Tag Archives: self-help

Creativity for Peace Program- Prepare to Be Amazed!

Image by: Creativity for Peace Israeli May Freed, Creativity for Peace Director Dottie Indyke, Palestinian Jwana Ghaleb
Image by: Creativity for Peace
Israeli May Freed, Creativity for Peace Director Dottie Indyke, Palestinian Jwana Ghaleb

I don’t know if you have this radio program available to you, but if you don’t- you should check it out online!  One of my favorite things to listen to, be inspired by, and just plain “cry” to is Peace Talks Radio.  Weeks ago as I was driving to work, they were featuring one of my most loved programs on this planet- Creativity for Peace.  “What is this savvy, amazing, peace instilling program that you speak of,” you may ask?

Well!

“Creativity for Peace includes a camp experience in the high desert of New Mexico for adolescent girls from all sides in the Middle East conflict.   At the annual camp, the girls speak their minds and hearts about their own suffering due to the hostilities.  Despite being taught to see the other as the enemy, they learn to get along and even be friends.  More importantly perhaps, they learn important lessons in conflict resolution.”

I am a huge proponent of teaching people to listen- deeply listen- to resolve conflict and create healing in their hearts from traumatic or abusive situations.  This program to me represents everything that can be accomplished in our world if we understand that words much of the time are just expressions of emotional release, and many times once they are expressed without  judgment or reacting, healing can take place for both parties.  Incorporating deep listening practices into your daily routine can be life changing- especially with those people that really know how to “yank your chain.”

This particular episode that I was listening to had two young girls, Palestinian Jwana Ghaleb and Israeli Jew May Freed, who have attended the camp and continue to work with it to help other girls resolve their inner conflicts due to the outer conflict of their cultural society, particularly between Palestinians and Israeli Jews.  Their stories will drive you to great heart opening experiences, and give you the opportunity to see where you may need some healing yourself.

To listen, CLICK HERE.

I Shall Not Hate- Dr. AbuelaishA long time ago, I heard an interview by a Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, MD, MPH, where he talked about the anguish he experienced in losing 3 of his daughters and a niece due to an Israeli shell that hit his home in Gaza.  Dr. Abuelaish served as a doctor in Israel, and had dedicated his life to serving those that many would call his enemies.  In response to his experience, he wrote a book called “I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey”.  What was amazing about his interview to me, besides how incredible his spirit is to have dedicated his life to peace after an experience that could have perpetuated hate and conflict, was learning that one of his daughters that died in the bombing had actually attended Creativity for Peace, here in New Mexico.

My inspiration today lives in all of those that see beyond their own inner conflict and anger, and reach out to the world to heal rather than perpetuate the ego’s delusion of separation.  Deep Listening is a practice that can be instilled in all of us- and if our children learned it at a young age, I feel we could change the world.  To me, it is a meditative exercise that connects us to the hearts of one another, rather than our mind which is full of belief systems and a desire to be argumentative.  I hope that you have time to listen to this radio show today, or check out Dr. Abuelaish’s book– or just think about someone that you might be angry with, and see them with compassion for their ignorance that may have caused you pain- or have compassion for yourself, which is so hard and difficult to do for many of us.

Give yourself a hug, by giving someone else a hug.  Happy Friday!

Daily Prompt: Toot Your Horn / The Complement Man

reflections of lonely reeds in water
How am I reflecting your light today?

As a life coach and someone who helps people learn how to give themselves pats on the back for making headway in personal work, I was delighted to see the daily writing prompt today.  On the other hand, I am one of those typical ironic people that also feels like I am being inappropriate for maybe “tooting my own horn.”  I recall a moment in my own personal history where a great uncle figure in my family was bathing me in complements while visiting my childhood home in Virginia.  It was during a time in my life where I was just developing as a girl and felt extremely insecure about being pretty enough or accepted into social groups at school.  As I was basking in the light of these complements my uncle’s wife said to him that she felt like he had said enough and that I didn’t look that pretty.

Talk about a plane taking a nose dive?  Crash and burn.

It is funny to me now on one level.  I can watch the scene like an outsider and laugh at it like a film pointing out the hilarity of the obvious situation my ego was engaged in.  I have found in life that giving complements to others in a way does toot my own horn.  It gives cause to feeling the inherent love that exists in my heart because I am recognizing it in others.  I feel grateful because I can step back and say- this person is so kind, how can I bring more kindness into my life and interaction with others.  I recommend to everyone out there that when you see light in another person, reflect back and know that you could not see that beauty unless you had first recognized it in yourself.  It is the magic trick of life- that mirror reflecting back to you your truth over and over again.

When I lived in DC, there was this guy that would hang out at the top of Dupont Circle and give praise to people as they strolled by.  It was his way of earning a living.  He called himself the “Complement Man”.  Even though it sounds funny- everyone loved him.  He made a conscious decision that if he was going to ask people for money to help him in life, he was going to do something for it- so why not divvy out relevant complements to people?  I say “three cheers!” to that.  How can you also complement yourself today?  How can you be the “Complement Man” (or woman) in your own life or someone else”s life?

DAILY PROMPT: Confessions of a Co-dependent: Me, Myself & My Helplessness

loveyourselfchallenge_tumblrLooking back, living life as a co-dependent was like a personal hell that I would re-create through relationships for myself over and over again.  I started to feel like Bill Murray in the film Groundhog Day only I didn’t feel like an omnipotent “God” with the advantage of no-calorie pastries, I felt helpless and cursed.  I lived my life like an addict, only I was addicted to being needed by others and when I was rejected I didn’t know where to turn.  Usually I would turn, but I would just turn in circles like an out of control top who could not tolerate the pain any longer.

Many addicts talk about when they “hit bottom” and my hitting bottom was definitely not something to write home about.  As for many, it was one of those experiences that has come back to haunt me in my own “hall of shame” many a time.  Understanding co-dependency is very difficult and frustrating for outsiders.  We can see certain patterns in people, but it can be trying and difficult to understand why they keep going back to that place of helplessness and loneliness whenever a relationship ends.  And why they choose partners that may seem dysfunctional or simply “wrong” for them.

For me, I had deeply ingrained worthiness issues, and I chose people that would prove to me my own personal belief system- that I did not deserve a healthy, thriving relationship that fed my soul on all levels, and that had good boundaries.  My lack of boundaries always set me up to fail because I compromised what felt right for me all the time due to my fear of conflict.  It would build up until I myself could not handle the situation any longer.  But if a breakup came out of left field, it felt like deep abandonment and I had no healthy coping mechanisms to help me get out of my personally fated riptide.

My rock bottom was not the end of my conflict, but it brought a turning point for me in my psyche that I had to take notice of.  I was young and already felt tired of having to go through the motions of life.  I was confronted with a break up that to me came out of left field.  I was a year out of college, and still very co-dependent.  When the break-up happened, I felt amazed at how people can make decisions for you and there was nothing you could do about it.  But mostly, I felt downtrodden and so helpless that life simply didn’t matter anymore.  There was a crack of light from my soul trying to expand itself into my ego-centered vision, but I was refusing to see it.

One night after going out with some friends and drinking I walked into my dark bedroom as if I was walking into a prison cell.   I looked out my window and saw the street lamp’s light, and the beautiful leaves from the trees rustling so peacefully.  In my heart, I wanted to be those leaves and not myself.  I was truly sick of my ego’s helplessness.  I then swallowed a bottle of pills.  Before going to the hospital, I simply remember this one thought- “why doesn’t anyone love me.”  What I had to learn is that my own personal love for myself and the divinity that coursed through my veins was undeveloped, and it was time to move forward.  And you know what? I am grateful every day for the grace and karma that I had to take life back by the reins from that experience and remember my truth rather than reject it so I could hold onto a belief system about myself that my ego used every day to create more separation.  The great divide within myself had to heal, as it does within all of us.  And I look forward to doing this with others for the rest of my life.

COMPASSION FOR OUR DARKEST MOMENTS

From Charter for Compassion, Article by Rita Hibbard, Relying on the Kindness of Strangers

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around
And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

Florence and the Machine, “Shake It Out”

In my own journey, I have learned a great deal about compassion.  Not only for others, but compassion for myself and all my foibles in this life.  As most of you know, and at the risk of sounding utterly cliché at this moment, without our life’s foibles we would never grow- that is, if we have the wisdom to see our foibles as growing experiences rather than things “happening to us”.  If compassion does not begin within ourselves, then it is very difficult to have compassion for other people.  In fact, those that are very hard on others are most likely even harder on themselves.  Our outer is a reflection of our inner no matter how we deal the cards.

A long time ago at a retreat for my coaching work, my teacher Debbie Ford came on stage holding a baby doll.  She brought to everyone’s attention how cute and sweet this innocent little child was.  Then, she started yelling and criticizing the baby doll and hitting it against the chair.  Afterwards, she noted that this is how most of us treat our own selves emotionally every day through constant criticism and fear.  We usually treat others better than we treat our perceived self because no one can hear how verbally abusive we can truly be when we are talking to our selves.  Sadly, not all stick to just verbal abuse with themselves.  There are many in this world that physically abuse themselves as well.  I am confessing in this moment that I was once one of those people.

What most don’t realize is that there is an aspect within ourselves that really is genuinely receiving this criticism and begging for love.  It is usually the piece of us that made that very mistake when he or she was a little child, and shamed for making that very mistake.  In taking on WordPress’s “daily prompt”, I googled the word “kindness”.  In that “googling” I was presented with the above image as the 11th.  It was a graphic on the article “Relying on the Kindness of Strangers” by Rita Hibbard for the Charter for Compassion website.  I love this graphic!  It was perfect, and brought me to one of my favorite topics- compassion!  All of a sudden the song “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine came on my Pandora station- and the lyrics (listed above) met me at the fork in the road concerning this inspiring graphic and word.  In the song Florence states that it is “always darkest before the dawn” and I could not agree more.

How many of you have been dragging a dead horse around so to speak on your back and you just can’t let it go because it gives you an opportunity to continue to criticize yourself?  What does this opportunity afford you?  Many people believe that attachment has to do with those things we love in this life- but this is not true.  We are also attached to the opportunities that allow for our inner demons to control our life.  Face the inner demon.  It will only get better from there, I promise.  I say that as testimony to my own darkness and how facing it changed me forever.  It gave me new opportunities to love and embrace the joy that I rejected because I didn’t think I deserved it.  The only way I could face it was through compassion.  I was enabled to see that little girl in me suffering and give her the love she needed to move on and own her light.

To express our light takes great courage, and I invite you to express your light and have compassion for yourself.  Let those foibles go and you will be of greater service to this world through the expression of genuine compassion for others suffering.  I promise.

LAYERS OF RAINBOWS

There is neither here-
     nor there.
There is only that which is written in the soul.
  And,
      That is what you must share.

When I think about a “regular” day, it is easy for me to get caught up in the mundane activity that the ego-driven mind has created.  Life as a formulaic, step-by-step process- it could be written down like a recipe, and if someone performed the steps they would be me.  Or, would they?

Within every moment there is more happening between me and the other side of the planet, my simple mind could not conceive it all, yet it is all happening in the instant, within the instant.  Life- constantly unfolding…changing…never stopping.  I had this snap shot in my mind after reading this statement by Thich Nhat Hanh in his book Awakening of the Heart on emptiness recently-

“Each of the 5 rivers has to be made by the other 4.  It has to coexist; it has to inter-be with all others.”

The five rivers being the five aggregates: form, sensation, perception, mental formation, and consciousness.  This being said, each aggregate or river flowing within us has to contain elements of the other aggregates or rivers flowing within us.  Nothing is independent of itself. And, we are “empty of a separate, independent existence.”

This being said, I felt like I was looking from above into a tall skyscraper with the top off.  And as I looked in, I could see a system like a corporation working.  Within the corporation are layers of departments each based on an idea, a subject.  Then, there are people working in each department supporting the idea, dependent on one another as they operate.  Each person has its own universe within them including the people they know and love.  Then, they have their own mind chattering away, all day- day after day.  Within their mind is their body.  Their body is made up of organs, tissue, cells, living organisms while the mind is dictating life, while the nature, the essence of this being is slowly, deliberately becoming more apparent in a form of awareness.  Thought becomes another thought- and then what?  Life.

As I stepped out of the gym yesterday, there was a large shift in the wind.  The sky was becoming darker, and as I turned the corner to get to my car, a rainbow was standing before me, filling the sky with its abundant beauty and hope.  This rainbow reminded me of so many other rainbows- and thus began a continuation of thought and life, ever changing and all encompassing, again.

One of my most memorable moments with a rainbow came when I felt completely lost and hopeless in my existence as a human, being.  I sat in my car at the grocery store on Columbia Pike in Arlington, VA, crying and asking my angels to please help me get out of my head and the funk of hopelessness.  I cried, and cried some more.  I finally felt a little relief and stepped out of my car, to again witness a large, brightly lit rainbow illuminating the sky in full color.  At that moment, I felt the hope of transformation and gratefulness chasing out my self-inflicted demons.

How often do we forget that we are not alone, that we are not independent of one another?  This is a reminder that no matter where you look, there is a rainbow somewhere giving hope to someone, who is deeply connected to you.  Just look around you, and listen to your heart.  You will see and hear whatever it is you need, to remember your essence, your divine nature.  It just helps to be open.  To be conscious of it, but it is always there.