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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Universal Truths...Part 1

There was a time I believed my brain was virtually "all that".  It was smart beyond belief and I believed my thoughts were true....after all, why would my brain lie to me?

But isn't it your brain that sends the message you can make it across the tracks even though a train is clearly approaching?  Messages from your brain come quickly and you need sort them quickly, and it takes practice to understand thoughts are not real.  Recently I found myself in a jam, a big jam.  I believed every thought I was having about this problem, many placed in my head by well meaning parents.  Since we are programmed to believe everything our parents tell us we are at the mercy of some very inaccurate, though apparently noble thinking.  For instance if your parents (and their parents, and their parents etc) taught you to depend on yourself, which is apparently noble, you will not ask for help.  When you do find yourself against a wall, (and everyone does) failure is all you see because you cannot handle the problem yourself, no one can.  If your parents grew up in hard financial times and all they saw were hard financial times, then that vision is what they pass to you.  Have you ever heard the phrase, "I come from a long line of....." You fill in the blank of, doctors, dentists, farmers, policemen, drug addicts, gamblers, alcoholics, ministers, or artists.  The tapes I heard as a child were to never give up, don't reach too high because someone will take it from you, work hard and remember you aren't really that smart.  Also times are always hard, money will always be tight, vacations are for rich folks and working the angles is something everyone does.  There wasn't a shred of abundant thinking, it was all limited in scope, belief and truth. Isn't that called learned behavior?

Those were the tapes that played in my head all the time.  Not always loudly, but always there.  When my life was fairly routine the tapes presented no real problem, but when a real challenge presented itself those tapes were all I had to fall back on.  After all, your parents are never wrong. So you find yourself trying to use information incorporated into your life from generations of people.  Some of it helpful and some destructive.  We find ourselves doing exactly what our parents did, even if it didn't work for them, because we feel powerless to change.  But here is the rub.....I wasn't even aware of what I was doing.
Being faced with a problem too big for me to handle, my apparently noble brain told me I had created it, therefore didn't qualify for help.  So I told no one.  Not until I met Valerie Dimick and began to understand thought patterns did my life begin to improve.  She taught me that my thoughts were not real.  I wrestled with that for a long time...my fears were real, she was wrong....I listened to the thoughts that told me money would soon run out, I needed to find a way to get my couch to the third floor of the apartment building I would soon be living in, and that I had caused the problems therefore I couldn't ask anyone to help.  Weren't those thoughts real?

No, thoughts are not real....you do not have to accept someone else's destiny.

But I was accepting someone else's destiny.  My brain was telling me things taught to parents generations upon generations back, because that is all my brain knew.  I didn't realize mastering my thoughts could change the trajectory of my life.  I did not need to live under the Sword of Damocles, but fear was all I knew.  It had invaded every part of my body with a saturation I have yet to understand.  I believe the reason some soldiers have PTSD is because war uncovers something in them they can't handle.  The trauma of war uncovered that weakness and the disorder appeared. For me, the recession uncovered every fear planted in my being and I experienced my own PTSD.

My thoughts filled me with hopelessness....."times will never get better, I have ruined my future, I deserve this, there is no help for us, we are too old to improve our situation, we should sell everything we love because we don't deserve it."

Although I am very religious I didn't even think I deserved help from God.  All because I did not understand the true nature of God.  The relationship I had with God mimicked the one I had with my earthly father.  I knew my earthly father loved me, but he placed quite a few conditions on that love.  I transferred that experience to Heavenly Father....I believed he was unhappy with me and therefore wouldn't help me which increased my fear and hopelessness.  Valerie helped me understand the true nature of God, which transcends all beliefs.  I now understand that God is not punitive, we cannot disappoint Him.  He doesn't crash airplanes into the side of mountains, or give you a disease...He doesn't dig a hole to push you into it, just to see if you can get out of it.  Earth life does that, which is something every person on this planet has in common.   For all of us this is a place of good and bad, disease and accidents, dishonesty and character. ...If you are free from fear and other negative emotions you can find the positive solutions God has planted in our path, because He wants us to succeed and be happy.....Don't stop reading because I mentioned religion.  Fear and anger suppress our ability to see the solutions that are always there.  It is a Universal Truth.

Even after months of study with Valerie I didn't really believe I could be happy or believe I could change.  But I kept working with her hoping for relief because what she was teaching felt right and felt good.  I so needed relief because the fear I experienced was painful, like a chronic headache.  The anxiety was painful....fear is painful.  Often I heard that the opposite of faith is fear, which drove me deeper into guilt with the obvious conclusion I didn't have faith.  More hours with Valerie patiently and sometimes not so patiently explaining truth.  And the truth is we can choose different thoughts and believe, really believe there is happiness to be had.

I now believe I am the architect of my life.  I make choices that will either drive me away from happiness or toward it.  I shape so many things in my life through my thoughts.
First I choose to believe solutions will appear.  When faced with problems in my prior life I would panic (negative emotion) melt down (negative emotion) and resign myself to hopelessness (almost suicidal reaction)  The replacements for these emotions are .....deep breaths, (shallow breathing really does contribute to panic) forced calmness with a focus on success.  Concentrating on how many ways this can succeed over how many ways it can fail.  I no longer limit myself by saying I am too old or too inexperienced to succeed at what I do.  My thoughts are different, they are positive and peaceful.  I am learning to let go of the past and regrets I have, and to not look to far into the the future which can bring fear, but to love today.  Because today is all I really have.  

Do I regress?  Of course I do.  But to help the regression be as brief as possible I read uplifting books, right now I am reading "For Times of Trouble" by Jeffrey Holland.  I do all I can to avoid contention and pray to see people the way God sees them.  That helps me look past their sometimes troubling veneers into their hearts.  I spend some time each day meditating...my definition of mediation is concentrating on breathing and being very calm which drives out negativity.  I have always prayed a great deal, but now my prayers focus more on gratitude.  I still ask, and ask and ask and I still plead for forgiveness from God and from the folks in my path I know I injure, but the focus is on gratitude.  I try to avoid taking things personally and forgive as quickly as possible.  This is a big list....so when I fall short, I forgive myself as quickly as possible, assess and start over.  Earth life is a place that ebbs and flows with storms and peace.  In order to stay as peaceful as possible I pray to either be saved from the storm or saved in the storm.  However your parlance defines what I have just written, it is another Universal Truth.  As my relationship with God increases with an understanding of His nature, my temptation to judge others has lessened.  There was a time I wanted everyone to believe the way I do, now I just hope everyone is kind.  What a person believes no longer is a stick I measure with and I am filled with more love than before for them because there are no conditions on our relationship.

My journey is hardly over because my default emotion is still negative so I fight it every day.  Some days are more successful than others for sure and I long for the day I no longer have to struggle with it. But in the mean time I will use this struggle to become stronger, more grateful and closer to God.

Donna
xxoo



16 comments:

  1. I love that you kept studying ... you are so tenacious! Keep the faith girl. xo

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    1. I gained a great deal of inspiration from friends like you!! Thank you so much, for worrying about me, speaking with me and giving me hope. I love that you share your story....xxoo

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  2. Donna, I feel calm reading this, deep breaths help more than just you. I admire your ablility to look inside and around you and make changes that will bring you lasting happiness. I love you.

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    1. And I love you, and I appreciate that you never stopped praying for me, worrying about me or making me laugh!!

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  3. Good stuff, Donna! Hugs to you for breaking old thought patterns.

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    1. It is a daily effort....but so glad I am finally believing it!!

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  4. Good for you, Donna. It IS a process that will last your entire life! Have you ever read "The Four Agreements" because when you mentioned "not taking anything personally" that is one of the agreements. Sounds easy, not so.

    Good for you for working so hard on your thoughts and emotions. A win-win for yourself!

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    1. I think not taking anything personally is the hardest one of the four agreements. It is so easy to do....thank you Cathy for reading....You are an inspiration to me.

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  5. Stephanie HendersonMay 3, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    You piece reminds me of a book I read a long time ago called The Four Agreements..the ideas supposedly came out of the Toltec civilization, they spawned the Aztecs...here they are
    The Four Agreements are:

    1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

    2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
    Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

    3. Don’t Make Assumptions
    Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

    4. Always Do Your Best
    Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

    I think that they are great pieces of advice.....and fit in with your ideas, and are surprisingly difficult to adhere to! Plus, we THINK we are "stable" and maybe even in a "rut", but are in a constant state of flux. Life is like Jazz, it never resolves....it is a constant cycle of transition, adjust, repeat.......it's HARD!!!

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    1. Actually the four agreements has been a part of the whole therapy process. It really is part of my belief system that says, "truth is truth no matter where you find it" and you are right it is hard to do, even though it seems so simple. The explanations of the 4 agreements you posted are new to me and I love them!! Especially the part that says your best will change, isn't that true? Thank you so much for reading and then responding. Thank you, and may your garden grow!!

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  6. I am so glad you let me know about this piece Donna. We all need one another for perspective - sometimes I know I just cannot see in myself what is right out there in front of my face. It sounds as if you are at a huge transition - for me, those are exciting and a little scary all at the same time. Thank you for including me on that path with you.

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    1. Dr. Rutherford.....we never know how important we are to other people do we? You could not have known how that one line in your message to me would impact me the way it did. We are all conduits for messages...thank you for being a clear light

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  7. When yiu said in Facebook that this was the most important piece yiu ever written I had to read it. Yes, yes, yes. This is so very important. And although it is do very personal, it speaks to a very big life picture that I, too and many in my lifer are examining. How yo do better and be better without judging yourself or others. Sound so simple, but as Cathy said above, itsca pricess when we start loving even the process, I think that us sheen we are on a wonderful path. Amazing post, very brave, very needed.

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    1. thank you so much.....I appreciate your words, and your encouragement

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    2. You're a strong and wise woman and have helped so many by your willingness to share. Thank you for your friendship and forgiveness. I love you.,.

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    3. i adore you....forever and always..

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