Saturday, September 12, 2015

Life is a school and EVERYONE is a student!

I had the luxury of sleeping in this morning and opened my eyes to these exact words. Yet, there were many times that I believed what I was told by others to be the truth before researching the facts and getting other view points.

If everyone is a student of life, this would mean we all can benefit from learning from each other instead of arguing and fighting over which person is right. If everyone is a student, including our parents, and the entire family was aware of it, I believe there would be more compassion and understanding.

It would also have been nice if we were taught from a very early age how to communicate peacefully. If I found out my parents were students when I was young, I would have strived to ask more questions, especially about their own upbringing and what life was like when they were growing up. I would have found out much sooner, that maturity is a gift that not everyone obtains.

What if we were told we were all students in preschool and kindergarten? Can you imagine what school would have been like if our assignments were to bring in information on something we are interested in and share this with our classmates instead of enduring a strict lesson plan and teachers controlling everything we learn?

I know my son would have loved to do this. When I picked him up after his first day of kindergarten, he told me, “School is dumb! They just try to teach me things I already know!” Then by the third day of kindergarten, he figured out how to read. Instead of reading children’s books, he spent hours browsing through the pages of my sister’s encyclopedias. We thought he was just looking at the pictures, but he began telling us what he had read. I approached his kindergarten teacher about letting students like my son help teach class, but the answer was a defiant NO. My son would not back down, though, and was often sent to the principal’s office.

David Curan, a teacher in Montana, came up with an exercise relating to journalistic writing which was not directly about writing non-fiction but how non-fiction is chosen for the media. He cut out short newspaper clippings that he found interesting and pasted them to 8.5 x 11 sheets which he made copies of and distributed to his students. He divided the class into groups and explained that each group was their own television news station. Then he explained that much of the news comes in over what is called a wire service and that hundreds of articles come in. Their job was pick enough stories to give a three minute presentation that they would give in front of the class. They could pick someone to be the news person or everyone could take a turn presenting, but the group had to present three minutes of news. After the presentation, he asked the students if they thought the news on television gives them all the news. How did they pick what they presented? I think you get the idea here. The newspapers and media have limited space and we are rarely getting the whole story about anything, jumping to conclusions too quickly based on what we read and hear. Many times the information has been verbally passed down and by the time we get it, the original message is lost.

One of the games I remember the strongest when I was a kid is the one in which you whispered something to the person next to you and told them to pass it on. By the time it came back to you, it was completely different. Whenever I hear from someone what they heard from someone else, I am cautious about taking their word for it.

I’ve also learned that we all have different communication styles which can cause confusion on how information we are told gets processed. In my college communications class I learned it was important to give feedback to the person we are listening to and make sure we understood what they were telling us - both in business and in our personal lives. Of course, I forgot about this soon after and often misunderstood what was being told to me, which often resulted in my feelings getting hurt. If it is so easy to misunderstand what we are told, how can you expect to hear the truth after it has funneled down through several people?

Life is a school and EVERYONE is a student. Whether it is politics, medicine, religion, or something else, I plead with you all to read and listen to news with a grain of salt and decide for yourself what you will believe. I also plead with you to acknowledge how easy it is to misunderstand what you hear before you jump to conclusions and make snap judgments about people. Imagine what an epidemic of compassion could bring to our world!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Contrast, Triggers, and the Law of Allowing

I subscribe to Christy Whitman's newsletters which include videos. In a recent one about the Law of Allowing, I felt an additional 'ingredient' to recent moments of synchronicity. One of those is the slowly deflating tire on my car. How very 'coincidental'. I'd been losing 'air' in the form of energy because I was letting someone I know suck it out of me. I was feeling 'deflated' by some of the words she had been telling me over the last year, while I replayed them over and over in my mind. Perhaps my tire situation wasn't so coincidental after all!

I also saw the following quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." Did I really want to give this person permission to hurt me?

Over the past year, someone I know, who I'm sure had my best interests at heart, was very careless with her words. Each time I was assaulted by something she said, texted, or messaged me, I felt angry. I also asked myself if what she was saying was really true. I was free to accept them or reject them. Just the same, the words were leaving new wounds on top of old ones. The fact that I was dwelling on them confirmed this.

In applying everything I've been learning over the last four years, I kept hearing the voice of my younger sister telling me to silently say, "Thank you for letting me know I still have this issue to heal." My sister had taken Christy Whitman's Life Coach program and was applying the concepts to her own life while passing the wisdom onto me. Indeed, I still had memories and childhood wounds that were affecting me. The only way I would know, is if someone triggers them. I even wrote a song about this... the first two verses go like this:

"If someone pulls a trigger, 
you may see my cry, 
sometimes I know the reason, 
sometimes I don't know why. 

I've been hit with the meanest words, 
that were curt and they were cold, 
so be careful what you say, 
words can hurt my sensitive soul."

I love my older sister (five years older). She was like a second mother to me. She was, however, a Leo and a very bossy, controlling one. At some point, I had to grow up and figure out what was right for me as I had always been the docile, accepting one... accepting whatever I was told as the truth.

There are way too many people in this world who believe their 'truth' should be the same truth for everyone else... including in politics and religion.

Here I was, last week, still dwelling on the words spoken to me. Then Friday afternoon, I overheard a woman preach the hell and damnation scenario. If you don't accept Jesus as your savior, you're going to hell! At one time, I had wondered whether this was really true so I embarked on a religious journey of my own, studying all the religions of the world. I concluded that as long as people had a belief in something, that was what mattered. I am just sad for the ones who like I was at one time, buying into their narrow point of view.

Here I was, hearing this speal, when I began to smile inside. The people who had spoken so many hurtful words to me were no different than the religious person who speaks theirs. I didn't have to let it affect me.

What's more, I realized the more I heard the degrading words of my former associate, the more I knew they were not true. She was speaking them from HER perspective. As I digested this, looking down at the bigger picture from my home in the sky (from my post on Skydiving), I thought about everything in life being created for a purpose, including the contrast that the world offers so we can learn about ourselves by both what we want and what we don't want and by what we decide is true for us.

As for synchronicity, a new video landed in my email inbox from Christy on the Law of Allowing. She said when we no longer resist contradictory circumstances that trigger our emotions, look at them as an observer, ask what they are trying to tell us, we can learn from them. As Teal Swan says in her videos, use emotions as your compass and let them flow through you. They don't have to live in your body and drag you down to the bottom of the sea like an anchor.

Where in your life are you begin triggered? Is there someone who spits words that hurt without any regard to your feelings? If you could step back as an observer and look at the bigger picture, can you see lessons you could learn from the experience? Please comment below.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sky Diving

From Chapter 9 of "Appearances: A Journey of Self-Discovery", (written in 1996).

Imagine—you jump from a plane high in the sky with a parachute strapped to your back. The parachute is designed to automatically open at just the right distance from the ground. You know when it opens, your free fall will end and you will coast safely to earth, but while you are falling, fear grips at your soul. If the parachute doesn’t open, you will not survive. After the parachute opens, you can focus on the earth from a distance. Your perception is larger than when you are standing on earth.

I’ve learned we are all born with an unlimited supply of parachutes. Yet, each time I must let go of previous experiences, like a relationship, job, or home (or all three simultaneously), I feel as though I am free falling. I know that the parachute will open and God will make sure I land safely and provide me with everything I need. But I am terrified on the way down. I never know where I am going to land until I get there. Feelings of panic in the form of depression, isolation, and disorientation grip my being while I wait for God to do what God does at the exact right moment. I don’t know what that moment will be - just like I don’t know when that parachute will open. Sometimes the panic gets so bad I lose faith that the parachute will open at all.

Suddenly, in every circumstance, the parachute opens. My view of the world becomes clear. As I see things from a distance, my perception expands. At that moment, I usually know what to do and what decisions to make. Circumstances rearrange themselves like clouds forming in the sky to fit into a perfect shape. By the time I get to the ground, I have exactly what I need to move on to another segment of my life. Like a dandelion seed that had been blowing in the wind for quite some time, I take root and watch life grow around me again.

I don’t like the feeling of free falling, being face to face with the unknown, yet I keep finding myself there. I had seen marriage as a parachute but it was one that tore on the way down. I find that the only parachutes I can truly rely on are the ones God supplies me with. Perhaps if I did not have so many mishaps and experienced God’s parachutes so many times I would not have any faith in them.

In May 1996, I found myself in the free fall again - jobless, homeless, and running from my marriage. Sometimes I could close my eyes and get lost in the sensation of falling. Other times I panicked as my world spun around me in the form of the many choices I felt unable to make. I moved into the second half of my life with the belief that I DO have parachutes and that God always makes sure that I land safely.

I knew that somewhere down there, the perfect job was waiting. Somewhere down there I knew there was a perfect home for Jesse and me to settle into. Somewhere down there I knew there was the magic of a healthy relationship complete with love, compassion, encouragement, nurturing, understanding, and cooperation.

While I waited for the landing, this book was forming. Each morning for two weeks, I woke up knowing exactly what I was going to write, and spent the entire day writing. The words flowed smoothly and effortlessly....

Tell me, where in your life did you feel like you were free falling? How many times did you free fall before you began to believe you, too, had a parachute? Please comment below.