Learning to Love

In the years after my trauma, I did not know how to love myself or other people. I surrounded my heart with protective steel walls. No one could hurt me if I couldn’t feel anything. It felt safe, but it led to me hurting other people, and to me feeling sad and emotionally numb. I was still myself, but I wasn’t connected to the world or people around me. To look at pictures of me from that time, I still seem like myself, and I’m sure if you asked my friends from that time if I seemed cold, numb or depressed, they may not have noticed. But I noticed. It was a learned way of being that I’ve thankfully mostly unlearned.

How did I learn to love? It’s taken a long time and it’s happened in many ways over many years. My biggest shift occurred when I began healing myself by trying to feel my heart. I began listening as closely as possible to my internal guidance. I felt my heart guiding me and I started really listening to it. After my trauma, I did not listen to my heart. My heart was hurting so much, and I had been told it was my fault. I did everything I could not to listen to myself. It helped me to do well at school and succeed in the physical world around me, but it did not help me heal or feel happy.

It also helped me to learn about alternative modes of healing. Finding a trusted healer helped me immensely. I also learned about the spiritual side of life, and the concept of God, angels, and unseen helpers that are with us throughout our lives. Once I opened the door a little bit, I received so much help from the other side.

It also helped to have my family structure shift. My parents, who had been in an unhappy relationship for years, finally divorced, and my mom remarried my stepdad. He saw the good side in me, one my parents had never been able to see until then, and it really changed my life.

To sum it up, the main things that have helped me learn to feel love again have been (1) listening closely to my heart, (2) opening my life up to God & the angels, and (3) having supportive people in my life. If you’re not sure how to open your life up to God, it’s ok. I didn’t really believe in that when I started. You can just say a small prayer and ask God and your angels for help. I really believe it works.

Learning to love is a journey that is unique to you. I hope some of the things I’ve learned along the way can help you find some ideas for your own path. It is possible to love again. Wishing you love today and always.

Living in Gratitude & My Steps to Conscious Creation

I try to remember to be grateful each day for the blessings I have, and for the blessings I wish to have someday. My favorite book series, Conversations with God, says that the most powerful prayer is saying thank you in advance. I don’t always remember to do that, but as much as I’m able to, I try to practice this high form of gratitude. It’s similar to visualization and to making a vision board – techniques I and some of my friends have had some success with. It is a pretty neat (and powerful) phenomenon when you put it to work in your life. 

Form arises from thought. As long as we live in the manifest world of the physical, we create the things we think about. It’s important to make sure the things you think about and wish to manifest are aligned with your higher self. It’s ok if they’re not, but you’ll probably take more joy in your creation when it’s aligned with God’s will. I’ve created many things that were not really in alignment with my higher self, before I was aware of such a thing as a higher self. The things I thought about and created weren’t terrible, but they didn’t raise me up and connect me to love – they just kind of fizzled. Alternately, when I created from alignment with God, my creations came more readily, easefully, and joyfully, as if I were walking on the “straight paths” from Psalm 23 – my pathways opened and cleared, and I walked into my creations with light steps.

When I am wishing to create something in my life and I’m being conscious about it, here is what I do. 

  1. I get still and sit in prayer to make sure what I’m asking to manifest is in alignment with my highest good. I can usually tell when I get still. I will know deep down. It’s the thought that won’t go away and the tug that can’t be ignored. Thankfully and blessedly, what is for your highest good will also be for the highest good of all.
  2. I connect myself to love and joy. This also happens in a deep state of peace and prayer and connection to the Divine.
  3. I imagine myself being or doing whatever it is I’m wishing for. When we were looking to buy our house or make our garden, I imagined myself walking through the home, and walking in our yard, feeling joyful and happy. I felt at peace as I did this. Eventually, these things became real. (Now, did they become real because I imagined them? Some people would say so, some would not, but it can’t hurt to try!)

What are you wishing to create? It’s very easy to become anxious and worried that the things we truly desire won’t come to us. That pushes them away. Be still, get in touch with your heart, and imagine being in your creations. Send love to the creations you wish to have. And then wait!

Wishing that all your dreams come true.

Finding Joy in the Mundane

Most of our lives are taken up by very mundane, even boring, tasks. Some of my more mundane daily tasks include making beds, cleaning up toys, making breakfast, making lunch, commuting to work, doing paperwork, bathtime, and bedtime, to name a few. Sometimes these tasks seem far from my experience of connecting to God, but I know that they are a big way that I can stay present and be of service to the world.

Connecting to the divine doesn’t mean we stop participating in our daily lives, we just approach them differently. As the Zen quote goes, “before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” Once we have an experience or knowledge of our oneness to the divine, our outer lives don’t always change. We still must participate in the life of the body, and the life of this world. 

I try to practice breathing and being present as I do these tasks. Sometimes I even find them relaxing and satisfying – especially making the beds. I love being able to create a safe home for my daughter, which includes trying (and often failing) to keep the house peaceful and clean and orderly. I also love the chance to practice being present in my body, especially since smart phones are such a distraction! I can’t look at my phone while doing these daily tasks, and I’m glad for it.

Doing mundane tasks is a huge part of our lives on earth. These tasks, while perhaps a little boring, keep us rooted in our realities. If we approach them with love and an open heart, they can be a source of joy and even freedom. 

Grace

Grace is a concept I find very comforting. Grace, to me, means love and mercy from God, even when one hasn’t done anything to earn it. It’s just there, and it’s for you, no matter what.Grace is God’s love for you, calling to you and accepting you as you are – warts, imperfections, and all. Grace erases the pain of the past and brings you back into the fold of God’s love, where you have truly always been. Grace is allowing God’s love into your heart and letting it heal you. God doesn’t require you to do anything except be yourself. 

Richard Rohr writes about grace in one of his meditations: “Basically, grace is God’s first name, and probably last too. Grace is what God does to keep all things God has made in love and alive—forever. Grace is God’s official job description. Grace is not something God gives; grace is who God If we are to believe the primary witnesses, an unexplainable goodness is at work in the universe.”

It can sometimes be hard to accept God’s grace when we’re feeling badly about something we’ve done in the past or are struggling with something difficult, especially guilt. But grace does not stop because we’ve fallen short. It exists because we do fall short, and God loves us anyway. God’s grace makes us perfect in our imperfections, and returns us to love.

Forgiving Others

Over the weekend an old acquaintance I hadn’t seen in years directed some very hurt feelings towards me. It truly took me aback and made me feel confused and bad about myself. I don’t know what she was upset about, but I do believe it had more to do with her than me. It’s been hard not to relive those moments in my head and feel distressed. I’ve found this to be a good time to practice forgiveness.

In these kinds of situations, it’s really easy to hold onto the pain and to judge the person sending out negativity. It was my first, knee-jerk response. Withdrawing and protecting myself is how I got by in life when people were harsh towards me as a child and teen. Now, as an adult, I’m working on that most difficult of dictums – bless those who curse you

When people lash out in pain, they are hurting. They need love. They need some kind of help and they have nowhere else to get it. As Conversations with God says, “All attack is a cry for help.” I believe that this woman was crying out for help. It’s so much easier to judge her and close the door on her. It’s been harder and more healing to see past her pain by blessing her – by not taking her attack personally and sending her love. I doubt I’ll see her again anytime in the near future, but by forgiving her and sending her love, I free myself and her. 

We are All Holy

My experience of God really threw me for a loop when it first happened, in many ways. Namely, I had to overcome the lessons I was taught growing up that only special people communicate with God, and that only certain people can really make contact with God. I had to move past a lot of mental constructs to come to the truth that we are all part of God, and that God communicates with all of us, all the time. Sometimes God communicates in big ways, but most of the time, God communicates in small whispers. Mostly, God communicates with you in the way that you understand best. 

I was not raised to believe that God could communicate with many people. I was raised to believe that there were a few special people in the Bible that God could communicate with. It all seemed so far away and not relevant to our daily world. I now believe, because of my experience and because of the lessons I’ve learned, that God is within all of us, helping all of us, all the time, and that God loves all of us. 

When I first had my experience, there was light infusing everyone and everything around me. I remember looking at the people I passed in awe at how beautiful and filled with light they were. Everyone glowed with the same light I had seen over my bed.

We are all part of God’s light. We are all part of God’s love. When we act on that love within, we create a beautiful world. The chance is always there.

Paying Attention to What you Pay Attention to

This weekend I went down a YouTube wormhole and watched some videos that I ended up finding a little scary. I even woke up last night being afraid of them, and it took me some time to fall back asleep. Even though I do sometimes enjoy watching “scary” things, and I’m all for everyone watching whatever they feel like watching, it can help to watch things that expand on your highest and best states and don’t create fear. 

I try to make conscious choices about what kind of media I consume. As I’ve written before, I try to read positive news (like Daily Good and the Good News Network) every day to balance out the negatively-focused regular news. When I watch television shows I try to make sure they’re focused on the positive side of life. I recently subscribed to Gaia TV since it offers more options for positive/spiritual shows, and so far I’m enjoying it. I also love to read spiritual books as much as I love to read all kinds of fiction, and find them to be really heart-expanding and uplifting.

It’s not about rules and saying what a person can and can’t consume. I’ve dated people who were told to only watch certain kinds of TV by their religion and found that to be very constricting. It’s about making conscious choices from your own free will that help you live the life you truly wish to live. I’ve made these choices because I’ve experienced the other side, and find consuming more positive media helps me to remain in a more peaceful state in my daily life. I also know how easily scared I can get, like I did this weekend, and don’t like putting myself in those situations if I don’t have to.

What kinds of books, TV, and news do you like to consume?