Friday, January 22, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

I went for a hike yesterday around what’s called The  4 Lakes and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. I was walking up a forested path with trees, mountains and a   picturesque waterfall on one side of me and the calmness of a still, blue lake on the other side. It felt like I was walking through a story book; a fairy tale. And as I was enjoying the surreal beauty and peacefulness of the walk I became acutely aware of the possible presence of wild animals as noted in my article below and I thought to myself: 

Don’t allow the monsters to ruin or prevent you from seeing all the beauty that surrounds you. Don’t let them scare off all of the beauty within you.  I told myself that the monsters in your head, after all, are just a figment of your imagination born from wounds, wounds from misperceptions of a child’s mind.  

The monsters in reality are afraid of YOU, so they use scare tactics as their defenses against you. They know you are more powerful, it’s only YOU that does not know this. Why do you think they fight back so hard? Why do you think they are so relentless? Because they know you are stronger and you could take them out. 

They will do whatever they can to survive: trickery, become louder, project images onto your mind to prove they are real and they are stronger. They will even have you experience repeated hurtful patterns externally and repeated self-sabotaging patterns internally to prove their realness and strength. Yet, what you don’t realize (because they are so sly and deceiving) is that it is actually YOU creating these situations just by the sheer fact of believing in them!  

It reminds me of the lives of circus elephants. As babies they are chained by the ankle so they can’t escape their cage. When they grow up to be big, strong, magnificent animals, who can now break that chain with their  own strength, they don’t. They don’t escape that life of entrapment and cruelty, even though they can, because they have learned to believe that, that weak chain can still retain them and hold them to their cage. 

So for the rest of my hike, I decided not to believe in the beasts, and I continued my walk in solitude and freedom taking in all the beauty. I decided I was going to write a new story, my own fairy tale.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Being Bear Smart

Where I live is beautiful with lots of wondrous mountains, flowing rivers, an omnipotent ocean and lush forests. But amongst all this beauty there is a presence of danger. While enjoying nature’s beauty you may encounter wild and dangerous animals, especially bears, who habitat these lands - a large, powerful animal that may be hungry, scared or just in a bad mood. Residents who live in this part of the country or tourists visiting this scenic area receive pamphlets on what to do if you encounter one of these wild animals:

• Don’t panic

• Never feed the bear

• Indentify yourself as a human by talking in a calm tone of voice

• It may try to intimidate you by popping its jaws or swat while blowing and snorting

• It may lunge toward you or bluff charge you, but will turn away

• Although scary, you are not likely to be hurt

• Do not provoke or try to fight off the bear

• If the bear does attack you offensively, fight back with any weapon you can find

• Do not play dead

• Never run. Running could invite pursuit

• Stand your ground and face the bear

Great advice for our own monsters that are lurking in the dark forests of our mind. When you are faced with your own “dangerous” monster, do not panic. Stop feeding the monsters with your negative thoughts, your addictions, your obsessions, and any of your other unhealthy behaviours.

Talk to them from your adult self, that wise, knowing self. Soothe them with a calm tone of voice and do not attack them. They may try to intimidate you with their scare tactics, threatening your safety. Call their bluff and they will eventually retreat.

If your monsters are relentless and are hurting you - fight back. Fight back with all the strength you have inside of you, do not roll over and play dead. Do not let them win or believe they have won.

Never run away from your monsters. You can’t escape your monsters by running away from them because they will run after you. You cannot outrun your monsters because they will always been in pursuit and they are much faster than you.

You cannot escape them by trying to hide from them or fight them off (through your addictions, obsessions and other distractions) because when they come to, when they find you they will fight back harder and fiercer.

You escape your monsters by facing them and standing up to them and letting them know who is in control. Identify yourself as a wise, confident, powerful human being!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Who is responsible?

I wrote this article for an online magazine:

When our life isn’t working out the way we want it to, we often blame external things or other people. The relationship isn’t working because he is dysfunctional, your job isn’t recognizing your full potential, or you aren’t making enough money and can’t afford a vacation. And it’s because of this or because of that, this circumstance or that person. Although these may manifest as external problems, it is often emotions or thought patterns that hold us back.

We believe we are victims to circumstances and other people. That it is someone else’s or something else’s fault that we are not happy or getting what we want in life. Something out side of us is causing us to be unhappy or stuck. And even if you don’t think you are blaming someone or something else, you probably are if you are not taking 100% responsibility for what is going on in your life and for your unhappiness. Be careful not to blame others for who you have chosen to be or what you have chosen to believe about yourself.

Sure, maybe it is true that you are in a relationship with an emotionally unhealthy person or that your boss is a tyrant, but these are all choices you made. I am not saying they are good choices or bad choices or that they are right or wrong choices, I am saying that you and only you made the choice. Even how you reacted, perceived it, or perhaps, made it mean something about you, is your choosing.

Perhaps an unconscious choosing due to your own self-negative thoughts and self-beliefs, but it is your responsibility to clean these up … without judgment and blame towards yourself as well. Merely become aware of what they are, and then realize it is you who is choosing to continue to believe and act upon these thoughts and beliefs through your choices and through your reactions. They are 100% your thoughts and 100% your emotions, no one else is thinking or feeling for you.

Taking 100% responsibility for your life may sound difficult or scary but it can be very freeing too because you will know that you have the power to choose. Choose who you allow in your life, choose how you react to situations and choose how you perceive certain events. You can unlock from the shackles of blame and resentment and take your power back.

Ask yourself the following questions. If you were 100% responsible for yourself:
What would you do for yourself today?

What choices would you make?

What boundaries would you set?

What would you stop doing?

What or who would you let go of?

What would you open up to?

By being 100% responsible for your life, you learn to be able to respond to your own needs, build a sense of personal authority and save yourself because no one else is coming to rescue you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Letting the Enemy In

I open the door wide and let them in.

Oh I try to blame others for it, spend my time analyzing the other person’s issues, how they hurt me, how I am the victim, but it is only I that let the enemy in. And I make the enemy stronger by repeating the same self-defeating thoughts and make the enemy stronger by continuing to believe these false self-beliefs. Beliefs created so long ago with an innocent child’s mind and sensitive heart.

Unskilled behaviours of the adults I looked up to, looked to for love, support and understanding and when it was dysfunctional, it created my sense of self, how I felt about myself and who I thought I was. And I realize I am still operating from that same place decades later! I am not who I think I am. These thoughts, these beliefs are what are creating the pain inside … nothing external. I am the one feeding the imaginary monster.

We let the enemy in when we are weak.
We let the enemy in every time we lie to ourselves and make excuses and justifications for our unhealthy or addictive behaviours.
We let the enemy in every time we listen to our negative thoughts and destructive self-beliefs and self criticism.
We let the enemy in when we try to control or manipulate a situation or person to feed our own unhealthy emotional needs.
We let the enemy in when we aren’t compassionate with ourselves and forgive our mistakes.
We let the enemy in when we don’t believe in ourselves and don’t trust ourselves.
We let the enemy in when we choose not to listen to our instincts, our feelings and our own inner knowing.

I have not been a good guard of my gateway to my heart and soul ... the gateway to inner peace … the gateway to my happiness.

Not taking care of ourselves, not taking responsibility for ourselves…we allow the enemy in. And when the enemy does get in we blame others, external things and allow it to beat ourselves up.

The real battle is inside. Not out there with something or someone else.