Monthly Archives: November 2017

We All Lack “Good Mirrors”

“I’m starting to realize that people lack good mirrors. It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, and so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.” ~ John Green …

Perhaps it is as John says, that “we all lack good mirrors.” Generally, we are not the best at helping others understand themselves and their feelings. When they are angry or upset, we often return the anger. When they are lonely and afraid, we sometimes avoid them and their misery. Similarly, we are not that good at expressing our own feelings to others around us.

Communication is a skill that most of us do not take the time to develop and improve. When dealing with others, we tend to assume a lot–we perceive things from our own situations in life and deal with them from our own vantage point. Seldom will we take the time to see things from others’ perspectives and help them to understand what we see. And when dealing with ourselves, we tend to feel that because we know what we are saying, others will understand us as well. Yet often times, we are not even sure of what we really want to communicate with others.

Perhaps you have talked to someone before who did not know what he or she wanted. They were frustrated, unhappy, confused, lonesome, afraid, or feeling any number of human emotions, and they did not know how to articulate them to you. Thus, no matter how hard you tried to understand what they were really dealing with, you could not, for they themselves had not taken the necessary time to understand themselves.

We must task ourselves in life to find out who we are inside–what we want and how we feel. For it is through clear and precise reflection that we ultimately come to know ourselves. And it is through this self-awareness and self-knowledge that we are better able to avoid miscommunication. By being a better mirror for ourselves, we in turn are able to provide better insight for others as well.

Look at yourself in the mirror today and ask yourself what are your needs and wants.

Questions to consider:

In what ways are you aware of how you communicate with yourself? Are you aware of the content of that communication?

How important is it to be sure that you are communicating effectively with the other people in your life?

What can you do to improve communication with yourself? With others?

For further thought:

“I sometimes pray not for self-knowledge in general but for just so much self knowledge at the moment as I can bear and use at the moment; the little daily dose.” ~ C.S. Lewis

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The Spirituality Within You

“You do not need to work to become spiritual. You are spiritual; you need only to remember that fact. Spirit is within you. God is within you.” ~ Julia Cameron …

Most of us believe that there is a spiritual aspect to our composition, that our being is comprised of both body and soul, and that this part of ourselves is eternal. And if we embrace this truth, then we accept that we “do not need to work to become spiritual,” for that part of ourselves already exists and only needs our awareness of it. Our spirit lies within us–everywhere–in our sleeping and dreaming, in our waking and eating, in our breathing and drinking, in our working and playing, in our learning and teaching, in our loving and compassion. Knowing this part of who we are… is knowing the Divinity within.

Having a spiritual aspect to ourselves requires that we take care of it. Prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, compassion towards others, and similar such exercises, are great ways to build and maintain the healthiness of our souls. In truth: if our soul is the part of us that is eternal, then it is the only part of our being that will last forever. It therefore deserves our time and our attention.

The spirit within us is the most important aspect of who we are. Its eternal nature can help us to look beyond the small and insignificant things in life that cause us pain, suffering, and unhappiness, and keep our focus on the grand purpose of life.

Take a moment to recognize the spirituality within yourself.

Questions to consider:

Are you aware of the spirit within you?

What kinds of things prevent you from focusing on your spirit as a major part of who you are?

What kinds of positive things might happen if you were to allow your spirit to play a much larger part in your life?

For further thought:

“Many of the most deeply spiritual moments of my life haven’t happened just in my mind or in my soul. They happened while holding my son in the middle of the night, or watching the water break along the shore, or around my table, watching the people I love feel nourished in all sorts of ways.” ~ Shauna Niequist

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Recognize And Embrace Opportunity

“Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world.” ~ John Burroughs …

Although we may wish to look beyond our current circumstances, or outside of who we are, the great opportunity in life is in the present moment–for it is there in which we will discover that we are surrounded by limitless possibility and potential every moment of every day. And when we come to realize this truth–trusting in ourselves and our purpose–the vastness of all opportunities comes into focus and our attitudes and lives begin to change in positive and powerful ways. We start to find gratitude for the obvious things that before were common and often overlooked–such as the air we breathe and the food we eat. We discover a network of compassion, kindness, and love for our fellow man and a passion for living our lives to the fullest. We recognize a divine purpose in our existence and become aware of our greater potential.

Opportunities are often found in unexpected places–places that require us to step outside of our normal routines and sometimes even out of our comfort zones. But if we are looking elsewhere, or too caught up in what we are doing and how we feel things ought to be going, more than likely we will miss these moments, and we will miss a beautiful chance to learn and to grow, to discover and experience new and amazing ways to see our lives.

John pleads with us not to “despise our own place and hour,” not to choose to turn our backs on all the opportunities that lie before us and all the potential we possess to make a positive difference right now. Awareness is key. When we know our place, know our power, know our potential, and believe in ourselves, all of the opportunities and possibilities in life present themselves to us, and they will continue to do so throughout our earthly journey–we need not stray from the path.

Recognize and embrace an opportunity in your life.

Questions to consider:

What are some opportunities that you have had so far today? This week?

What kinds of opportunities have you missed, either because you did not see them or because you were looking elsewhere?

How can you learn to better recognize opportunities in your life?

For further thought:

“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.” ~ Emily Dickinson

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Oxygen Of The Soul

“Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.” ~ St. Padre Pio …

This is a testament to the importance of maintaining a healthy spiritual prayer life. St. Padre Pio tells us here that prayer is just as important to the life in our soul, as breathing is to the life in our body. If I stop to take a moment to reflect upon this, perhaps I can come to a better understanding of the sicknesses and weaknesses I face in my own spiritual life.

Without prayer, we are faced with a limited perspective of this world, one that must be seen from mortal eyes alone. But prayer is more than just physical, mental, and emotional… it is that spiritual connection with a higher power. It is something we do for ourselves to help make our lives, and the lives of those around us, much richer. It helps us to overcome difficulties–to put things behind us that need to be laid to rest such as anger and resentment. It helps us to strengthen ourselves–our peace, our compassion, our joy, and our purpose.

Prayer is a gift of life. It is an opportunity to connect with our power, our purpose, our God, and our souls. Additionally, it helps us to keep in mind that we are not of this world–that our being here is finite and that we will someday come home.

Breathe life into your soul through prayer today, so that your spirit will not drown under the weight of this world.

Spend some time in prayer today.

Questions to consider:

How is it that some of us may not find prayer a necessity of life?

How do you define prayer in your life?

Which areas of your lives are in most need of prayer?

For further thought:

“What is prayer? Prayer is sending blessing to all. Prayer is sending your compassion to all. Prayer is creating an antidote of negative thoughts.” ~ Osho

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Remember Where You’ve Been

“Before you ask which way to go, remember where you’ve been.” ~ from “Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last For A Night)” by All Time Low …

I am not the same person I was five years ago, of that, I am sure. Not only has my physical appearance changed, but also my likes and dislikes, my outlook on life, my beliefs, my goals, and on and on. And I can say the same thing about that person and the person I was fifteen years ago. We live; we learn; we change; we grow. But as we move on, it is important to remain aware of the things we have already learned and established–lessons, feelings, beliefs, emotions–lest we forget.

Do you ever find yourself making the same mistakes you have already made before? Perhaps you are not taking the time to “remember where you’ve been.” We all make mistakes… and that is ok. But we do not have to continue to make those same mistakes time and time again, for there really is no use travelling down the same paths we have travelled before, chasing ourselves in circles and wasting our time and energy.

The lessons we have learned in life hold the potential growth necessary to move onward towards new and more purposeful adventures. Remember who you were and where you have been, so that when the time comes, you will know which way to go.

Take a moment to reflect on your personal journey of growth.

Questions to consider:

Why would we want to leave behind our pasts and not revisit them?

How can we go about remembering important things from yesteryear?

What are some benefits in giving respect towards our pasts?

For further thought:

“There’s a word for it,” she told me, “in French, for when you have a lingering impression of something having passed by. Sillage. I always think of it when a firework explodes and lights up the smoke from the ones before it.”
“That’s a terrible word,” I teased. “It’s like an excuse for holding onto the past.”
“Well, I think it’s beautiful. A word for remembering small moments destined to be lost.” ~ Robyn Schneider

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But Tough People Do!

“Tough times never last. But tough people do.” ~ Dr. Robert Schuller …

How do you feel when the times get tough? Have you ever steered clear of doing something you knew you should do simply because you were afraid that it might end up being too difficult or take much longer than the effort was really worth? As a boy, I remember arguing with my dad once about scooping manure out of a couple horse stalls. At the time, it seemed like far too difficult a task… something that I felt would clearly take more time and effort than I possessed. However, after my brother and I went out and actually did it, we were through in less than a couple hours.

All too often, we allow our minds to over-analyze a task or job at hand, and we are caught trying to avoid it because we might be faced with difficulty and failure. The kicker is, when we do so, we allow our fear to hold us back before we even give ourselves the chance to try and thus set ourselves up for failure.

Tough times are temporary, just like pain. But our fortitude, integrity, and perseverance serves us long past those times in which we are tested. Perhaps I recently lost a loved one. It is true that I will have to face difficulty, pain, and grief, and it is important that I take the time to feel this very real experience in my life. Yet in the end, I must not allow my fears to defeat myself. I must find growth, understanding, and acceptance through my difficult experiences, and then carry that with me inside.

When times get tough, we can make things more difficult than they really are, or we can just do our best to accomplish what we feel we need to. The choice really is ours to make.

Find personal growth today in a recent difficulty you have been faced with.

Questions to consider:

What are some ways in which we make things more difficult than they really are?

How do we affect ourselves when we avoid tasks because they may be too difficult for us to overcome?

Think of some ways you can help yourself take on tasks that seem too difficult?

For further thought:

“My burden is my purpose. Without it, I wouldn’t be.” ~ Solange Nicole

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Your Inherent Self Worth And Value

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” ~ Amy Bloom …

Some of us have it backwards, thinking that our beauty lies on the outside–our looks, our accomplishments, our fortune and fame, our power. But we are imperfect beings. Therefore, our beauty and our worth is not a result of any outside factors or forces, rather, it is uniquely inherent in our divine creation. We are beautiful simply because we exist.

We each should possess endless reserves of self-confidence and self-esteem. But because society values achievement above all else, we generally embrace the attitude that our worth is dependent upon our achievements which garner us the approval of society. This is an unfortunate mistake, for it leaves us in the cycle of trying to gain self-esteem through our achievements, which we will of course have a difficult time realizing until we improve our self-esteem. It is difficult to do our best when we do not feel good about ourselves.

We cannot improve our self-esteem by accomplishment alone. However, the good news is that we do not have to because we are already worthy and beautiful; we just have to realize this truth. If we see ourselves as such, and treat ourselves as such, we set ourselves up for the best possible chances for success.

Take some time to reflect upon your inherent self worth and value.

Questions to consider:

Why might we tend to base our worth on the things that we accomplish or fail to accomplish?

How do we fall into the trap of developing low self-esteem?

What are some ways that we can work to improve our self-esteem?

For further thought:

“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master – gardener of his soul, the director of his life.” ~ James Allen

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