Is Hope a Form of Hell?

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There were times in my life that I lived in my own personal purgatory, an eternal hope that circumstances would change and I’d be first in line to receive what I wanted so badly.

I used to wonder if hope creates a living hell?

Besides being in the middle of war or some life-threatening situation, where you hope you make it out alive….

In all other circumstances, the word “Hope,” says things aren’t okay now! It‚Äôs a battle‚ÄĒthe acceptance of¬†what is¬†vs.¬†hope. Who wins?

It’s an exhausting fight.

I’ve done crazy things for hope and at times done nothing, but waited….and not calling it waiting, but in essence, it was….waiting.

I stayed in friendships and romantic relationships, hoping something dysfunctional would miraculously change or they’d wake up, get help or wear a matching t-shirt with me.

In a romantic relationship, I’ve been that chick.

The one who gave a ton o’ lovin’, hopin’ some day I’d hear how important and wonderful I was to their very life source. Silly, silly me.

I’ve also stayed til the bitter end of hope, when I’ve given up only to then get what I wanted….only not to want it anymore.

And I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t get rid of hope so easily.

It quietly seeped into my decisions.

I might hold back or go forth depending on that little pebble of hope. Every time I based any decision on hope, it never worked out.

Making decisions and hope should not be in the same buffet.

Decisions should be made wholeheartedly based on what is true for us in the moment.

When we desire someone else to change, like our mate, boss, kid, best friend…..we are passively living in hope.

Hoping had been a mental activity since I was a kid. Hoping for someday.

Someday what? That I’d get what I need, and have what I want?

What about the present moment?

Sometimes, someday never comes.

And if it does, it’s just as fulfilling as we allow it to be RIGHT NOW. If we’re not digging our lives today, what will make the difference tomorrow?

Thinking we’ll wake up someday and our whole life will be a wonderland, because we¬†hoped¬†it true, as long as our inside status stays the same…no outside nirvana will make a difference!

And we can’t hope we’ll change; we have to take action to change!

Having hope for change, means, “I’m not presently here.” It means no action.

We can get caught up in the ‚Äúif onlys‚ÄĚ;¬†if only, this would happen then my life would be better.

Words and inspired action go hand in hand. Not someday, but NOW. “I can’t do that now, I’m not successful, pretty, happy, worthy, etc…yet, someday I will be!”

Now is all we have and now is the time to create change, so nothing remains a hope, instead its our reality.

Does hope ever bring a sense of fulfillment? Yes and no.

On our journey, if we hope and really believe everything will work itself out, we have a sense of contentment, and a state of non-attachment. We’re not worrying and we’re STILL putting energy toward what we want.

On the other hand, attachment sucks.¬† Sometimes it feels impossible to let go, especially when we’re still hoping it works out. How do we stop?

Stop hoping, and get very clear on the reality. What is really going on now? Accept it. Then we make decisions toward a HOPE we can control. All we can control are our own thoughts, reactions and actions.

Clarity allows us to give up the internal struggle and surrender to what is¬†happening¬†now. We can then see how our actions either support us in our desire to have the life we want or they move us away from what we want, where we can only “HOPE.”

When we actively participate in our journey, we trust that all will be well and we’re not attached to the outcome.

Although, sometimes having hope is like having a map–like when we’re completely lost and we know where we want to end up, so we have hope that it gets us there.

4 Tips on Baby Steps to Change

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I meet quite a few people looking for their purpose; the meaning of life or why the hell they keep getting stuck in some sort of purgatory either thru situations or relationships, over and over again.

The feeling of unrest, depression, anxiety and whatever else we want to throw on top this cornucopia of muck is enough to drive a person to drink, sleep hours away, exercise excessively or some other extreme leading to numbing out.

The problem doesn’t go away and change needs to happen.

Why do we hold onto crap that just doesn’t work anymore?

  • It’s comfortable, even though we suffer.
  • Change is scary, what will our lives look like?
  • We’ll upset the world around us.
  • What if we fail?
  • What if it’s the wrong choice, career, relationship, etc…?

Sometimes people get to the point where they can’t take it anymore, so they do something drastic. The issue with “drastic,” is that it may not last. If we’re not truly ready, there’ll be some falling off, moving backwards, sideways and a repeating of old patterns.

Drastic can work if you have been focused on making change for a long time. If you’ve been readying yourself to get a divorce, change careers, get married, commit to a cause, volunteer your time, take on a new hobby, etc… and usually, it isn’t really all that drastic in hindsight.

Usually, when one looks back, they realize they made small changes whether in perception or action all along the way. It may look drastic to some, especially to ones who are affected in a negative sense when a dear one makes a huge change. BUT in reality it’s what we need to do when we wanna take different action or choose another path/plan altogether.

Baby steps.

It’s where it’s at, but before we take baby steps, we need to get clear on what we want.

When we look for our purpose or the meaning of life, we can feel desperate, anxious or downright upset that we can’t figure out the whole picture.

Baby step # 1: Sit for a moment. Think about a place that you are happy being in, don’t limit it. Let your imagination flow. Get in touch with that feeling of joy within you. In your mind, where are you? Now what are you doing that is giving you joy?

Keep that vision, that joy and recognize it whenever you feel it in your life. That is your purpose. Seriously, it’s your purpose to feel the joy and now that you are aware, it can expand. Watch what opportunities are available when you connect to that part of you. Allow them, you have nothing to lose. Truly.

Baby Step #2: Stop beating yourself up for not knowing, not quitting, staying in purgatory. If you can catch yourself a few times a day deleting the negative self-talk and instead saying it’s okay, you’re okay and accepting you where you are, it’s a baby step that will expand, once it becomes more familiar. Then you can do baby step #3.

Baby Step #3: take a very small risk. Teeny tiny. If you feel creative, but have spent time beating yourself up (see #2) then get your derriere to an art store, or dust off your painting supplies, or clay; perhaps you want to sing, dance, etc… ¬†now take “10 MINUTES” that’s all and do it! 10 minutes and create.

Do it once a week. And increase in baby steps. Make the time you do it short, so you don’t feel it’s an obligation, overwhelming or find a million excuses not to….be kind to yourself and do what you love.

Baby Step #4: You end up in crappy relationships. You don’t think it’s the same person, but it is, just a different costume. You want to break up with them, run away and yet are stuck. This is just a beginning baby step…but promise yourself, you can say one thing to the other person THAT IS YOUR TRUTH–YOUR FEELINGS, which scares the crap out of you to this person, this “month.” Start small.

Every time you hide your truth, you do no one a favor, because sooner or later it will come to the surface and there will be more anger, more pain and more of a feeling of being stuck in crap.

Every time you state ONE truth, you get closer to clarity, confidence, and breaking a pattern of attracting ill-fitting shoes to dance in…

Baby Step #5: Now, take baby step #1 and put ONE action toward that joy. I know someone who found her joy to be making pillows and building furniture when she realized baby step #1. She was then able to realize a joy that could lead her in a direction to fulfill her. Baby step #5 would mean it’s time to go buy some fabric for the pillows. Just get the fabric today. Next week, get the stuffing. The following week could be to pick up a sewing machine, etc…

As long as it’s baby steps when we look back in a couple months, it’ll look like drastic change, but in reality we did it at a pace to assimilate it into our lives.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Choices we make

Our choices. Our responsibility.

There is not a fairy Godmother who will rescue you when you have agreed to a decision that is an inconvenience or is a major cost to you in mental, financial or emotional stress. To be honest, we have nowhere to look but in the mirror.

It’s not a time to kick yourself or look to anything outside of you as to why you make a decision; it is an opportunity to learn more about your seed of intention.

Developing awareness of why we make the decisions we do, the purpose and the goal is a great way to understand our own motivation, thus make better decisions.

Whenever other people are informed and included in our goal it opens us up to trust. Trust them, trust ourselves to have made a good decision and trust that providence will help us along to our goal.

In trusting another, it also means we are looking for specific action or words to judge whether this person has come through in alignment with our perception of our goal.

We don’t always tell people they are included in our decision making, sometimes we assume they will come along for the ride. We unwittingly believe people have ESP, when they are unknowingly included in our plan. We develop an expectation of how they are to act or speak on our behalf, so they fit into the idea of what we “want”. And they don’t even know it!!

The thing is if we are aware of our own motivation, we may see that we “knew” there was a good chance we would be disappointed by another person. So, why would we make a choice based on another person coming through without their buy-in with the knowledge, we will be disappointed?

There are many answers to that question. It could be feeling like we don’t deserve what we really want or feel; that people always reject our wants or needs and therefore we set up the circumstances once again to show we don’t matter. That we are invisible to others.

Many times we make a decision to help someone, we believe on some level they will return the good deed.  And when the chips are down and this individual is nowhere to be found, we start the blame game if we are unaware of our initial motivation.

Perhaps, we subscribe to the belief that if we do something for someone, they must return the favor. I know many people who were raised with this philosophy, that says “I owe you one.”

We may expect someone to show up in a way that is out of character. To do something we have never witnessed this individual normally doing in their everyday life. Hoping a miracle will take place and this person will just go along with the program we have intended for them.

Why would we set ourselves up for such disappointment?

Do we feel we deserve it? Maybe not¬†consciously, but I can guarantee you somewhere behind a wall, a past event or some other point where we got the impression that we weren’t worth coming through for, we have carried it forth into our present decision making options.

How many times have you been at odds with someone who you expected to return a favor or be in your corner when they had no idea you had that expectation?

I like to call these silent disappointments. Words that are true in our heart, yet left unspoken always lead to confusion, anger and a sense of loss. We may be afraid to tell someone we have made a decision and that we need their help, agreement or understanding, because it makes us feel vulnerable. And at some past point, often as a child when we were disappointed and made to feel vulnerable, we developed a strategy for coping at that time.

Running around with strategies of a child are what keep us stuck in certain patterns and beliefs we have about ourselves and the world. If you can get to where your sense of unworthiness, being bad, wrong or invisible originated, you can see the thought process you had in making sure that it never happened again.

I have a client who realized how he didn’t speak up about what he wanted regularly and would be upset when others in his life were either unaware of his decisions he included them in or they argued his decision and the involvement he was asking for from an individual.

He felt he would say nothing rather than the truth, because the truth of what he wanted would get him into trouble. And yet, by holding back about his choices and trying to either go with what someone else wanted or make no decision, he found himself angry and depressed.

As I was asking him if he could remember the first time he felt his needs being invisible and/or causing waves with others…he remembered when he was a kid visiting his Dad for the week-end. His Dad always did things to entertain him and his siblings. When my client spoke about what “fun” activity they were doing that week-end. His father uncharacteristically lashed out at him. The exchange made my client feel unimportant and unworthy, he felt wrong and he had not meant for his question to produce a negative outburst.

So… in that moment, he made a decision, he never wanted to encounter someone getting upset with him and abandoning him or making him feel unworthy, so he started to keep quiet. He said nothing to those close to him until he couldn’t take it anymore, whatever it was that he was not saying….and he suffered for it.

Once he had this realization, that he was carrying the strategy of an 8 year old; he could see a clear path of how he needed to take action and trust his decision-making abilities whether he has the buy in of others or not. He realized he had been¬†sacrificing¬†what he really wanted to do, and creating this persona of a person doing “what others expected of him”. He knew his decisions from this point forward needed to be spoken from a place of worth and knowing what he wanted in his life, whether others jump on board is no longer an issue. He is doing what is good for him and his anger and depression have lessened immensely.

Where do you find you make most of your choices from and why? I would love to hear from you.

Morning Ramblings before Coffee

As I do my thing on the elliptical at the gym EARLY one morning, images of Libya’s fallen leader splay across the different news channels.

I don’t really have a pulse either way about his death or its meaning.

I really don’t watch the news; the skewed perception created from fear serves no purpose in my life.¬†I guess, I remain uninformed and that is okay with me.

As these images play on the screen, I am reminded of how basic human nature can be with “I’m right, my side is right, your side is wrong!”¬† arguments. For a dictator fallen, another will rise to take his place.

People don’t change, because we want them to, they change because they understand who they are and their old way of doing things is no longer suitable. It most certainly is not the work of anyone else to oppress them….they do a mighty fine job of punishing themselves. Change begins with exchanging old beliefs for new ones. Yet, its not as easy as walking into the shoe store and exchanging last season’s boots for the new trendy pair this season.

We cannot eradicate human nature. People have been trying for centuries through war and other aggressive means and yet, the same problems exist with being “human” that did 1000 years ago (yes we can state people no longer keel over from the same plagues). When there is something we don’t like, we make the other party wrong.

It takes a lot of self-awareness to realize the judgment; it happens everyday in traffic…“That idiot, where did he learn to drive? Doesn’t he know how to use a blinker?”¬†Right and wrong is a man-made idea. The Universe chooses no side, all is one and all has its place. When humans choose a side its about the ego winning….its about what you “think” based on¬†beliefs¬†you grew up with and reinforced through setting up experiences as an adult, that you know something to be labeled as good or bad.

Its not true; its an illusion, there is no good and bad as a universal truth; we each have our own truth.

If you look at the Universe as timeless, as in, it was here before you arrived and will be here after you are no longer a blade of grass on this planet, it would seem all we have built is an illusion. We didn’t build the mountains, deserts and oceans, so those would appear to be real. Its our daily constructs that don’t remain, everything changes. Even our idea of right and wrong changes in some cases. As humans we have been known to change our minds. Yet, even when we change our mind, most of the time someone or something still has to be wrong.

Again, it doesn’t make it true.

Not only are there differing opinions, but if mankind ceased to exist, the world would keep going in its natural state. Mountains, deserts and oceans would still be here. Vegetation and animals would still continue to live, breathe and go forth.The Universe would continue going along as it always does, no sense of right or wrong.

We bring construct to the world, we need a structure, a belief system even if it is not our own.

Someone again must be right and someone wrong.

I condemn no one for what they believe, it is just an observation in terms of where many buy into others’ idea of¬†“right or wrong; good or bad”.

Some people believe in words and beliefs of those who came before us. There are also modern day gurus/politicians/dictators/ leaders/neighbors/family/friends, etc… who guide people with what appears to be the “right” answer to their lives, as to what reality is…its a choice to¬†believe them of course. And this gives¬†meaning to our lives, and we get to tell ourselves we’re okay. What about that other guy who doesn’t share our belief, well once again he’s wrong. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking religious differences, government, road rage or debates across the boardroom….between couples, parents to kids, etc…

The right and wrong debate can keep on going, and going, and going…. but what it really comes down to is what is true for you? Who are you and even if the rest of the world disagrees can you stand for the truth of who you are and not the illusion someone told you should be your life?

Or maybe I just need a cup of coffee?

Waiting vs. Patience

Most people believe these two words to mean the same thing. They don’t. One definition of the word patience is¬†an¬†ability¬†or¬†willingness¬†to¬†suppress¬†restlessness¬†or annoyance¬†when¬†confronted¬†with¬†delay. A definition of the word waiting is¬†to¬†remain¬†inactive¬†or¬†in¬†a¬†state¬†of¬†repose,¬†as¬†until¬†somethingexpected¬†happens. For many people there is a presence of both in their life. Patience is much-needed, especially in today’s society and beyond the definition stated above, we are required to have patience when dealing with others too. There is a beauty in patience. There is no beauty in waiting. Many people are waiting for their ship to come in, a promotion, a date, marriage, financial stability, etc… before they feel they can really start to live in the present.

Waiting for people to change, or the love of our life to show up; feeling the need to wait for situations to be perfect, circumstances to be just right and to win the lottery before we move forward and allow change to flow naturally through us–makes sure that the “wait” is a long one, one that frustrates, defeats and makes life less than satisfying. We play it safe waiting; seems less risky and it gives us a story. “Woah is me, this always happens” OR “this never happens for me, I never get what I want”….and all I do is wait for things to get better!

Nature doesn’t wait, the seasons continue to arrive and depart. The Earth keeps spinning; the sun rises and sets; we grow from childhood to adulthood; the paint on our walls starts to peel from age and all continues to move forth. Why do we believe waiting is natural? It goes against nature to wait. There is nothing wrong with stopping what you are doing and changing direction, taking time out for yourself and not keeping up with the pace of life or to want certain things to happen while continuing to move forth in your life. Change is good. Often the change you were “waiting” for ends up looking and feeling nothing like you thought it would, either you don’t feel the gratification, which amounts to the feeling of “Wow, I wasted all that time waiting for this?” or if there is gratification, it is momentary and basically elusive…then the cycle starts again, ¬†it is time to start waiting for the next thing.

Waiting is part of a much deeper pattern. Patterns that keep us stuck doing the same things over and we have no idea “why”. We continue to make choices daily that attribute to waiting for that glorious day when the birds are singing, the sun is shining and everything in life is exactly how you believe it should be in your mind. The reality is nothing will ever be how we perceive it should be in our minds, it will be “as it is” and living now, in the moment is the best way to “not” wait. Knowing that opportunities and situations present themselves when you are fully engaged, living in the moment. This is not an easy thing to ask of many people, because to fully live into the moment, you must drop pretenses as to what the moment should look like–exerting no control over the moment and to most of all, be fully “present”. Present means without hiding, denying, living in a fantasy or anything else that takes you emotionally, physically, spiritually or mentally away from yourself and your current reality.

I will cover more of these subjects in future blog posts….just a tiny bit of food for thought.