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.

 

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

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

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

Do Yourself a Favor. Worry Less.

 

Full Serenity Prayer


We tend to think about the things we want to do. This makes sense, especially when you’re a goal-oriented visualization enthusiast who understands the importance of seeing it before you get there. However, we also have to consider the things we need to do less of. What is it for you?

  • Eat less?
  • Sleep less?
  • Argue less?
  • Work less?
  • Worry less!

We’d all be better off if we worried less. As a counselor working with many people struggling with addictions, the Serenity Prayer is weaved into the fabric of my daily life. And because every person has their own vice (some are just more intense than others), the prayer in its entirety is applicable to us all.

Many are familiar with the foundation of the prayer:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

In our quest to worry less, there is much that can be learned from these simple yet meaningful lines. Look at the situations in your life now. How many of them are beyond your control to change? If you could accept those things as areas that are outside of your jurisdiction to resolve, and surrender it to that which is greater than you, there would be a lot less to worry about. This assumes that you are connected to your spirit in a way that you at least acknowledge that you were created by something/Someone that loves and wants the best for you.

On the flipside of accepting the things we can’t change is finding the courage to change the things we can. Sometimes we don’t even notice when we are carrying stress from the things we feel we are leaving undone. We may have noticed area of ourselves and our lives that deserve more attention, situations that need to be made right, causes that deserve our energy – yet we are taking little to no actions in these areas. It doesn’t sit with us well. We allow our anxieties and insecurities keep us from taking actions that could change our own and others’ lives for the better. If we were able to find the courage to finally change those things that are within our power to do, there would be a lot less to worry about. We would feel like we are being true to ourselves, being useful, and making a difference in the world. This is fulfilling and brings us to a place of satisfaction and self-love, ultimately decreasing the time that we spend in stress and worry.

Finally, there may be confusion about the difference between those circumstances that we need to accept and the ones we need to be working on. This is no easy feat. When something has become more challenging than we feel we’re capable of handling, do we let it go or give it our all? Do we let nature take its course or do we acknowledge ourselves as a force of nature and continue to give our best efforts? The only way to solve such mystery is through discernment and wisdom. From where does this wisdom come? God. Once again we come to the importance of having a connection with something greater than ourselves so that we can afford ourselves the opportunity to lay down some of the stress that we’ve been carrying on our shoulders and our backs, causing us to feel worn, exhausted, and aged. We have options. It is not necessary for us to continue traveling through life carrying the burden of our own and others’ worlds, when we can worry less by practicing acceptance, discernment, and staying connected to our source to grow in wisdom.

~ CCB

Heart & Spiritual Wellness, Inner Renovations

Don’t Tell Me to BREATHE

Breathe

My life was so busy, that I was forgetting to breathe. I was doing more of a low-grade hyperventilation as my stress and anxiety were propelling my legs and flailing my arms in whatever direction it seemed would alleviate the moment’s tension. That’s not living. Unless you’re a chicken with her head cut off. And then, I guess that chicken isn’t really living either.

Something had to change. If I didn’t want to age 20 years in the next 20 minutes, then I would have to find a way to connect with the moment in a healthy and meaningful way. I would have to learn how to stop and feel the sun, experience the rain, accept the love, and truly live. I wanted to do more than just exist.

And so, I did the opposite of what it means to die. In death, there is the absence of breath – and so I invited in that which must be life. I started to BREATHE.


Are you too complex and sophisticated to accept an instruction that is so simple? BREATHE.

Does it seem too elementary to truly be an answer to the collegiate-level problems in your life? BREATHE.

Is it insulting to think that you have invested so much time, money, and energy into finding solutions and it is being suggested that said solution starts when you simply BREATHE?

I only ask because I thought myself to be too complex (and my issues too advanced) to trifle with such diminutive suggestions as “BREATHE.” It was insulting, and in fact nothing would get me more enraged than when I was already at the edge of panic (if not in full-blown) and someone dared make such a barbarous suggestion to me as BREATHE!


Fast forward to NOW. Find us in the moment. Here, in the present I have the deepest appreciation for the healing qualities of a DEEP BREATH. See, we’re not just talking about that shallow breathing that happens as we’re flying through our day, sometimes not even noticing that we’re holding our breath waiting for the next ball to drop. BREATHE is an invitation to engage in slower, deeper, more life giving, breathing. It is the entrance to clarity in the mind, to interrupt the run-on sentences in your mind that disguise themselves as meaningful thoughts – when really they’re just run-on sentences. To BREATHE, in a conscious and purposeful way is to become a part of the process to connect your heart, with your spirit, with your mind and to literally gather yourself – get yourself together, to start moving towards the hottest commodity of all… PEACE.

Isn’t that what we all want: PEACE? And what if someone told you that the first step towards experiencing peace starts with something so simple: BREATHE. Would you keep hyperventilating your way through life? Or perhaps you would seek to experience the essence of life in a more spirit-led way, allowing yourself to take in a certain healing elixir that can only enter your being as you slow down, become present in the moment, aware of the Great I Am Presence: as you BREATHE.

~ 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, Therapeutic Yoga

Off The Mat Into The Fiery World

yoga elements

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is better to do something, anything – take some action, any action, rather than do nothing at all for too long. Yes, there are times when we need to listen to that inner voice and simply be still. But if we’re still all the time then we won’t get anything done. Let’s not allow our zen to highjack the work we must do to accomplish our destiny. It is so attractive to roll out the mat day after day, stretching and releasing the tension and just allowing ourselves to escape the drama of the day by sinking deeply into our space of personal peace and connection to All That Is. “Just leave me alone in my little world. Let me stay in my quietude in the private corners of my life – undisturbed by you.” But if that is ALL we do, we are quite literally defeating our own purpose.

What we learn on the mat, and in meditation we must take off the mat and into the world to put our wisdom to use. The peace that we’ve cultivated isn’t simply so that we can drift off into our private heavens while ignoring our reality, but to go out and be able to face the challenges of our reality while using our skill to work through the tension and return to harmony.

I only write things that I have to remind myself of. As a counselor, I do have the opportunity to share with others insights and skills developed, not only through clinical training, but also through the intuition and increased awareness that comes in meditation as you learn to listen to the voice within and experience the multiple ways that people communicate with each other – even when they’re not talking. I remind myself that all of our wisdom and understanding is only of use if we are contributing to the progress of our spirits and healing of hearts as a human family. I hope that you remind yourself of this too. To close the books sometimes and take what you’ve learned and teach someone. And to come out of your sanctuary and go into the streets to share what the Lord has been speaking to you. It is so attractive to stay comfortable in our personal spaces, experiencing the peace and balance that often comes with solitude, but the real test of our growth and balance is when we can maintain that state while interacting with our brothers and sisters in this fiery world.

~ CCB