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Peace of Heart

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Forgiveness is an inner correction that lightens the heart. It is for our peace of mind first. Being at peace, we will now have peace to give to others, and this is the most permanent and valuable gift we can possibly give.
Great tranquility of heart is his who cares for neither praise nor blame.
After being a people pleaser for so long, it is hard not to want to "fix things" for people I love. How can I stand by my boundaries and go on with my life, and not feel guilty about taking care of myself first?

Entrée:  Self Matters - Forgiveness by Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D. 
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Forgiveness can be a very difficult step, but one that may be essential to your getting emotional closure. Understand that when I use the word "forgiveness," I in no way mean that I am asking you to take the position that whatever may have happened to you in your life is now "okay."

The reason I believe forgiveness is such an important element is that, without it, you are almost inevitably destined to a life marred by anger, bitterness, and hatred. Those emotions only compound the tragedy. You are the one who pays the price by carrying the negative emotions with you , allowing them to contaminate every element of your current life. Forgiveness is not a feeling that you must passively wait to wash over you. Forgiveness is a choice, a choice that you can make to free yourself from the emotional prison of anger, hatred, and bitterness. I am not saying that the "choice" is an easy one, only that it is a necessary one.

About the author:

Life Strategist Dr. Phillip C. McGraw hosts nationally syndicated series Dr. Phil. Known to millions as the human behavior expert from The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil is also a #1 New York Times best-selling author and co-founder of Courtroom Sciences, Inc., the world's leading litigation consulting firm. Drawing on 25 years of experience in psychology and human functioning, Dr. Phil deals with real issues in his signature "tell-it-like-it-is" style. Whether it's a bad relationship, a dead-end career, or a harmful habit, his book Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters will empower you to take responsibility for your own actions and break free from self-destructive patterns.

Main Course: You Never Know 
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I won't burst the bubble, I just want to let a little air out of it. There are some exceptions to the Happy Ending rule. Most Happy Endings are seen on TV and in the movies. I even have a few friends that have had Happy Endings in their life. Not many, and it's not quite the stuff of screenplays or romance novels. Happy Endings are sensational.

Most endings are bittersweet, having a mix of memories and their associated emotions. Choices about "how" to end whatever is being ended are as numerous as the emotion associated with the memories. This is when the It's-Gonna-Be-a-Big-Production advisory crew comes knocking on the door, ready not to just pay a visit, but to stay as long as they are welcome. They would like to film on location, if you don't mind. The new guests are Regret, Blame, Shame and Guilt. Yeah, and they have corporate-types to invite over, later, if the party gets too lively! Anger, Fear and Depression, and a few less savory characters, to name a few.

This is Your Life-like experiences have been the story line that leads up to the crucial ending point, just before the credits are to be run. But this is here, and it is now. The final scene. In the words of James Taylor, "You can play the fool, you can act out the part, even though it wasn't written for you." His recommendation to remedy the situation? Shower the People You Love with Love. Show them the way you feel.

It's a dark and stormy night. The plane's engine is warming up on the tarmac. "Here's lookin' at you, kid." Cut! Print! That's a wrap. Or, is it?

Wait. Why does your character have to take all the blame? What can be accomplished through regret? Why feel shame and guilt about where things have been, and where they might go from here? Look either direction from this point. What can be clearly seen from this vantage, short of "growth opportunities" in the past, that got you to the here and now? What can be changed? Nothing in the past, certainly, but the entire future is fit and ready to be molded.

Makeup! Dry those tears.

How can the future be molded with hands full of baggage labeled What Was and What Could've Been? Where can you go with all that stuff, and how much fun will you have with it when you get there? Leave those bags behind, and hope they stay lost before you get to your next destination. All right, take a few souvenirs if you must, but just nice stuff. No junk.

Wardrobe! A new suit of Anything's Possible, in your brightest colors, right here... O.k.! Lights, Camera.... and...... action!

Endings are hard, I know. Stop running the credits through your mind, and give those gloomy BS Artist advisors their layoff notice. Rewrite the script for that last scene. Show them the way you feel, and play the creative and loving part you were meant to play. Make a best effort to end it with love, if it needs to end, and find a peaceful place in your heart for the good memories, time goes by. (Fade to black.)

Oh, and keep an eye out for a sequel! You never know, this might not be The End after all.

Michael Rawls, Friday's Inspiration © 2003

Second Helping: Loving and Nurturing Yourself by Robert Burney, M.A. 
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The hardest part of unconditional Love is accepting wherever we are at in the moment no matter how uncomfortable. The hardest part of acceptance is not the difficulty of allowing others their process (although Lord knows that can be very hard); it is allowing ourselves our own process without shame and judgment.

I can do that now most of the time. I know now that when it feels like crap it is not punishment, it is not because I am bad or wrong or defective. . . What I know now is that when it feels like sh*t that means that I am being fertilized to help me grow.

Those times when we feel like we are "falling apart," "losing it," going to pieces," are the times when we are growing. In a little while (little is a relative term, how fast we recover depends on how much we are judging ourselves, the more we are shaming and abusing ourselves the longer it takes) we start to get a feel for our new expanded psychic environment. We find some new definitions and built ourselves a bigger box. We start to feel safe and secure again. We have grown and broadened our horizons and it feels like we are finally "getting it together." We get comfortable with the new dimension of consciousness we have entered. That is when it is time to break out of the box again - to fall apart, let go, process some more issues. 

The more we understand that this is the way the process works; the easier it becomes to not judge and shame ourselves; the more capacity we have to Love and nurture ourselves. Life is constantly changing. There are always going to be endings and new beginnings. There is always going to be grief and pain and anger about what we have to let go of, and fear of what is to come. It is not because we are bad or wrong or shameful. It is just the way the game works.

So there is good news and bad news. The good news is that a New Age has dawned in human consciousness and that we now have tools, knowledge, and access to healing energy and Spiritual guidance that has never before been available. We are discovering the rules of the game that we have been playing for thousands of years by rules that don't work.

The bad news is that it's a stupid game - or at least it feels like it some of the time. The more we understand that it is a game, that this is just boarding school, the easier it becomes to nurture ourselves by not shaming and judging ourselves. We are going to get to go home. We don't have to earn it - that's what Unconditional Love means. 

About the author:

Spiritual Teacher and Codependency Therapist Robert Burney, whose work has been compared to John Bradshaw's "except much more spiritual" and described as "taking inner child healing to a new level," has developed a unique approach to emotional healing that is the next level of recovery from codependency so many people have been seeking.  He has pioneered an inner child healing paradigm that offers a powerful, life changing formula for integrating Love, Spiritual Truth, and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into one's emotional experience of life - a blueprint for individuals to transform their core relationship with self and life. Read this entire article HERE.

Soup to Nuts: From the feedback button
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