“You can be anything you want to be, if only you believe with sufficient conviction and act in accordance with your faith; for whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
– Napoleon Hill
The first book that sparked my spiritual journey was The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. For those who are unfamiliar with this book, it is all about the Law of Attraction (LOA). The LOA put simply states that “like attracts like.” What you put out into the Universe is what comes back to you and you attract to you things that are of a similar vibration/energy as you. I read it during my freshman year of college and it completely changed my outlook on life. Prior to reading the book, I felt rather powerless. I believed that I would always be a victim of circumstance and that some people were dealt better hands (lives) than others. But reading this book empowered me and helped me to realize that I am creating my life every step of the way consciously and subconsciously. We are always creating our realities whether we are aware of it or not.
You may be saying, “I would have never created this illness that I have.” Or “There’s no way I created that situation that got me laid off.” The truth is that you did. Of course, not consciously, but on some level of your being you energetically allowed this to manifest in your reality. The thing to keep in mind is that all challenges serve as lessons for us to learn and all things happen for our highest good. Therefore, what appears to be a setback is really a blessing in disguise. I share this with you not to blame you for anything that you have created, but to offer you to come into acceptance of that truth. By taking responsibility for the things that we have created in our lives and by not blaming others, we can change our lives for the better. You must trust that whatever you have created in your life in each NOW moment is there to awaken you and serve as a tool for your growth.
As referenced in The Secret, the creation process follows the simple steps of “Ask, Believe, Receive.” Ask for what you want, believe that it is already yours, and be open to receive it. I’d like to breakdown this process a little further.
The three tools of creation are thoughts, words and actions. Everything begins with a thought. Before you do anything, you always think to do it. You can use your thoughts to get clear and focus on that which you’d like to create. One such way to focus thoughts is through creative visualization. Creative visualization is a process that uses the imagination to mentally picture ideal outcomes and circumstances. The more clearly and vividly you can imagine it in your mind and the more energy you give it in thought, often times the more easy it will be to manifest it into physical reality.
Words are influential because you can use them to speak things into existence. One of the greatest tools you have for creation is the phrase “I am…” It is the strongest creative statement in the universe. Whatever follows “I am…” is what becomes of you. When you say things like, “I am tired” or “I am so dumb” you get more of that energy drawn to you. Use the phrase “I am…” to draw to you and create positive circumstances and situations. Affirm positive things with it. Some of the “I am…” affirmations that I use are: “I am in perfect health.” “I am a divine expression of life.” “I am light and love.”
Actions are often the clearest way that people can see creative power. If you get up and do something, then you’ve changed your reality right in front of you. However, all three components are equally important. When our thoughts, words and actions are all in alignment, we have a greater ability to manifest things into our reality. It is important to be mindful of all the components because you are always in the process of creating something. Speak only that which you wish to be true and focus only on that which you want made manifest.
In partnership with thoughts, words, and actions is belief/faith. This is a key ingredient in the creation process. You cannot create something that you don’t believe that you can create no matter how focused your thoughts, words and actions are. Belief is everything. You need an unwavering certainty that your desire will be made manifest. No doubts. No second guessing. You must know that it is already done. With this knowing comes gratitude. Be thankful in advance for what it is that you’d like to create and feel gratitude for it as if it is already there.
If there is something that you have created that you do not enjoy, own it and do not condemn it. Simply send it love and create a new thing. To reject any part of it is to reject a part of yourself. While you cannot control everything that happens to you, you always have the choice to see it how you wish. By following the creation process, you can create the life that you always imagined. From there, you can use your abundance and well-being to serve the world by helping others create and live their best lives.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
– Lewis B. Smedes
Sometimes in life we have the experience of being hurt by someone else. This hurt is often the result of perceived dishonesty, betrayal, disappointment, etc. When dealing with strong negative emotions that cause hurt and pain, it can be easy to get wrapped up in them. One powerful way from which we can escape that emotional suffering is through forgiveness.
One of the most important (and sometimes one of the most difficult) ways that we can extend our forgiveness is towards ourselves. We all have had errors in our thinking which have led to mistakes in our actions. Many of us still hold our wrongdoings against ourselves. We feel guilt for our actions and their effects. However, guilt is a wasted emotion. There is never a reason to feel guilty about anything. ANYTHING. Let me explain…
Guilt blocks forgiveness. You cannot forgive yourself and feel guilty at the same time. Just as you cannot hold a loving thought and a fearful thought at the same time.
When you stay stuck in guilt long enough, it can transform into shame. This means that you move from feeling guilty about your actions to shameful about the person you are. If guilt becomes an emotion that defines you, then you may start to believe that you’re no longer a good person that made a mistake. Instead, you have become a bad person who can do nothing right. It only serves your ego to stay stuck in guilt. It does not honor the divine nature of the loving spirit that you really are. Guilt keeps you from fully loving yourself and from being able to truly forgive.
What is important is the acknowledgement of the error. The realization that you may have acted in a way that was not loving is all you need to make a different choice the next time. As we grow, so do the choices that we make. Reflection of our past mistakes can help us understand that we were acting under a more limited consciousness than what we currently have in our present state of awareness. In the moment of our mistake, we acted/reacted as best as our consciousness would allow. Understanding this concept can save us from a lot of self-inflicted guilt and shame.
Just as we should not judge others for their actions, we also should not be so harsh in judgement of ourselves. When we recognize an error in someone’s thinking, we should send that person love. And if it is us who has made the error, we should send love to ourselves.
You may be saying, “But this person intentionally tried to hurt me! How can I forgive him/her? How can I love him/her?” In these situations, I try to always remember the saying, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Only a person that is suffering through a lot of emotional pain could intentionally try and inflict hurt upon another. A person who is full in love would not seriously entertain the thought of trying to hurt someone else. When you come across a person who is in the midst of such hurt and pain, compassion for them is a helpful and loving response.
Some people also hold the notion that forgiving means that you’re allowing acceptance and approval of the mistake that was made. That’s not at all what forgiveness does. Forgiveness allows you to release the anger/frustration/blame/hurt that you have been holding so that you can return to the peace and love that is of your natural state. A lack of forgiveness does not hurt the trespassers, it only affects the one holding the animosity in their heart.
I have found that prayer can be effective in fostering forgiveness. I heard Marianne Williamson mention the practice of praying for your enemies for 30 days straight and it is something that I recommend to my friends when they are having difficulty forgiving someone. Embarking on such an honest devotion towards forgiveness can help to create new peaceful circumstances and new loving perceptions. I recommend praying for peace in the relationship, forgiveness in your heart, and well-being for him/her.
When we can allow ourselves to forgive, then we can move into a space of sincere love for the person we felt we were betrayed or hurt by. Forgiveness is a tool that allows us to shift our perception from fear to love. It allows us to see past the human imperfections and see the perfection in each divine soul. And if we all exercised forgiveness and allowed love to guide our perceptions, imagine all the beauty we would see in ourselves, in each other and on our planet.
“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
― C.S. Lewis
One of the biggest things that I have come to understand is the power of perception. Our perceptions shape our world based on the lens through which we view it. To take that a step further, situations in and of themselves are in a sense meaningless. Yes, meaningless. It is you that brings the meaning to it. The Universe shapes and moves itself according to the way in which you perceive it. This is much like how two people can witness the same event and have very different experiences of it.
For example, two people might witness a concert by a music artist at the same place and at the same time – side by side. One person could see the show and think that the artist did very well, was entertaining, and full of energy. The other person watching the same show might think that the artist was underwhelming, a little dull, and uncaptivating in their delivery. The first person might have left the show feeling like he had a great time, and the second person might have left feeling as though he didn’t get his money’s worth. How is it that they could have two different stories to tell from the same concert? Because, it is all subjective. If life’s situations themselves held all the meaning, we would all get the same thing from it, but we know that is not true.
The meaning that we give to life is based off of the beliefs and values that we hold. It may be hard to truly see how some things are not intrinsically good or bad. It is because we have such sure understandings of our morals and values, that it can be difficult to imagine someone else seeing what we judge to be bad, as a good thing. For example, many of us would agree that harming or killing children is a very bad thing. However, there are some societies and groups of people that will kill a newborn baby girl, for the simple fact that she is not a boy. This practice is known as sex-selective infanticide. For many of us, their actions would be bad/wrong. For them, it makes sense as the right thing to do.
We do not see things as they are, instead we see them as WE are. It is through who we are as a person that we determine what a situation or event means to us. As we change as people, so do our perceptions and our ideas of things. There was once a time in the United States of America, where formal slavery was acceptable. Not only was it acceptable but it was written law in our country. Now we have a law that states that the exact opposite is permissible. The same can be said for women’s voting rights, equal education, and other political and social issues. As we have progressed as a society, we have formed new ideas about right and wrong . What was right for us two-hundred years ago, is no longer what is right for us today. Through our personal growth, we will also find that old habits, behaviors, and beliefs that we were once accustomed to, no longer serve the truth and vision of who we are now and who it is that we choose to be.
I am currently enrolled in a poetry course and I am seeing how the interpretation of the conversations we have with one another throughout our lives, is similar to analyzing poetry. In class, we closely review various pieces to see what we notice in terms of symbolism, structure, and meaning. The great thing about it is that each reader can notice and gather significance from the poem in whichever way best sits with them. The author had a purpose and meaning behind the way he or she crafted their poem. The reader might be able to take away from the poem what the author intended or the reader might interpret a different meaning that was developed through their own unique perspective. The same is true for when we interpret the words and actions of others. We can choose to see them with love or with fear. Often misinterpretations happen because communication was received and then filtered through a lens that altered the meaning from one person to the other. The best way to avoid misinterpretations is to not make assumptions and to ask questions to clarify and be sure that both parties understand the information that is being shared.
This ties in with expectations. When you go into a situation expecting to see a certain thing, you probably will. If you open up and allow the greater good of all possibilities to flow, you never know what great things you could perceive.
This all reminds me of those eye illusions in which you can look at a picture and see a dancing couple or see a tree. Both are there. Like Oscar Wilde says, “The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.” Again, both are there. It’s all about what you allow yourself to see in it. Sometimes you see one or the other and sometimes you can see both. Just because you cannot see the good in the situation, does not mean it is not there. It’s like how there are never truly any days when the sun is not shining. The sun can sometimes be blocked by the clouds, but if you were to board a plane and shoot above them you could see that the sun was there all along. Shining bright as ever.
So even in situations when you cannot SEE the good, KNOW that it is there. KNOW that it hasn’t left. KNOW that your situation is part of a greater divine plan that was set in order for you to experience and grow in the ways that you need to.
One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Wayne Dyer who said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” The freedom to give meaning to the situations in life is empowering. You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control how you choose to see it. Choose to look through a lens of love and of positivity. Choose to give each situation a meaning that is uplifting. Trust that everything happens for your best. And allow yourself to see that the good is there, patiently waiting for you to invite it in!
“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”
You may have heard this saying before and I think it rings very true. As we grow through life, we began to identify those things that make us feel good and those things that do not. In turn, we often learn through reaching a breaking point what we are willing to deal with and what we are not. When we begin to inner-stand those things for ourselves, we can make stable choices and set clear boundaries as guidelines for what we are willing to accept into our lives.
One of the core spiritual principles is that everything in your life is a reflection of you. All of the situations that are present in your life are there because you allow and tolerate them to be there. There are no victims, just “allowers”/volunteers. This is not meant to discredit your truth or your experience of a situation. Yes, you may have been hurt. Yes, you may have been transgressed against. But you cannot experience a thing that you are not a vibrational match for. In other words, all of the things that you experience: the good and the bad, are there because either consciously or unconsciously you invited them in. You energetically allowed them to happen. This may be a lot to take in and understand but when you own your part in the experience, you can then take charge to change it. If you continue to look at things through the eyes of a victim with thoughts like “They did this to me“, then you will continue to suffer in the same perpetuating patterns. By taking responsibility for your choices, you gain the freedom to move from that situation and choose something different for yourself. It is all up to you and YOU can choose to bring an empowering meaning to any situation.
You teach people how to treat you. You set the example for others. When you treat yourself well, others will see that and know how to treat you too.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who is in a relationship that was causing her a lot of stress. She told me that she had not been happy for a long time and that she was feeling emotionally rejected and abused many times when she shared her feelings and concerns with her boyfriend. She also told me that prior to entering this relationship, she had never had a boyfriend before. Because of that she had no idea of what to expect or how to really go about being in one. For that reason, she did not set any boundaries for herself, nor for what kind of behavior she is willing to accept in a relationship. She had no prior experience to look back on and had never considered that setting boundaries might be something that could be beneficial for her to do. Fortunately, after some brief time apart, they both decided to start over and work things out again. I suggested to her that this was a great time to now set boundaries for the things that she will no longer tolerate such as the verbal lashings and emotional attacks. Since then, she says that things have been much better and I hope their relationship continues to grow from the foundation that they now have established.
I believe that boundary setting in relationships is very important. These do not always have to be laid out explicitly at the beginning of a relationship; although, sometimes they can. I think it works well to share your feelings in the moment when you are feeling disrespected. Simply just let them know that what they are doing or saying to you is not acceptable. From there, they will know not to do that the next time. If that unacceptable behavior continues after you have made your feelings clear, then you may want to consider letting go of the relationship. By allowing someone to continually disrespect you, you are not honoring yourself.
This topic relates back to self-love. The things that you are willing to tolerate in your life show where you are in your level of consciousness. Put more simply, it shows how much awareness you have to choose and act from a place of love and not fear. When you are full of self-love, self-confidence, and self-respect, you will be able to more consciously choose those things and allow those things that are aligned with where you are. As you raise your consciousness and your standards, you will not allow some of the old things that you used to. It is up to you let people know what is acceptable behavior for you. Know that it’s never too late to start displaying and requesting the respect that you deserve. It’s better to let your concerns be known than to continue to be demeaned or disrespected.
When you carry yourself with respect, people notice that and reflect it back to you. Self-respect is a visible expression of the love that you have for yourself. For example, the attention I get when I walk into a place with a suit on is different from the attention I get when I walk into the same place with some sweatpants. This is not to say that you cannot respect yourself in sweatpants. However, the way you carry yourself and the way you choose to present yourself is a reflection of the way you feel about yourself on the inside. The outside is always a reflection of the inner. Sometimes positive outer circumstances can trigger that internal confidence and respect. Just by putting on some nice new clothes, you may automatically feel better about yourself than if you throw on that balled up shirt you had lying in the corner. Something as simple as getting a new haircut or putting on a pair of glasses could be the spark to get you started to building your inner love, confidence and respect. It is important to note that the true means for building your self-respect is not dependent upon outside circumstances. It comes from going within and loving and accepting yourself where you are, as you are.
Outside of just your relationships with others, this same idea holds true for your relationship with yourself. Many times we set out to accomplish certain things, but then make excuses that keep us from actively working toward achieving our visions. When you allow yourself to continue to make excuses for why you haven’t done a thing or why you’re too tired, or too old, or too young, etc. you end up with the same results and not with your realized dreams and goals. You don’t have to put up with the same excuses you have been making for yourself. You can lovingly set a new boundary that will no longer allow the excuses. From there, you are bound to make progress towards manifesting what you desire.
When you do have to make the choice to let go of things that no longer serve your highest good, understand that it is okay to feel bad at first. Just know that the choices you make are equal to the amount of love that you have for yourself. As you gain more love and respect for yourself, you may find that you have to let go of some things to allow for new situations to come into your experience that are more aligned with where you are right now.
Setting boundaries is one way in which you can honor the miracle of life that you are. You are deserving of all good things, but it is only when you come to know that to be true that you will begin to allow the good to flow more easily into your life. Don’t hesitate to let go of those toxic relationships, friendships, etc. Ask yourself today, “What are the new standards that I accept for myself? What do I need to let go of? How deeply do I love and respect myself?” With honest reflection and authentic self-love, you can open yourself up to an amazing new idea of the vision for your life.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
Somehow in our society it has become commonplace to think that someone who shows their emotions is weak and someone who is stoic and seemingly unbothered by life’s challenges is strong. However, that idea couldn’t be more wrong. The exact opposite is true. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable in a given moment, it is then that we are actually displaying our true strength.
As men, we are often taught that being emotional and being in touch with our feelings is a sign of weakness. They say, “It is only proper for girls to be vulnerable. Men aren’t supposed to have negative emotions outside of anger. Men are definitely not supposed to express those negative emotions. And there is absolutely no excuse for a man to ever cry.” But as a human-being, we all have emotions. Positive and negative. Our emotions are meant to be felt and expressed. With this understanding, we can move from a place of letting our ego be in control, to really letting our soul shine through.
One of the most important things that we can do is to teach our children and our youth how to express their feelings. So many times we tell our kids to “Suck it up” or “Stop crying and don’t be sad“. Such statements are often made by loving parents who do not want to see their children hurt and in pain. The error is that we are teaching our children to deny their feelings. We are teaching them that they should not feel any type of sadness or hurt. Instead, what we should be teaching our youth is how to feel their emotions and let them pass as they naturally will. What ends up happening is that instead of learning how to feel their emotions, children start to build up walls to protect themselves from feeling much at all. These walls often carry into their adult lives and create unnecessary struggles for them in the forms of trust issues, defensiveness, and sabotaging a good thing in the fear of being hurt by it. By guiding our children through the right way to deal with their feelings, we can help them establish strong emotional grounding that will support them as they grow into adults.
I’ve found that one of my biggest challenges has been opening up my heart again and expressing those emotions that are deep inside. Sometimes it seems easier for me to pretend as though everything is okay, rather than to let someone know that I am actually upset or saddened by something. But as I am learning, I see that without feeling you are not truly alive. You have to be able to feel.
It is okay to have feelings of sadness, of heartbreak, of despair, of hopelessness and of other negative emotions at times. What is not okay is ignoring your feelings as if they don’t exist. When emotions are kept bottled up, it is unhealthy on many levels. Bottled up emotions often are the root of extreme expressions such as rage and tantrums. And they are also the cause of many physical dis-eases such as ulcers, cancers, etc.
Many people use different things to numb their pain instead of feeling it. Some of these things may include working a lot, eating in excess, drinking alcohol on a regular basis, excessive shopping, etc. All of these things are distractions that keep you from feeling those negative emotions that are deep within. The way to move past these extreme behaviors and addictions is to feel whatever pain you’re avoiding. Deal with those issues and allow all of those feelings to come up no matter how painful they may be. What you are not willing to deal with and face, you will not be able to heal. Don’t use your behaviors as an excuse to stay stuck in sadness, hurt, anger, etc.
It takes a vulnerably strong person to say that “I am sorry.” It takes a vulnerably strong person to say that “I was afraid.” It takes strength to show your heart. Much like with many things in life, the more you practice being vulnerable and living from your heartspace, the easier it will become to act from that place in more of life’s situations.
Being vulnerable doesn’t mean that you are being gullible or too free in sharing yourself. It simply means that you are willing to express your emotional truth in a given moment.
Being vulnerable is really just being open. Open to the good things and the bad things. Without one or the other, we wouldn’t be having a full life experience. An open heart may experience heartache but a closed heart cannot feel love. If you’re too busy worrying about protecting yourself from being hurt all the time, you may miss out on all of the love and joy that could come in the most unexpected of ways. I offer you to see vulnerability as one of your greatest strengths. You may find that you’re stronger than you had ever imagined.