Friday, December 31, 2010

Belief - Living Your Intended Life

"Every decision you make - every decision - is not a decision about what to do. It's a decision about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do." ~ Neale Donald Walsch

 

Do you know who you are? Isn’t that the million dollar question?  Looking at my bookshelves it appears I’ve been on a journey spanning a couple of decades gathering information to bring insight to this question.  If I’m lucky, I’m about one third into this lifetime.  I'm hopeful to possible have two thirds left to 'get this' and create the life I desire.  Goodness knows I’ve lived enough years refining who I think I am in order to make better decisions.  One of my favorite artists summed it up best saying, “To find, try and find myself-hardest thing I've ever done” (Sevendust's “Shine").  Why is it the hardest thing I’ve ever done?  One answer kept coming to the forefront as the root of anything and everything lacking in my life, BELIEF. 

Fostering a belief in who we are and what we came here to do, learning to believe in possibilities, and believing in the abundance of the universe are all integral parts of the journey.  What I’ve been mulling over as of late is the process of developing an unwavering belief of self,  in order to become one who can then take that belief and apply it to all events, occurrences and situations as Mr. Walsch says.  One must learn how to think positive, to affirm what's right, to see possibilities when others see defeat.  All of the worlds greatest teachers share this.  Mahatma Gandhi said that, "Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning."  Ralph Waldo Emmerson also noted that, "Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief in denying them."

I’ve been doing what many of us tend to do around the Holidays, taking stock of the last year.  I ask myself those hard questions such as, “I am living the life that I was intended to?  What’s getting in the way of this?  What am I going to do about it? What’s working in my life?  What gives me peace, joy and happiness? Am I listening to the 'affirmations of my soul' 100%”  Then I take the answers and weave them into a vision of the year ahead.

What I’ve found is that if I’ll just shut up and listen to myself (read: the universe) that the answers come easily.  This is often referred to as meditation or the act of being quiet and still.  How is it then that the answers come so easily when this occurs? Probably because they’ve always been there waiting for me to develop them.  Now, just because the answers your seeking are there as intangible thoughts doesn't mean they're going to be handed to you in life as manifestations on a silver platter.  It’s an irrefutable fact that it takes belief to turn a thought into an action just as it takes belief to manifest (including that which is undesirable).  Belief goes either way, it's a choice.  You can believe in that which serves your intentions or that which doesn't.  

I’ve learned that belief’s opposites known as doubt and/or a negative thinking aren’t really cured, they’re managed.  I’ve also noticed that there is for me at least, some sort of universal guidance going on.  I’m not the only one though.  Some call it divine guidance, others The Holy Spirit or God.  Whatever you label it, just know that the shortest path between A and B in your life rests in your ability to not second guess when you’re led by it.  You must be able to believe in yourself enough to listen to it.  We screw it up guessing and doubting.  Hello McFly, you and I can't get the blessing if we get in the way of ourselves  (… :o) … the Back to The Future movies have been running all week and my eleven year old can’t get enough of them).  Sadly, this seems to always be the recurring issue, getting in the way of ourselves, at least it has been for me.

So again, what has worked for me the most this past year of transformation has been to shut up and listen to the intentions of my life.  How does one know their life’s intentions?  I’ll tell you a secret, you probably already know them.  Frankly put, they’re those recurring themes, desires, and wants that are often disguised as hurdles, molehills and the mountains in your life.  Recurring because they don’t go away or transcend to what they’re supposed to be (read: knowledge gained, lesson learned) until you take notice and get ‘them.’ At least for me, once this happens, I’m much more open, willing and able to do the work required to be able to identify when thoughts are negative or limiting.  I’ve basically learned how not to pre-judge my own life’s intent and in doing so I’m learning how to not pass on or assume that any person I’m about to share with won't receive (to include when the universe is sharing ‘universal knowledge’ with me).  That's between them and their universal guidance, not you and them. Got it?  Just believe and get out of your own way.  It's working for me and so many others, I know it can work for you too!

As the new calendar year begins, I wish for you peace, love, compassion and unity.  I wish for today and every day to remind you of why you’re here, what gifts you bring to each of us, and how truly special you are.  There is nothing in life you can’t create, become or have.  Your life, like mine, has limitless abundance and amazing things in store.  All we have to do is believe when whispered to.

Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Forgiveness & Letting Go

It appears that no matter what happens on the journey, life always presents another new stellar opportunity (read: sarcastic tone) to understand forgiveness and its role in our lives.  It has long been said that forgiveness is not about saying what happened is okay, do it again, I’m a doormat, have at it.  It’s not even about allowing that which hurt you the opportunity to hurt you again.  We’re taught that forgiveness is about us and our ability to transgress that which wronged us (yup, even when we're wronging ourselves).  Even one of the world’s most popular religions centers itself on the ability of one to seek forgiveness for transgressions in order to be considered evolved enough in spirit to be worthy of an afterlife.  So, if it makes you feel any better, this forgiveness thing is not a new kid on the block.  It appears that human kind has been dealing with it for thousands of years and for just as long we’ve been trying to understand it.  I don’t know about you, but just that thought alone gives me a little peace in my own struggle with it.

I came across a wonderful summary of words regarding forgiveness from a rather unlikely source this past week.  Reinhold Neibuhr said that, “Forgiveness is the final form of love.”  Neibuhr didn’t exactly grow up in a country full of love or forgiveness.  He played a heavy role in shaping American politics during some very hateful and unforgiving times of the United States.  Despite this, somewhere on the journey he realized the link between forgiveness and love, a link that many of us are still struggling to find, especially when it comes to our ability to forgive ourselves for our own mistakes and wrong doings.  I get the context of his words.  You see, love is blameless.  What have I learned about blame?  I think Dr. Wayne Dyer summed it up perfectly stating that, "All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won't succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy."  It’s pretty much impossible to feel love at the same time as hate or hurt.  Seeing forgiveness as the final form of love makes sense to me.  You have to love yourself first in order to be able to see that you are separate from the wrong and that the wrong does not define you.

Being able to forgive yourself for your own mistakes and transgressions is typically the hardest hurdle to jump.  Sometimes the things we do or haven’t done and/or the words we’ve spoken or haven’t uttered can appear to haunt us forever.  It can sometimes be very difficult to remember that we are worth the effort.  I too am still learning to master this so it’s not as if I have all the answers here on this subject.  What I have learned though is that it seems to me that the root of forgiveness is letting go and finding peace within yourself to move on pass the transgression.  Does that mean that one can forgive someone who’s murdered and tortured someone you loved?  Well, of course not.  Unfortunately, there are some events and wrongs in the world that are incomprehensible to any level of forgiveness.  What it does mean however is that in order to forgive we have to let go of the identity of the wrong and its role in our lives.  For so long as we hold onto that wrong, it has a little bit of our power that could be used elsewhere.   Again, letting go doesn’t mean we make a wrong a right, it just means we’re making a conscious choice to not allow the wrong any more of our energy.  For me at least, that's the essence of forgiveness.

Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Contentment: Rejoice in Your Journey

"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." - Lao Tzu

 

There is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.  Strong sentiment.  By becoming content with what you have, with what is, etc. we allow the pathway to gratitude to open naturally.  Why should we rejoice in the way things are, even when things are not as we'd like them to be?  Why not?  Life is precious and fleeting.  Life can be cut short.  Let me say it again if you didn't catch that.  Life IS precious, fleeting and short.  Besides, not being content is nothing more than resistance and non-acceptance in disguise. 

 

My world was reminded of how short life can be over the last month when a colleague in Canada died at the tender young age of 22.  Her name was Margaret Sia.  She's the stunning young lady that I posted a brief video of on my personal Facebook page from You Tube.  It's really short but it shows her natural spark.  One of my local Virginia leaders in the company was her fiance and the two of them were head over heels madly in love and looking forward to their futures together.  

 

Twenty-two, the same age that my closest friend from my senior year of high school passed away, 14 years ago...so yeah, it resonates with me on a personal level because it acts as a reminder of my friend Ann's life being cut short.  Hearing of Margaret's death and watching her fiance grieve online to his Facebook family of course brings it all front and center.  It being life.  The night I found out of Margaret's passing I once again made a promise to myself in my own life to just put it all out there, to take risks, to know love again one day, and to triumph over adversity.  A couple of week's later I saw where a friend had posted the link to the blog page started by Margaret.  Her last message resonated so vividly with me and that blog I'd posted about self love not long ago.  What I was reading was that she too had learned about contentment.  Ahhh, to be twenty-two and so wise. :)

 

"In order for me to be able to give him my love when he comes, my love must in abundance. I needed to learn to love myself first. I needed to understand inside, that I truly deserve him. I discover more and more ways to give love to myself and without me knowing it, I began to simply give love to others subconsciously. I stopped looking, but it wasn’t because I gave up, I just came to realize that if our love is meant to be, he will find me. Letting go of the search was definitely a challenge, but loving me first – was a very good distraction." - Margaret Sia 

 

I'm thankful that I'm at the point in the journey that I'm learning to be content in my own life and trying to live in today.  Margaret and her fiance Olander did just that and they both were creating the life they wanted by design.  By Margaret living such a bright life in too few short years, she's left a legacy on those who knew her near and far to shine their own lights bright.  Olander is personally driven and such a strong man of faith that he will undoubtedly carry on their legacy professionally and personally.  

 

I really believe that there is no reason why you can't create your own life by design.  If this were not true we wouldn't have imaginations, desires and dreams. In fact, when you create a life by design, you find the universe opens itself up to bringing you all the people, places, things and resources you need to make it that way.  My own life has recently had unimaginable things happen that just a year ago were nothing more than thoughts.  Flat out what seemed to be impossible things just happened.  I can't even begin to question the universe anymore.  I'm just holding on and trying my best to steer and enjoy the ride.

 

Does it mean I'm content all the time? Hah! No! I have a lovely friend I like to spar with from time to time called patience.  You know, that virtue which means 'not right now'...and I hate not right now! Ever find yourself impatient? When I find myself being impatient I go back to reminding myself to be content and to trust in the process, to trust in the manifestation, the end result, etc.  I get connected because when we're connected we trust.  Again, it's not easy to be content, it's not easy to be patient but the sooner you get those two things under control, the sooner life can do what it does best, which is give you what you think about.


Being content is also of course another way of acceptance.  Not being content is resistance.  Resistance is nothing more then a negative or defeatist attitude.  Negative attitudes are in my world parasites, the suck the energy right out of me.  Negativity is toxic and it spreads like crazy.  It manifests and multiplies just as easily as positive does.  Given this, is there even really a choice anymore?  I didn't think so.  Be content.

Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed. 

The Awakening by Sonny Carroll

The Awakening
  
A time comes in your life when you finally get it...when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out...ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying and blaming and struggling to hold on.

Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to magically appear over the next horizon. You realize that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you... and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are... and that's OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself... and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval. You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you - or didn't do for you - and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that everything isn't always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself... and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties... and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.

You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely.

You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs.

You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time to exercise.

You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it's OK to risk asking for help.

You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people... and you learn not to always take it personally.

You learn that nobody's punishing you and everything isn't always somebody's fault. It's just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire.

You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.

Finally, with courage in your heart, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.

By Sonny Carroll

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hope: Even When It's Painful

I read this week that someone out there (God Wants You To Know App on Facebook) decided that our pains are God's way to rouse you from slumber.  Seriously, no wonder so many of us want to sleep in!  This from a Facebook App..."Pain is your wake-up call to awaken, to look deeper into yourself, to adjust the course of your life. God tries to be as gentle as possible, and only if you ignore the call does the pain get stronger."  Gulp, okay, I'll admit it, this reminds me of MY story to others about the universe throwing pebbles at you, then river stones, then if you don't heed those warnings maybe a brick or a boulder will do.  Same point, I get it.  Nonetheless, my flesh cringed reading the words from the application's post.  Sometimes the truth will do that to you.  At the flesh cringing point at least I was able to realize that this reaction is one of those Lao Tzu moments, when I have to trust in the goodness of the words and the thinking behind them and that their author meant them with nothing but love I'm sure of it. 

Seems as of late many people I care for are having life pain.  Whether it's physical, psychological, environmental, or circumstantial, it all hurts and it all wears them and those that love them seriously thin.  Even in my own life I've had to remind myself of breathing, being present, being grateful, etc.  I have to remind myself to find peace and hope that we all know thus far that the pain is temporary and that it does have an end, even if that end means saying goodbye to someone you love because they've passed on.  I watch from near and afar those I care for suffer.  I watch how they cope, how they reach out to others for love and support, how they pull inward and push others away.  I watch and I try very hard to be present because face it, pain is the one thing on the earth that we all want to avoid.  By watching I'm learning what to do and not to do when dealing with my own pain.  Anything to reduce the learning curve I'm all over.  Again, my gut reaction is to run far, far away from pain.

Alas, thankfully, life does goes on.  Yes, as much as it can be painful, it too can be joyful.  It is what it is.  We all have the same 24 hours in any given day here.  At least if we pay attention and try to learn from it, pain is temporary.  Sooner or later we get past it and something else in life comes along to focus on.  There's an ebb and flow to the good times and the bad if you go with the flow.  There's also of course the appreciation of being grateful and hopeful in both good times and bad.  If we fail to take the lesson, to embrace the pain (whatever it is) we surely are doing nothing more than quitting on ourselves by taking the easy (read: avoidance) way out.  How do I know this? I've lived it.  I was only able to get a grip and embrace and learn the lessons from each pain once I learned to have unconditional love for myself.

One of my all time favorite writings about unconditional love comes from Hemal Radia.  He says that, "Unconditional love - it is always about your relationship with yourself. When you release conditions for others to have to be a certain way, you are also releasing conditions for you to allow yourself to feel a certain way (It's about you, not others. They're the moving targets. It's always about You)."  Radia's words are point on.  Again, someone else passing along the universal knowledge of the journey. Thank you.

Once I got that life lesson I was better able to have hope and experience it in my life.  I'm of partial Italian decent and there's an Italian Proverb that says "Hope is the last thing ever lost."  I heard that a lot growing up.  Yes, good, good hope, that thing that makes life worth living in dark times, that thing of anticipation and excitement.  The belief that no matter what, somewhere, somehow, something is going to come to pass that is for our betterment.  After all, they say that "Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible." - Annonymous 

Even one of my favorite teachers and authors, Norman Vincent Peale stressed in his writings and speaking the practice of hopefulness.  He said we should make it a habit and that by doing so we achieve permanent happiness in spirit.  So, I remind you (as I remind myself) to create the habit of hope in your life, even when life is painful.  Choose hope.  Choose happiness.

Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Persistence & Passion: Never Give Up

I believe that we all have at some point or another have experienced such adversity that we have to question exactly what it is we're persisting for.  You know, those times when you just want to say screw it (all thought not so nicely in those words), when you've had enough, when the odds appear to just not be going in your favor, when you're ready to crack.  Yeah, those times.  I mean you literally do stand this line and look at both sides and MAKE A CHOICE to persist.  Why? What are the driving forces behind it?

www.Dictionary.com (one of my all time favorite websites....I'm not the best speller and I need help with grammar too)  Persistence:  continued existence or occurrence.  Persisting:  to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, to last or endure tenaciously, to be insistent in a statement, request, question, etc.


Tenacious, oh how I love that word.  Looking back at life I've yet to have a tenacious moment that didn't pay off big.  What about you?  Take stock of your accomplishments and transcendence moments in life.  What moments did you act tenaciously?
 
Yes, there are even those of us out there who've had it worse than others and struggle to persist at every never ending blow that life gives them.  You know, the ones with the 'black clouds' following them around, always beating life's storms.  They are the true champions.  No doubt, we all have to choose to fight.  It's a choice to decide to dig deep.  When we do, we gather and we shine.  

To persist is a choice, just as it's a choice to live a life full of your gifts and passions.  Persistence takes courage to execute.  It's a sure self esteem builder too.  Looking at the roll acceptance plays in the journey, it's pretty clear to understand that in order to persist you have to first accept whatever it is that's going on and become present.  I may sound redundant with the in depth analysis of acceptance, becoming present and choosing gratitude but the longer I practice this little mantra, the more I see it as a useful strategy in every area of my life.  It astounds me that I just didn't 'get this' sooner.

Why am I so astounded that I'm telling everyone who will hear me out this a, b, c stuff?  For years I've understood that it's not what we have, who we are in life, where we live or what we're doing that brings joy.  I long ago got the perspective is key and attitude is everything lesson.  This is probably why Dale Carnegie's words ring true with me so much.  He says,“It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about." Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! Just another example of universal knowledge being shared.  I call that universal affirmation. :) 

 

"Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

 

If we didn't have the adversity to transcend then we'd never get the message of the lesson.  If we don't persist and give up, we just quit learning.  Boring.  Game over.  Really, is that how you want to choose to live the last years of your life?  For me time passes quickly when I'm jumping life's hurdles.  Do I welcome them with zest and cheer? Uh, no. Do I fight against them as long as I used to in the past.  Definitely not.  So, at least I'm practicing what I'm so astonished over. 

 

Does it mean I don't feel lost at times?  No.  I was thinking about this recently given the changes in my own personal life as of late.  I know what I'm passionate about.  I know what I persist for.  Do you?  I'd actually gotten to the point where I'm learning to accept feeling lost.  Then the universe opened up with an affirmation.  How was my friend to know what I needed to hear just as how I'm supposed to know what she most needed to hear when I share such things?  Exactly, the universe at play.  No other way around it. :)  Here's the affirmation of my acceptance on feeling lost and questioning persistence. 

 

"It is good to feel lost because it proves you have a navigational sense of where "Home" is. You know that a place that feels like "being found" exists. And maybe your current location isn't that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it.

- Online Somewhere 

(Thanks for posting Kel! Seriously, I can't say it enough, good stuff!)


Coincidences, love them or hate them, they get your attention. 

When I choose to persist I have to let go of the ego, of the past, of daydreaming the future.  I have to choose to be of good mind and in the moment at hand.  This focus on the moment at hand is what allows me to execute that which I set out to do.  No matter what, life is forever changing.  My choice to grow through those changes is an option.  I must be willing to learn to grow. 
  
So, as for those coincidences that occur when I persist, I'm just grateful for them.  Einstein believed they were/are Gods way of being anonymous. I often see them as affirmations that I'm on the right path and with the right people. Others think they're a mystery not to be solved, a puzzle to admire and keep at a distance.  Many more believe that they're lessons to be learned, things for us to take notice of.  No matter what, they're amusing and the make the journey more enjoyable so I'll keep being grateful for them.

Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Traveling the Path: Acceptance

You cannot travel on the path

until you become the path itself. - Buddha

 

Become.  Changing is a part of becoming.  We all learn sooner or later that nothing is permanent here, to celebrate what you can when you can.  At any fleeting moment it can all pass.  We are warned not to let a day pass without telling the people you love that you love them. We are told not to take any of this journey for granted and that every moment we live is an opportunity to choose happiness.
  
Choose happiness?  How the heck do you choose happiness when it seems nothing but misery is at your every waking moment?  How does one choose happiness when they are in physical or emotional pain, when they can't put food on the table or when they're laid off for the umpteenth time in a bad economy?  How in the world can someone choose happiness when someone they love dies or their marriage ends?  I have learned that it's not easy but that it is in fact possible, a work in progress so to speak.  I have seen it become in my own life, as well as the lives of those I admire or care for.  

How does it happen?  It's easy in part and complex in part.  The easy way out is this:  Accept, Become Present, Choose Gratitude.  The complexities of it are below.  You see, I sincerely believe that gratitude is the fastest and most direct route to happiness.  Gratitude comes after acceptance.  Gratitude can change your feelings.  They say feelings are caused by thoughts.  I can see that for what it is, can you?  When we are down and out and thinking down thoughts or limiting thoughts we're feeling distraught, limitless or depressed.  Just as when we are thinking about good times, great memories or those that care for us we are content.   

So, if I change my thoughts I change my feelings.  Repeat that please.  Really?  Let me try that out. Wow, yeah, that does work.  Yes, I can use every opportunity I find throughout the day to just be gracious or joyful (be, did you catch that, becoming...be...redundant, yup).  I can enjoy the smell of my soap or shampoo, be glad I can still move my body and take care of it, admire the clouds and colors of the sky, be grateful for a good cup of coffee, a fun night out or a phone call from a friend.  I pick it.  This gratitude stuff is an opportunity by opportunity choice.  Problem for many of us, myself included, is that we're so caught up in our own business and internal crap dialogue we don't focus enough to accept, to be present and be grateful.  We also spend to much time resisting and fighting ourselves.

Being present has such a pay off though!  When we're present we remember that we don't mistakes, we just learn lessons.  We learn that we can rise up when we fall and bring ourselves back to center when we're sideways.  When we're present we remember we have choices in all things.  We learn to just let it be and get onto the fixing part.  Thank goodness we can fix our mistakes/change course my one dear friend said this week.  Exactly.  Thank you for the affirmation dear friend, I couldn't agree with you more.  

We can never loose sight that we have choice and that within that very valuable option we have the building blocks to not only effect our lives but the lives of those we love and share them with.  We do this best when we accept and are present.  It is not really something we come out of the womb with knowledge of either.

Think about it, most parents do not teach their kids how to love themselves, let alone how to be present or accepting.  Typically we become (read: learn) a nice little cocktail of the good and the bad (and sometimes not so much good out of either) of those who raise us.  We are told that we become the five people we spend the most time with. Thankfully, I was raised in an environment where someone amongst them did affirm that I was to love myself (Grandma Irene, yup, there she is again...).  Guess what, she was filled to the brim with gratitude too (no matter what crazy junk were going on in life).  She was the only one like this out of all of them around me.  Not that any of the others taught me to not love myself or be grateful, they were just trying to get through life like everyone else to realize that such things needed to be taught.  

It's not as if I haven't struggled with it myself despite this upbringing.  I can only imagine how tough it is to learn to love yourself when no one has ever loved you properly your entire life or when love has been linked to negative behaviors that really aren't love.  I guess this is why I'm driven to be so compassionate to those I care for who came from dysfunctional or broken homes.  I've been on both sides of the coin, loving and not loving myself and each day I have to make a conscious effort to keep on the right side.

By loving myself I've learned to do my best not to resist what is and that acceptance is the only answer.  By learning to accept I've opened myself up to being good to myself.  It's a two fold thing, one feeds into the other.  Once acceptance happens I become present and once I'm present I remember that I have a choice in my thoughts.  I therefore choose someone, something, somewhere, however far reaching I need to dig, to find a moment of gratitude.  

Once I'm in that state of mind I can spend time on fixing whatever it is that needs to be fixed vs wasting all that time on resisting whatever it is to begin with.  Know that acceptance doesn't mean that you're giving up, giving in or settling either.  It just means you get what is and that you're looking for solutions vs wasting energy and time fighting what you don't like.

If you're like me and you've learned the acceptance, becoming present and choosing gratitude part of the journey, I only ask that you tell someone else about it while you are breathing and still with us.  This is beneficial knowledge that needs to be shared. :)

Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Teaching & Learning: Universal Knowledge Should be Shared

You know, I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the talents and gifts we cultivate are there for a reason and that the universe will put people in our lives who need them just as people will be placed in your life who can assist us with ours. When I notice this happening, I give thanks and know that yes, the universe is working its magic.  It happens for a reason after all.  It's the order of things.  I must say that I love when it does happen, sort of a here's your sign of life, of feeling alive not just being alive.  This ebb and flow of it is rather exciting.

 

Resistance is the exact opposite of what is, signs of life and ebb and flow.  Why resist something there is no control over?  It doesn't make sense does it?  Many times I'm given opportunities to use what I've learned.  Recent lessons were patience and solitude, both of which I struggle with.  So, I find myself practicing what I have learned. I look to find the good in the bad, accept what is and be at peace with all of it.   That's my choice to make and I realize that now.

 

 "  You teach best what you most need to learn."   

- Richard Bach 

 

What have I been teaching?  Patience, acceptance, solitude, passing knowledge on, living in the moment, being in the now, manifestation, spirituality, and the like.  What am I learning?  All of that.  These words gave me chills when I first read them.  Interesting insight indeed. When I look at my own life there are without a doubt common themes between myself and those I share the journey with. I've often believed that this is proof of why are choices are so important.

 

Alas, we have choice but life can and will still happen.  I have to remember that no matter how much we think or try to control life, things happen that are beyond our control. We do however have a choice as to how we greet such things.  So, by default we do get choice back yet again.  See how that works?  By being aware of this we're better equipped to just 'go with the flow' and keep moving forward vs wasting time on 'why me' and/or 'why now' thoughts. Besides, it's the bumps in the road of life that allow us to appreciate the times when our lives happen as we expect them to.

 

When I find myself knee deep in life's challenges I have to remind myself that the answer to all our concerns, doubts, worries or fears is simply to pause and be present in the moment. When I pay attention it seems as if all the inner chatter just comes to a screeching halt. When I pay attention, I tend to see what is vs what isn't. Just that pay off alone is enough reason to make it a point to be present as much as possible.  This one act alone has changed the trajectory of my own life.  When I'm present life's just easier to handle.  I can deal with the negative aspects of it.

 

Being able to better deal with life's negatives has instilled within me a great sense of gratitude.  I'm a better person having made it a point to have and show gratitude.  You just can't not have it in your life, it's a fundamental life law of happiness.  

 

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

 

"When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears." - Anthony Robbins

 

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melody Beattie

 ‎

"The only thing that stands between a person and what they want in life is
the will to try it and the faith to believe it possible." ~ Rich Devos

 

 Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

 

Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fear 101

"When nothing is sure, everything is possible." 

- Margaret Drabble, English Novelist


Fear! The 'other' F word!  Just reading that four letter word makes many cringe.  Defined as "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is REAL or IMAGINED; the FEELING or condition of BEING afraid" is often swapped for words such as dismay, dread and apprehension.  Fear, for the most part, is a negative and debilitating part of our lives.  The only time I personally consider it a positive thing is when it's a REAL condition, for instance a fight or flight situation.  Any other time it really has no place in any of our lives because the IMAGINED and the FEELING are just that, subjective to our thoughts and beliefs.

For far too many years of my own life I held myself captive by the negative side of fear.  Fear of failing, fear of not being liked, fear of success (go figure that one right?), fear of change, fear of making a mistake, fear of emotional pain, fear of the unknown, the unsure.  It is not like I was wrapped up in a ball scared of the world either.  I have lived.  I have had relationships, traveled, met people, nurtured friendships, and built two businesses from the ground up.  Problem was, I just wasn't living fully in all areas at all times.  It wasn't until I entered my third decade of the journey that I realized how much of an impact that awful four letter word was having on my life so I began the journey of self discovery to bury the monster.

The only workable solution I have found for anything having to do with fear is action and focusing on what is REAL vs IMAGINED.  I learned to dissect my thoughts into facts vs feelings too.  Given that fear often couples with indecisiveness (another form of not acting i.e. procrastination, etc.), I've learned to ask three questions of myself when struggling with a decision, small or large. 1) How is this going to effect me 10 minutes from now? 2) Ten months from now? and finally 3) Ten years from now?  Just those three questions alone have the ability to put the brakes on the high speed train to nowhere called procrastination.  Oh yes, the P word.  That will be another blog for another day.  So yes, I basically look at the pros and cons of doing and not doing at those three time periods.  I believe this is something I picked up from a Martha Beck column in O Magazine but I'm not 100% certain.  Obviously whomever's knowledge nugget it is, it's a good one so I'm passing it on to you. 

During this process I've also read many books on this subject to add to my arsenal of combative measures.  Joyce Meyer wrote some great books around this subject.  I've read both Managing Your Emotions and Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind numerous times.  I believe so strongly in the knowledge of both of these books that I often pick them up used at consignment shops/thrift stores/goodwill, etc. and give them away to people I know or meet when the spirit tells me to do so.  You don't even have to be Christian to put into action the universal source knowledge contained within both of them.  To this day I have taped to my office wall a hand written note to myself quoting Emerson, "Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain."

Does this mean I'll bite the bullet and push myself to get on another roller coaster (besides the kid's one at my amusement park and my one time traumatizing experience at age 9 on a wooden one) or jump out of an airplane to kiss my fear of extreme heights good-bye?  Really, I don't know the answer to that.  I could flat out feed you a load of crap and make a proclamation that by my 40th birthday I will do a, b or c but for now my acting on today is all that matters to me in the big picture.  Sure, I'd like to see myself doing those things, or at least trying them.  To me, those are real fears.  My fears.  Alas, I know people who love and do both things as much as they can.  I've even had dreams of being on roller coasters and actually enjoying them.  So again, I don't know the answer to that.

What I do know is that fear can rob you of moments, hours, days and years.  Living in a world where your imagination and feelings rule your life is fruitless.  It's painful.  It's not an authentic life.  If you allow fear to run any part of your existence you are essentially giving up on that very part of you where fear resides.  By one simple choice you're allowing the unknown to rule the known.

We all know that time is the one thing on the planet we can never get back, never replace.  I urge you with every fiber of my being that if fear, in any of its various disguises, is any part of your life that you do everything within your power to manage it and rid yourself of its negative connotations.  The truth is as Ms. Dabble stated, "when nothing is sure, everything is possible."  Choose to kick fear to the curb and live a life of endless possibilities.



Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Taking the Lessons and The Love Forward

"Today I thought "I would do it all over again" if that was the only way I would ever know the people in my life that I love." - An Anonymous Friend

I have often said that some of the most painful moments in life have within them something positive, something lasting, something to take forward with you on the journey.  Many of us at first don't see it this way and sadly, too many of us never do.  Becoming jaded, depressed or negative and closed off to the world becomes the protective measure.  At what cost though?  There is a currency in our belief systems after all. 

On a personal note, I have made many mistakes in life that later turned out to be nothing but blessings because through them I met people in my life that I love or best of all, got to know myself better and love myself more and more each day.  Both my children, biological or not came from such circumstances.  Just this truth alone allows me to greet painful life moments with open arms for I know what beautiful things can come from it.

As a result of this growth, I am now able to greet adversity and change with acceptance.  By doing so much of the stress of life is removed and I am able to focus on the lesson, the triumph or the transcendence.  How have I made this shift?  Through daily gratitude and reflection. 

Gratitude, like everything else in life, is a choice.  No matter what life has for us, we can meet it with gratitude or we can meet it with contempt.  The latter is nothing more than resistance to what is.  Through acceptance and gratitude we claim victory (even for the wisdom gained by negative situations/people/events).  All that happens to us really does have a purpose.  Your job is to just figure it out and be grateful no matter what.  Is it an easy process at first? NO!  Does it get easier?  Oh yeah.  Eventually it becomes second nature.

Most of us have heard the saying if the only prayer you say all day is 'thank you' it is enough.  This mentality is not selective to any particular faith and remarkably, being grateful doesn't even have to be connected to any particular belief system.  I like to think that gratitude itself transcends any of them.  By being thankful and present (you have to be present to be thankful) you are opening yourself to endless possibilities.  Try it, I promise that you won't be disappointed.






Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed. 


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Givers & Takers: Which one are you?


For as long as I can remember, I have been lucky enough to live a life where I have been influenced by givers.  Nonetheless, as the ebb and flow of life would have it, I have also shared the journey with many a taker along the way.  Seems to me that is always how it works though, one cannot exist without the other being around.

You see, I have summed up all of humanity into two groups on the journey, givers and takers.  Those two descriptions have no race, religion, education, demographic title, or sex.  At your core nature, you are one or the other.  Can you be both?  Sure can.  Can one be aware either in themselves and decide to take advantage of those others who meet their needs through their opposite nature?  We see it all the time.  Simply put, one can't exist without the other but within the balance of both is an ideal civilization.

How would I define a giver?  They are your helping hands in life, the 'go to' friends, those who look out for others and give of themselves to not only their friends, but to complete strangers. A giver is the person who will actually be bothered to stop and help when you are in distress on the side of the road when their gut tells them they should be.  Givers tend to see the good in humanity, they answer the call for help when requested, and they're always ready, willing, and able to make a difference no matter how small.  They're entire life might not revolve around giving, i.e. volunteering all of their time and resources to others but they're still givers.  One can be a giver in their own family and circle of friends.

Takers, sometimes they have big ol' neon signs above their heads for all the world to see.  Their motives are front and center.  They're there to use and abuse until you're all used up and they move on.  Worse yet, sometimes they are disguised.  An example of a disguised taker would be someone in your life whom you feel the need to help, who seems to be on a good path in life, who seems to be trying to do the right things, when in reality they are not doing anything at all.

A small real life example is a friend of mine who owns a barn full of horses, some her own, some that are boarded there.  This woman is a giver through and through and as such, she has a soft spot for helping others.  For a while there was someone in her life who was there to care for the horses, a young woman who'd had some tough breaks in life, whom this woman wanted to see blossom into a strong resilient young woman.  Problem was, this young woman, time and time again was not responsible 100% of the time.  After all, these are living animals that require commitment and follow through.  The woman who owned the barn, being the giver and wanting the younger woman to rise above, would time and time again give her chances to do the right thing.  Finally, the giver woman had to realize that the younger woman was taking advantage of her kindness and that she had to let her go, that no matter how much she wanted to help, the taker had to help herself too.

How many of us currently have or have had people in our life who take advantage of our good natures, of our giver mentalities?  Some givers I know turn hard to this, they let the takers of the world extinguish their light, they shut themselves off and they stop giving.  If you're one of them I ask that you reexamine the power you've handed over to the these other people that jaded you along the way.  Think about it, when givers unite amazing things happen in the world.  I'm not talking about monetary giving either but that's a tangible example, i.e. world disaster aid relief.  Simply listening and sharing your knowledge on a subject to someone else benefits humanity.  If the takers of the world exhaust the givers the planet is basically screwed.  

The majority of the world's givers just get wiser for the wear and find it easier to recognize the 'in disguise' takers of their lives and are able to prune them away once recognized.  Is that an easy process?  No, but it's necessary to keep balance in your own life.


Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed.    

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cleaning the Slate

"At the center of your being 

you have the answer; 

you know who you are 

and you know what you want." - Lao Tzu


Curious observation regarding not only my own transition but the transformation of my friends in the same age group, we all seem to be at a chapter in our lives of cleaning the slate.  I have mulled this subject over before, had long girlfriend conversations about it, stewed on it, etc. and it just makes sense.  Women of their 30s seem to pause, take stock of their lives, weed out with a seemingly reckless abandon that which isn't serving their journey here, and gather the courage to walk boldly into the next chapter.  It just seems to be an evolutionary thing.  How fitting and amusing of course that one of my favorite artists rerecords one of my favorite songs (1st released June 2010 so we're not talking years later rerelease/rerecord) this month as I'm again mulling over this subject.  So much so I've been screaming it from the roof tops to anyone who will listen. I believe those lyrics of that song to be a very on point description of many of our journeys to cleaning the slate of our own lives.  I've included them so that you don't have to look them up to understand what I'm rambling about.

I'm grateful that those of us going through this transition in life tend to talk about it openly to each other.  Like many of our other challenges in life, there is a grace and safety in understanding we are not the only ones.  The 30s shift is really a cause for celebration.  We have learned, we have lived and we are embracing all of it.  We get to a point where the here and now, that's all that matters.  We learn to let go.  We begin to embrace each day with expectancy and a more positive attitude because we learn that this too, is a choice on the journey.  More than anything we stand up for ourselves and walk away from that which we have stewed on for way too long.  We learn to confront ourselves and by doing so the process begins.  This process leads to tolerance, acceptance and clarity.  The light bulb aha moment hits and we snap to attention and realize the only opinion that matters is the one we have of ourselves.  Talk about freeing.  Unless you're in it or been through it, you can't completely grasp what I'm saying.  Those of you that do, I'd love to hear your stories.  Remember, Knowing Blog isn't about what I know, it's about what we all know and will share to light the journey.

Lo-Pro - Clean The Slate 
I can learn to live with, all the things I've done
I can turn my face up towards the sun
Now I'm set to embrace
I've learned from my mistakes
I can leave it behind and
Do whatever it takes

I can clean the slate
'cause it's a new day
and it's a good day

And I'm moving on,
I've been keeping all of this inside for way too long
Dreaming of a way to stomp on your revolution
And dwelling on the ways that everyone's done me wrong
I'm moving on
I'm leaving all of this behind me

I'll admit you got me, but that was only once
I won't live so blindly
'cause I
I can learn to confront

I can clean the slate
'cause it's a new day
and it's a good day

And I'm moving on,
I've been keeping all of this inside for way too long
Dreaming of a way to stomp on your revolution
And dwelling on the ways that everyone's done me wrong
I'm moving on
I'm leaving all of this behind me

And I have learned to tolerate
And now there's nothing you can say about me
To make me feel like I'm not something
'cause that's the old me
And it's a new day

And I'm moving on,
I've been keeping all of this inside for way too long
Dreaming of a way to stomp on your revolution
And dwelling on the ways that everyone's done me wrong

I'm moving on
I'm moving on
Keeping all of this inside
It's been so long
I'm moving on
Dreaming of a way to stomp
It's been so long
I'm moving on
Dwelling on the ways that everyone's
It's been so long
I'm moving on

I'm moving on

Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved. 
Clean The Slate Property of Lo-Pro
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

An Authentic Life - Lessons from Grandma Irene

My grandmother Alice Irene Mozzochi graced my life for 25 years. Tragically, we had to say goodbye to her on August 17, 1999, twenty-four hours before her great-grandson Tristan would finally grace us with his presence (19 days after a failed induction of labor, of which she so lovingly said 'he'll come when he's ready, he's on his own time, not ours'). To think that my own mother said good-bye to her mom, removing her from life support, within twenty-four hours of saying hello to her grandson still astounds me.

Each year that life goes on without grandma Irene I strive to live my life by her example. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt she's proud of the woman I'm becoming, even if she didn't always agree with the paths I'd chosen. In honor of her authentic life, I'm passing along some of the most important lessons I've taken from my short time with her. Enjoy.

Children & Family ~ Adversity at home doesn't mean it's always going to be that way. You fail forward in life and in love. You don't stay in bad relationships or marriages, you move on, no matter what society or anyone else says. Only you know what's right for you.

YOU protect your children at all costs and if they're kidnapped from you by their other parent, you drop everything, track them down, and get your child back. Give your babies everything you can, teach them right from wrong and be tough when it counts the most. Love them unconditionally and spoil them when you can. Teach them respect and balance. Teach them to give to others. Dress them fabulously.
Marriage ~ Marry the man who can't live without you, is crazy in love for you, who would go to the end of the world to provide and protect you and your children. Marry the man who respects you, himself and others. The man who puts his family first, who can forgive, who can have unconditional love. Date long into your relationship, into parenthood, into retirement. Travel if you can. Shop together and cook together if you can. Have separate areas in your home that are yours and yours alone, a place to go for you, to clear your head and to do something you love. Grandma Irene had her sewing room and Grandpa Mo had his record collection/den/man cave in the basement. Separate bathrooms are a good thing too, as are closets and dressers. Have your own friends and have joint friends that you share. Dress your man fabulously. Go out and have fun!

Never let a man who doesn't respect himself or you have influence on your life. You tough it out and you demand only the best because you are the best thing any God fearing man could ever want in his life to be his wife and the mother of his children. Do not settle.

Religion & Politics - If you don't like confrontation, arguments or strong points of view, then it's always a good rule of thumb to keep discussions and debates about politics and religion in your home. It's now what church you go to, what book(s) you read, or what you talk about with others, it's how you live your life, day in and day out that shows others your beliefs. Do for yourself but always lend a helping hand, a meal, or a moment of your time to those who need it most.


Christmas - If you celebrate Christmas, be sure to sing Happy Birthday to baby Jesus on Christmas. Candle in the pie or dessert is optional but always fun too! Also, if you go to church on Christmas or Christmas Eve go for the service with the music and kids choir. Gingerbread house making and decorating is a family tradition, don't forget about it and if you're feeling really adventurous, the family ravioli recipe is a Christmas tradition too.


Thanksgiving - Never skimp on the appetizers. Nuts, cheeses, crackers, etc. - go all out, it's Thanksgiving and you never know who'll stop by or be tagging along. Thanksgiving dinner is always open to friends of the family, neighbors, etc. who don't have a family or friends to get together with that year. Make a list of what you're eating because if you don't something always gets left in the microwave/oven/fridge only to be remembered when it's time for pie and football. If you can afford it, get a house with a large kitchen that opens to the dining room, it makes life so much easier.

Document Things - Journals, photographs, calendars, take notes, notice what's going on in life. Take the time to be in the moment of life. I learned after my grandmother passed that she kept annual diaries of her day to day doings. Sometimes I pick one up off of her bookshelf and open it to sneak a peak at her life. She always was grateful, even when she didn't feel good. She loved to celebrate family and friendships. She loved my grandfather like no other and adored her daughters to the ends of the earth. I was her one and only granddaughter until Frances married Brian and Austin came into our lives. ;) For five years she was the happiest grandmother on the planet. So if you can, definitely keep a record of those things worth cherishing. I learned so much more about her and was able to carry on our long and wonderful conversations after her death because of those journals.

Also, she was always really great about keeping track of who was in photos too, something we tend to lose track of in a digital world if we're not uploading and tagging right away. Even today I go to scan in old childhood photos and I can't remember full names or names period. So sad. :(

Copyright ©2010 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.
For personal use only. Commercial use without permission is not allowed.