. I recommend this if you need it, as it will speed your recovery from old wounds much more quickly.

3. Your self-esteem and self-love will grow as you continue on this journey called sobriety. You will feel good about yourself for staying sober, and your esteem will grow as a result. The healing work you do will help you learn to love yourself; you will forgive yourself, and your self-love will grow even further.

4. You will feel true caring about the people around you. With your new-found sobriety, you will really care at a deep level for those who enter or are in your daily life. Yu will see others with compassion, see them as fallible human beings, and you will be able to forgive them their transgressions.

5. The blaming and self-pity you feel will diminish as you become more accountable for yourself and your feelings.

6. You will be able to see the world with new eyes… Gratitude for all your experiences, whether positive or negative, will fill you up and it will spill out to others.

7. And finally, you will wish to be of service to others rather than stay stuck in yourself and your woes, rather than blame others and feel self-pity.  Because of that, you will feel freedom in your soul. It will soar, as will you!

The possibilities are endless if you maintain your sobriety! My hope for each of you reading this is that you do, indeed, try sobriety, and succeed at it. Speaking from experience, 12 years of it, I can honestly say that the  journey is so well worth it. At last, I found happiness and peace. May you do the same.

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Seven Things You Can Do to Strengthen Your Sobriety Today

Good morning to each of you! I hope for you a wonderful day, a wonderful week! : ) I liked the search term “things I can do to strengthen my sobriety,” so that is what I chose to address this morning. This applies to you even if you are not a sober person, i.e., even if you do not have a drinking problem.

The following are some suggestions of things you can do to strengthen your sobriety:

1. Write, print, every day in a journal with your non-dominant hand, even if for only 15 minutes every morning. If you are right-handed, print with your left. You will find that all sorts of deep emotions will flow forth onto the page. This is especially useful if you are “stuck,” having difficulty with your emotions and moving forward because of them.

2. Take a brisk walk a few times a day, even for 5 minutes. This gets your blood flowing, which gets more oxygen to your brain. It also helps the flow of endorphins to your brain, which is the feel-good chemical.

3. Get in the habit of doing an on-going self-appraisal, also known as a self-assessment, of your thoughts, words, and actions. This will keep you on track internally, in your thought-life, as well as keep a watch over how you treat others. If you are not acting in kind, tolerant respectful, and loving ways to others and yourself, you can change that behavior throughout the day.

4. Be gentle with yourself. All the harshness and having unrealistic expectations of yourself will not move you forward in life, will not help your sobriety. Instead, when you are not gentle, when you have unrealistic expectations of yourself, you set yourself up to fail, to be in angst.

5. Begin to see others that are irritating to you as wounded people, struggling inside of themselves. Perhaps they endured abuse when they were growing up, or later in a marriage, and they have not yet worked through those feelings. Perhaps they never WILL work through those feelings, and you can see them as a wounded person. You can have compassion for them.

6. Forgive those who have wronged you. Take #5 above and apply it to those who have wronged you. Understand that by forgiving, you will set yourself free, and you will find peace from that forgiveness. Know that forgiveness does not mean you condone what was done – it just means you forgive them their transgression. Know that it is you who you are taking off the hook, so you don’t continue to live with poison in your psyche, in your heart.

7. Learn to forgive yourself for all the wrongs you have committed against yourself and to others. See yourself as wounded yourself, and cut yourself some slack. This does not mean that you are off-the-hook and not responsible for your actions and behaviors; you are. But you can see yourself as a fallible human being, and can learn from your mistakes. From that introspection, you can grow. Use your mistakes as learning experiences.

These seven things are things you can do right now, so start in on them. If you do, you will find your thought-life and external life will be more calm and peaceful, more fulfilling and richer.

What one thing are you going to do today to strengthen your sobriety? Leave a comment and share with us what that one thing is. We’d love to share in your growth. 🙂

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Effects of Sobriety

Good morning to all, in the wee hours of the morning! I popped awake at 3:30 am and here I am, an hour later. I hope you each have a blessed day.

There are two search terms that I am going to address today and they are the “effects of sobriety” and “why am I so hostile in my sobriety two years later?”

I have written many time about the positive effects of sobriety and I love this topic because I love my sobriety and love being able to let others know what they might experience if they get sober. I see sobriety as the greatest gift I and the Universe have ever given to me.

But first, let’s address the question of why hostility has shown up for someone. First of all, I would like to commend whomever it was that wrote that, as it indicates a true looking at themselves and their behavior. So, good for you!

That said, it takes a while for the alcohol to get out of our system and for the brain to clear. That may take a year or two for this to occur.

Then, we are often on that “pink cloud” of feeling good about ourselves and the world, and that can last for a few months to about a year. After that time, we may begin to really feel our feelings and old experiences and feelings come up. I, for example, had bad feelings come up at age 3 years of sobriety, over my violent upbringing.

Not having alcohol to numb these feelings, I had to feel them and they were of rage – huge anger – at my parents. It took a year or two to work through these feelings until I could allow them back into my life. You see, I basically was very hostile toward them and kept them at an arm’s length. That did pass as I continued to stay sober and to work through my feelings.

So, it is not uncommon for hostility to occur throughout the course of sobriety as our feeliings come up and we have nothing to numb them with.

Now, about the effects of sobriety… the first thing I noticed was the freedom from hangovers and that was glorious. Then, after a time, I discovered that the practice of looking at myself and assessing my positive and negative behaviors, and then taking responsibility for my negative behaviors, was the biggest gift I received from sobriety.

Being able to look at myself led to the start of me being responsible for myself, totally. This meant being responsible for my feelings also. So, what happened was, I stopped blaming others for my feelings and my unhappiness. I began to see those as my responsibility to manage and to find.

I stopped playing the victim, stopped being filled with self-pity. And I’ll tell you all, being able to do those things has led me to an incredible peace, freedom, and great joy of life. And it all stemmed from learning to look at myself and hold myself accountable. And THAT is the BEST effect of sobriety!

What are some of the effects you notice from sobriety, or are you struggling with finding a good effect? Leave a comment and let us know how it is going for you.

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Why Physical Injury Heals Faster Than Emotional Pain

Good afternoon, everyone! I am late in getting my post out and I am competing with construction workers not 4 feet away from my computer. 🙂 I am getting a new window frame constructed and bay window replaced. The old one was leaking and dry-rotted. But, enough about me.

Yesterday, I spoke about emotional pain and how when we don’t address it, it festers, like an infected wound. Today, there was a search term for how physical pain heals faster than emotional pain, and that is what I’d like to address.

I believe that verbal onslaught is more difficult to heal from than a physical injury because the negative words or feelings get embedded in our psyche, in our soul. They, I have heard, get embedded in our very cells, and if we do not work to rid ourselves of our emotional pain, or at least allow orselves time to heal from it, it just stays there and cotinues to negatively impact our psyche.

Physical injury, on the other hand, heals more quickly as blood is brought to the injured area. With that blood comes oxygen and nutrients, and those help the area to heal. With our emotional pain, on the other hand, it sits and festers unless brought to light.

Unfortunately, it is frequently, if not always, painful to look at our hurting emotions and because of this, we avoid looking at it. We numb it with substances like alcohol or drugs, or engage in compulsive behaviors like cleaning, shopping, or gambling. We avoid looking at it at all costs. The thing is, the cost is high because it affects our ability to be truly happy and at peace.

To look at our emotional pain, I recommended yesterday writing, journaling, with your non-dominat hand. Printing is easier than writing script and that’s what I did. And, it worked miracles. Do not be surprised or dismayed if you find yourself crying or even sobbing when you start journaling. This is natural and is the body’s way of cleansing the soul. At least, that’s what I believe is happening.

Engaging in modalities like massage and deep tissue therapy helps to loosen the stuck feelings from our tissues, our cells, and this speeds up the healing process. It is wise to drink lots of water after undergoing massage, or even writing and releasing your emotions, as that further cleanses the cells.

I also believe emotional pain is harder to heal because we think over and over about things, often obsessing about them. That’s the fuel that feeds anger and resentment, keeping us from being happy and peaceful. And that’s what I specialize in… helping people past anger and resentment to find forgiveness.

So, I hope this article gives you some further idea of why emotional pain takes longer to heal than physical injury. Furthermore, I hope the suggestion of journaling with your non-dominat hand is one you will try. If you do and see some results, leave us a message about what that was like for you.

 

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