What Is Needful
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.

This is the time of year when it's most difficult to stay on track with our goals. It's also the time of year when we're all in a rush to make new ones. It seems to me that we all have a certain ideal, a certain way of living, that gets completely blown each holiday season.

We can't stick to a diet because, every time we turn around, we're met with a truffle. Either the house is in shambles with suitcases, pine needles, candle wax, and dirty dishes, or we're not even home. We're out of our routine. Our minds are chattery. Our bodies are in crisis mode, searching in vain for some broccoli and a treadmill.

Do you suppose that, perhaps, this isn't the best time of year for any serious and purposeful reflection? During the holidays, we are buried to the neck in "shoulds." We should not get snappy at Aunt Bernice. We should not be eating crème sauce on the vegetables. We should be spending at least an hour a day at the gym.

It seems to me that most New Year's Resolutions are cleverly disguised and noble-sounding "shoulds." And who needs more of those right now? In fact, this year, for me, there will be a paring down--and not a building up--of the shoulds. Over the past month, I have re-examined my shoulds to determine which belong there, and which, out of kindness and gentleness and plain-and-simple personal integrity, do not.

It started with a day of deliberateness; a day in which I questioned all of my assumptions. Before I popped anything into my mouth, I asked myself whether I liked its taste--or whether I was simply accustomed to it. I walked through my home, taking a long and deliberate look at the furnishings, decor, and knick knacks to see whether I really liked them and whether they served any meaningful purpose.

Then I took the same eye to my list of shoulds. I'll admit that I'm plagued with a few assumptions that continue to hold on with both fists, as much I've tried to shake them off the list.

The experience was really rather liberating. To attempt to adopt an unbiased perspective and asking: Do I really like this? Is this really good for me? Is this really important to me? At the end of such a day, I demanded honesty from myself as I answered: What do I truly value? What is most important to me? How important is my spirituality, my family, my professional identity?

Then I crafted a new mission statement, written for me and my work. Who am I? Who am I to be?

This is such a wonderful instrument for clarifying your purpose in life. The statement may include your values, your priorities, your philosophy, your commitments, your goals. How do you wish your children to live? Are you living in such a way?

It allows you to identify and define your life philosophy. Your spiritual beliefs. That which you find useful. That which you find beautiful. When you write such a statement, do so in the present tense. Sign the statement in bold ink and place it where you'll read it at the start of every day. Then expect a shake-up of your shoulds. You may be surprised at the subtraction of certain long-standing and familiar goals, and the addition of some unexpected new ones.

Don't rush the process. Let it rise organically from a careful study of your life and the way you endeavor to live it, deliberately.

Susie Cortright, Momscape.com

About the Author

Susie Michelle Cortwright, this week's contributing author

Momscape is the creation of Susie Michelle Cortright, a freelance writer and full-time mom with a diverse background in fashion modeling, broadcast journalism and public relations. Susie lives in a small village near Breckenridge, Colorado, with her husband and their two young daughters. Their cozy mountain cabin is nestled in a mountain valley more than 10,500 feet above sea level. She is also the author of More Energy for Moms, a unique system of personal growth that combines information and interaction to create lasting friendships and real life changes. You will learn more about this unique approach by visiting Momscape.com - (If you are curious, Michael's mission statement can be found here.)

A desire to be in charge of our own lives, a need for control, is born in each of us. It is essential to our mental health, and our success, that we take control.

Why is it that every time you start something new, a million and one things get in the way? You make a goal to lose weight and all of a sudden every time you go to the store you seem to notice the chocolate you've been craving. Or you decide to start a writing project but every time you sit down to write - you're stuck, you don't have any inspiration. You can't seem to get moving forward.

Resistance always comes up when you start venturing into unknown territory - starting a new project or a home based business - it comes in many different forms.

For me, resistance shows up in the disguise of procrastination.It can take on a different shape for you. Procrastination is my resistance and it's a sign to me that I'm avoiding whatever it is that's new or different in my life. So when I see myself starting to put things off whether its organizing my home or working on a new project I have to take a step back and see the whole picture. What's going on that's making me put off this project? Once I figure it out the answer usually is fear of the unknown. I then dive right into it head on. And usually it's a lot easier and it goes by faster than I had anticipated.

Sometimes you just have to rock the boat to get it moving forward again.

You see, resistance to doing something or to trying to reach your goal is just a test to see if you really truly want what you're striving for. So when you have those moments of resistance, no matter how they show up in your life, take a time out and think about what you're resisting and think about whether you want to stay stuck or if you want to move on to the next level.

The choice is yours - either stay stuck where you're at or push through the resistance to get closer to your goal. Are you willing to take it to the next level? Are you willing to make the push to go forward?

Push yourself to new levels when you feel the resistance. At that point, right where there is the most resistance, when those feelings of doubt, guilt and uncertainty creep in - that is the exact moment where you need to keep moving. Take that next step through the resistance. Put one foot in front of the other and with each step the road gets easier. The resistance starts to fade into the background. That resistance becomes a memory and when you look back you'll be amazed at how easy it was to pull yourself through.

It may seem like a huge step but it's a necessary one. Don't let the resistance defeat you. Stand up and fight, then move on. It's easier than you might think. When you get off track get right back on. The keys to breaking though resistance are recognizing its many forms and being willing to rock the boat.

About the Author

Selena Richardson, this week's guest author

Selena Richardson, personal and professional coach, creator and webmistress of CreationJourneys, believes that you can create your journey in life. Visit her site for more information. To subscribe to her free newsletter, Creative Possibilities, click here.

Most decisions are seat-of-the-pants judgments. You can create a rationale for anything. In the end, most decisions are based on intuition and faith.

I've spent a lot of my lifetime trying to figure out what I wanted, and a fair amount of time trying to get it, or getting in a position to get it, or making sure that I could get it if I wanted to, or being upset that I couldn't. Some of my time was spent making sure I knew where it was, or trying to hang onto it, or making sure that somebody else couldn't get to it and take it away from me. This can get out of control, and it often does. Does any of this sound familiar?

That kind of thinking is based on fear of deprivation, fear of loss, or upon powerlessness and the certainty that I think I really need something that I don't have. Some of it was because I wasn't happy with what I did have, or that I wanted more because somebody else had something and I didn't.

While goals are worthwhile, fulfillment is not found through the achievement of them. Satisfaction of achievement doesn't last as long as I would like it to last. So, I can place a lot of importance on desiring, acquiring and keeping that which is material in nature, but in the end I will want more - better - newer - prettier - nicer smelling - more expensive stuff. And, try to keep this in mind: it is just stuff, and very little in life is not stuff.

Striving for "things" until I am exhausted, physically sick and emotionally drained will only lead me to frustration. While accumulating things can be fun, determining whether what I desire is a need that is essential to my soul, or a want that is adopted for the comfort of my body or mind, will help to clarify the process. Providing for the essential needs of my soul is an inroad to inner peace. Inner peace is actually to be found by giving up the goals and taking complete control of the moment before me. Goals are important tools to accomplish tasks in my life within a given quantity of time, while spiritual unfoldment is something that takes place moment by moment, almost all of the time.

I need to have an attitude of abundance instead of one of lack and deprivation. Joseph Murphy tells us in The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, "your subconscious mind takes you at your word and sees to it that you can't [have] what you want... as long as you keep saying 'I can't'..." Instead, I must tell myself I can... give myself permission to have all sorts of things, but only when the Universe is ready to give them to me. Writing down my wants helps attract them to me. That is the time to go on a mental shopping spree - check prices for that new suit of clothes, the new car, keep an eye out for the best mortgage rates, and then have faith in the timing of the Universe that when it is good for my soul to have it, it (whatever "it" is) will be within reach.

True control in my own life can be achieved through the application of the knowledge that within me is the seed of a divine spiritual being - that of my true Self, my Soul, created by a loving Father - and that I have control over those choices regarding what I will and will not have in my life. One of the best ways to put a stop to needy (as opposed to needful) thinking is to start with gratitude - gratitude for what I have, large and small. Sunsets, birdsong, fresh air, a smile from a stranger, a quick note from my daughter, any of a hundred daily things that make my life rich and worthwhile to live.

The difference between an essential need and an adopted one is the difference between needful and needy, at its very core. Knowing where to put my best effort and energy, understanding which choices will further the progress of my Soul during my lifetime, will authentically empower me. The needful choices I make must have - at their very foundation - love, trust and humility based on an appreciation for the struggles of myself and those around me, and a reverence for life in all it's forms, especially my own life.

Needy choices seem to be a desire for things that may not necessarily be good for me at the present time. Needful choice leads directly to authentic power by opening myself to that with which the Universe is ready to bless me. True happiness is within the reach of everyone, and the path of duty - first to yourself, and then to your fellow creatures - leads directly to it!

When faced with choices, needful or needy, stop and grasp the moment as an opportunity to understand where this path or that will lead. Choose wisely, keeping the essential needs and shedding the "adopted."

You are a gift to yourself, to those who love you, and to the Universe. Remember that nurturing self-care in determining what is needful, and asking for it, helps to deliver that gift in its highest form.

The Author Peace and Light, Michael

email: Michael@N-Spire.com - or, send your Let me know what you think of this article to me right now!

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