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

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

 

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Heart Be Healed. From Pain to Empowered.

Growth from Broken Heart
photo credit:  aseb.org

You are stronger now and you can choose not to hurt anymore. Whatever it is that you’ve been through doesn’t have power over you as of now. Decide that this is the moment that you will embrace the freshness of the day, and allow your heart, spirit and mind to be healed by a Power Greater Than yourself. There are no guarantees that you will never feel pain again. But there is the promise that if you keep your trust and faith in God, that you will be brought through that pain and make it safely to the other side. Alongside you will be newfound strength, deeper understanding, and compassion for others who you notice going through similar trials. The victory is the Lord’s and you are a living testimony that nothing can stop His work in progress because you are still here. You are still trying and you believe in something. If this were not so, you would have stopped by now. But your heart is strong, and your spirit wills you to continue putting one foot in front of the other as you allow your steps to be ordered by the Lord. In whatever way you perceive your Higher Power, and however you draw strength from Its love is more important than what others tell you to believe. At the end of the day, as it was in the beginning, it’s about YOUR relationship with your Creator. And at the end of this life, as it was in the beginning, it is still about the same relationship. You don’t have to hurt anymore. Because the sensations that you are feeling have advanced into power that propels you forward while keeping you grounded all at the same time. These are blessings. You have lived to love another day. You are blessed.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Heart, Mind, Life… change!

Metanoia

There are some days that you know that everything has changed. It may not be because of anything drastic, but maybe a slight shift in perspective that allows you to move, and engage, and be in life in a completely different way. An openness to new things, and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone may overtake you – and for a moment, you are unafraid.

When these days come, allow yourself to move and flow through it without interrupting the process and without letting anyone else interrupt the process. Negativity can wait and doubts can be reserved for a later time – if you decide to ever pick them up again. Or maybe you decide that you don’t need the negativity or doubt at all, and that you are better off staying in this space of freedom, hope, willingness, and belief. If this is the case, then today will be the first day of a brand new life for you.

There may be no parade, but there is certainly something to celebrate. And maybe no one else is in attendance, but there is certainly a party – a praise party, with the honored guests being you and the One that made it happen for you: your Creator. Today, you celebrate an awakening to your true love with a fresh perspective. And show gratitude for these moments of breakthrough and change that continue to happen in your life.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations

Juice Cleanse and Detox: Mind, Spirit, and Body Refresher

It’s amazing the clarity that comes during a juice cleanse and detox. Today is the final day, and although it was a brief detox, a lot happened over the past three days. There were plenty of times that I thought I was hungry (since there is no solid food during this time). Then I realized that I was actually getting all of the nutrients that I need, so it wasn’t that I was physically hungry – I’m just in the habit of eating.

Juice Cleanse and Detox

My 13 Top Reasons for Eating (none of which are hunger)

I eat to cheer myself up.

I eat to calm myself down.

I eat to celebrate.

I eat because other people are eating.

I eat because something looks good.

I eat because something smells good.

I eat because it’s offered to me.

I eat because it just seems like it’s time to eat.

I eat when I’m bored.

I eat to keep my hands busy while I’m watching T.V.

I eat to keep from falling asleep.

I eat to wake myself up.

I – JUST – EAT.

Luckily, I am a health and wellness enthusiast, so I exercise regularly and try to make wise choices about what I eat (most of the time). If I didn’t, there’s no telling what sort of health concerns I’d be facing right now.

Benefits to Mental Health and Physical Health

The experience has helped me to develop a better a relationship with my body and an understanding of the areas that I need I need more discipline in. While I attended a cookout, accompanied people enjoying their great-smelling fastfood breakfast, and turned down the most delicious chocolate chip cookie-dough cupcakes I’ve ever seen (all while guzzling down my beet, carrot, and kale blend juices), I realized that the level of discipline that I am cultivating will optimize my behaviors in more than just the health realm but in several other areas of my life too.

In general, making smart food choices and focusing more on wellness has many other benefits:

  • Improves decision-making skills
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Increases self-awareness and body-awareness
  • Improves ability to stay present in the moment
  • Develops ability to set goals and accomplish with birds eye view
  • Helps spiritual cultivation through fasting and prayer (to name a few).

This Is About More Than Food

What I realized during VIVA-RAW’S 3-DAY RAW FOOD JUICE CLEANSE is that RARELY DO I EAT BECAUSE I’M SIMPLY HUNGRY. My patterns and reasons for eating teetered more on the social and psychological side than the physical. Though I have practiced mindfulness regularly for many years, during this detox I realized that I also need to be practicing mindful eating.

I thought the idea of applying mindfulness methods to my food choices and eating patterns was revolutionary and original – but as I googled the concept, I quickly realized that it was not. Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers has built her body of work around the subject and offers some amazing ideas and resources to Eating Mindfully (which consequently is the actual name of her website and project).  The Awareness Checklist and other great resources are available on her site.  Works out great for me because it’s less I have to research and write about and more that I can just learn and apply. Find out more about what the doctor has to say on the subject. I know I will be!

From Dr. Susan Anders www.eatingmindfully.com

A holistic approach to wellness requires that we address all aspects of our being, meaning that we are engaging in activities and behaviors that foster great health on all levels of our multidimensional selves.  Just as we learn to choose wisely what we take into our bodies, we learn to do the same with what we accept into our hearts, spirits, and minds.

~ CCB

Christ-Centered Cognitions, Inner Renovations

Expecting and Welcoming Change

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

~ II Corinthians 3:18

There comes a point in life when the things that used to work for us no longer do the trick. We have carried our styles, personalities, charms, and attitudes as far as we can and it seems that they’ve reached their expiration dates. It’s time for something new. A transformation on the inside so great that it begins to affect our external environment. This is no easy feat, and must be approached with openness, desire, and most importantly, the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Change of SeasonsLife is change. There is no use in fighting it. If ever we are to keep up with the ways of creation, we must be prepared to continuously evolve, learn more about ourselves and our environments, and be willing to modify our methods at the drop of a dime. This is scary business to most people, who prefer the comforts and securities of those things that are familiar, and the sanctity of routine.  This accounts for most of our automatic and auto-pilot style of living.

But when change occurs, we do not have the luxury of cruising. We are on our toes, paying attention to every detail, keeping our eyes open for viable solutions, and all of sudden constantly in prayer. God was there the entire time, but for most people,  His Presence seems much more welcomed, revered, and appealed to during the times that the structure of our lives is shaking.

Be Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually Prepared for Change…

We can be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for the times in life when we receive subtle signs or blatant messages that “A CHANGE IS COMING… A CHANGE IS HERE.”  How do we do this?  By EXPECTING IT.

That’s it. That’s the answer. There is the plan. No more, no less. EXPECT CHANGE.

The Plan:  Expect Change…

Once we reach the point where we expect change to occur, it can no longer catch us off guard or cause us to lose our balance. We knew it was coming and so we were mentally prepared for it. There is the ability now to maneuver as needed to continue focusing on our goals since we had already factored in the potential for a shift to occur while we were executing our plan.

This keeps us in a position of power, especially when we remember the reason that it is okay for change to happen – because it is all in God’s hands anyway. When we have a strong faith, we are not dismayed or frustrated when things don’t go according to our plan because we remember that the Master Plan was conceived and in progress long before we got here and long after we’ve moved on. Why? Because things are always changing, it’s the nature of creation. And thank God, because who wants a life of no thriving, growth, or development? That would make us no more than rocks – who even change over time at a much slower pace, but still transform.

All of creation transforms. So why not open our arms and welcome it, and experience the life that God has for us that is far beyond what our human minds can imagine in this moment.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Poetry & Musings

change.

Today, the sky is different.

The clouds drift in a curious way.

My steps are the same, but the ground feels unfamiliar.

I wonder if there is something waiting for me.

Unidentifiable feelings fill the space around my heart.

Undefined thoughts skip about my mind.

Around me there is calm.

The kind that precedes the storm.

I have nothing with me, but my faith.

Whatever comes, this will be enough.

I do not fear not knowing.

Change is life.

Healing the Human Family, Inner Renovations

Helping Others Helps Ourselves

This article wworking togetheras originally called, “Why You Should Help If Your Neighbor’s House Is On Fire,” which more accurately reflects the premise that we have to be more supportive to each other while cooperatively reaching for our goals, but that was way too long a title.

If I were to believe that I am only as good as my neighbor, would that cause me to behave differently towards them? Would I take more time to get to know them, and be more helpful? The answer is Yes. Knowing that my personal success depends on whether or not the people around me also have opportunities to be their best selves, may in some way inspire me to make it a personal responsibility to contribute to the success of others.

In a way, it may seem to be coming from a selfish place. “If I want to get ahead in life, I have to help others get ahead.” In another way, there are great benefits to this sort of communal thinking which would simply be a better way of life. The reality that we must all get ahead together would replace the idea that we must get ahead of each other.

Imagine there is a fire in the home right next to yours. You look out your window and see your neighbors run out and away from their house to safety – except for the bravest of the homeowners who is desperately making every effort to extinguish the fire herself while the blaze gets bigger and bigger. At first, you conclude this scene is way too dangerous so it’s best to just let the fire pros handle the issue – they’re on the way. Then you realize that the blazing fire is spreading rapidly, and quickly making a trail towards your own house. All of a sudden, doing everything you can to help your neighbor and stop these homes from burning becomes your top priority.

We can’t ignore one another’s situations. How others around us are doing is interconnected with our own circumstances. Real success does not only involve the individual, but society as a whole – and brings us closer to healing our entire human family. This is the level that we should be thinking on when we are making plans to get ahead.

If it were recognized that each person could indubitably amass greater wealth by focusing more on working together, rather than focusing so much on competing with one another – we’d be more productive as communities and as a society.

Find out what you can do to help someone reach their goals and in turn you are bringing yourself closer to reaching your own. It will be a great thing when we realize the immeasurable benefits of each person using their individual talents, abilities, and gifts to contribute to progressing as a whole.

~ CCB

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

A Good Time for New Perspective of You

Gain New Perspective

I wonder if someday I will find out that everything I think I am, the truth is, I am just the opposite.  It is interesting to consider the physiology of the body  where the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa; and how everything that we see with our two retina is upside down but when our brain processes it they are combined into one image flipped right side up.  We normally have general concepts of who we are, but if we get to know ourselves scientifically, we realize that everything we think we see and know and believe in this physical realm is literally upside, backwards, and/or an illusion.

Even that which we like to believe is supported by our science, such as our concepts of what is solid and still, we know is still illusion in some way since what we perceive as “solid” is composed of atoms, mostly empty space and constantly in motion.

So, how are we to think of ourselves and our world?  Who do we think we are anyway?  A better question is What do we think we are, and shouldn’t we make it a priority to find out?

I don’t have any specific answers as to how to kick start that sort of journey, because I realize how different things are for each individual.  Self-exploration is personal by nature, so we could not all possibly agree on what we are.  We can agree, however, that it’s a good time to stop seeing ourselves and the world in such surface level ways.  And to stop simply believing everything we’ve been told is our reality.  See for yourself.  Look for yourself.  Live for yourself.  Learn for yourself.

In a reality where left is right, up is down, and outside-in is really inside-out – it’s probably a good time to gain new perspective.

~ CCB