In Search of Quiet Gentleness

Good morning to each of you! Thank you for your steadfast following of my blog! I hope you find it of use to you. As I promised in my last post, I’m going to spend a couple of days talking about the quietness found in gentleness.

The first step in the search for that gentleness is to envision it. See in your mind’s eye what gentleness would look like for you… a soft and quiet place in which to rest. See a less harried mind and heart than what you currently have today. Take the time to see it before you start…

Once you have a vision of what you want your gentleness to look like, then you can start on the process to get to that point. The first thing to do is to develop willingness… willingness to see the world from a new perspective, with new eyes. Develop willingness to have a one degree shift in your thinking. When you do this, you open the way for major things to shift inside of you.

The next step we’re going to undertake is that of performing a self-appraisal. This will yield you great information about yourself. The point of doing this is to locate yourself in the world, to determine the ways that you are so you can alter your behavior, actions, and thoughts to become who you want to be… that gentle and peaceful person you envisioned.

Start your self-appraisal by becoming willing to look honestly at yourself. Next, get writing stuff ready. Then, make a list of all your positive traits. List out what you see as those traits, as well as things others have told you. Include your skills and talents in this list. If you are having trouble identifying your positive traits, google positive character traits and use what comes up as a guide to possible traits.

Once you have this list completed, spend a day reveling in it, being in awe of who you are in your essence, at your core. Then, take the past three-day period and list out every kind and considerate thing you did for others and for yourself during that time period.

Now I’d like you to just “be” with those lists, soaking in deeply the goodness of your soul. Do this for a couple of days. Then, we will continue… Join me again on Monday, and we will go further into the self-appraisal… We’ll continue with our search for gentleness…

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Feelings of Giving Up

Good morning and happy day to each of you! I am compelled to speak to the person who expressed “feelings of giving up.” I remember being in that state where all I could do was pray to die because I was experiencing feelings of giving up. It was s such a place of despair that I want to speak to the person who searched for it.

The reason I am so much wanting to speak to them is because I want to relay there is hope. It gets better – it really does. In fact, there are things you can do which will make it get better, which can get you out of the place where you have feelings of giving up.

One thing you can do is begin to identify the one thing that lights you up. This could be the simple beauty of a flower, or seeing a child laugh. I blogged yesterday about this, so read yesterday’s blog. Find just one small thing that can make you smile in spite of yourself and your feelings of giving up. Focus on it and bring your thoughts back to it when you begin to have feelings of giving up.

The next thing you can do is become willing to look at things from a whole new angle, with new eyes. Resolve to have this willingness. If you can’t seem to become willing, ask the Universe for the willingness to be willing to have willingness. Just keep saying, Universe, please help me be willing to have willingness.

Next, think of how you can help another. Set aside  your feelings of giving up for a brief time, and do something nice for someone else. Help an elderly person in some way, or a homeless person. Set aside your feelings of giving up while you’re helping them and you’ll begin to feel better.

Now consider what the lesson is that you are being taught, for our darkest hours can be our greatest teachers if we allow them to be.

Give these suggestions a try and see if you do no begin to get through your feelings of giving up. I hope you are feeling less like giving up and more like you have value to others in the world.

If you would like help to get to a place of feeling better about things, I coach people to get past the feelings of giving up. Simply call me to schedule a free 30 minute discovery call. On that call we will discuss what it is you want from your life and how o go about getting it. Call 415-883-8325.

 

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7 – Day Forgiveness Challenge

Good morning, all, and welcome to another day on my blog. : ) I have given it some thought, and have decided to hold a forgiveness challenge for the next 7 days. The goal of the challenge is to get to the point of being able to forgive one person in your life.

Together, you and I will walk through the steps that will allow you to forgive that one person with whom you have a gripe, a grudge, and with whom you are just plain angry. The end result is that you will experience freedom and peace-of-mind.

Let’s start. The first thing I ask is that you get a dedicated journal to write in every day, one that you can print in with your “other” hand, your non-dominant hand. This is important to try as a technique because it has been shown that writing with the non-dominat hand brings forth your subconscious thoughts. That will become important as you go through this process.

Today, I ask that you get prepared to be willing to look at forgiveness as an option in your life. In order to do that, it is necessary to understand what forgiveness is not.

Forgiveness does not mean you condone what was done to you. It does not mean you are letting another’s behavior off the hook. You are not saying what occurred is okay.

“Be” with those thoughts. Allow them to permeate your being. Breathe deeply and slowly as you contemplate these thoughts. Then, explore your willingness to let go and get to a place of forgiveness. Write about your reaction to these statements, your gut feelings about them.

Write about your level of willingness. If you find you are resistant, not willing to consider forgiveness, write about that in your journal. Don’t hold back; be honest. If you think I’m full of crap, write that. If you feel you cannot go to that place, jot that down. Simply write down whatever comes up for you as it relates to your willingness to consider forgiveness as an option in your life, a way to obtain peace in your heart.

That is your task for Day 1 of this forgiveness challenge. Stay tuned for 6 more days to unfold.

 

 

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Honesty, Openness, and Willingness

Well, good morning to each of you! I wish you all a wonderful day filled with light and joy. May you have peace. This morning I was able to get into my stats and I see three searches for honesty, openness, and willingness, so will speak about these today.

Honesty, openness, and willingness are the basis of all spiritual walks and the cornerstones of all recovery programs… the hallmarks, if you will. When you practice these three things, all sorts of other things fall into place for you. But what do they mean? Let’s take a look…

Honesty, openness, and willingness are all in my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. Let’s start by looking at honesty. Certainly, you want to practice being honest by not lying, stealing, cheating, etc., but this refers to much more.

Being honest also refers to your ability to see yourself as you truly are, with both your positive and your negative points, your strengths and your weaknesses, the things you do well and the things you messed up, the ways you were unkind, for example.

Many of you have not even heard of the concept of doing a self-appraisal and keeping a watch on yourself and your behavior. When performed on a regular basis, it is very powerful.

Being honest about who you are, even with all of your faults, is what is meant by being honest. Allowing others to see your soft and vulnerable side is being honest.

When you are honest, your being is as solid as the welds in the picture to the left, and it forms a strong base upon which to build your true Self.

 

Openness of Heart

Let’s continue on in our talk about honesty, openness, and willingness by moving on to openness. This refers to how you open your mind to new things, open your heart to feel, open your heart to allow grace in.

When you go around with a closed mind, thinking you know everything, not hearing what others are telling you about things and about yourself, then you are cutting off so much that is valuable. When you close your mind to what others say about you, you shut out an outside viewpoint, something you may wish to consider in your journey to wholeness and peace.

Beware of those, however, that would put your down, verbally abuse you, and try to not let their words affect you negatively. Realize that they are striking out, perhaps, in their own fear, their own woundedness, but don’t buy into what they are saying.

Having a closed heart blocks the way to peace and joy. You may stay behind the safety of a closed gate for fear of getting your heart hurt… again, yet when you open the gates of your heart, wondrous things start to happen. You are touched in ways you perhaps never have been before. It is very freeing, and it’s the way to peace.

Now we come to willingness and I cannot say enough about this except that it is the key to everything. When you are willing, it unlocks the gates of your heart, it allows the Universe to provide for you.

All it takes is willingness the size of a keyhole, and that is enough to unlock gates. The desire to grow takes willingness, the ability to listen to what another is saying takes willingness, the on-going practice of doing a self-apraisal takes willingness.

If you struggle with being willing for change to visit you in your life, ask the Universe for the willingness to be willing to have willingness.

And there we have the cornerstones… honesty, openness, and willingness. I wish you well in your search for and practice of these three things.

 

 

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Willingness Is the Key to Your Happiness

Hello to you this clear and bright morning! I hope you have a good day, filled with love and joy. Today, I am going to address the search term “willingness is the key.” The term did not say “key to what,” and I added happiness, because it is true… when you have the willingness to be happy, you can find happiness.

A coach with whom I am working stresses that you come what you believe. So, if you believe you can be happy, you begin to engage in activities and thought patterns that bring you happiness.

I spent my life until about the age of 52 believing that happiness was found in other people, in my circumstances. I held others responsible for my happiness and when they didn’t produce it, I was angry at them, carried a resentment against them. And I searched all over for the right set of circumstances, the right place to live, believing that when I found the right place, the right set of circumstances, I would be happy.

About 4 years into sobriety, I realized the fallacy of these beliefs. I learned that happiness came from inside of me, that I formed my own happiness. Wow, that was revolutionary, a true aha! moment. And then I discovered that if I showed willingness to assume responsibility for my happiness, it began to be a reality.

Willingness is the key to everything, I have discovered. I had to have willingness to be responsible for my own happiness, willingness to get and stay sober so I could heal, willingness to feel my feelings, willingness to approach life with a positive attitude. Without willingness, these things could not occur.

The image to the right is from my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing.” In the book, the verse that accompanies the picture is, “All it takes is willingness to unlock whatever lies inside, to turn the knob and open the gate… All it takes is a tiny opening the size of a keyhole.”

This is so true… a tiny opening in your heart, in your mind, will lead to more and more willingness. If you are willing to have just a little willingness, the Universe expands it for you.

If you are having difficulty being willing to heal, willing to get sober if that is your need, willing to hold yourself responsible for your feelings and your happiness, then ask the Universe for the willingness to be willing to have willingness. Just show a little willingness and you’ll be amazed at how you are supported in that endeavor! Here’s to your willingness!

 

 

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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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What Does Willingness Look Like?

Good morning, everyone! I has dawned a bright and sunny day here in the north San Francisco Bay Area, and I hope your day is bright and sunny from the inside out. I think someone stuffed the ballot box with the search term “what does willingness look like,” (lol) and I will address that today.

I believe willingness is the key to all change, all improvement, and all feeling better about ourselves and others.

Webster defines willingness as the act of being willing, which is acting or giving readily and cheerfully, gladly or voluntarily. In my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, I say that all it takes to unlock the gates of our heart is a little opening the size of a key hole. Then the door opens wider…

When we practice willingness, we are open to whatever the Universe has to bring our way. We are open to differences in others, open to seeing new things for ourselves. It is a feeling of expansiveness, of expanding light.

Yes, willingness is a lightness of being. There is a mysterious quality about it, as we await new experiences, new feelings, “new” in all areas of our life. There is a deep knowingness when we are practicing willingness, a deep feeling that all is well. We look eagerly to what the Universe has to offer us.

When we are demonstrating willingness, others see an openness about us, experience less judgment from us. They see our lightness, our eagerness for newness. They see a person who is more at peace with themselves, with others. Yes, willingness is the key to happiness and peace.

How do you feel when you are experiencing willingness? Leave a comment and let us know.

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The Power of Willingness

Good morning and Happy New Year to all of you out there! I hope you all have a wonderful year in 2013! I want to start the year off by talking about willingness, but before I do, I’d like to address the person who searched for “sometimes living is worthless.”

To you who searched for that, I’d like to say, yes, sometimes it feels like living is worthless. There appears to be no hope, nothing to do that will improve the situation. That is what it was like for me anyway, when I was praying to God to let me die in 2005.

The operative word there is “feels.” It “feels” like living is worthless. The thing is, it is a feeling, and if we allow them, feelings will come and go. They pass if we just hang in there and wait for them to do so. What worked for me when I felt living was worthless, was helping someone to get through what I had gotten through in my suffering.

In other words, I was helped through that feeling by being useful to another, and I was useful to another by sharing my story with someone who was struggling with the same feelings with which I had been struggling. It worked for me to talk through these feelings in an effort to be of service to another. When I realized that by sharing how I made improvements in my life I was helpful to another, I began to feel that life WAS worth living. Perhaps you can gain something from that and your feeling that living is worthless will ease.

Let’s move on to willingness. In fact, willingness applies in the situation above, because one has to be willing to be of service to another, willing to let the feeling of worthlessness travel through.

Webster defines willingness as acting and giving readily, cheerfully, gladly… voluntarily. I found that asking the Universe for the willingness to be willing to have willingness was useful to get me to the point of having willingness. Unfortunately for my mental health, I had to be beaten down to the lowest low emotionally and with my drinking, before I was able to gain the willingness to do something about it all. I was so bad off, I became willing to do whatever it took to feel better.

Today, I define willingness as one of the major keys to use to open the gates of my heart when it is closed. In fact, I find willingness to be the key for the basis of everything I do. The power of willingness is remarkable. When I am willing, all sorts of positive things come my way. Often, problems solve themselves with my action and God’s intervention, but I have to be willing to do the work. Then, I have to be willing to allow God to work in my life.

The act of being willing opens doors that might never be opened for us. It’s like, when we show willingness, the Universe knows how to help us attain what we want and need. It opens our mind, our heart. There is great power in that.

How do you show willingness? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

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How to Open Your Heart More

“How to open your heart more” was searched for 4 times yesterday morning, so I thought I’d address that. I apologize for no post yesterday… I started this and the day got away from me before I could develop the blog. So, here we are today, in this moment, and let me write about how to open your heart.

The first thing needed to open your heart is willingness to do so, willingness to go there. Once you are willing, the whole world opens up, and you are able to see the things around you that you couldn’t see before. You see your physical world more intently; you see others with eyes and heart of gentleness and kindness.

Once you are willing to open your heart, the next stage involves identifying the wounds you have endured during your lifetime, and the feelings that accompany these wounds. Look closely at your fear and how it holds you back in life. Look closely at grief you may be experiencing, a feeling associated with loss of any type.  Allow yourself the time to look at these feelings and try to be straight while you do so. Try to just “be” with them, without numbing them out with substances or activity.

Now, feel compassion for yourself for the wounds you have received and endured. See yourself with gentleness, kindness. Do not slide into self-pity… this is not a pity party I am suggesting. More, it is an objective assessment and acknowledgment of the damage you have received. Now it’s time to start seeing the world around you with gratitude. Be grateful for the simplest things and soon that gratitude will expend to larger things in your life.

Now you are equipped to begin a self-appraisal, looking first at your positive traits, behaviors, and actions. Really praise yourself for these things. Then, look at your negative behavior, the things you do for which you are mad at others for doing, when you do the very same things yourself. For your bad behavior that was hurtful to others, take ownership of that behavior. Be responsible and accountable for it by letting go of any resentments, and apologizing, if indicated.

This tool is invaluable as one to use on an on-going basis, throughout each day. It becomes second-nature to see yourself honestly, objectively. Rather than allowing this appraisal to be a jumping-off place from which to beat yourself up, use it instead as a method of keeping yourself right-sized… not bragging or boastful, nor insecure and self-reproachful. Use a self-appraisal to locate where you are in your world, both outer and inner.

Once you learn to follow this process, you will have opened your heart so very much. There is one more tool to use to get to deep peace and freedom, and that is forgiveness. Forgiveness allows you, without condoning what was done, to put to rest your heart-burning resentment, the thing that keeps you simmering with anger just below the surface. Once you come to forgiveness, you will begin to be really free, able to open your heart even wider.

So, this is the process to go through to open your heart. How does it work for you? Do you have a different method? What works for you? Leave a comment and let us know.

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How to Open Your Heart More in Sobriety

How to Open Your Heart More in Sobriety” was in the search terms four times this morning. Well, the term was really how to open our hearts more, and I changed it a little, embellished a bit to add sobriety. I like adding the angle of sobriety in, because sobriety is so often what allows you to live with your heart more open.

Often, people who have been through the hell of hitting bottom and then getting sober, find that they can open their heart more than someone who has not been through hell. It’s as if the person who got sober knows what the other side is, and is so grateful to be out of there, out of that space, that opening their heart becomes a joy.

Perhaps one of the most valuable tools to use to open our heart more is that of honesty about ourselves… our actions and words, our behaviors. When drinking, we tend to be mired deeply in ourselves, concerned about how what everyone is doing is damaging or hurting us. In reality, we are manufacturing our own misery, but most drinkers would become engaged if you said that to them.

Anyway, back to honesty. When we take a real, hard look at ourselves and see our errors, our weaknesses, our bad behavior, we realize we have done the very same things we are mad at others for. In one way or another, we have. Wow. That’s a sobering realization! And once we realize we do the same things others do, we become humble, taking ourselves off that pedestal we’ve put ourselves on, making ourselves right-sized.

There is no need for shame at this point, thinking we’re a bad person. It’s just our behavior that’s bad, and that can be changed. So, once you are honest and open your heart to yourself, you can open it to others more, seeing them with different eyes, realizing that perhaps they, too, have wounds behind their bravado, their bad behavior. When you realize this, you can see with compassion and compassion helps you in your sobriety to open your heart more and more.

I don’t think that we can get to this point of having a truly open heart unless we are in sobriety. In other words, sobriety is what allows us to open our hearts more in life, to life. When we are drinking, we are too wrapped up in ourselves and our little (and big) dramas which we have created in some way or another, that we cannot get out of ourselves enough to see the surrounding world with tenderness, with compassion. We are mired in what the other guy has done to hurt us.

I am watching this very situation occur in realtime with a friend of many years. She lives out-of-state and so, everything I get is from her point of view, or the report of other friends. I have gotten the most recent update from a friend, and the truth is somewhere in the middle, but the drinking friend is driving everyone away through her bad behaviors and actions, and then claiming everyone is deserting her.

In reality, if she looked honestly at her own behavior, her own actions, she would see this and how she is reaping the consequences of her behavior. In other words, she is creating her misery. Tragic situation I am observing from afar, as I watch lives being ruined by the actions of one who is choosing to reject sobriety.

It is with a heavy heart that I wrote about that situation because I know if she took the route of sobriety, she would be able to open her heart more to others, to herself.

At any rate, after honesty is used to help open your heart in sobriety, openness of heart and mind follows. It is crucial to be open to suggestions and new ways of thought once you get into sobriety. And, of course, willingness is the key after honesty and openness are achieved. Willingness turns the key in the lock of a closed heart. You can have all the honesty and openness you want, and until you have willingness, you cannot put your sobriety to work for you.

Once you have looked at yourself with honesty, openness, and willingness, once you have added compassion to the mix, your sobriety will be enhanced and you will be able to open your heart more.

How about you? Are you able to open your heart more now that you are sober? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

 

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