Inner Renovations, Poetry & Musings

broken forgiveness.

forgiveness

I struggle with forgiveness.

It’s easy to talk about letting go and letting God.

But doing so is one of my greatest challenges.

Giving up control is an almost impossible feat for a control freak.

Letting go is a tall order when I am used to holding on to everything for dear life.

Loving with a broken heart, trusting through broken faith,

smiling through pain is difficult for even the most well put together of us.

Some of us have mastered the art of falling apart

and putting ourselves back together again before anyone notices.

Put back together so well that you have to get up close and personal to notice the cracks –

this being the reason for my distance.

It comes easy for some; saying the right thing, feeling the right way,

even knowing what’s right in the first place.

Often times, I can’t tell.

I express what’s in my heart, say what’s on my mind,

and have too many feelings at one time to know what is right.

Often, I am wrong.

People struggle to forgive me.

They talk about letting go and letting God.

But doing so is one their greatest challenges.

 

Inner Renovations

Surprise, You’re Human

Nobody is perfect.  This isn’t news.  Yet, when we make mistakes, we hold ourselves to the most ridiculous standards of perfection.  As if you’re never supposed to feel awkward, or have an embarrassing moment, or mess up really really badly sometimes.  If people could hear the way you talk to yourself in your head, I bet they would say “WHOA! Take it easy – that’s kind of abusive.”  The inner-dialogue of some individuals is nothing short of verbally and emotionally abusive. Self-abusive.  It’s easy to spot when someone else is doing it, but is it as noticeable when you’re doing it to yourself?

Learn to stay friends with yourself even when you make a mistake.  There are so many people in your life that already do a great job at making you feel like a jerk.  They don’t need your help.  Why join the opposing team (the naysayers, haters, and negative-nancys) who love seeing you down?  Somebody has to stay in your corner, and who better than you!?  You know yourself better than anyone.  You know what you’ve been through.  You don’t take your experiences out of context because you know the WHOLE story from front to end.  That in and of itself is enough to garner your own respect because through it all YOU ARE STILL STANDING!  Maybe a little dusty from a few rolls in the dirt but STANDING NO LESS!

Make sure your inner-dialogue sounds something like the way you’d talk to a child you love.  You’d want that little kid to know that we all make mistakes sometimes and that things can go better the next time.  It would break your heart to see them give up and check out from embarrassment.  Wouldn’t you step in and let them know they are more than this slip-up?  Encourage yourself in the same way.  Tell yourself to brush your shoulders off and get back to being amazing.

Give yourself permission to be human.  Practice telling yourself “I’m okay.”  Cool little snippets like, “This too shall pass” work wonders when you’re having to “Push through” difficult moments.  Take yourself seriously enough, but not too seriously.  I mean, how boring would it be if we didn’t have something silly to look back on and laugh at sometimes?  Be willing to be silly, to look silly, and to shake your head at it and be on your way.

We’re so good at putting pressure on ourselves.  How good are we at taking some off?  Maybe as a mini-practice we could go through the rest of this week noticing our little faux-pas (which are kind of inevitable), and instead of getting in a tizzy about it, we remind ourselves of how awesome it is to be human.

Love & Relationships

Love, Closer Than It Seems

frog-prince

It is possible to be looking so hard for something that you actually look right past it, right through it, and don’t recognize when it is right in front of you.  This happens sometimes in the world of dating and when seeking a partner.  You may have criteria that your “ideal” partner is supposed to meet; when sometimes there is a person that has been a part of your life before, a “friend” that you feel is best to remain in that zone, or someone in your environment who you simply do not consider a potential mate.  It is possible that the most unlikely person is the one that deserves a chance.

                I’m not saying that this is always the case.  But I’m sure you can recall times in your own life when you didn’t give much attention to someone at the time, then wondered later if you should have put more effort into exploring the relationship.  At the moment, it was easy to overlook the possibility of a relationship – but looking back, you can more clearly see there were missed opportunities.  Luckily, as we experience such things, we gain wisdom.  We can be inspired to be aware of opportunities that are around us now that deserve more attention.  This does not simply apply to dating and relationships, but several situations that we breeze by without giving more energy to it – never knowing what things could have become.

                It is important to know your own core values, have clear boundaries, and know that you deserve the best – however, you don’t want to have a checklist of requirements so stringent that only a fantasy character from a comic book could meet them.  God brings people into our lives that are somehow who we need and not always exactly what we think we want.  By keeping your heart and mind open enough to explore the meaning of the connection, and allowing it to evolve without short-circuiting it with preconceived notions and unrealistic expectations, you may find that your most suitable match is closer than you think.

 

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Nothing to Fear

Nothing to Fear

It is too much energy to be afraid.  Hiding from others, hiding from our problems, and hiding from ourselves is exhausting work.  When we think about it, what is so intimidating about facing reality?  The worst thing that can happen to us is that we expose our vulnerabilities; the best thing that can happen to us is that we expose our vulnerabilities.  Once we are past the ego and the perceived harm that will come to it if others know our truth or if we admit the truth to ourselves, then there is nothing left to be afraid of.  We come to a place of knowing that we have already stared down our fears and admitted our faults, which resulted in our strength – so why should we be afraid?

Those that are aware of the Presence of the All Powerful have even more confidence to boldly unfold into the greatest version of themselves without concern about past misgivings short-circuiting their future.  They know that what they have experienced, and even seeming mistakes that were made, were not really mistakes at all, but part of the Divine Plan.  What has happened is a part of what has made you who you are.  What you are created from, is who you are.  We are created from Love, because we are created by God.  God is Love.  It takes too much energy to be afraid. And anyway, there is nothing to fear. The light of love and truth shines boldly into the darkness and illuminates the closets and under the beds where our secrets lie, to reveal that what we feared were only ever illusions anyway.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Tough Times Make Us Tougher

tougher

The toughest days are the most meaningful.  They are tests of our strength.  On these days we get a front row seat to what we’re really made of.  Until we face trials, our ability is in theory, because no one really knows what they would do in a situation until they are in it.  So be thankful for the days that you get to really live, instead of just conceptually live.

Some of us run towards challenges.  Some run away from them.  The common denominator is that challenges always come.  It is best to face them, and consider the curve balls coming at you as an obstacle course – there to help you get more efficient at maneuvering difficult situations as you become more adept at rolling with the punches.  This shift in perspective of challenges helps you move from thinking the world is against you when things go wrong, to realizing that even what is seemingly negative can work in your favor.  Understanding this is understanding how “all things work together for good,” for those who know Love.  This perspective helps you to love your life in the good times and the not-so-good times, and to remain in a place of appreciation and gratitude for what is offered to you.

If you wonder how some people seem to withstand storms with smiles on their faces and hope in their heart, the mystery is here solved.  They live from a framework of “this too shall pass,” and “what doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.”  The fact is, it’s safe to say that all of the adversity that you’ve experienced in your life hasn’t killed you – and I bet you’re stronger for it, wiser because of it, and have experience that you can share with others because you’ve survived and grown from it.

So, welcome your obstacles.  See them as a gift.  Thank the difficult people in your life for being your greatest teachers.  Wink at your bad days as you tell yourself that what goes up must come down, so after being down you must be on your way back up.  Embrace the flow of life.  Tie up your shoes to give your ankles adequate support for those tough times that are handcrafted to make you tougher.

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

When We Were Super Heroes

InnerRenovations.com

We’ve traveled through various stages of life and have somehow managed to successfully reach adulthood. But many are experiencing some sort of stagnation, a stalemate as if life is no longer full of excitement and the outlook has become all but dismal. If you’ve noticed that you’ve lost momentum, are becoming unsatisfied with your existence or find yourself looking up at the sky and asking, “now what?”… IT’S TIME TO SET NEW GOALS

Somewhere in our adult lives we find that we do not have that same fresh outlook that we did when we were younger. You remember the time when you believed you could do almost anything. From flying, to creating magic – there were no limits to what you thought you had the ability to accomplish. Of course this was pre-disappointment… pre-heartbreak… pre-failure… pre-setback. It’s a little more difficult these days to have the same hopes and dreams when you feel that you may possibly be let down. The fact is, you are impacted by what you have experienced. Welcome to the post-disappointment stage in life, which brings us to our first new goal.


GOAL #1 – REMEMBER YOURSELF BEFORE THE DISAPPOINTMENT

You must find the ability to reconnect with a part of your life where you did not mind giving it all you had; because it was prior to the time that you started believing you could fail. This is the state of mind from which you will accomplish your greatest goals. You may notice that there are several things you think about doing, but you stop yourself. Why? Because it may not work, you say. What is the use in putting forth the time, energy and effort in something that may not even give you the results you want? Valid question. But what is even more valid is that no one has ever accomplished anything without first recognizing the possibility of failure. They work hard to overcome those odds in order to attain what they desire. As an adult, its okay to acknowledge the possibilities but in order to overcome any paralyzing fear that keeps you from stepping outside of your comfort zone; you will find it helpful to embrace that youthful part of yourself and your mind that imagines you still have the power to accomplish what your heart desires.

GOAL #2 – STOP MAKING EXCUSES & RE-DECLARE YOUR PURPOSE

I’m too old. I’m too fat. I can’t, the kids need me too much. I don’t have enough money. I work long hours. I don’t know anyone that can help me. I didn’t get a degree in that. Pick your favorite. Then throw it out the window because the excuses as to why you’ve not continued to make your life a better place to be, are of no use to you. You are more than likely an individual who has accomplished quite a bit in your life. And now you are ready to move on to experiencing something that will bring a gust of fresh air into your existence. Its time to re-declare what you feel you are here to do and what you want. Its time to re-discover and re-declare what gifts you have to share with others. Its time to do your research to find new and innovative ways that you are able to utilize your natural talents and abilities.

GOAL #3 – FREE YOURSELF FROM THE SUBCONSCIOUS STOPWATCH

Do you feel like there is a little man chasing you with a stopwatch, constantly reminding you that you are running out of time? In the early part of lives, it seemed like we had forever to do what we needed to do. Now there is a different sense that many experience, of not being able to accomplish what is needed before they reach a certain age. What is interesting is that the fixation on time and the idea of running out of it, actually works against us and we end up doing significantly less. Try to remember a point in your life when you were not so restricted by timelines. You went to elementary school everyday – not so much doing the work because you were worried about graduating – but because you knew it was something you needed to do. And besides, there were many great experiences to be had and people you liked were there. Its important to take the same approach as you move through the various projects, professional obligations and personal goals at this point in life too.

GOAL #4 – GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK, ALREADY

Stop being so hard on yourself. The people will already be critical enough of you, they don’t need your help. Somebody has to be in your corner, believing in you, cheering you on… it may as well be YOU! We spend so much time thinking about the should have, could have, would have that we often forget that we still should, can and probably will – just as soon as we uninvite ourselves from our personal pity party. It takes just as much energy to tell yourself that you need to lose weight as it does to tell yourself that you are looking and feeling good at this age. Choose the latter, you’ll love yourself for it more… literally.

GOAL #5 – AFFIRM THAT YOU ARE A ROCK STAR

Even if you really don’t want to put in the work to become a bonafide rock star, simply affirm to yourself that you ARE one anyway. Think about when you were a child. Do you remember what it used to feel like when you imagined that you had manifested all of your glory? Do you remember what you always thought you would grow up to be? Someone wonderful, loved and powerful. It’s not too late, but first you will have to change your perception of who you are now.

There is nothing wrong with adopting the mentality that you are great. There is nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself and having a self-assured disposition. When you stand in front of a group of people and have to give presentations or even in general conversations where all eyes are on you… don’t shrink and become insecure. On the contrary, make it your show! Love yourself and project that love and others will love you too. Exuding confidence is contagious and those you interact with will believe in your words and vision the same way you do.


Dig deep and find that “S” emblem that you used to wear on your chest. Supermen and Superwomen must rediscover themselves through the eyes of their childhood. Only from this place will there be a rejuvenation of the pure hope and uncut faith that is needed to reach the new goals that you will begin setting for yourself. Move forward with the idea that what you want is already a part of your destiny; and all you must do is travel the path to reach your already blessed future.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Speaking With a Spoon Full of Sugar

spoonful-of-sugar

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  We’ve heard this all our lives, yet we still attempt to get what we want by making demands, using guilt trips, and expressing ourselves in a manipulative manner as if that is going to consistently get us what we want in life.  Maybe it works sometimes – those times when people would rather give you what you want in order to shut you up.  But it’s not an effective means of communicating or getting your needs met.

Being able to communicate our needs clearly and concisely is a skill.  Doing it in a way that inspires others to actually feel good about fulfilling those needs is an advanced skill indeed.  But it is based on a very simple premise of “you catch more bees with honey.”  You shouldn’t be afraid to sweeten it up a little bit if you expect people to want to join with you to help you reach your goals.  Not in a conniving way, but in a way that your genuineness in your appeal for their help shines through.

A wise woman named Mary Poppins once said, “just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.”  This is relevant when trying to get others to help or understand you, but also when it comes to delivering the truth.  Even when needing to deliver hard-to-swallow truth to someone, it can be done from a place of love.  Some people are brash and tell others about themselves in insensitive ways, finishing with statements like “well I was just telling the truth!”  Most of the time the problem isn’t what they said, but the way it was said.

Life is full of moments when we will either have to administer or swallow some tough medicine ourselves.  We have more of a choice in how we experience this than we may know.  When dishing out the truth, we can do it with love which is a natural sweetener.  And when having to swallow the truth, we can focus on how that information helps us to improve ourselves, which makes things sweeter for us and those we care about in the end.

Interpersonal effectiveness is something that can be developed and improved over time, and there’s plenty of literature aimed at helping you accomplish it.  But after you sift through all the material, you’ll realize that it pretty much boils down to a fundamental principle that we learned early in life – it’s not about the WHAT, it’s about the WAY.

~ CCB

Dialectical Thinking, Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

How To Not: Make Emotional Decisions

 


Decision-making seems like such a basic skill. However, we sometimes do not think things all the way through. The results can be catastrophic or at least cause a setback if we make decisions while we are emotional.  Our brains actually function differently when it is overwhelmed with negative emotions such as fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, etc.  At that time it does not operate at full capacity.  So it is important not to make major decisions that can alter the course of our lives when we are experiencing those feelings.

But how do we avoid taking certain actions when we’re emotional?  We know that is usually the time that we want to strike back, express ourselves, tell it like it is, or make some over-the-top outward display of action until others feel the intensity of what we are dealing with inside.  Then, after we come back to our senses, it’s common to have some regrets about what we did or said while we were heated.

Try these steps to keep your balance while dealing with emotional situations, so that you can make important decisions with a clear head and decrease the number of apologies you have to dish out.

  1. Pause to Self-Check and Tune Into How You Are Feeling. As soon as you notice that your heart is beating faster, your frustration levels are going up, you’re becoming increasingly agitated and uncomfortable with the situation – start self-checking.  Notice these things happening within your mind and body and decide to take healthy actions that take care of yourself.
  2. Use Deep Breathing to Draw Your Attention Back In. To slow yourself down, slow down your breathing. It’s likely that your mind was going a million miles a minute in its emotional state and taking long deep breaths puts you back in control while sending a message to your rapidly beating heart and overworking mind that it is time to start coming back to a calmer pace.  It may take a moment or two but just keep breathing deeply imagining every breath brings your awareness back to what’s important – taking care of yourself.
  3. Encourage Yourself with Soothing Self-Talk. Start coaching yourself the way you would someone else that you care about.  Let yourself know that everything is going to be okay and that this too shall pass.  Be supportive of yourself in that moment and remember that at the end of the day what’s important is that you approve of yourself and behaviors.  It is okay to disagree with others just like it is okay if they don’t agree with you.  Let go of as much as you can and encourage yourself with positive inner dialogue.
  4. Refocus and Remember What You’re All About. Remind yourself of your goals.  Do an inventory of whether the situation causing you stress is getting you closer to or further away from those goals. If you determine that it is a barrier to what you’re all about or what you’re trying to accomplish, be prepared to make sound decisions about overcoming or removing those stressors from your life.
  5. Take Time to Make the Decisions that are Right For You. If possible, allow yourself time to process your emotions and let things settle down a bit before you come to final conclusions about what you’ve experienced.  Things look different after we’ve stepped away from it for a while and you may be in a better position to make decisions that are best for you from a clear head.

If we allow our emotions to rule our behaviors, we spend a lot of time cleaning up messes we wish we’d never made.  Grounding yourself after an emotional run-in is important and can help you to make decisions that you can be confident in.  Self-awareness is key, and a willingness to use techniques to regain your balance can help you improve your decision-making skills and ultimately improve the quality of your life.

~ CCB

 

Heart & Spiritual Wellness, Inner Renovations

Re-Establish Yourself in Love

reestablished in love


Over the years, you may have noticed that many changes have occurred in the way that you see things, do things, and the way that you feel. This could be attributed to maturity, or the natural changes that occur with time. However, if we look carefully enough, we may see that some of the changes that have come about are of a more protective nature – defenses that have been created in order to keep from being hurt again.

Have you noticed that you’ve become less trusting? Or maybe a bit more standoffish? And what about your sense of security, been feeling more insecure lately? It is interesting because there was a notion when we were children that we would organically become stronger in those areas as adults. But fact of the matter is, due to the pain and disappointments we’ve endured, it is possible that we have become even lower functioning in certain areas. So what do you do when you find that’s the case?

After becoming emotionally distant, distrusting, guarded, jaded (and all of the other defensive responses that occur as a result of our heartbreaks, setbacks, and letdowns) it is important to take a few rejuvenating steps to get back on track and work towards positive mental health.


Be willing to admit the areas you’re struggling in.

                If you’re anything like me, you’ve done a great job at convincing yourself that, sure you have a few things to work on but you’re not doing that bad, right? It is one of the grandest tricks that we play on ourselves – ignoring what we need to be working on by making claims that we could be worse. This is true, we could always be worse, but that does not give us permission to downplay the areas that need improvement. We have to be willing to admit where we are falling short, notice the areas that give us the most trouble, and acknowledge that we could stand more development to be happier, healthier, mature individuals.

Ask for feedback, accept it graciously.

                It is not always obvious to us where we are the most vulnerable. In fact, if our defense mechanisms are doing their jobs effectively, then we may actually believe that we are doing just fine and it’s everyone else with the problem. So don’t be afraid to ask those that care about you, where they perceive you are the most vulnerable. Say, “What are my hotspots, what subjects do you tiptoe around when talking to me, what have you noticed sets me off?” Trust me, they will jump at the opportunity to tell you what they’ve been thinking but needed your permission to say. It is up to you to be prepared to receive the information in a healthy way.

Ask for help, build supports.

                Now that you’ve had some heart-to-hearts with yourself and others, you at least know a few things about yourself that have been holding you back. Maybe you’ve heard that you’ve started being difficult to talk to or make a connection with. Maybe you’re now aware that you’ve become paranoid about others’ intentions towards you. Perhaps you took an honest look at your need to be perceived as perfect and have decided that is a lie way too hard to live up to. Whatever it is that you’ve discovered, the next step is to ask for help with the matter. Go to God in prayer and ask for these character defects to be removed, and ask to be shown how you should go about making changes in those areas. Yes, we’re intellectuals with amazing resources and cool technology but let us not underestimate the power of prayer when we’re trying to make real change. Also, look for professional and self-help resources in the areas that you are working on so that you have an arsenal of material to feed your mind while you are on the journey overcoming those ways about yourself that you’ve decided just aren’t working anymore. Build good supports with friends and family. Just let them know what you’re targeting and give them permission to draw your attention to old patterns so that you have an accountability team with you along the way.

Step outside your comfort zone to get unstuck.

                If there was a way that we could change with very little effort, I’d be taking that way. There isn’t one. In fact, it is grueling work rewiring our brains that are used to following the same circuits for years and years. So the only way that we are going to create new patterns, more constructive roads towards success, is to take the uncomfortable way. You can’t work on your problem of being closed off until you’re willing to risk opening up to someone. You won’t be able to resolve that social awkwardness without putting yourself into more social situations. You aren’t going to be able to overcome the tendency to distrust others until you give someone else a chance. Steps like these are outside of our comfort zone, but until we are willing to get back in there and create new experiences, we are stuck in our pseudo-safe little boxes that have stunted our growth. To get unstuck requires courage and risk.

Re-establish yourself in love.

                What is your default setting? In various circumstances do you default to fear? Anger? Frustration? Complaining? Take some time for self-examination and determine what your default mode is. Then think about how it would feel if your most common inner experiences involved: love, peace, contentment, acceptance, appreciation, and other life-giving states like these. You can create that atmosphere in your life. By putting everything back into its proper perspective, where God is the center of it all; and having an accurate perspective of who God is (Love), you can re-establish yourself in something that transcends your shortcomings and the problems of this world.

Re-establish yourself in love, and operate from that space. No longer allowing ourselves to crystallize in our defenses, we remain open to the experiences that are brought into our lives and accept that all will work together for the good of those that love the Lord. We do not wallow in our past or allow the behaviors of others to influence our state of mind, but instead consistently affirm that we are borne of love, protected by, and here to share love.

We trade our fears for the greatest thing of all, Love. We keep our feet firmly rooted like trees planted by the water, continuously re-establishing ourselves in love until we are like those described in the Psalms – bearing fruit in our season, prospering in all we do.

~ CCB

Heart & Spiritual Wellness, Inner Renovations, Videos and Media

Personal Peace is a Super Power


There are a lot of things that we are taught during the early years of our lives under the guise that they are important to know for our success as human beings. However, I can’t remember the last time an algebraic formula saved my life. I would have appreciated a class on “How to Maintain Peace in the Face of Challenge,” or a cognitive-behavioral based course titled “You are Not Your Thoughts” offered around the 4th grade. A ‘How-To Survive Life with Your Sanity’ style curriculum starting in kindergarten would probably have reduced the individual instances of mental health conditions and contributed to a more stable society as a whole. Yes, I know… reading, writing and arithmetic – but that could’ve been covered in the span of a year with the remainder of our youth education being focused on life skills, interpersonal effectiveness, dealing with emotion, loving ourselves, and having a healthy relationship with God. But, dreams.

In reality, it takes for us to get to a certain point in life where we notice our own dysfunctional patterns and decide to do something about it. One of the main commodities that we reach for is peace. Which really isn’t a “commodity” at all but when we don’t experience it, we do view it as a thing to attain. The truth is, it’s really a state that exists within us that’s been there the entire time. And on an even deeper level, we realize that peace is our essential nature – supporting the inferences that everything we need is already inside of us and the “Kingdom of God is within” per Jesus.

Prayer, meditation, and visualization are means of moving into a state of consciousness that puts us more in tune with our source of peace. Prayer allows us to speak to God. Meditation allows us to hear from God. And visualization is how we co-create our experience which is a blend of our free will and God’s will for us (as a sidenote, we ultimately want to get to a place where we use our free will to stay in the will of God).

Our journey will have many challenges. We may create unnecessary complexities. Life will continue to throw intense situations our way. There may be unexpected circumstances beyond our control. What we can control is our approach. By taking an approach of peace – peace of mind and spirit which comes from trusting that all things have a purpose and somehow come together in mysterious ways for the glory of God – we are able to survive with our sanity, and actually enjoy this gift of life we’ve been given.

~ CCB