Change

Change

People always say change is a good thing? Is it? I mean I suppose it can be. Depends on the change. But I think people say change is a good thing because if nothing changes, then nothing changes. Meaning everything just stays the same all the time. Day in and day out, no changes, just the same old same old. That would be kind of boring right? But change is also hard. Because we get comfortable in our complacency. We are comfortable in our surroundings and our lives and changing something means we would have to be uncomfortable for a time until we got comfortable again.

You might say we have a love/hate relationship with change. Because, while change is good, it leads to personal growth and maybe new possibilities, we also don’t like the growing pains we feel while the change is happening.  Think about it, we get stuck at a job we hate because it would be too much effort or too scary to go out and find another job that we might love. We stay in failed relationships or marriages because leaving would mean we would have to find a new place to live, figure out how we are going to pay for things, and also means you have to put yourself out there again after you’ve grieved that relationship. All scary stuff. We don’t like things that we can’t predict. If we can’t predict what we are going to do tomorrow or what the plan is tomorrow, don’t we freak out a bit?

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Now, not every change has to be life altering. You can make little changes to yourself as a person that doesn’t involve something big like moving, or finding a new job, or getting out of a relationship. Self reflection can bring about much-needed change in your life that maybe just helps you to focus, or to feel better about yourself or to strive for something you’ve always wanted to do. Something that is just for you.

I was reading in another article today about overcoming challenges. Sometimes we don’t try to overcome them because the tasks seem so daunting. It seems like you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel because the task seems so hard. But what if you broke that task down into small steps. Small accomplishments that are easy and attainable but all of those tasks were working toward an ultimate goal? The analogy in the story used was going on a long hike and at first you were fine but then as the hike got harder, it seemed like you couldn’t make it to the finish line because you were tired and thirsty and wanted to rest. Well by all means, rest then, but don’t get so comfortable resting that you stop progressing. Because you certainly won’t finish that hike if you stop where you are indefinitely. So the idea was to count 100 steps and along the way while you are counting you notice the beauty around you, you find things to look at and admire that are fun. Maybe you even sing a song. Before you know it you’ve reached 100 steps. Then you start again, okay let’s do another 100 steps. So if you break the goal down into attainable smaller goals eventually you reach the ultimate goal.

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I think we decide to stay stagnant and complacent because we are afraid that the goal is too big. That we can’t see the finish line so we give up. So, maybe instead of picturing the finish line, you just picture the next 100 steps. Believe me 100 steps isn’t that many, I have a fit bit and it counts your steps, 100 is pretty small. You don’t realize how many steps you actually take in a day.

Now why am I bringing this up? Because like most of you, I get scared, I get comfortable and complacent and I get afraid to make even small changes that will most definitely make my life better, but I fail to do them because the finish line seems so unattainable. So maybe I will stop thinking of the end result and just start focusing on the next 100 steps. I can do that. I’m reminded of a saying, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey we take to get there, and the journey is beautiful. The journey is life. We go through ups and downs and hills and valleys and storms and all sorts of obstacles, but if we stop the journey, if we just sit down and wait because we are scared, are we living? Can we really call that life? If we don’t take the journey, we never experience all that we could have. If we stop taking the journey, we die.

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So change really is a good thing. We should invite the change, we should embrace the change, and yes, as Gandhi put it, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  But remember, you must change from within first and it starts with just the first 100 steps.

Use Your Life Line

Use Your Life Line

Over the years we have all come across trials and hardships in our lives. No one is exempt from this. It’s called life. Have you ever stopped to look back at trials in your life and realized that without knowing it you were probably thrown a life line? A metaphorical life-preserver if you will. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize it at the time but then, when you look back you see the help clear as day. What if you were aware though? What if you were fully cognizant of the fact that you were being thrown a life line and you chose not to take it? No thanks, I’m good, I can swim. Move along. What if instead of letting our pride get the best of us, we grabbed that life line and held on for dear life? Or maybe, you didn’t even realize you were drowning until a life line was thrown to you? I’ll admit, that is usually me. I’m going along, just swimming along thinking I’m good, everything is good, and then suddenly a life boat appears or a life preserver and I think, “well that’s odd, like why do I need this? I’m totally fine.” But, for some reason I grab it anyway, because, well, why not?  Maybe I’ll need it someday.

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The point is, often times we get so busy with life and thinking we can do it all on our own that we forget that we can’t. That’s right, I said we can’t. It’s not a some can and some can’t kind of thing. It isn’t a debate, we absolutely cannot navigate this life alone.

Recently I’ve been thrown a life line, one I didn’t know I needed. This person who has come into my life, has offered me one thing….friendship. That’s it, something so simple. Something we take for granted every day. Someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off of, to just listen when you need someone to listen. To try to cheer you up when things seem hopeless. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. It doesn’t have to be some drastic hallelujah sign from above. It’s the little things.  We are sent these angels every day, to help us through the tough times. Sometimes it is someone expected, sometimes it is totally unexpected. But none the less it’s there, and who knows, maybe you were sent to that person to help them in some way. I think God absolutely uses us as tools to help each other and the bonus part is you end up with a life long friend. Who couldn’t use one of those right?

This is not the first time I’ve been thrown a life-preserver. Although this is probably the first time I’ve been fully aware that it was happening.  I can think of many situations and times in my life where divine intervention is absolutely the only reason that I got out of a bad situation. There just wasn’t any other way to describe it. I don’t believe in luck, I don’t believe in coincidence really, I mean yes sometimes things are coincidental, but not usually big things. My life has been orchestrated in such away that it lead me right to this moment. This moment where I am writing this blog to whomever, explaining that God knows each of us, and he cares for each of us individually and there is nothing that we feel or experience that he isn’t aware of. He absolutely inspires events and people in our lives to reach out when needed.  I am here, at this point in my life for a reason. It wasn’t by choice (not really) it was by circumstances, and yes choices I’ve made, but ultimately choices that maybe I needed to make to get here.  This all sounds very deep and vague I know, but honestly, look at your life and think back. Who was your life line, who helped you, how did you make it through some situations? Was it truly alone? I don’t think so.

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Now what about those truly horrible situations that happen to some people where you think, why would a loving God let that happen? Yes, there are truly bad things that happen to good people through  no fault of their own. Why is that? Is it because he cares less for them? No, it isn’t. There maybe no real clear answer to that until we ultimately pass on and the big picture is revealed, but one thing I can say is that even though some people endure horrible circumstances in their life, they ultimately come out of it with an experience that in some way, I am sure, has taught them something. Is it fair, well, no, but life isn’t fair is it? Some of those people don’t make it out alive, fair? Maybe not, or maybe they were taken out of this life to live a better one, without the pain and suffering of this world. So while we may not know the reason why some people are saved and some people are not we know that everything happens for a reason. Even if we can’t see that reason in this life.

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I am fortunate enough to not have to go through something truly horrific in this life thus far. But, I truly am blessed to know that I am not alone. That through inspired events in my life I’ve seen numerous life lines thrown to me. Some I have taken, and some I have passed by only to have that life line offered to me again later on. I am here writing this blog because right in this moment God knows what I need. He knows how I feel. He loves me even when I don’t love myself. Maybe I’m writing this for myself, maybe someone else needs to hear it. I don’t know. But I don’t need to know all of what God has in store for each of his children to know that right here in this moment he sees me, and hears me, and loves me and is proud that I used the life line, even when I wasn’t sure why I needed it.

 

Let It Go! (No, not the Frozen song)

Let It Go! (No, not the Frozen song)

Isn’t it funny how sometimes we just hold on to useless stuff. Not just material clutter (which I have plenty of) but emotional clutter, baggage, unnecessary feelings and struggles. We just cling to those things like they are so precious to us. Why?

Here is what I think, I think those things build up. I think we don’t think about them until suddenly we realize our minds have become this waste land of crap! It happens slowly so we don’t realize it until we find ourselves mentally bogged down by these feelings. They have suddenly taken over your life to the point that your true feelings, your true potential, and your true spiritual nature are suffocated under the weight of it.  So why do we let it get that way?

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Have you ever carried a heavy bag or back pack? You pick it up at first and think this isn’t so bad. Maybe it isn’t even that heavy at first. You walk around with it on your shoulder and as you go along you collect stuff. You have the bag after all, why not put stuff in it.  Maybe you don’t even put that much in it. But, if you carry that bag around long enough, it starts to feel heavy. Suddenly you find yourself switching shoulders. Then you walk around with it on that shoulder for a while until it starts to get to heavy for that shoulder to. So what you end up with is 2 sore shoulders. Do we ever not think of maybe setting the bag down, or even setting it down and taking some stuff out of it that we don’t need?

Now that’s a great metaphor obviously, I know women out there can relate to carrying around that enormous purse that you throw literally everything into. I’ve done it.  Then when you go to find your wallet or your keys it is buried under all this crap. Well, because we are always so busy and just never get around to it, we don’t clean out our purses until one day we get so frustrated that we can’t find what we need that we dump the contents onto the table and start sorting things out.  Most of the stuff we collect in our purses, is just garbage that we end up throwing out. Receipts galore from shopping trips and grocery store trips. Business cards from networking events, (who is this person again)? All the crap that we just throw into our bags without thinking gets sorted through and then we put our wallet and our keys and maybe our lipstick or a compact mirror (you know, the necessities) back in and we are so proud of ourselves for getting organized. At least until we go out again and start that collecting process all over again!

My point is, maybe we should stop (first and foremost collecting useless junk in our purses) but more importantly, stop collecting useless junk in our minds.  Because we do the same thing with our minds.  Sometimes we are just a veritable plethora of useless information right?

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What if, instead of filing away that offensive remark or that small slight that someone made towards us (either intentionally or unintentionally) and just decided to let it go from the beginning? What if instead of beating ourselves up for stupid things we’ve done to ourselves or to other people, we rectify it and move on. Why keep that stored in your head to trip over one day? What if instead of the hurts we remember the good things someone has done for us? What if we kept those things. Wouldn’t we value those things?  What happens when we trip over that memory of something bad? Ultimately it brings us right back to that moment in time where we have to feel all of that hurt again. So what we’ve done is saved something that makes us feel bad so that we can one day stumble across it again and feel bad all over again. What?! Why?! LET IT GO! Let it go so that you don’t have to stumble across it again.

For example, in our homes we take care of the things we value and they are displayed nicely and kept safe right? The junk, is just left around or stuffed in a closet or a corner and only pulled out or dealt with when we keep tripping over it.  So what if we treated our emotional and spiritual minds like we treat our valuable possessions? What if we didn’t store useless junk in the corners of our minds to trip over on our way to getting to the valuable things? What if we only stored the good stuff? What if?

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It is easier said than done to let small stuff go and to not keep it filed away. It is easier said than done to let the big stuff go. I’m not sure I have the answer, what I do know is that if we take the time to pause for a minute and decide if something is worth keeping or not keeping (mentally or emotionally) then maybe we will stop collecting the useless stuff and start valuing the valuable stuff. Something to think about, and if someone out there masters how to do this let me know because that could be useful information right?

The Great Escape!

The Great Escape!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am an “all-in” kind of girl. When I decide to do something I jump in and do it and I do it full force.  It’s a blessing and a curse. Anyway, blogging has become my great escape. It seemed a little odd at first putting my thoughts and feelings and ideas out into the internet world for anyone to see. But I gotta say it’s been liberating as well. Because, I truly am a person who doesn’t care what others think, or at least that is what I always told myself anyway, this really has been a testament to that idea. Do I really not care? If I put these personal thoughts and ideas out into the world-wide web, you better be sure of that. So far, I haven’t been flogged by anyone or told that I’m stupid or whatever mean and nasty things people can come up with. Or maybe I’m just not that interesting and people don’t really care. Either way, it has been liberating for me.

Most of my blogs thus far have been about some personal discoveries I’ve made about myself. I haven’t even touched on politics yet (don’t worry at some point I probably will) I’m sure that’s when I’ll get the hate posts. I am just basking in the idea of personal growth and my own personal thoughts right now. I guess I’m being a little selfish because, everything has been about me thus far! Shocker! I have to admit it feels a little narcissistic at times. But oh well, maybe my struggles or thoughts can help someone else in the long run.  That’s what I like to tell myself anyway.

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What I have found is that self-reflection can be hard and draining.  I think not enough of us take the time to really reflect on who we are, why we do the things we do, or how we got to be the person we are now. I mean why would we, we all have lives and are busy and why would we stop to ask those questions anyway? I’m really not sure what lead me to ask them in the first place. I think we are afraid to look too hard at ourselves because we might not like what we find. We might have to admit we are wrong in some way. We might have to admit that our way of thinking or doing things is flawed, and who really wants to admit any of that? Not me, for sure. I have always thought of myself as knowing exactly who I am and what I stand for, and if I make a decision one way or another, it is the right one for me. Because I never really stopped to examine why I was doing something or thinking a certain way.

What are we afraid of? I’ll tell you what we are afraid of. We are afraid of change. We are afraid that if we stop to reflect on ourselves and really look at ourselves on a deeper level that we will have to do things differently. That we will find out that we are wrong and if we find out we are wrong, we have 2 choices, to either stay wrong or change.  Change is never an easy thing and admitting you are wrong, is even harder.

What I’ve found about myself (right, wrong or indifferent) is that I act first and think later and that I have an amazing ability to reason myself into what I think I want.  Since I am in the legal field professionally, I have been asked by many people why I didn’t just become a lawyer. I guess they recognize what I fail to recognize about myself, which is that I’d probably make a great attorney. I mean what do attorney’s do essentially? They reason away their client’s actions or lack of actions, or whatever. They find that loophole. They come up with a plausible scenario which makes that winning argument. Essentially that is what I do to myself. I come up with those winning arguments in my head which essentially makes my actions or in-actions, or whatever, plausible. I find those loopholes. I twist the facts or the truth until it fits my narrative inside my head.  That’s crazy right? When I put it on paper like that it sounds crazy to me. But when I’m rationalizing it in my head it doesn’t sound crazy at the time. I don’t realize I’m doing it.

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So now that I’ve figured out that about myself, what is the answer? How do you fundamentally change how your mind works? Seriously! I mean it’s like changing your personality. So even if I do realize this about myself, how does one go about changing the fact that you have a really good attorney in your head? I mean, she is obviously very good at her job. This does kind of go along with my last blog post from 2 days ago. “Punch Satan in the Face!”. Essentially I alluded to the fact that it was Satan in my head feeding me my thoughts or twisting them. So I suppose going back to that position, I just have to evict Satan from my brain right? Is it that easy though? I mean part of the reason that Satan is in my head and that I can’t tell the difference between what are organically my thoughts and what are his, is because he twists my thoughts so they sound like me. Again, I am Satan, Satan is me, etc. But I think even if I do successfully punch Satan in the face and kick him out, I’m still me right? I’m still the one that finds loopholes aren’t I?

Here is what I’ve been told in the past about personal revelation. I’ve been told that you can tell that it is the spirit of God speaking if the idea or thought is good (I’m paraphrasing) but if it is bad it is from Satan. Great! problem solved! Oh wait, except that good and bad are totally subjective to each individual and also relative to the situation. Right! Forgot about that. This is where things get personally murky for me. Obviously if I have an idea in my brain box that says that I should go rob a bank, obviously, that is a clear indicator that it is bad and is not from God. Okay, cool. Now what if I have a thought in my head that says, keep your family unit together at all costs and do what is right for your family. Okay, this is where it gets confusing because that could mean so many things. Now say an opportunity presents itself to re connect with your spouse or something and you really feel that it is a good idea because re connecting with your spouse will help the family unit. Perfect! That must be good right? Now let’s say that the way your brain came up with you to re connect was to have a great weekend with your spouse that may involve going against a principal that you have been taught is fundamentally wrong, but doing it makes your spouse happy and by extension brings back that closeness that you were thinking was good for the family unit? These are just examples, but really, those little small decisions are the choices you are going with and they seem inherently “good” at the time. So, was that a loophole? If the way we make decisions or know if personal revelation is really from God is based on whether it is good or not, then how do you always tell the difference given the subjective nature of good and bad? If you pray about it and your brain still finds those loopholes, how do you change that?

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I’m still figuring that out of course. But I think they are valid questions. Of course, what do I know, based on my self-reflection, I don’t know much. But I do find that escaping into my blog and typing from this stream of consciousness that may or may not make sense, somehow let’s me escape into a reality where good and bad can co-exist for a short time just to wade through the cob webs of your mind that have been discarded and forgotten. It allows me to play, what if, for as long as I need to until that light bulb comes on that says this is the clear answer. So, even if my blog is not helping anyone but me, I guess that is good enough. If it only serves to let me escape long enough to focus on an idea or thought, then I guess it is worth it to bear my soul to the internet!

 

 

Punch Satan in the Face!

Punch Satan in the Face!

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about the adversary, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, the father of lies, etc. Yeah, you know, that guy. Why do I want to talk about him? Because he is so crafty. He is so ingenious, he is very smart, and he is very sophisticated. People might think of him like some horned devil breathing fire with a pitch fork, but that isn’t him at all is it? Satan is you, he is me, he is everyone everywhere in the world. What do I mean by that? I mean he can literally infiltrate anyone. Yes, anyone! Scary right? Well, why don’t we just punch him in the face and kick  him out then. Well, that would be fun and rewarding, however, how do you even know when he is there? I mean literally, the way I see it is he knows us as well as we know ourselves. So, he can mimic us. By that I mean he is so good at infiltrating your thoughts that you actually think the thoughts are yours and not his.

I’ve recently, and by recent I mean this morning, had the epiphany that my thoughts haven’t necessarily been my own. I will tell you that this blog had a lot to do with this epiphany, as well as a dear friend of mine who has recently indulged me in critiquing my blog. Through a series of conversations and emails, I actually saw it. The power of writing is very powerful, because you can go back and re read what you’ve written and sometimes it is like, wait what? What did I mean by that? Why did I say it like that? or even “what was I thinking?” So because I have had the opportunity to re read and reflect on my ideas and personal philosophies, I found a flaw. I know, me, a flaw in my own logic and thinking! or was it really mine? This is where Satan comes in. Were all of those thoughts really mine? Did I actually plagiarize Satan? Or did he plagiarize me? Maddening right?

So here comes the gritty part, I started reflecting on a lot of decisions I had made over the past few years and realized I wasn’t necessarily behind the wheel. Instead of singing “Jesus take the wheel” I think it was more like “Satan take the Wheel”. I think I had allowed Satan to take the wheel in my life and he was driving it full force. He was making the decisions from then on out. Now, I’m not saying that I wasn’t making any decisions. I think sometimes he’d fall asleep at the wheel and I would grab it so we would fall off a cliff. But then, for some unknown reason I’d say okay, this car is going nowhere, here you go Satan, your turn.  I think this has happened several times in my life and I finally realized why. It’s because Satan is me and I am him and we are one (so to speak) I think he set up residence in my mind a long time ago and he knows very well how my mind works. He knows what strings to pull and when and he knows how to think like me so when he applies reason to my ideas, they sound like my ideas and my thoughts.

Now, I’m not trying to give the old “the devil made me do it” line where I escape accountability for my actions by throwing Satan under the bus. No, not at all, in fact, I’m saying it’s my fault he has so much control in the first place. At some point I let him in and he is one tenant that is hard to evict.  Man he is evading the constable like the plague. The fact is we all have weaknesses and we all fall for those same weaknesses consistently. I’m reminded of my favorite scripture which is Ether 12:27: And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Great, so that’s awesome! God gave men weakness so that they will be humble. I love the thought that his grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before him. That’s great, so I’ve humbled myself and my weakness is that I consistently let Satan drive the bus. Awesome!  So the scripture says if I humble myself before him and have faith in him, then he will make weak things strong unto them. So that’s where it says, okay, if your weakness is that Satan convinces you to let him drive the bus, how are you going to make me strong to evict Satan and not let him drive the bus anymore? Boom! Have faith and be humble. Admit you are wrong and that you don’t have control and ask God for help! Or, accept the life line he has already sent you (cause chances are he has sent you several already). Grab that life line and then punch Satan in the face and throw him out of the bus!

Okay, okay, I admit that all sounds much easier said than done.  I know, because Satan is still driving my bus to a certain extent.  But not for long. I just have to find my boxing gloves!

 

 

Where do you Stand?

People who meet me generally have the same opinion at first. She’s nice, or she’s sweet, or she is so confident and sure of herself. I’ve heard she is fearless as well. Sometimes, I get not so nice comments, more on the side of she is a bitch, or she is pushy.  So which of these is the real me? The answer is all of them and none of them. Now you are really confused right? Where do I stand?

Every few years it seems I go through a personal transformation. But, at the same time I always remain me (who ever me is). It’s been a few years since my last personal transformation so I guess it was time again. But, this time it’s different. Before, whenever I’d decide (and that decision was usually made very fast) I’d just jump in and head in that direction. Full speed ahead. I didn’t earn the nick  name of “all in” for nothing.

This time I think I am aware that I am changing. I’m aware that it’s happening and its making me pause and think about it more. So my normal gut reaction of jumping into the transformation head on without looking is being evaluated.  When I was probably 5 years old my mom put me in swimming lessons at the local college. I think I was 5 the age might be wrong, but the point is I was young. I am deathly afraid of heights, so when it came time to jump off of the high dive I was naturally scared.  I remember climbing up the ladder and standing on the board looking down the long board toward the edge thinking, I can’t do this, it’s too high. So rather than walking to the edge of the board, like I was supposed to and positioning myself to jump, I shut my eyes and ran down the board and just jumped off at full speed without looking. This pretty much sums up my life. I knew if I walked to the edge of the board and looked down I would never jump. So I just shut my eyes and ran. This sums up most of my decisions in life where I wasn’t sure what to do or if I could do it. I just shut my eyes and jumped, wherever I land I land.

So this time, I find myself at the edge of the diving board staring down. Should I jump or should I turn around and climb back down the ladder? So now I’m asking, where do I stand? Normally, I stand wherever I land and I can’t say that hasn’t served me in the past, it has. But sometimes it hasn’t. It’s always a gamble.

This blog has forced me to actually think. Instead of going through life on a whim, living on a prayer, so to speak, I am analyzing myself while writing this. It is both liberating and a little scary because once I’ve created that logic, that dialogue that can’t be disputed, I pretty much can’t talk my self out of it anymore, or internally reason with myself. Because now it’s in writing. Wow! the power of  writing is off the charts.

So, I am a complex person who has many sides and all of them are me and none of them are me. I stand at the edge of a diving board staring down into the abyss for the first time, actually looking. Will I jump? No, I think maybe I’ll just sit a while.