52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 4: Shine Like A Diamond

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As one settles on the determination to change, acceptance must be a focal point.  Meaningful change and lifelong happiness is dependent on being comfortable in one’s skin, so to speak.  Recognizing that all situations in one’s life was intentional in some capacity.  Whether, to open opportunities, learn a lesson or teach others a lesson; I believe all things happen for a reason.  Yes, I am even referring to the negative aspects of life.  That may have a few of you scratching your head wondering why would a negative experience be good for me?  Well, simply put, that tragedy may have set you down to think about your own life or you may have been caught in the crossfire of teaching someone else a valuable lesson.  Despite the negative connotations of the lesson one has the ability to extract what was gained, even if it appears to be buried really deep.

That for us is our flaw that must come to be accepted.   Confucius really spoke to me  in his quote by exposing the concept of  flaws.  If you remove that flaw you may suddenly change from a diamond into a pebble.  For instance, remember a traumatic time in your life.  That may be the death of a loved one, personal abuse, an accident, a break-up, or some other event that forever will impact your life.  Now imagine that this situation never occurred.  Well, it doesn’t end there, you also have to imagine that the pain diminished, the provoked thoughts after the event diminished and the lesson of that event diminished.  Therefore, in some capacity the void of that life event also changes you, it must since it did not occur.

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without – Confucius

Using myself as an example, what comes to the forefront of my mind is losing my sister-in-law when she was 26-years-old, just 6 years ago.  I miss her dearly, her death anniversary is on February 1st.  She meant a lot to me and to my children and most importantly her brother, my husband.  But through her death I learned the precious gift of life that I am given.  One where I am watching my children grow, something she didn’t get, her son had just turned 6 when she passed.  I learned that youth is not always on your side and someone that appears healthy can be gone tomorrow.  I found that it is more important to love then to resent.  I also found that it doesn’t matter what is going on in one’s life if you truly care for them then they are an extension of you.  I only have memories of her and what she was to me and I know that she feels the same for me.  If I took back her death then I would also lose what I have learned from her death.  When she died my husband and I were just getting close to God, which she had also found.  Through our belief he made us strong and enduring.  He was the reason we did not parish. So through her death we learned the power of God and love lasts forever, which is irreplaceable.

Sorry if you are wiping your eyes now but she was on my heart and where I really learned to accept myself and my flaws.  If I see a diamond in myself then it doesn’t matter if others can only see a pebble.  That is a failure in their vision not in your efforts.  Flaws lie in us all, others more apparent than others but none-the-less we are not free from imperfection.  Our flaws are our beauty, they make us who we are and different in our own sense.  Individuality.  Embrace the diamond you are and shine proudly so your flaws can distinguish you from the rest.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 3: You Are Not Your Past, Release It.

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Moving on and creating a new self involves release. Often fear prevents change and that same fear takes from the ability to be truly happy. However, when faced with a choice and decision to improve the person you would like to be and more importantly who you are, it takes some early difficult assessments and evaluations.

Events that occur in life appear to create the person in the mirror.   And yes in some respects that is spot on. Those early teachings, whether positive or negative, influence our every behavior, thought and action. The negative parts of ourselves instill fear and the need for emotional protection. The positive ones help to nurture us as we grow. Yet, we are not bound by those early experiences despite feeling as if it were so at times.

But for some there are fewer positive experiences or the negative were really traumatic, which overly developed the fear response. So our thoughts, behaviors, and actions can often become a trap. Especially when encountering a person that has a different persona and demeanor from the person(s) that inflicted the trauma. We have an inability to see their differences and attempt to fit them into the situational molds we have frequently encountered.

The best way I feel that I can explain the message of the week is to imagine an overly fertilized, under watered plant. No our behavior didn’t kill it but it sure was close. Able to recognize the terror it went through as demonstrated by the wilted yellow almost hanging by a thread leaves. The stem has changed from a vibrant alive green to a yellowish splotchy mess. Immediately the plant is moved to the closest window for some much needed sunlight. The soil is checked for the right consistency of moisture. Maybe even a quick Google search to make sure this time the right combination of water and fertilizer is used, or maybe no fertilizer is warranted with this type of plant. All the appropriate steps are taken as we watch the plant for weeks. Slowly we notice that the leaves are beginning to perk up and say hello as they always have, the stalk is beginning to take shape and look as if it can now support the rest of the plant. The green color is again healthy and a stunning bright green with no splotches. As we make headway through this series, imagine we are that plant.

Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives – Unknown

Fear is and will always be a double-edged sword. It is a familiar defense mechanism for most, yet it is hardly challenged. This week one must truly challenge the limits. What has fear stolen in your life? How have you been protected and simultaneously guided by fear. What would it feel like to be vulnerable and not attend to the fear?

Questioning the self is at the heart of change. Before changing behavior one must evaluate what that behavior has prevented you from and what would it mean to let it go. The authentic change will emerge from questioning in this manner. Change is less like “I dislike ______ about me and want to be ______” and more like “I dislike _____ about me and I will release the fear connected to being vulnerable in the respect of that behavior, thought, or action.” If you take the stance of the latter then the true self will emerge. You notice I did not replace one behavior for another. I took away the negative behavior and the self will automatically replace it with the realistic self.

Starting with a clear mind which was focused on last week one can begin with a clean slate. That clean slate mentality is the bases for the authentic self to emerge. Essentially it is the part of us without fear. The clean slate listens to our internal talk before fear has the ability to smother it. Whenever faced with a change situation it is vital to use similar steps as it will allow the self to emerge that you have repressed for the fear of being hurt, vulnerable, disliked or ay other negative emotion.

Remember that preparing yourself for change is just as important as the change itself. Think of this as the largest marathon you have run in life, or if you are me the only marathon. You will not be very successful if you decide that day you will run this marathon. But if you prepare for months with the right clothing, heart conditioning and stretching you are more likely to have success. Success is also measured by the self and not in comparison to others.

Choosing to flourish and release the fear of the past can be a freeing moment. Though releasing the comfort blankie will be scary by nature and fighting the fear will hold its own challenges. Keep trying and keep focus. Imagine your own damaged plant and what you hope it will grow into with the appropriate nurture and attention.

52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 2: Silence

Take a deep breath and experience silence

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Knowing how to change your life is just as important as the change itself.  Deciding to change is a very intricate piece of the puzzle, though, the journey ahead is also a challenge.  Many don’t change for the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure.  But for those that are courageous enough to embrace change, one must be willing to look inside themselves to uncover the answers.

Following fleeting thoughts of the mind has only taken you to a path of dead ends and disappointment.  Change will emerge on its own given stillness, time and patience.  Sort of like new birth.  A timeline is given to a pregnant mother and a due date rendered.  Yet that child is born without care or concern of that due date and at a time that is only convenient for the child.  Goals and change can be viewed in the same context as childbirth.  We can envision goals and decide to make personal changes, though our imagination leads us astray to insist on a particular outcome or timeline and in the end the universe has it all laid out in the way it was intended.

Quiet the mind and the soul will speak – Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

So in the beginning of creating the “new self” it is vital to take a step back and quiet the mind.  It is time to regroup and not be concerned about the future, goals or a timeline.  It is time to be still and allow the soul to freely communicate.  It is time to allow the true you to come to the surface.  The distraction of the world tends to muffle our internal positive voice.  I speak a lot about internal voices, most of the time focusing on the critical self.  But here we are referring to a voice some of us fail to acknowledge, the positive internal voice.  It seems natural to stifle the voice of reason and the voice of power and determination when faced with the demands of the world.  Though quietness will help to rejuvenate this malnourished part of ourselves.

Learning a new skill such as meditation, yoga or mindfulness can lead you toward a quieter mind and bring you closer to your positive internal voice.  Keeping a quiet mind will be purposeful through the journey.  Only with a quiet mind will the canvas be clear to paint the masterpiece.  This masterpiece will represent the new you.  It will be perfectly flawed just as anything that is humanly nurtured.

Far too often life becomes difficult and it seems to be an uphill battle, but less often one comes to the realization that maybe the journey they are on is not their own and the reason for the difficulty.  The doubts related to the path traveled will diminish when one feels secure, realistic, and joyful.  That does not mean you are free from challenges, defeats, pain and disappointment, it means that you know without a doubt you are on the right path.

As we take this journey through 52 weeks this will be a section to return to and refresh.  Especially when hitting a crossroad or road block.  It is never a wrong time to refresh.  Getting perspective reinforces one of two things; I am on the right path or I am on the wrong path.

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52 Weeks of Positive Change – Week 1: New Beginnings

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Starting new in 2015 is how I felt best to begin this year. The first week of the “52 weeks of positivity” has to start with a beginning. Don’t fret over lost things or things that did not work out. Rather focus on renewing what is in your heart and focus on your dreams.

Many times when things do not work out in a way you imagined one tends to loose motivation or faith all together. However, the failed attempt could be related to something much greater than your own abilities or desires. Disappointments could have been the consequence of trying to live a dream of another rather than your own. How often do we look across the way and notice what someone else is doing and mutter in your head, “yeah I can do that, sounds like a good idea.” Then you set out to mimic what you recognized and resonated with in that person. Well the easiest way to put it, your journey is individual and only intended for you. I too am guilty of falling for this misguided success and that is how I learned that my journey can only be accomplished by me and by my own path.

Yet, do not dismiss others all together but rather recognize the attributes that you would like to adopt into your journey. What I am suggesting is to look toward successful people and their work ethics, personalities, humbleness, perseverance, etc.  Stay steadfast in your dream as being your own but take others struggles, moves and successes as a guide.

 

We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new ending – Zig Ziglar

 

Failed attempts could also be the result of missing the mark. Like a game of basketball, only the sure shots go in the hoop. But just same, some of those shots fail to go in, but you must take them anyway and hope they will go in. You will never know if the ball will go in if you don’t take the shot. Failed attempts only sting when you remain focused on the would of, should of, or could of’s in the situation. Disappointments are just another opportunity to change your plan and come back better next time. Inevitably with all things in life, some are bound to work and others will not.

If you are not happy with your current situation make a stand to create a different ending. If you are not sure at this moment what to change do not worry about the core issues those answers will come in time. It is most important to begin evaluating who you currently are and where you would like to be in the future. Change occurs over time and with effort. Also, change is the result of carefully evaluating the situation and logically deciding where to make adjustments.

Starting off the year 2015 begins with a message of never giving up. Don’t focus on the past as it is already recorded. But focus on starting new, which will lead you one step closer to your dream. When things are not going well, take a time out, regroup and decide what the universe is telling you. There is never a right or wrong time to take a time out. When feeling lost or off course do not be bound in pride, take a step back.

There will be so much more to come. This is a message set out to renew and prepare for forward motion. Stay tuned for a year of positive messages.

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