Giving and Receiving Our Talents

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Photo: Pixabay

Many of us wrestle with an underlying feeling that it is not OK for us to succeed at anything we attempt. This deeply buried belief keeps us from fully embracing our talents and our own understanding of God. We hold ourselves back. We self-sabotage and we keep ourselves small.

For years, I felt it was not safe and somehow wrong for me to fully express myself or to allow myself to receive anything in return for my talents. I subconsciously felt intimidated and resentful of others who were free of this belief and who lived in grace and abundance.

I told myself it was much more important to be a good person, to love others and serve Truth, God. I believed that it was impossible to do these things while feeling whole and being blessed in life. As if being happy, safe and well somehow nullified any good that had been done. What I am realizing is that I can serve God best by fully being the light I was created to be, by fully using my talent and by fully following my intuition, insight and inspiration. When I do these things, I find that I am serving God and all Creation to the fullest of my ability. I am also happy.

When I shine, I feel most in alignment with God. I recognize that everything each of us does can be done in service of each other and God. It is a matter of doing it from a standpoint of love and service, rather than fear, limit, lack or greed. My being unafraid of my own light allows those around me to also be happy and shine in their own way.

Holding myself separate from those that made more money than me or had more success was being judgmental of them and myself. I saw myself as better or more holy than they were because I had less.

Recently I was listening to a successful musician who chants and sings of the love of the Divine. It was deeply moving and very beautiful. Her face was happy and serene. She embodied the love she sang of. I thought, ‘What a wonderful service she does for all who hear her! She is at peace and encourages that in her behavior and her music. She uplifts others to that same Peace of God.’ And it flooded my awareness that she is a very holy person using her talents to serve others and being rewarded for it. I was grateful that she decided to let her light shine and grateful she earned a living doing it so that as many as possible might be able to hear her.

The most important thing, for me, is to do everything I do in the full service of God and others. It is not for my own ends, though I may greatly enjoy the outcome. The point is to release my own expectations of what I should or should not be provided with and serve. Serve all day, in every way, in everything I do and with every being I encounter. To me this means being happy in myself and happy that I am serving so that I can share my happiness with others in all that I do.

Neuroscience has shown again and again that kindness, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude increase our brain’s capacity for happiness. When we are happy, we have even more to share! It is the same thing that every religious tradition has taught for all of history. It is healthy for us and healthy for those around us. It is freeing and rewarding, both on an energetic and a physical level.

This is being in alignment with a spiritually healthy life and with serving God. This is the opposite of being selfish and greedy. This is actually allowing our cups  to be filled so that it can overflow to others.

As long as we see our abilities as small and our blessings few, we will never be free to fully give of what we have. What is there to give if we don’t believe we have enough or that we are enough? We first must have faith in what we have and be full of gratitude for our talents and the abundance that flows from them. Through this, our talents will expand and so will our service and the rewards that flow from using our talents for the greater good. When we believe we have little and may lose what we have, we don’t allow for anything different to happen.

This all made me think of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, 14-30. The ones who were given talents and made use of them in the world received more talents and were rewarded. The one who hid his talent and made no use of it for fear it would be taken away lost his talent and had nothing. When we use our talents for the good of others, we are rewarded with more. And when we fear we don’t have enough and may lose what we do have, we never enjoy what we have and therefore have already lost it and may lose even more. Those that are grateful don’t demand more, yet they receive it.

Surrender your demands and expectations. Choose to be filled with gratitude and service. By allowing what is good to flow through us, and freely allowing it to flow from us, we honor the flow of giving and receiving. We can stop fighting Universal Law and recognize we are fully part of it. We can open our arms to embrace it, loving it and letting it love us back.

We can celebrate each day and all that flows from us and to us.

Healing and Releasing Painful Memories

Painful memoriesSomething I have personally learned is that when people are hurt badly by an experience or a person they tend to cling to it and even begin to identify themselves with that pain and that experience to a large degree. It is not possible to stop forming your identity around that pain and that experience until you forgive the person or persons and let go of the experience that caused your hurt. It has to be released before it will stop hurting you over and over. It is the only way to really care for yourself and heal. Purposely going back and revisiting painful experiences and holding onto hurt feelings is dangerous. You are recreating that pain anew each time and this is only destructive and will lead to anger.

Memories may resurface, but there is no need to dwell in them. Very painful memories can tend to flood us with overwhelming amounts of emotion and it seems to only grow stronger over time when we allow ourselves to stay with the thoughts. Our perception of the memory is not the same any longer. It begins to take on a life of its own and this is how we can form our identity around it. When children have started forming their identities around painful memories, like loss, then it is even more difficult for them to comprehend how to break this cycle and heal. This understanding must come as an adult for them, and it will be a struggle as they continue to cycle back through the pain, thinking they are doomed to live in misery forever. This thought itself perpetuates the cycle and leads them into more difficulty.

Not continuing on with thought processes or speech patterns that follow this cycle can help break it and that is an important thing to do for healing to begin. As long as a person continues to feel that they were wronged, or that something should have gone a different way than it did, that person will continue to feel miserable. Railing against your loss or your suffering in anger and sorrow, no matter how long you do it will never change what happened. It only makes feelings of suffering and anger stronger and the experience of loss or suffering is essentially being relived inside. This can only lead to further harm. It also leads to us creating many incorrect perceptions based on the flooding of pain from previous life stages and previous states of perception. It becomes very difficult to see the peace and happiness that can be found in your present if you are looking at things through a lens of altered perceptions fostered by revisiting painful memories.

However, starting in the present moment and recognizing good things with gratitude is helpful and begins the process to healing and breaking the cycle of going back to pain. Focusing on the small things, like breathing, gradually brings awareness back to what you are feeling right now. This awareness can be used to acknowledge and accept the feelings as they come, learning how to feel them and let them pass without holding onto them. Emotions about very difficult events arise and these emotions are not easy to feel without dwelling, especially at the beginning. Taking five or ten minutes of quiet time in which you can sit alone and let these feelings come is helpful. This is short enough to not be difficult to find in a day and to not allow time for ruminating on the feelings that come up. Each one comes, is recognized, and then is let go. This begins to allow for sorting. The recognition will also come that thoughts and emotions arise but they also fade to the background. This can give a sense of peace that the true inner self is not truly as rocked by external events as we tend to believe.

Remove the Mask: The Flaw with Being Flawless

masked womanOriginally published on Rebelle Society at http://www.rebellesociety.com/2013/10/18/take-off-your-mask-the-flaw-with-being-flawless/

We all seem to expend a huge amount of energy trying to conceal our flaws and the missteps we have made. Yet every single one of us has flaws and has done things they wish they had not. We all have our struggles with vices and slip ups that lead us down a path we wish never to see again.

Each of us knows that every person we see has a behavior they wish they had a better grip on or a secret embarrassment they want never to reveal. And yet we are terrified that if our own imperfections are seen, we will no longer be good enough.

Not being worthy is the biggest underlying fear of all. It makes us humans quake down to our soul to think we may not have what we need or want. We fear it so much we even get anxious about things we don’t have yet out of fear of losing them if we get them!

And so we all keep hiding who we are, how we feel and things we did in the past as if they aren’t there. If we aren’t proud of it, we push it down and ignore it. Most of us are taught to do this, yet no one acknowledges the false front we all put up. It becomes another secret that we just don’t talk about.

The real kicker is we do this so that we won’t feel judged by others. Then, when someone else is not so good at hiding their own faults, we judge them. We judge them for having human frailties and we judge them for not hiding it well enough.

Yet every fault, mistake and change in your life led you to exactly where you are right now. Maybe you don’t like where you are right now. But if you hadn’t been through exactly what you’ve been through, would you recognize that you need to do something different? You certainly wouldn’t know as much about which choices to make that might take you in a different direction.

Mistakes offer us new alternatives, new ideas and understandings about what we don’t want in our lives. They give us a new filter through which we can view our consequent decisions. Of course this works better if we really do something new; instead of mourning that things aren’t the way they used to be.

So what if we all told the truth of our lives? What if we all stopped pretending to be perfect? We could stop acting like we are the ones that have it all figured out. We could stop behaving as if we have never done anything damaging to ourselves or others.

Imagine how you feel when you hear about someone going through a difficult time and overcoming it. You feel touched and inspired. You feel like if they could survive such a bad situation, then maybe there is hope for you!

We all have these uplifting stories inside of us! These are the things we choose to hide so we can put on our “perfect” face. Why not let your struggles shine as a beacon to others? Tell not only how you fell down, but how you got back up!

Tell about the addiction you struggled (or are still struggling) with. We all have at least one. Yours isn’t any worse or better than anyone else’s. Tell about the things you lost in your life and what you did to survive. Tell how you went through times when you weren’t sure you would make it through to the other side. Let people see that you did make it. Allow them this look inside of you. Give them hope.

But don’t stop there. Don’t allow them to think you are now perfect and have all the answers. Allow them to also see the things you still struggle with.

Tell them how you are still learning how to understand yourself and the world. Tell them how there are days where none of it makes sense. Tell them how you sometimes cry for home, while not knowing where “home” is. Let them see that you are still finding your way, just like they are.

If we all did this, we could uplift others on their own path. We could shine a small ray of light where someone sees only darkness. We could breathe a small bit of comfort into someone’s world.

But we would also help eliminate the need to feel ashamed of who we are and the road we have travelled to get to now. We would uncover the truth—that we are all going through something. We are all trying to move a little bit closer to happiness every day. And sometimes we all fall down in the process.

Be a beacon for others. Show that it really is OK to be who you are. Demonstrate that we all have faults, make mistakes and go through endless changes. Allow them to see that these are gifts that teach us if we let them. Help them know they are worthy by knowing you are.

Facing Fear with Equanimity

 

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Every person is the same at their essence. This is a truth that many accept as a basic concept of life, but it can be very hard to put the concept down and keep this truth in mind in actual life practice. Our emotions (and other people’s emotions) can begin to cloud this truth. We all experience positive and negative emotions. Yet, when we feel a negative emotion, such as fear or anger towards another person, we lose sight of that person’s positive emotions and traits. The same happens when we feel strong positive emotions toward a person. We forget that they have negative emotions that lead them to negative actions. Either way, we have forgotten the truth that this other human is exactly the same at the core of their being.

When we experience fear toward another person that often becomes anger, outrage or hatred. Because we are afraid, we often tell ourselves only negative things about the person. The more we do this, the more the person seems less like a human being and more like a demon, a monster, or a villain. We only make them seem more frightening and we only become more afraid and unable to handle ourselves. This creates a combative stance within us and makes us feel terrible, not to mention that it only worsens the possibility of handling the situation well.

Slowing down a bit when we see a negative response arise in ourselves can give us the few seconds we need to remind ourselves that the other person has positive emotions (and traits) that you may have been unable to notice right in the moment. They are human. Somebody loves them deeply. They hurt and feel fear also. They were once a baby, pure and clean. Seeing all these things can help the mind to let go of the dark curtain and see the other person as simply human. No better than, no worse than, but the same as us all.

It seems we all have a person or a situation that sends our thoughts racing with an emotional extreme. While any emotional extreme can send us reeling, we can recognize that they all pass and wait them out so that we can see the truth behind the clouds.