Tag Archives: change

Accepting the Need for Hope

November 3, 2013

Some of you may remember a show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” featuring the unfiltered responses of children to everyday questions. This popped into my head the other day as I was speaking with my nephew about why he shouldn’t run ahead towards streets, traffic and crowded stores. His response, “(giggle) I don’t need hands, I have light up shoes.”

Even as adults, how many times do we take the same approach? I don’t need to exercise, I’m having a diet soda. Or, I don’t need to say excuse me, I was there first. Or, I don’t need help, I have this covered. Well, perhaps that may work for a time and, with the gift of free will, it is up to you. But consider this: have you ever seen what happens to someone who no longer believes they need or have hope?

Now, as an eldest child, recovering perfectionist and do-it-all-myself stubborn lass, I can tell you that “needing” anything is a stretch for some people. However, life has a funny (interesting not haha) way of presenting challenges, losses and changes that test how much we can do alone. I have spoken repeated about surrender and the power of not taking the world on your shoulders, but what is the state of your heart? Have you accepted hope?

I frequently hear how adults believe life moves faster and more frantically as we age. This is a trick of the mind; we are actually just so preoccupied with a routine, with our worries and with the future (or sometimes the past) that we feel overwhelmed and stop noticing the moment-to-moment passage of time. Why do so many kids seem oblivious to time and have “endless summers?” It’s because they are living right now, with an innocent hope for simple things and still willing to lean for their needs.

What guidance can I offer? Simple. Believe that hope is not a fanciful illusion, an off-and-on whimsy or a waste of time. Believe fully that hope offers strength, optimism and peace. Accept that you need hope to navigate this imperfect world and that by sharing a hopeful outlook you can build a rich foundation for hope in your family. In short, embrace hope and accept your need for hope. That’s when the truest and richest change occurs.

Shore to Shore Self-Discovery

September 1, 2013

Ever felt like the winds of change were blowing head on in your direction?

Take a cue from sailing. Odd as it may seem when we’re kicking around dry land, ships seek out gusty winds. A Mississippi boat captain once explained it to me as a “sorta zig zag” course up the river to “dance with the wind” and make steady progress.

Shore to ShoreIn other words, direct (like playing chicken with the wind) may not be the proper course for life, even if your stubborn nature and icy resolve tell you to try it. Indirect is the way to sway and, as they say in sailing, “beat” the course from here to your upwind destination.

Why the sailing metaphors? Well, we are all afloat on the river of life and some strategies force us to battle, strain and fret. Try a shore to shore approach to go from one stable point to the other.

Consider that we adopt different perspectives, opinions and goals continually through life. Shouldn’t we, then, spend time pausing on one shore before meandering to the next? Maybe that extra beat of reflection will give us the energy, clarity and motivation to continue our journey successfully.

In addition, as you zig to one shore and zag to the next, you may find little pebbles of hope that help you slowly value yourself, recognize your skills and honor your needs. Facing down the winds of change equals blurry vision and a stressed body. However, swaying and giving yourself time to enjoy the journey may introduce you to a lifelong dance partner.

 

Transforming Trial into Triumph

March 25, 2013

You will face trials in your life. Notice I didn’t say “may” or “could,” but “will.” You will be tested, emotionally and spiritually. You will question the world, your choices and yourself. Whether you are ready to believe it or not, these things are all gifts.

Like the brightest metals and gems, you will discover your radiant light by polishing your perseverance. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Trials are part of living in this world and, I believe, sometimes just the nudge we need to grow in character. For it is through trials that we test, define and expand our character. Like a muscle, perseverance takes flexing.

Now, knowing there will be trials does not mean that we have to apathetically face illness, loss or change. Constructive trials, while they may not appear so at the time, provide a “moment of impact” when we are acutely awake to what we want, deserve and desire to be. That’s where the gifts come in—clarity of values, shaking off complacency and a deep passion to discover your true purpose, to name a few.

At first, you may see a trial as a hurdle, a wall or a fog. That’s alright. Here are a few suggestions for transforming trial into triumph:

  1. Lean into the emotion, journal about it, and look to friends or a group for support (there is no shame in needing help . . . we all do)
  2. Shift your focus toward all that you have to offer this world (your talents, your dreams, your spiritual gifts and your light)
  3. Any time a negative, bitter or doubting thought enters, swap it for gratitude (you have the ability to steer your perspective from degrading to upgrading)
  4. Stay active in productive tasks, like resume updates, networking, reading about new opportunities, working out (even the smallest steps can be celebrated)
  5. Give to others (volunteering and acts of kindness enrich your confidence, sense of worth and optimism as much as they do the people you help)
  6. As the emotion settles, revisit the trial to recognize the blessings in it (list the ways it frees you and motivates you)
  7. Share your story of triumph with others, using positive language and values that reflect your new outlook (it will solidify it in your mind and, perhaps, spark others)

If you just thought to yourself, “That sounds great for someone else, but I can’t just let go of my trial.” then it’s time to have a tough conversation with yourself. It may feel easier to secretly hold onto the trial than to work at transforming your life from within. It’s actually not. Imagine trying to hold back the flood of a waterfall with a sieve.

Taken while hiking just outside Portland, OR

When you surrender to that which you cannot change and let the positive transformation wash over you, it can be as refreshing and invigorating as this waterfall. Having hope and embracing change can move you from self-pity to self-confidence and your journey from worry to wonder. A fresh start awaits you.

Build Your Hope Mantra

March 17, 2013

Do you find yourself saying, “If it were different . . . if I were different?” While I do not encourage you to dwell endlessly on “what if” statements that could detract from living in the here and now, a modicum of self-reflection is good for your journey of personal evolution. Perhaps you recognize a barrier to self-love, a pattern in relationships, a tendency toward frustration or a diminished sense of self-esteem. In those instances, it’s time to make a positive change.

However, the word “change” can be a scary thing. It carries the perception of difficulty, pain, disruption and consequences. While there may be hints of these wrapped up in your desired change, how you face them and what you ultimately gain from the experience is truly up to you.

So, when the awareness sinks in that something in your life needs to change, it can be helpful to first change how you view change. The associated meaning of change can be improved with a small swap in word choice. For example, you might perceive it as a shift, a renewal or an enhancement—think of it as simply embracing a better life, a more balanced you.

There’s nothing wrong with giving positive change a boost. I have seen the power a mantra can inspire; therefore, I often write them for others. In essence, a mantra is a statement that you repeat to yourself to aid meditation and personal growth. It is a tool for your empowerment.

There are several ways to build your Hope Mantra. Try this formula:

1. What in my life requires me to be more mindful, and why?
2. How can I be more heartful by embracing myself and others?
3. Where is there opportunity to be more hopeful?
4. In what ways might I put these learnings into action?
5. I declare this commitment to myself.

Example Hope Mantra:

I am mindful of my words, so that I may build up not break down.
I am worthy of love, I love myself and I embody love in my treatment of others.
I am full of unique gifts that I use to enrich my life and my world.
Every day, I choose to be happy, patient and merciful.
I commit to believing in myself, living in hope and expressing gratitude.

As you can see, it is primarily present tense with clear statements about qualities you choose to cultivate in your life. The key is to focus on the positive outcome(s) as already being true. This supports the “you” you wish to be.

Once you have your mantra, keep it with you, make it the first thing you see every morning or read it before you go to bed. Meditate on it and repeat it until it takes root. You deserve confidence, appreciation, inspiration and fulfillment. They are within reach when you first reach within.