Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Reclaiming Your Proverbial Sunshine

troubled-waters

Storms happen.  One moment you’re sailing on peaceful waters, then all of a sudden the sky turns gray and it seems like you’re being swallowed whole by crashing waves, with nary a life raft.  And yet, you’re expected to keep smiling, keep the faith, and know that the sun will shine tomorrow.  That’s all nice and dandy, and sure looks good in encouraging “thinking of you” cards, but in real life it is the most difficult thing to keep a smile on your face when your main goal is to simply keep your head above water.  But somehow, you must.

If you ever have the same contemplation as the sage Grandmaster Flash, and find yourself wondering how you keep from going under, it is helpful to identify the specific things in your life that keep you afloat.  We can restore hope within ourselves by reconnecting with people, values, memories, and goals that propel us to keep going.  To beat being pulled under, and find your way back to the surface of safe waters, try these hope-restoring methods.

  • THINK OF THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE THE MOST AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR YOU TO REMAIN A PART OF THEIR LIVES. This is an instant answer to that devious voice in our head that asks, “why bother?”  Practicing this method arms you with clear answers for why you should bother – because your children need you, because your mother would be lost without you, because your friends depend on you, because there are people who you love and want to protect.
  • REMEMBER WHAT YOU ARE MADE OF. You’ve made it this far, and I’m sure you’ve done more than just cry your way through life.  There have been challenges that you’ve overcome that are far tougher than what you’re facing now.  And when you thought you couldn’t take anymore challenges in the past, you did it – you survived.  You’re made of good stuff. Remind yourself of that.
  • CONJURE UP POSITIVE MEMORIES. Some things just made us really happy.  There are memories stored in our minds that pop up every once in a while and bring a smile to our faces.  Did you know that you can intentionally recall those same memories to shift your current mood?  If you feel like you’re being overtaken by the waves of life, at any moment you can intentionally connect with a positive memory and immerse yourself in the scene with all of your senses and your mind will actually believe it is there. Every once in a while, it’s okay to transport yourself to a better place until you actually feel better.
  • DREAM UP LOFTY GOALS. Do you know what you want in life?  Can you experience passion for what you want to do?  When you feel like you’re drowning in the deep blue, it can help to think on what you personally want to accomplish, giving yourself no limits, and not worrying about whether or not they’re realistic dreams at the moment. Just ‘go there,’ allowing yourself to have the wildest, most imaginative goals to let your brain get busy exercising some creative thought.

It may rain, but your life doesn’t have to be flooded with unwanted emotions.  By remembering that major storms only last a season, you will be able to keep yourself afloat through self-encouragement, connecting with the power that lives in you, and practicing methods that allow you to kick your way back to the top of the waters to again witness that proverbial sunshine.

~ CCB

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.

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

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.

Inner Renovations, Poetry & Musings

youth.

It was under there the whole time.

I took it for dead, not looking past the wooden casing that symbolized

that its work had been done, its battle had been won. But not the war.

Maybe a part of me wanted it to be over, to lay it to rest.

I was exhausted and so was my youth.

But no sooner had I made peace with our last days together,

did the thunder clap a rhythm that brought us back to life

like a cosmic defibrillator.

It wasn’t over. There was still more to love. Still more to war.

I’ll mistake you for dead again, my youth.

I’ll believe the murmuring of the crowd and the mirror’s lies,

long enough to accept it as truth.

But you won’t let me.

For another hundred years tiny rocks will sneak into my sandals

as my calves ache and my thighs burn from the climb.

And you’ll tell me that I love it.

I’ll vehemently deny you, and bury you

and attempt to prove that I can’t take another step.

Until I am waking up to us dancing to that eternal rhythm,

telling you that I love it.

Grateful that you are always there.

Inner Renovations, Positive Mindset for Life

Sometimes You Have to Start Over to Win

One of the most difficult things to do is Start Over. After years of pouring our heart, love, time, energy and resources into a project, goal or relationship – it seems so defeating to just halt mission and abandon ship. But sometimes, it is necessary to do.

Rather than continue to go down a path that is not giving the results that we want, it may be better to take a moment to think about alternative routes. We know that there are many ways to reach a destination, so we need not be so stubborn to continue with a way that is clearly not working for us.

Sometimes the ego becomes the ruler, and we do not want others to think that we have failed. But changing directions does not indicate failure. It means that you have checked inventory, completed an evaluation, and concluded that there is a better way. Do not be afraid to take the better way once you identify it.

Sure, the changes may require you to utilize your public relations skills when people inevitably ask you, “What happened?” But like any good P.R. representative, you will already have your response prepared based on the information that you choose to release to the public. They do not have to know everything about why you decided to make changes in your plan; but what they should know is that you have taken the steps in order to put yourself in an even better position to achieve your goal.

Time and time again it has been proven that being successful is a state of mind; which is why you can give a mentally poor person a million dollars and they will soon be poor again. But if you take a million dollars away from a mentally rich person, they will find a way to make it back.

It is a powerful thing to have enough confidence in yourself to choose a different path that you know will still lead you to greater things. Regardless of what others think about your decision, you are able to move forward with the indispensable knowledge you gained from experience – Sometimes you have to start over, to win.

~ CCB