Needs: Essential or Adopted?

When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live.
--Greg Anderson

Anything you need, must have or can't do without has a dominion over you and your life. In other words, you are a slave of sorts. We're not talking here about food, clothing and shelter! We are talking about anything or anyone, from your mother to your job, that you feel you must have, must help or cannot walk away from for one reason or another. We are talking about the gamut from food to sex, people to pets, shoes to butter on both sides of your bread. If God didn't put it in you, but you believe you cannot live without it, you are in a lot of trouble.

All too often, we turn our lives over to things and people, believing that they are essential to our survival. How does this happen? Why do we turn our lives and our power over to things and people? Well, it's a trick. It is the trick of fear!

Fear will do anything, use anyone, to throw you off track, keep you off base and move you in the wrong direction. Fear is very well aware that as long as you believe there is something you cannot do without, you have an excuse not to do the things you must! Fear also knows that as long as you have an excuse for not doing, fear has something to do! Fear will keep you running. Fear will keep you in hiding! Fear will keep you hoping, wishing and trying! Fear will tie you down, bear you up and leave you gasping for air! Fear is the master trickster! It will make you responsible to others! It will make you responsible for others! Fear is the very thing that prevents you from letting go of everything and everyone else.

Until today, you may not have been aware of all of the things and people you hold on to in response to fear. Just for today, accept that you are afraid to let go! Make a list of all the things you believe you need. Read the list and identify all the excuses you give yourself for holding on. Then, mentally and emotionally, let go.

Today I am devoted to eliminating all fear-based reasons, excuses and habits!

-Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! - Daily Devotions for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind © 2000

There must be more to life than having everything.
--Maurice Sendak

I've spent a lot of my lifetime trying to figure out what I wanted out of life, 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. One of the best ways to put a stop to thinking like that 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. Next, 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, tell yourself you can... give yourself permission to have all sorts of things, but only when the Universe is ready to give them to you. Writing down your wants could attract them to you. 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 your soul to have it, it (whatever "it" is) will be within your reach.

While goals are worthwhile, fulfillment is not found through the achievement of them. Satisfaction of achievement doesn't last as long as we would like it to last. So, we can place a lot of importance on desiring, acquiring and keeping that which is material in nature, but in the end we 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 our life is not stuff. Striving for "things" until we are exhausted, sick and emotionally drained will only lead us 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.

True control in my own life is 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. Knowing where to put my best effort and energy, which choices will further the progress of my Soul during my lifetime, will authentically empower me when the choices I make have - at their very foundation - love, trust and humility based on an appreciation for the struggles of those around me, and a reverence for life in all it's forms, especially my own life. Responsible choice leads directly to authentic power. 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 difficult choices, stop and grasp the moment as an opportunity to understand where this path or that will take you. 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, dear child. Remember that nurturing self-care helps to deliver that gift in its highest form.



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